Belize has quickly become a diver’s dream destination boasting rave reviews about its unspoiled reefs, corals and abundant marine life. The Mesoamerican Reef System — often referred to as the “Jewel of the Caribbean” — is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Within can be found Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse of the four atolls found in the Caribbean. Sitting upon Turneffe Atoll, Blackbird Caye Resort is minutes away from over 70 named dive sits in the area. The pristine waters surrounding our island resort are brimming with vivid color just under the water’s surface.
The atoll, consisting of approximately 28,350 acres, is made up of a mix of high and low lands which essentially fringe an expansive lagoon system that can reach a width of 5 miles and a length of 13 miles. Located 25 miles east of Belize City, it is the closest to the mainland and the most accessible of the three atolls in Belize.
Scuba diving in Belize is definitely a sport many guests delight in, but those guests not certified or ready to explore the sea’s deeper depths, we can assure them that our snorkeling is just as enjoyable! An underwater world of brilliant beauty is just minutes from our shore. Most sites are within a 10-15 minute boat ride. Three dives per day are available; two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Two snorkel trips are available daily as well; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Guests may purchase packages that include their activities or purchase resort/meals only and buy their activities on-site a la carte.
The warm waters hosts over 500 species of fish and 65 varieties of stony coral. A number of dolphin species inhabit here as well, including spotted, bottle-nosed, and rough-toothed. One of the world’s largest populations of manatees reside in the region, estimated to number anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500. However, manatee sightings are rare.
Since many fish are protected, our guests are able to enjoy a quite diverse number of species. It’s a breathtaking world that will leave you in sheer amazement and wonder. Come explore it today!
Tagged with: belize diving
, belize scuba diving
, belize snorkeling
Blackbird Caye Resort is home to dozens of wild & marine life. Our 27 species of birds love our warm, tropical climate and consist mainly of Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigate Bird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Osprey and Spotted Sandpiper. Bird-watching is some of our guests’ favorite activities.
Marine life in Turneffe Atoll is absolutely breathtaking. Parrotfish, Angelfish, Triggerfish, Rockfish, and Red tail Snapper, Horse Eye Jacks, Black Gray and Yellowtail Snapper, Barracuda, Grouper, Needlefish, bonefish, Sardines, Tarpon, Snook, Permit, Tuna Mackerel, Spotted Eagle Rays, Wahoo, Skate, Grunt, Marlin, Swordfish and Squid just to name a few.
Our mammals include the Antillean Manatee, 4 species of dolphins, and 3 species of whales.
During a recent visit to Blackbird Caye Resort, Adam Freese took some amazing photographs to share. Please enjoy them!
Tagged with: belize birds
, belize marine life
, belize wild life
Sport Diver Magazine is the official publication of the PADI diving society. PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and is the most respected and sought-after diving society in the world. John Cronin & Ralph Erickson dreamed up PADI over a bottle of Johnnie Walker (yes, it’s true!) in 1966, bringing their swimming and scuba diving experiences together to form an organization that continues to grow today.
PADI is a plethora of education, instruction and an important resource for scuba divers across the globe, at any level of diving expertise. From online courses to helping you find a local dive shop or resort to get you certified, you cannot find a better organization to trust for your diving passion.
Many dive resorts and shops are associated with PADI and it’s an honor to be in partnership with them due to their extraordinarily professional image in the diving world.
Blackbird Caye Resort is very proud to have been named one of Sport Diver Magazine’s “2015 World’s Best Diving Resorts” and we love to show off our accolades!
To see our official page at Sport Diver: Please visit it here.
If you would like to learn more about getting certified please click on the banner below:
Tagged with: 2015 belize dive resort
, 2015 best diving
, belize best diving resort
, belize diving
, sport diver magazine
Half Moon Caye Wall, Lighthouse Reef, Belize has been named in Scuba Diving.com’s 2015 Top 100 Reader’s Choice Awards. Divers worldwide agree that diving the Half Moon Caye Wall offers an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime dive experience. Spectacular, vivid corals and abundant sea life make this dive destination world-class. Lighthouse Reef is located about 50 miles off the mainland of Belize City and is the most easterly of the three atolls in Belize. Along this 30-mile long and 8-mile wide lagoon is the famous Blue Hole, discovered by Jacques Cousteau, and usually at the top of any diver’s “bucket list”.
Blackbird Caye Resort is proudly the closest resort on Turneffe Atoll to the Blue Hole and offers a day trip every Tuesday, weather-permitting. Starting off at 8.00am we take divers to experience the Blue Hole on a 40-minute boat ride. Advanced Open Water-certified divers get to dive its deep depths while others can snorkel its rim. Afterwards guests head to the island of Half Moon Caye where you can dive Long Caye Wall, enjoy a BBQ lunch on land and then head back to Blackbird that afternoon, but not before one last dive takes place at The Aquarium.
Exploring and experiencing these fantastic sites has never been easier! With another 70+ dive sites minutes from our shores via 10-15 minute boat rides, Blackbird Caye Resort is truly an ocean-lover’s dream vacation spot.
Call 866-909-REEF (7333) to book your next scuba diving trip today with us!
Tagged with: belize dive packages
, Belize Dive Resort
, belize diving
, belize scuba diving
, diving in belize
, Scuba Diving in Belize
, turneffe atoll
Blackbird Caye Resort proudly sits on Turneffe Atoll, the second largest reef system in the world. Being the most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere, divers and snorkelers here experience lush and vibrant underwater scenery that is breathtaking and stunning. 30 miles wide, 10 miles long and 25 miles from the Belize mainland, Turneffe offers deep oceans with an abundant marine life. The atoll is comprised of a chain of islands (cayes) just southeast of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.
There is an elaborate network of salt water flats, creeks and lagoons making up this oceanscape where many species of fish, lobster and other fish find habitat in mangroves and seagrass. Many endangered or vulnerable species also live here, including the American crocodile and the Antillean manatee.
On November 22, 2012 Turneffe Atoll became the largest official Marine Reserve in Belize. This very important move to protect the area was made possible by the Bertarelli Foundation, the Geneva-based family foundation of Dona, Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli.
Minutes from over 70 named sites, the Blackbird dive-masters are able to give our guests a wide choice of dive and snorkel experiences to enjoy on our 3 daily dive and 2 daily snorkel trips.
Belize is home to a sub-species of the West Indian manatee, one of four living species of manatees. The other three are the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee and the dugong. The West Indian manatee is divided into two species, Florida & Antillean. Manatees thrive in warm waters due to its slow metabolism. Because of year-round Caribbean waters, the Antillean manatee does not need to migrate as the Floridian manatee does when the temperature drops below 86 degrees.
In the US, West Indian manatees are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Florida species specifically have suffered human-related injury or death due to pollution, boating accidents and ingestion of fish hooks, litter and monofilament line. The Antillean manatee found in Belize has suffered less due to lesser population of watercraft, however, it is listed as endangered under Belize’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1981.
An adult manatee averages 10 feet in length and weighs between 800-1200 pounds. These slow-moving, gentle creatures spend their time eating, traveling or resting in shallow waters. Manatees are herbivores; munching on seagrass and other plant life, resembling cows that graze for much of the day on land, bestowing upon them the nickname “sea cow”. Since manatees are mammals they must surface for air. When exerting energy eating or playing, this could be as often as every 30 seconds, or when resting they can remain submerged for up to 20 minutes.
Having no known natural enemies, they may live as long as 60 years and generally travel solo. Females mature at around five years and give birth every two to five years to usually one calf, who is born measuring two to four feet and weighing between 6o-70 pounds. They stay with mommy up to three years before moving on their own.
In the past, manatees were often mistaken for mermaids by the first Europeans to discover them. However, upon getting a closer look, they were disappointed to discover they were not quite the alluring, mysterious half-woman, half-fish creatures of mythical fairytales.
Seeing and filming one of these intriguing creatures is a rare treat and our very own Divemaster Cardinal, who has been with us for over 5 years, has never spotted one. Many thanks to our guest Dave Runnalls who was able to capture this amazing footage last week during a dive trip to the Great Blue Hole! Please enjoy our video and be sure to learn more about the Belizean manatee by visiting Wildtracks, a non-profit organization formed in 1996 dedicated to “Conservation, Education & Research.”
Tagged with: antillean manatee
, Belize Blue Hole
, belize manatee
, diving in belize
, rare manatee
In 1971 Jacques Cousteau, a famous undersea explorer, dubbed the Blue Hole as one of the world’s top ten scuba diving sites — this was for a reason, because it offers some of the most spectacular underwater wildlife and fauna on this planet. Check out these quotes from Trip advisor:
One of the world’s top dive sites
“I think this might be the best trip my husband and I have been on. No exaggeration.
I don’t even know where to start… It was remote, quiet, and away from the hustle and bustle of normal day-to-day life. The perfect opportunity to kick back and relax, but offering enough activities that we were never bored. Diving was the best I’ve had (in my limited experience – I am not an advanced diver) and Cardinal was a terrific dive-master. He was really chill and he tried so hard to give us the best experience possible. We saw EVERYTHING – sharks, turtles, octopus, eels, barracudas, lobsters, stingrays, eagle rays, groupers – you name it, we saw it.” — Islandgirl678
“We elected to dive the Blue Hole and although the down side of a deep dive is that it is typically short, it was well worth the experience. We were there with much more well travelled divers than I was and they all agreed that it was some of the best diving that they had experienced, other than more exotic locations on the other side of the globe. The staff was super. Our dive master paid extremely close attention to each of us and was great about showing us things in the reef. It was clear he knew the reef as if it were his back yard.” — Shanstorm
Check out Tripadvisor for some more Blackbird guest reviews: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g291966-d304412-Reviews-Blackbird_Caye_Resort-Turneffe_Island_Belize_Cayes.html
Lighthouse Reef — a small atoll 70km from mainland — hosts many dive sites but perhaps the most awe-inspiring in the famous Blue Hole: a collapsed cave risen from the ocean’s floor, leaving a deep geological mystery bursting with aquatic wildlife.
A geological mystery
Other sites include Silver Caves. Long Caye Wall, Coral Gardens and the aptly named Oasis —where huge black coral sponges grow from vertical cliffs.
The trip begins in early morning (Tuesday) after a hearty breakfast. First Blackbird will transport guests out to Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Western Hemisphere. After diving/snorkelling the wonders of Turneffe, guests are whisked off to Light House Reef Atoll.
The Blue Hole — one of the top ten dive sites in the world — lies near the center of the Lighthouse Reef. The hole is circular in shape, over 984 ft (300 meters) across and 407 feet (124 meters) deep and has been declared one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world!
Caribbean reef shark
Scuba divers are lured by the opportunity to dive in the crystal-clear water meet several species of fish, including Midnight Parrotfish, Caribbean reef shark, and other juvenile fish species.
Other species of sharks, such as the bull shark and hammerheads, have been reported there, but are not regularly sighted.
Check out the Blackbird website for more information: http://blackbirdresort.com/
Tagged with: Belize Dive Resort
, Scuba Diving in Belize
5 things we can do to help the endangered American Crocodile.
The American Crocodile was officially discovered and documented in 1807 and named Crocodylus acutus. However, many thought the species to be an alligator — after much deliberation it was finally categorized as a crocodile 1822.
Off the endangered species list
Although the American Crocodile was officially taken off of the endangered list in 2007, and downgraded to a “threatened” species, it remains protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Therefore, it is still illegal to “harass, poach or kill” them.
For those of you with a passion for conservationism, ask the people in charge of the Belize resort that you are staying at to direct you to a local chapter of organizations listed below, that are dedicated to helping the American Crocodile remain off of the endangered list.
The crocodiles are in their element within Turneffe Atoll’s thick foliage. As the largest atoll in the western hemisphere, Turneffe comprises nearly 150 islands and is covered in the largest mangrove system in Belize — perfect for the American crocodile.
Adopt your own Croc
Below, are some exciting activities you can participate in, in order to help this animal while you are in Belize.
1. Sponsor a crocodile: By sending a donation of as little as $10/month, you will be helping a rescued, injured and/or abused American Crocodile with first-class vet care such as food, vitamins and medical follow-ups, as well as the maintenance of its natural habitat.
2. “Adopt-A-Croc”: For as little as $100 yearly, you are able to adopt your own American Crocodile. You will receive your personalized Adoption Certificate in conjunction with quarterly updates regarding the progress of your crocodile. You will automatically receive the title of “Croc-Crusader” and receive email updates concerning the latest research available and being conducted, plus information related to your “child”.
3. The “Rouge-Croc “Benefactor: Your donation of 5K, or more will provide you with the opportunity to have a habitats/sanctuaries named after you, with your name denoted on a plaque. Also, you will get to enjoy your very own “Croc Day”, where you may take family and friends for them to become familiarized with the work being performed within your habitat. For additional benefits refer to ACES, below.
4. Immediately report to the local authorities anyone that you come across poaching an animal, or if you come across a dead crocodile
5. Immediately report to the local authorities anyone you come across that is selling the skull, teeth or any other parts of an American Crocodile.
Lastly, you may contact any of the organizations, listed below, to donate money. Note that all financial donations are tax deductible.
Known as the Crocodylus acutus
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI):
A Florida-based non-profit organization, which is primarily involved with the conservation and assistance of the American Crocodile in Florida. Contact them and find out how you may help out American Crocodiles in Belize. http://myfwc.com
Belize Wildlife Conservation Network (BWNC):
This organization assists in the rehabilitation of crocodiles and release of the American Crocodile which have been harmed, hurt or mistreated, as well as with other animals. It is a non-profit organization which is able to do great work with financial support via membership fees, sponsorships, grants and fundraisings. http://www.wildlifebelize.com
Tagged with: Belize Dive Resort
Halfmoon Caye Natural Monument is an island within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll system, 13 miles (20 km) east of Turneffe Atoll and therefore incredibly isolated.
The most diverse atoll
Before reaching Halfmoon Caye, Blackbird guests will be able to experience the wonders of Turneffe Atoll — the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the western hemisphere.
The trip begins in early morning (Tuesday) after a hearty breakfast. First Blackbird will transport guests out to Turneffe Atoll. After diving/snorkelling the wonders of this site, which was officially declared a marine reserve in 2012 by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, guests are whisked off to Light House Reef Atoll.
It is difficult to reach unless you possess a very fast speedboat and the local knowledge needed to navigate the seas. Luckily Blackbird has both in spades, so if diving the Halfmoon Caye and The Blue Hole have ever been on your bucket list, we can take you there.
Shallow and deep waters
Half Moon Caye Natural Monument was made part of the Crown Reserve in 1928, making it the Belize’s oldest protected wildlife site.
The island is completely isolated — miles from the nearest land — and sits just 4.5 miles (7 km) of reef bursting with marine life.
Because there are both shallow and deep waters, it is possible to snorkel and dive.
Different species of fish reside within varying depths of water so either way, there is a plethora of underwater wildlife to view.
After experiencing Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, Blackbird takes guests to The Blue Hole — one of the top ten dives sites in the world.
A mysterious underwater structure plummeting depths of up to 410 ft (124 meters) lying approximately 60 miles (96 km) off the coast of Belize
Book a holiday now with finest dive resorts in Belize: Blackbird Caye Resort
Tagged with: Belize Dive Resort
, Scuba Diving in Belize