3 Nights at Turneffe Island Resort, Belize
“Come as strangers, leave as friends”
Turneffe Island Resort is a secluded 14-acre private island located 35 miles off the coast of Belize and offers 7 night stays (Saturday to Saturday), 4 night stays (Saturday to Wednesday) and 3 night stays (Wednesday to Saturday). It is set up like this because boat transfers to and from the island are only provided on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The island is renowned for its fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling all which are located within minutes of the island itself. The itinerary below outlines what a 3 night stay on the island looks like, and if you are planning your own trip by the end of reading this, use my discount code “Pay4Stay7#19” and you will pay for 4 nights but stay for 7!
The itinerary below is what I chose to do as I am not a certified diver, however the staff on the island can customize your trip to suit your preferences. Due to the proximity of the Blue Hole and other great dive sites, many guests opt for scuba diving trips. It is important to note that excursions to the Blue Hole only occur on Tuesdays.
Day 1 (Wednesday)
On the first day, you will fly into Belize City, you need to arrive no later than 2pm local time as the boat transfer to the island leaves at 3:00 pm sharp. If you arrive earlier in the day like I did, not to worry, you will be picked up from the airport by a Turneffe Island Resort Representative and dropped off at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina which is located across the road from the dock where the boat transfer leaves from. Kick back and relax by the pool, grab a cocktail at the outdoor bar or enjoy the air-conditioning inside at the restaurant. You will board the boat just before 2.30pm, with a delicious Rum Punch in hand you are ready to go. The boat takes 1.5 hours to arrive at the island so sit back relax and see if you can spot any dolphins playing in the boats wake.
Arriving at the island resort feels like a royal affair, the entire staff come out to welcome you on the dock. Be sure to move your clock forward one hour, the island actually operates on “Island Time” which is Central Standard Time. Island time ensures the sun rises before breakfast and sets just as dinner is being served, this maximizes the amount of sunlight you will have to do fun activities.
The resort offers 3 types of accommodation so there is something for every budget. Quick facts there are 8 Deluxe Rooms, 4 Superior Rooms and 10 Private Villas, including a Honey Moon Villa and Presidential Villa.
I had the pleasure of staying in one of the Private Villas and I have to say, I was blown away. Each villa is 480 square feet, can sleep up to 3 guests (2 in the bed and 1 on a pull out couch) and has an indoor shower AND an outdoor shower, my personal favorite amenity. The attention to detail in the Villas is spectacular, there is a bowl of fresh water at the bottom of the stairs so you don’t bring unwanted sand into the room, the porch is enclosed with netting so the pesky mosquito’s don’t get you in the evening, the bed is very luxurious and according to my Fitbit I had the best night sleep of my life in it, the bathroom features a double sink, the two showers are very spacious and it comes fully equipment with air conditioning.
A number of the Villas also boast a palapa with private seating out the front which is perfect when the sun get a little too much in the middle of the day.
Once you have settled into your room, and if you’re like me, unpacked 15 bathing suits and inflated 3 pool floats it’s time to head to the pool side bar for cocktail hour. Every evening from 6pm the bar hosts cocktail hour, there are 4 specialty cocktails each evening and a cocktail of the day. In addition a delicious appetizer is always served fresh from the kitchen. I spent a lot of time by the bar and I can attest to the quality of ALL the drinks, if you have a favorite cocktail just ask, they can make you anything your heart desires.
At 7pm the dinner bell is rung and everyone heads into the dining room for a family style dinner. Meet other guests on the island as you share large tables, or if you are too tired from all the excitement you can always ask for them to bring your dinner to your patio for a more intimate experience.
Dinner consists of 2 courses and there are always 2 options for the main course, the menu is always on display in the dining room. I am allergic to seafood and they are very sensitive to food allergies as long as you tell them ahead of time. All the food I ate on the island was very fresh and tasty not to mention the desserts, which were heavenly.
Day 2 (Thursday)
If you can bring yourself to get up at 6am I would highly recommend watching the sunrise from the jetty, the view is truly breath-taking.
Before breakfast and often before you’re fully awake, the staff will deliver a basket of hot tea and coffee to your room, everything is personalized to your liking, which is a lovely touch.
At 7am the breakfast bell is rung and it’s time to head to the dining room. Meal times are set to allow you to make the most of your day and fit perfectly around all the activities that are offered on the island. Breakfast consists of a fresh fruit buffet with fresh yogurt and cereal to choose from, a daily special which is always delicious and a choice of eggs with as many sides as you can handle. Everything is prepared fresh and never disappoints.
I had my morning free as I was going fly fishing in the afternoon something that the resort specializes in. You can choose from a full day, half day or sunset fishing excursion. I opted for the half day as I am a novice to the sport. I met my guide at the fishing shop on the dock where he got me fully kitted with my Edge Rod and Rubber Booties. It’s only a quick 10 minute boat ride to the flats which is where we were headed to catch some bone fish. One of the best things about Turneffe Island resort is its proximity to areas for fishing, driving and snorkeling, everything is around a 10 minute boat ride away.
Once we arrived at the flats it was easy to spot the schools of bone fish feeding, the problem with bone fish is that they are basically scared of their own shadow, which means technique when placing the fly in the water is key. My guide spent the first ½ hour showing me how to properly cast my fly which involves a lot of whipping and then a gentle placement of the line in the water. Once I got the hang of it we finally decided to tip toe over to the bone fish, being quiet is imperative as not to scare them. With much assistance of my guide we did manage to get one on the line, I however in my stroke of genius wound the reel the wrong way and he broke the line. After another 2 hours of trying we managed to hook another one and this time I wasn’t letting him get away, with a lot of back and forth, I manged to reel him in!!
Day 3 (Friday)
Today I am going snorkeling as I am not a certified diver, after another delicious breakfast I head over to the dive shop to get my snorkel and fins. I meet my guide, Buddy, who will be taking me out to the reef. After a quick boat ride we arrive, the water here is crystal clear you can see straight to the ocean floor from the boat. The water is the perfect temperature and we dive right in. There are many things to see and the reef is teeming with life.
The highlight of the snorkel was ‘Ester’ the Spotted Eagle Ray that seemed fascinated with our group. We stumbled upon her and watched her swim by, however it seemed we were quite fascinating to her because she continued to follow us around for half an hour.
We also managed to spot the notorious Lion Fish, a Barracuda, Angel fish and a Golden Tail Moray Eel.
When you hop back on the boat Buddy offers you some local oranges to get the salt water taste out of your mouth. Despite the orange being green on the outside, they are the sweetest and tastiest oranges I have ever had. Fun fact: Belize exports a lot of its orange juice concentrate to the United States, they don’t export the fruit itself because they aren’t orange enough in color.
Back at the resort you arrive with enough time to shower the salt water off and have some time to relax before lunch.
After lunch you have the option to go out for an afternoon snorkel or lay under a palm tree with a cocktail, you are on island time after all.
One of my favorite things about the island is the isolation, peace and serenity, which only comes from a place unencumbered by crowds and tourists. With 22 guest rooms in total and a max capacity of around 48 people, staff easily outnumber guests at any given time, which really enhances your stay with personalized service at every turn. There are so many secluded spots to relax and enjoy the moment during your stay, sit back enjoy and let the staff take care of everything for you.
On Friday nights the resort hosts its BBQ under the stars which includes fresh grilled lobsters, sausage, vegetable kebabs, chicken, steak, corn and a host of sides. All the tables from the dining room are moved out on to the terrace so you can dine under the Milky Way. It’s a truly wonderful way to end your stay.
Day 4 (Saturday)
Today it’s time to say goodbye to this beautiful island and head back to civilization. If you are like me this will not be a joyous occasion, unlike this final sunrise.
7am Breakfast is served in the dining room and by 8.30am you are back on the dock to take the boat transfer back to Belize City.
You will arrive in Belize City at 10am however due to the island being 1 hour ahead on island time it’s actually 9am in Belize City. I would recommend booking a flight after 12pm to be safe, the airport is a quick 25 minute drive from the dock and due to its size clearing security is relatively quick.
A Turneffe Island Resort representative will take you to the airport, another personalized touch that makes the trip so enjoyable.
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