I have been multiple places in Belize, but nothing has compared to the amazing and breathtaking experiences I have had at Turneffe Island Resort. It takes about an hour and a half by boat ride to get to the island from the mainland, but it is entirely worth it to stay out near the amazing snorkeling sites. Turneffe provides a private intimate setting. While I was there, only about 18 other guests were on the island, which I quickly became acquainted with via meal times! Everything is included except for alcohol, but because I always wanted to be swimming/snorkeling… I only had one adult beverage the whole time I was there.
I believe the max capacity for guests is about 40. The staff and managers are beyond friendly and helpful. What is so wonderful about this place is you can make it as adventurous or relaxing as you’d like. I opted for adventurous and went with the snorkeling package, which includes 2 scheduled snorkels each day to different locations with a guide. But! If that isn’t enough for you, you can snorkel by yourself right off of the island and see some fish and even eagle rays if you go out far enough. I saw them when I went out without a guide. You might want to make sure you’re comfortable in the water/a strong swimmer though, because it can get choppy some days. Throughout my stay I saw eagle rays, southern rays, dolphins, yellow rays, nurse sharks, reef sharks, starfish, and squid and octopus on a night snorkel, and, of course, a beautiful assortment of fish throughout. Our guide, “Beans,” was so fun and so knowledgeable. He made sure to point out anything interesting during our snorkeling sessions. And we always had fresh fruit on the short boat rides back from the sites to get the salt water taste out of our mouths! So nice. Not to mention hot chocolate brought to our villa every morning. The weather was gorgeous in March, comfortably warm and not too hot. We had no bug issues whatsoever.
I often snorkel without fins because I just don’t like the cumbersome feel of them on my feet, but it does help during such an active vacation to expend less energy in order to do/see more! I would recommend using fins. They do have snorkel equipment there, but I brought my own. I can’t speak personally to the diving/fishing packages/excursions because I didn’t go on them myself, but from everyone I spoke to, the divers and fishermen also had an amazing time. Most often the water was crystal clear, and my GoPro took amazing shots.
The coral formations and under water plans are simply works of art. But, fire coral is no joke. When you’re snorkeling in a group, make sure to keep your distance as much as you can from other snorkelers, even when you may be trying to see something that the guide brought up from the depths. I got bunched together with my group, got kicked/nudged by someone and accidentally bumped my ankle into some fire coral, which is no joke. It feels like a bee sting only on a much larger surface area than a simple pinprick. It hurt for about 10 minutes than faded, but I would avoid it at all costs. As a rule, I never touch anything unless a guide says it’s ok and I’m always careful never to kick anything, but when you get bashed into, sometimes your body just reacts and it’s inevitable. Youch. It actually did leave a mark, but pictures don’t really do it justice. I found the pain to be bearable, but very unpleasant. I didn’t need to get out of the water and onto the boat or anything, but if it had covered much more surface area of my leg, I might have. No matter though… I can’t wait to return to Belize and to the sea.