Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as a premier saltwater fly fishing, scuba diving and marine ecotourism destination. Located on Belize's Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean, specializing in superior service for a limited number of guests.
Awaken in your air-conditioned beachfront cabin to an incredible tropical seascape of white sand beach, tranquil bonefish flats, lush mangroves and the surf breaking over the reef for miles in either direction. Watch a spectacular sunrise from your veranda and when night falls, the stars look close enough to touch.
Turneffe Flats is located on a private point with white sand beach, the reef and a wadeable bonefish flat right outside the door.
The social center is the Main Lodge. Breathtaking views from the upper and lower decks makes the "lodge" a favorite spot for visitors.
The Main Lodge includes the dining area and bar. Meals are a tasty combination of Belizean and International dishes served family-style. Fresh seafood, local produce and home-baked pastries are standard fare. Depending upon your plans and your preference, you will have the option to take a packed lunch or return to the lodge for lunch. Following hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, dinner is the big meal of the day comprised of soup or salad, entree and homemade dessert. Entrees vary among seafood, chicken, pork and beef. If you have special dietary needs, the lodge will do their best to accommodate them.
The bar is located in the "Lodge" just off of the dining area with plenty of open space to gather around after a day of adventure.
- Beach Cabanas
Eight spacious, air-conditioned cabanas are located on the beach with panoramic views of Turneffe's coral reef. All rooms are furnished with a queen size bed and an extra-long single bed, ample closet space, chest of drawers and a sitting area. Each room has a large private bath with two sinks and a shower.
- Reef Villa
The Reef Villa is a three bedroom villa with a common space. The Reef Villa has perhaps has a large beach area in front and perhaps the best view of all accommodations. The common room has a couch and sitting area with satellite TV as well as a small kitchenette but no cooking facilities.
The three bedrooms have 2 queen beds, 1 queen bed and 2 single beds. All rooms have private bathrooms.
- Garden Villa
Thee Garden Villa is the newest and most deluxe accommodation. The spacious common room is a great gathering area for friends or family. Satellite TV and a small kitchen (without cooking facilities) are available. The Garden Villa has three nicely decorated guest rooms, each with a private bathroom. The view from the Garden Villa is of Turneffe Flats grounds and the Caribbean Sea.
For years Turneffe Flats has been known as one of the Caribbean's premier saltwater fly fishing destinations. The diversity of the saltwater flats fishing sets this location apart from other destinations and the opportunity to catch bonefish, permit and tarpon on a given day makes Turneffe Flats one of the rare spots to pursue a "Flats Grand Slam," the landing all three species in a single day.
Although the spin fishing at Turneffe is exceptional, it is primarily a fly fishing destination. They are privileged to have a large repeat customer base with anglers from the finest fly shops and outfitters around the world making Turneffe Flats their annual saltwater fly-fishing destination.
- Bonefishing -
Bonefishing is a mainstay of fishing, with miles of crystal clear, wadeable flats. While wading Turneffe's extensive turtle grass flats, you will sight fish to large schools of bonefish as well as smaller groups and singles. Bonefishing is consistently good throughout the year.
- Permit Fishing -
For the past decade, increasing numbers of saltwater anglers have developed a serious interest in the elusive permit. Turneffe Flats is one of a select group of saltwater destinations where you can experience the excitement of flats fishing for tailing permit with a reasonable opportunity to catch one. Permit fishing is also consistently available throughout the year.
- Tarpon Fishing -
Because tarpon are migratory, they are somewhat seasonal. Although some tarpon are around throughout the year, prime season generally begins in April and continues to mid October. June, July and August are usually the best months for tarpon fishing. Most migratory tarpon are in the 70-90 pound range, but you can see 150-200 pound monsters each year.
- Other Species -
The interior of the Turneffe Atoll offers miles of mangrove-lined bays, creeks and lagoons to fish for various snappers, jacks and barracuda with poppers or Clouser minnows. This can be some very exciting saltwater fishing with either a fly rod or spinning gear.
Barracuda are an underrated and acrobatic game fish inhabiting the reefs at Turneffe in large numbers. Some anglers prefer to troll a fly for them, but they can also be taken by sight casting on the flats or by casting poppers into the deeper holes along the reef.
Along the reef, wading anglers can take snappers and jacks by casting deceiver patterns or poppers into the surf. Spending some time during your stay at Turneffe "chasing" other species is always fun and usually rewarding.
- Fishing Skiffs -
Fish from 16-foot Dolphin Superskiffs custom built in the U.S. These are comfortable skiffs that cut the chop when running and pole well in skinny water. They have large casting decks and rod holders for six rods. All skiffs are equipped with VHF radios and safety gear.
- Daily Fishing Schedule -
The fishing schedule is as flexible as possible. A standard day's fishing is about 8 hours. Generally the fishing day begins after breakfast and ends around 5 p.m. although it is adjusted depending on the tides and other factors.
Each day you will have the option to take a delicious packed lunch or return to the lodge for the noon meal. The Managers will coordinate your fishing each evening for the following day. Early morning fishing, particularly for tarpon, can be exceptional, and arrangements to go tarpon fishing before breakfast are easily made.
- Catch and Release -
Turneffe Flats strongly belives in protecting the fishery at Turneffe. With rare exception, all fish at Turneffe Flats are released.
Belize SCUBA Diving
The offshore atolls of Belize are consistently rated amongst the world's best dive destinations. With pristine coral reefs, abundant marine life and warm Caribbean seas, it's easy to see why.
Turneffe Flats is ideally located to take advantage of Belize's best diving, and three dives per day including a weekly night dive are standard. Dive vacations also include a day trip to Lighthouse Reef to dive the famous Blue Hole, Half Moon Wall and Long Caye.
- Diving Turneffe Atoll -
The Eastern side of Turneffe is protected by 35 miles of reef. It shelves gradually to about 60 feet where spur and groove formations meet the wall. Nutrients from the mangroves are dispersed to the reef by the tides causing large concentrations of feeding fish to congregate.
On the West side of the Atoll, the mangroves of Turneffe provide shelter from the trade winds and swells. A gently sloping bottom lies at 30-50 feet and large coral formations cover the white sand bottom. The reduced wave action allows sponges and soft corals to grow magnificently and sea feathers of 5 feet are common.
On the North side, the reef is often effected by trade wind swells but on the calmer days you can explore these mostly untouched dive sites. Schools of mutton snapper, Atlantic spadefish and permit hover 80 feet above the sea floor and blue runners make close passes, apparently attracted by the bubbles of the strange "Neoprene-clad creatures".
Turneffe's southern point offers a variety of popular dive sites featured in many of the Belize dive guides. The Elbow is probably the best know site here with the ocean current sweeping over the deep reef to attract schools of pelagic fish. As you travel up the Southwest or Southeast sides of the atoll, dive sites vary from patch reef nurseries with dramatic coral formations to steep drop-offs.
While diving throughout the Turneffe Atoll, you will see a variety of hard and soft corals as well as all of the Caribbean tropicals, eagle rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins, moray eels, and occasionally a whale shark in addition to large schools of permit, horse eye jacks and dog snapper.
- Typical Day -
Following a great breakfast, a typical dive day includes three dives. On Fridays, generally two dives are done allowing divers a safe time interval prior to flying. A week-long dive package includes a night dive and, weather permitting, a day trip to Lighthouse Reef to dive the famous Blue Hole, Half Moon Wall and Long Caye.
- Personalized Service -
Specialize in providing personalized service for small dive groups and try to be as flexible as possible. At Turneffe Flats personalized dive service is emphasized, flexibility and uncrowded diving; small dive groups of 6 to 10 divers are the norm. New divers can gain experience with the individual attention they may require and experienced divers can enjoy the freedom of spectacular wall diving, drift diving and underwater photography opportunities. PADI Instruction is available on-site as well as a range of courses including Discover SCUBA Diving, Open Water Referral, Advanced SCUBA Diver Certification and various Speciality Courses.
- Equipment -
Upon arrival at Turneffe Flats the dive staff will assist you with setting up your gear, and you will not need to handle your tanks or dive gear during the remainder of your trip. Excellent dive staff will make sure that your dive gear is rinsed and fully set up for the following day's diving. Towels, cold drinks and fresh fruit are provided on the dive boat each day as well as a fresh water rinse tank for camera equipment. Unless you request otherwise, you do not have to handle your dive equipment during your stay. Staff will change all tanks and rinse your dive gear each day before storing it.
- Dive Safety -
Your dive safety is of the utmost importance to Turneffe Flats. For this reason, and to ensure that you see the best of the marine life, a qualified Divemaster or Instructor is in the water at all times. Using the buddy system, they conduct safety stops on every dive and plan adequate surface intervals between dives. Staff is First Aid & Oxygen First Aid trained and are affiliated with Subaquatic Safety Services who operate the Hyperbaric Chamber in Belize.
Atoll Adventure / Marine Eco tours...snorkeling and much more
Explore all the wonders and the beauty of the Turneffe Atoll at your own pace. Snorkel, bird watch, or pursue a number of other fun and informative activities. If you feel like it, stay at the lodge and lounge on the beach. Every day offers a great new adventure and a perfect opportunity to relax - that's what Atoll Adventure is all about.
Choose from a variety of daily guided activities led by one of the Atoll Adventure guides, all of whom are informative and fun. A 25 foot canopied boat is at your guide's disposal for exploring the reefs, mangroves, creeks and lagoons that make Turneffe the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean. Snorkeling is probably one activity that you will want to experience. Turneffe's world-class snorkeling features warm Caribbean waters, a myriad of tropical reef creatures and incredible coral structures. All guides are masters at helping everyone feel comfortable in the water and beginners can learn to snorkel on our sandy shore before visiting the reef.
With at least 60 species of birds at Turneffe, birding is another highlight. You may also want to tour the atoll looking for manatees and dolphins or enjoy an afternoon kayaking. The Atoll Adventure Program is a very flexible and is tailored to fit the particular interests of each group.
Of course, exploring the 300 square mile Turneffe Atoll can, itself, be an adventure. Turneffe has a fascinating history, including Mayan fishing and trading settlements dating to 400 A.D. Turneffe was also a favored hideout for the notorious pirate, Blackbeard. For most guests, learning about the history of Turneffe as well as the fascinating history of Belize is one of the more enjoyable parts of their visit.
The Atoll Adventure guide is Abelino "Abel" Coe. Abel was born and raised in a Mayan community in Southern Belize and his first language was Maya. Abel is an avid student of Mayan history as well as the rest of Belize's history. Days with Abel are informative and fun. He knows the flora and fauna of Turneffe intimately and is very adept and finding all of the interesting things. Abel is an excellent snorkeler and makes all guests feel comfortable visiting the underwater wonders at Turneffe.
There are several Atoll Adventure tours to choose from during your stay including those listed below.
* Snorkeling Tours
* Manatee & Dophin Tours
* Flats Walking Tour
* Turneffe Birding Tour
* Sea Shell & Starfish Tour
* The Maya and Turneffe
* Sea Kayaking
* Mainland Tours
* Crocodile Tour
* Lighthous Atoll - Snorkeling and Birding Tour
* Night Snorkel Tour
* Belizean Cooking Class
* Discover SCUBA Diving Course
Inland (Belize Rainforest)/Island Packages...the best of both worlds
One consideration when planning a vacation to Belize is how to see the as much as possible of this wonderfully diverse country. The Caribbean shore and the rainforests of Belize offer very different opportunities or and for the fullest possible experience, join with the two top-rated inland/rainforest ecotourism resorts in Belize, Chaa Creek and Chan Chich to offer a two wonderfully diverse combinations.
These packages allow you to enjoy Turneffe Flats' water based activiteis including SCUBA diving, snorkeling, kayaking, dolphins, manatees, and a variety of other marine eco adventures or just relaxing on the Caribbean Sea. You will then transfer to either Chaa Creek or Chan Chich for jungle walks, river canoeing, birding, exploring Mayan ruins.