Named one of the Best Dive Resorts in the Caribbean and Atlantic in Scuba Diving's 2022 Best of Readers Choice Awards, Blackbird Caye Resort is located on an island in Turneffe Atoll and features 16 air-conditioned cabanas and villas with views over the Caribbean Sea. A short flight from Belize International airport, or a 52 km boat transfer, and you will find yourself in this little piece of atoll paradise. It is the only resort on Turneffe that is able to offer flight arrivals for guests at the airstrip on Blackbird Caye.
Turneffe Atoll is the largest of the 4 Caribbean atolls. It offers varied diving with deep water walls, shallow lagoons, coral gardens, a huge wreck, and sand chutes. It a great spot for juvenile fish as well as the larger fish species of Belize such as groupers and snappers, as well as eagle rays and turtles. There are around 25 dive sites just a few minutes boat ride away (and 70 in total) for you to explore, but you can also expect a weekly trip to Lighthouse Reef and the famous Blue Hole.
The high quality of the sites attracts experienced divers but the easy conditions make it suitable for relative beginners too. Being a PADI 5 Star Resort, Blackbird Caye is the only resort on the atoll whose primary focus is on scuba diving, not fishing. For those wanting to learn diving, the resort is also equipped to provide introduction dives, as well as full open water courses and open water referral programmes.
Most of the sites are only 5 minutes away and this makes Blackbird Caye Resort attractive for mixed non-diver/diver groups; no need to spend all day on the boat riding to and from the sites - just 1 hour and you're back at the resort! The snorkelling around Blackbird Caye is also some of the best in Belize, which is another attraction for non-diving snorkellers. Then there's the fresh water swimming pool, sea kayaks, paddleboards, fishing rods, a jetty which attracts all manner of marine life, a complimentary internet facility to keep in touch with friends and family - plenty to keep non-diving guests busy.
The resort is set on a secluded sand spur with its own idyllic, 3 km long, coconut palm-fringed beach on one side and a mangrove fringed lagoon on the other. One of its key features of the resort is that it provides a natural and bio-diverse environment. Walk up the beach a little for some interesting bird watching or visit the lagoon and you can spot saltwater crocodiles and rare manatees. There is no urbanisation here, just the sun and the palms, the sand and the sea.
With a maximum of just 32 guests, Blackbird is an intimate resort with rustic Caribbean charm. The staff provide a personalised touch in getting to know a little about each guest without being intrusive. The cantina offers buffet-style family dining which encourages guests to get know each other if they choose. The resort culture allows guests to forget to the pressures of every day life and to re-connect with their stress-free inner self. You can relax in a hammock on the porch of your beachside cabana or sip a sundowner in the bar right on the water's edge.
Destinations:Turneffe Reef Atoll (Diving environment: wall diving, healthy reefs, beginner & advanced divers; Highlights: manatees, turtles, schooling fish/big pelagics) - sites such The Elbow, Calabash Cut, Chinaman's Wall - 25 different dive sites. A full-day trip to the Blue Hole (Diving environment: caverns, advanced divers; Highlights:), and Half Moon Caye and Long Caye (Diving environment: wall diving, healthy reefs, beginner & advanced divers; Highlights: great macro life/marine diversity, schooling fish/big pelagics) on Tuesdays is also an additional option. No diving on days of arrival or departure.
Resort diving includes:
Dives (as detailed in the packages above), boat rides, 1 Blue Hole/Lighthouse Reef trip (7 night package), 1 night dive (7 night package), experienced English-speaking divemaster(s) for maximum 8 divers, drinking water, tanks, weights and weightbelts. Diving excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own):
Scuba equipment (US$ 40 per day), marine park fees (US$ 100 per week). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash or credit card). Optional extras:
Extra dives, extra night dives (minimum 4 divers), enriched air nitrox for certified divers (US$ 15 per day), diving insurance. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
Resort accommodation includes:
Bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, coffee and tea, juices, afternoon snacks, use of kayaks, internet, boat ride to Calabash Caye Nature Trails. return resort transfers on Saturdays from Belize City. Accommodation excludes (mandatory):
Single supplement on single travellers only, payable in advance. Hotel tax (US$ 4 per night), return resort transfers on other days (US$ 50 per person one way to be paid in advance). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Single Supplement:
This is a compulsory additional charge on single travellers for the sole occupancy of double/twin accommodation. Optional extras:
Alcoholic drinks. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there:
Blackbird Caye Resort is located on Blackbird Caye on the eastern side of Turneffe Atoll, 51 km from Belize City. The resort offers complimentary transfers on Saturdays only from Belize City at 3:30 pm by boat (an hour and a half). You should aim to be in Belize City by 2 pm. Checkout is at 8am and you should book a flight departure time after 12:30 pm. For more information see our Belize travel information section.
Dive clubs and group discounts:
Pay for 11 guests and 1 extra person can join free of charge.
The 5 beachfront Villas offer the most comfortable and spacious accommodations in the resort. They are beautifully detailed modern rooms featuring a large bathroom with glass shower cubicle, and large sliding patio doors leading to a private porch with chairs and hammock, from which to enjoy the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. The have a king or 2 queen sized beds.
The 3 Deluxe cabanas are set within foliage and flowers, a few steps away from the Caribbean Sea. They are located on the secluded southern side of the resort and have king size bed and lounge area. The 5 Superior cabanas are smaller than the Deluxe, they have a king size or twin queen size beds and a seating area. The 3 Triplex cabanas are 3 rooms in the within the same structure. They are smaller and share an enclosed porch. These have double or twin beds. All the cabanas have rustic exteriors but the interiors are furnished in a modern style.
All the accommodations have:
Air-conditioning and ceiling fans
Double or twin beds with reading lights
Beachfront screened-in porch with chairs/hammocks and sea views
Private bathroom with hot water shower, towels and toiletries
Blackbird's offers great diving at sites considered to be among the best in the Western Caribbean. There are more than 25 sites located within easy reach (and 70 in total), and 15-20 named sites within 1.5 miles (3 km) which are used exclusively by the resort. Some of the popular spots you can dive include the Elbow, Calabash Cut, West Side Story, CoCo Point, Chinaman's Wall, The Witconcrrete Wreck, and Sting Ray Motel. All are boat dives since the water around the resort is very shallow.
Full day 3-tank trips to Lighthouse Reef to dive at the Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye and Long Caye are an optional extra and require 6 divers to sign up. The trip also includes a land visit to the bird sanctuary on Half Moon Caye.
The 'PADI 5 Star Resort' operation offers 3 boat dives a day. After breakfast, you will depart at 8 am for the first dive of the day. There is a second dive at 11 am and a third after lunch at 2:30 pm. 1 night dive is included in the 7 night and 4 night packages (and replaces a day dive).
Blackbird Caye Resort operates 4 dive boats ranging in size from 11-15m. Each boat has twin 200 HP engines, tank racks, ladders and shade. Trips include a skipper, divemaster, tanks, weights & weightbelts, rinse tank for cameras, drinking water and towels. The resort also operates another boat exclusively for daily snorkeling trips. Snacks are available when divers come back to the resort.
Except for trips to the Blue Hole and The Elbow (double tank trip), the boat returns to shore after each dive since the sites are on average only 10 minutes boat ride from the resort. On Blue Hole trips, the larger Big Bird boat is used (max. 30 divers) and takes approximately 1 hour 20 minutes to reach Lighthouse Reef. The trip departs at 8 am and returns around 4 pm; a BBQ is also provided.
The dive centre has a nitrox membrane facility (standard is EANx 32%), a storage area for guest equipment, a camera table, and a shower, first aid and emergency oxygen. There are full sets of dive gear available to rent. The resort staff will rinse and carry your equipment daily; almost a 'valet scuba' service.
The resort is equipped to handle introduction dives to non-divers, plus runs advanced courses and full open water diver courses and referral programmes.
Blackbird Caye Resort is not a 5 star luxury resort but an intimate hideaway for those who want a relaxing dive vacation in a environment just as nature intended. Along the coast you can find ospreys nests, cormorants and frigates perched high in the trees. Iguanas laze in the sun on fallen logs on the beach. The resort jetty is a popular place for non-divers to watch sting rays, octopus, conch, juvenile reef fish, needlefish, even saltwater crocodiles.
If you need to, you can stay in touch with the outside world using the resort's free WiFi service. You can also enjoy the restaurant and bar with satellite TV, snorkelling trips on which manatees and dolphins can sometimes be spotted, fishing, kayaking or a game of beach volleyball.
In keeping with the eco nature of the atoll and environment, Blackbird Caye has in-island generators, rainwater reservoirs, and reverse osmosis purification systems. Packages also include a boat ride to Calabash Caye Nature Trails.
Resort facilities include: Beachfront restaurant and bar - Dive centre - Freshwater swimming pool - Private beach with sun beds - Free sea kayaks and paddleboards - Beach volleyball - Free wifi internet - International telephone & fax - Laundry service - Baby sitting services - Gift shop
Location: Blackbird Caye, Turneffe Atoll east coast, Belize
The chef prepares a variety of delicious Caribbean fare which can be enjoyed in the 'palapa' which sits on the water's edge. You can enjoy a family-style buffet breakfast and lunch with afternoon snacks. The dinner menu varies and includes meat, chicken, fish and seafood dishes served to your table. There are set meal times since the chef cook everything fresh from scratch.
5 pm means happy hour at the waterside bar and this is the time to meet your fellow guests each evening for hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail or two to regale stories about the day's diving and other activities.
International and Caribbean main meal dishes
Free coffee, juices and drinking water all day.
Special diets can be catered for with prior arrangement.
Friday night BBQ of fish, ribs and chicken
Sunday is a Belizean lunch of stewed chicken, rice n beans, coleslaw, potato salad, fried plantain, local fresh fruits.
Breakfast is fruit juice, coffee, tea, different styles of eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, pancakes, potatoes, fruit, cereals, toast and jam.
Buffet lunch varies, with salads, a sandwich bar, rice and beans, spaghetti, stir frys etc.
Depending on the level of severity of a diving related emergency evacuation, the journey to the nearest de-compression chamber in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye) is 45 km and will take between 15 minutes by low-flying airplane/helicopter or 1.5 hours by boat. We recommend you take out your own scuba diving insurance.
The dive boats are equipped with life vests, oxygen (6,200 litres on Blue Hole trip, 570 litres on small vessels for local dives), VHF marine radios, cell phones, compass and medic first aid kit. One divemaster is provided for every 8 divers. More oxygen and first aid are available back at the resort.
There is a coastguard outpost on Calabash Caye, a 5 minute boat ride away. In the interests of guest safety, Blackbird Caye Resort participates in Storm Watch and has an active storm procedure and evacuation plan.
For non-diving related accidents and incidents the nearest hospital and police facilities are in Belize City, 50 km away.
The cabana has a safety box for guests' valuables.