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How much better is Turneffe Island than Ambergris Caye?

Discussion in 'Belize' started by diverrex, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. diverrex

    diverrex Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
    1,799
    375
    83
    My wife and I were first certified on AC by Elbert Greer in Nov 2005. We returned to AC for our fist post certification trip in May 2006. Since then we have been to Curacao, Akumal, Cozumel (2X), Dominica, Grand Cayman East End, Bonaire (2X) and Saba. While we have enjoyed each of those trips we have always been disapointed that we don't see as much big stuff as we did diving AC. Diving Ac we would usually see Eagles Rays or Turtles or Sting Rays or Nurse Sharks on every dive, sometimes several of each during the dives. Cozumel and Bonaire have lots of fish, but mostly all small stuff, mostly the same with the other places we have visited. So I think it's time we head back to Belize and I'm thinking of maybe doing Turneffe Island Lodge. How much better is the diving there than on AC? We do like the small town of San Pedro and Fido's is still by far and away my favorite Caribbean beach bar/restaurant but it is the diving we are really going for so I'll give up the San Pedro restaurants if the diving is much better on Turneffe. Any other Belize suggestions? How does Blackbird Caye compare to TIR? Thanks for any responses.
     
  2. jefffalcone

    jefffalcone Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Boston, MA
    715
    3
    0
    Check out glovers atol in belize. If you go in april may or june around the full moon you can go see whale sharks. When I was there I saw a whale shark, a bull shark and a dolphin all at the same time. I saw a pod of 17 dolphins. Nurse sharks, turtles. A friend saw hammerheads there, but I didn't see them. Great little island run by great people. My avitar picture is of my lodging when I was there.
     
  3. Revid1

    Revid1 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Mid West
    112
    2
    0
    You really need to make 2 seperate trips to Belize. We liked Ambergris and Turneffe Island. Diving is close for each one. I thought the diving was better on Turneffe Island, but not too much of a difference. Really liked the trip to the Blue Hole and diving around that area.
     
  4. diverrex

    diverrex Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
    1,799
    375
    83
    This surprises me, I've assumed that Turneffe was significantly better than AC, not just a little better.
     
  5. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,886
    622
    113
    I haven't been to AC, but I've been to Turneffe Island Resort (changed its name from Turneffe Island Lodge a few years ago) a couple of times for a total of three weeks and am probably headed back for a fourth week next summer.

    My impression is that the TIR diving is pretty similar to AC, but the above water experience is very different. Rays and turtles are frequently seen at TIR, but sharks only sometimes except around the Blue Hole. One time we were surrounded by a pod of Short Fin Pilot Whales, probably the highlight of our diving experience, but the staff said they had never seen them before so I wouldn't count on that. The TIR weekly trip to the BH is about an hour, which is much quicker than AC, and as Revid1 said the diving is that area is fantastic.

    From the reviews I've read, I'd say TIR's accommodations and overall experience is a notch better than Blackbird's and Turneffe Flats', and I think that's reflected in their prices. Someone did a comparison review of Blackbird and TIR a while back on this board with TIR coming out on top. You should be able to find it by digging through the pages.

    As far as other Belize suggestions, I spent two weeks in Placencia last summer diving with Splash and am probably headed back to dive there next summer as well. If you're looking for a southern Belize experience, this would be a good way to go. The boat rides are longer, which I actually enjoy since I don't get to ride in a boat very often and there are lots of small cayes to look at on the way to the dive sites. The village is an interesting mix of bars, restaurants and coffee shops while retaining an authentic Belize village vibe. And it's a great jumping off point to check out what southern Belize has to offer. I saw a fair amount of turtles, rays, sharks and dolphins on that trip.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  6. dierenarts

    dierenarts Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Connecticut, USA
    64
    3
    8
    on the same thread, we're staying AC in March, is it worth a boat ride and trip to dive Turneffe from there, or should we just plan a second trip for that?
     
  7. peterbj7

    peterbj7 Dive Shop Owner Rest in Peace

    # of Dives:
    Location: San Pedro, Belize and Oxford, UK
    3,583
    201
    0
    If you take a boat from AC to dive Turneffe you'll have two options - Turneffe North and The Elbow. The former is a much shorter trip and is cheaper, but is not always available. Both trips include three dives.

    My summary of dive sites in northern Belize is that the best of the lot, without doubt, is Lighthouse Atoll. IMO Turneffe is pretty good but not dramatically so compared with Ambergris Caye. AC offers more variety than the other spots, because it has the "spur and groove" coral formations not found at the atolls nor indeed much anywhere around the world. My preference for diving AC would be to stay somewhere north and spend most of my time diving there, plus a few of the "honey pot" dives around town. In fact, taking diving as the key issue, I'd very likely stay somewhere like Tranquility Bay and dive some of the almost unknown spots up there.

    A day trip to Turneffe is readily organised if there are other people to fill the boat, but for my money I'd go to Lighthouse in preference. My ideal, and a trip I used to offer from my dive centre, is three wall dives at Lighthouse but excluding the Blue Hole. But sadly the BH is the big draw and it's usually pretty hard to fill a boat for Lighthouse if the BH isn't included.

    I have had many guests who've wanted to hedge their bets and go to both northern Belizean atolls (Lighthouse and Turneffe - Chinchorro is in Mexico and Glover's is in Belize but too far to the south). From my observation that has always been a mistake - either excursion is a long and fatiguing day trip and in a week you really don't want to do both. By the same token, most people who declare their intention of doing three dives a day at AC backtrack and just do two, with maybe one night dive on top. Diving morning AND afternoon is really quite fatiguing, and IMO gets boring.
     
  8. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,886
    622
    113
    Plenty of people seem to think it's worth it as I see more boats from AC at the Blue Hole and Lighthouse than from anywhere else. But as Peter said, the BH is the big draw even though the diving around Lighthouse is fantastic. One advantage that Turneffe Island Resort has over everyone else is its proximity to the Elbow, which is about a five minute boat ride from their dock. Every time I stay there we do the Elbow four or five times a week, and I still enjoy it every time.

    My guess is that most people who dive the BH come away at least somewhat disappointed but have such a great time diving the area that they think the trip was worth it.
     
  9. Aquanut2

    Aquanut2 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Upstate NY, USA
    36
    1
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    My Family just got back from a trip to AC and dove with Island Divers. We had the best of both worlds I met another couple on the SB that wanted to do an extended trip and Rudy organized an overnight trip to Lighthouse reef for us. We ran through Turneffe and dove on Vicenda and Cockroach walls on Turneffe for our first two dives then shot over to Lighthouse had lunch and dove Eagle Ray Canyon. The next day we did three more dives on Half moon Cay wall, Cathedral Wall and the Aquarium.<br>I would say that the diving on Turneffe had better and larger corals and sponges compared to the dives off AC but not a larger amount of sea life the vis on Vicenda wall was the least of any dive that week but influenced by weather run off and currents so it's probably great today but I must say the diving on LH Reef was by far the best of the entire week and maybe of my entire 30 years of diving! Rudy could not go on the trip cause he had a charter but his wife and crew went along and treated us like kings you can not go wrong with Island Divers as your dive op.<br>I took a ton of photos so look for a full report with pics in the future.<br>Mike
     

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