Blackbird Caye Resort In Belize Has Been Awarded Tripadvisors Certificate Of Excellence For Five Consecutive Years

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Inducted into ‘Hall of Fame’ of Five-time Certificate of Excellence Winners on the World’s Largest Travel Site

Turneffe Atoll, Belize – May 20, 2015 BLACKBIRD CAYE RESORTS today announced that it has been recognized as a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. The ‘Hall of Fame’ was created to honor those businesses that have earned a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. Winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

“Blackbird Caye Resort strives to provide our guests with a unique private island experience, and we are truly thankful to all our past guests who have taken the time to go on TripAdvisor and let others know what an amazing adventure our resort can be. Being awarded the Certificate of Excellence five years in a row simply points out the dedication of our staff and management to making your vacation a dream come true, and now as we are inducted into the Hall of Fame, it is our goal to continue this tradition year after year.” said Michaela Feinstein Owner/General Manager at Blackbird Caye Resort. “It is a great honor to win this award for many reasons, but the greatest is that guest reviews confirmed our commitment to excellence. This new accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and a spotlight focused on our dedicated staff.”

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years is a remarkable feat. TripAdvisor is pleased to induct five-time award winners into the ‘Hall of Fame’,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on consistently delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive an improvement to hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. 

About Blackbird Caye Resort

Blackbird Caye Resort is a unique property situated on a 2-mile long private island, amidst the unspoiled natural beauty of the Caribbean waters. Just 25 miles off the coast off Belize City lies the Turneffe Atoll, where Blackbird Caye Resort is nestled in an idyllic tropical island retreat with uncommon personal attention.

Blackbird Caye Resort offers ocean front cabanas overlooking the iridescent turquoise waters and protected by the atoll’s reef. With more than 70 world-class diving and snorkeling sites minutes away, and the dramatic walls of Turneffe just off the resorts beach, the adventure starts the moment you arrive.

Whether you’re looking for a diving adventure, a family retreat, or a group getaway, you’ll find Blackbird Caye Resort the perfect location and the perfect people to make your vacation dreams come true.

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 45 countries worldwide. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 24 other travel media brands: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.thefork.com (including www.lafourchette.com, www.eltenedor.com, www.iens.nl and www.besttables.com), www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.niumba.com, www.onetime.com, www.oyster.com, www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.com, www.travelpod.com, www.tripbod.com, www.vacationhomerentals.com, www.viator.com, www.virtualtourist.com, and www.kuxun.cn.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, December 2014

**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2015

For more information on Blackbird Caye Resort please contact:

Sandra Lockhart
Sales Manager for Blackbird Caye Resort
Toll Free: (866) 909-7333
Fax: (877) 269-5073
Email: info@blackbirdresort.com

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Explore Underwater Beauty in Belize at its Finest – Blackbird Caye Resort

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Belize has quickly become a diver’s dream destination boasting rave reviews about its unspoiled reefs, Belize 2015 Underwater - 1und5 - P2100128_leveledcorals 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.

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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!

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Belize’s Blackbird Caye Resort Named “2015 World’s Best Diving Resorts” by Sport Diver Magazine

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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. dive-182

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:

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Half Moon Caye Wall, Lighthouse Reef, Belize – 2015 Scuba Diving Magazine’s Top 100 Reader’s Choice Award

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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”.

SCB_Top_100_Gold_Belize-page-001Blackbird 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!

 

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THROWBACK THURSDAYS: “Sea and respect”

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“Sea” and respect … Turneffe’s multiple-use reserve helps protect a globally important coral reef ecosystem

“Sea” and Respect…Turneffe’s multiple-use reserve helps protect a globally important coral ecosystem

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Millions of organisms

In 2012, with the supervision and financial support of multiple non-profit organizations, the Turneffe Atoll System was declared a multiple-use marine reserve.  This was due, primarily, to the fact that it is considered the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere and, therefore, perceived as a “nautical rainforest”.

What is coral?  Actually, the question should be “what ARE coral”.  When scuba diving in Belize and you come across coral it may look like chunks of rock to you.  In fact, these rock-like structures are the result of millions of organisms, called polyps that multiply in colonies. They cling together, are living and “breathing”, only feed at night and hide during the day. The reason they appear as being rock-like is because they have an exoskeleton, to provide them with support, which is composed of calcium carbonate.  This is the same com that shellfish use to make their shells – this type of coral is referred to as “hard coral”.  Another type of coral is referred to as “soft”, for it does not have a calcium carbonate skeleton. Instead, it supports itself upright by tiny spines.

Within Turneffe’s coral reefs thousands of animals make their homes.  It is believed that there are possibly thousands of other unknown species which live in and around the coral reef.   It is a scientific fact that it supports, within its folds, more species/unit area than any other area in the surrounding ocean.

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Thousands of coral species

Lastly, this coral ecosystem also makes contributions to the medical field from which research is currently underway to find cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections and viruses.  It has been discovered, and which is of great importance, that the compounds within the Caribbean Sponge are used in the making of AZT which is the medicine primarily used to fight the AIDS virus.  Also, corals and molluscs are used to manufacture orthopaedic and cosmetic surgical implants.   Currently, there is on-going investigation to find out whether coral skeletons may be used for bone grafts.  A soft coral known as Caribbean Gorgonian produces a compound used as an anti-inflammatory and, this same substance is also used in an anti-wrinkle cream.  Taking into consideration that approximately 95% of the ocean has not yet been explored, the possibilities of discovering more and more medical uses for coral are practically endless.

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Rock-like structures

So, when scuba diving in Belize and you come across coral please “sea” it and treat it with respect.  Remember the numerous benefits it is contributing globally and that one day it may even save your life.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Manatees

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The world’s largest Manatee population

The Meso-America Reef System is home to one of the world’s largest populations of manatees — estimated to number anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500!

The population thrive in and around Turneffe Atoll, which is approximately 30 miles (38 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide — it is the largest atoll in western hemisphere.

The atoll is made up of a series of mangrove islands, cays, lagoons and lush grassland marine robes — all of which are surrounded and protected by a ring of vibrant and unique coral species.

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Frequenting the coastal waters

Manatees are large, often slow moving mammals that frequent coastal waters and rivers of Turneffe Atoll. They are born underwater and have been known to live up to 40 years. The huge creatures are usually very docile and are therefore great for viewing underwater.

The marine mammals are also known as sea-cows and are mostly herbivorous — eating over 60 species of plant species and 10% of their bodyweights everyday.

Manatees can measure up to 13 feet (4 m) in length and weigh as much as 1,300 pounds (590kg). They also have paddle-like flippers.

Just like other mammals, manatees make sounds, especially when communicating with their young. When adult manatees communicate with one another it is usually during sexual intercourse and playful interaction.

When female manatees give birth they must immediately rush their young to the surface for its first breath of air.

Frequenting the coastal waters

“Manati” — meaning “breast” — derives from the Taino, a people existing in Colombia before European settlers forced them out of the country.

There are three species of manatee, distinguished primarily by where they live. One manatee population ranges along the North American east coast from Florida to Brazil — many of which are found residing in the Meso-America Reef System. Other species inhabit the Amazon River and the west coast and rivers of Africa.

To see these remarkable creatures, visit Blackbird’s website: http://blackbirdresort.com/

 

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MESO-AMERICA REEF SYSTEM (MARS): Little Cousin

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The Great Barrier Reef’s little cousin, differences and similarities between the two.

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Over 2,900 individual reefs

The Mesoamerican Reef region lies within the Caribbean Sea and spans the coasts of Mexico, Belize Guatamala and Honduras. It is the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, stretching almost 700 miles (1125 km) from the northern point of Yucatan Peninsula right through to the Honduran Bay Islands — not to mention spanning Belize on its way.

The Great Barrier Reef is also known for its size — it is the largest coral reef system in the world made up of over 2,900 individual reefs. Like the Mesoamerican Reef’s famous Blue Hole, one of the top ten dive sites on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef can be viewed from outer space.

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Stretching almost 700 miles

Both reefs house a breathtaking array of wildlife and coral and organisations are working hard in the western and southern hemispheres to make sure these are protected against human activity. Many fish from the Mesoamerican and Great Barrier Reef are on the protected species list.

Given that the reefs support so much life and diversity, both have been made World Heritage Sites. Thousands of tourists therefore visit the sites every year to dive and snorkel amongst the awe-inspiring wildlife.

The Mesoamerican Reef is home to more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusc and more than 500 species of fish. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of more than 400 species of coral and more than 1,500 species of fish.

No wonder the Mesoamerican Reef is called the Great Barrier Reef’s little cousin. Check out the Blackbird website for more information about dive sites in the region: http://blackbirdresort.com/

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EPIC EXCURSIONS: The Elbow

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The largest and most diverse atoll

Located at the southernmost point of Turneffe Atoll, The Elbow is regarded by many as one of the most diverse and exciting diving spots in the region.

Turneffe Atoll — the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the western hemisphere — supports a wide range of diverse aquatic species such as the endemic white spotted toadfish and the white lined toadfish. Plentiful sponges and corals provide feeding grounds to endangered animals including the green sea turtle

Due to the location of The Elbow, several strong currents merge from both sides of Turneffe Atoll and meet at a precise location — attracting a huge array of aquatic wildlife, including massive schools of snapper, jacks, mackerels and eagle rays.

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Glowing range of colours

Divers are therefore able to swim right into the heart of these schools, becoming completely surrounded by thousands of glistening fish. Barracuda are also attracted to these waters. Their hunting technique is fascinating to observe as the predator lies in wait, suspended in the water before disappearing like a torpedo towards unsuspecting pray.

Sharks are also known to frequent The Elbos but don’t worry — fish are so abundant here divers are not on the menu. Other incredibly large species include the Goliath Grouper, which can grow up to 9 ft (3 meters) in length and weigh as much as 800 pounds (360 kg). These particular fish are no illegal to catch, due to overfishing in the past, and have been placed on the “critically endangered species” list.

The coral at The Elbow is also awe-inspiring. Gorgonians, a distant cousin of coral, can also be found at the site. These leafless, tree-like underwater bushes sway majestically with the current and as a result are also known as “sea fans” — glowing a range of colours from purple, red and yellow.

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EPIC EXCURSIONS: Blue Hole (Lighthouse Reef Atoll)

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Blackbird offers one of the most exciting dive excursions in the world – the famous Blue Hole Adventure Day. Departing every Tuesday, this visually stunning – below and above the water – adventure takes dive adventurers to some of the most spectacular underwater destinations on the planet: The Blue Hole, Half Moon Wall and The Aquarium.
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Operating from within Turneffe Atoll, located 24 miles (38 km) east of Belize City, Blackbird Caye Resort is situated only one and a half hours by boat from The Blue Hole, which means our guests are able to leave at 8am from Blackbird Resort and by 9:30am be in the water — that’s fast

In 1971 Jacques Cousteau, a famous undersea explorer, dubbed the Blue Hole as one of the world’s top ten scuba diving sites. This has caused the structure to become very popular among diving enthusiasts. Cousteau was famous for helping invent the first aqua-lung device that allowed humans to stay underwater for long periods of time. He also explored all five of Earth’s oceans for over thirty years.

We take divers to a max depth of 130 feet (40 meters) for around eight minutes to view an astonishing array of marine wildlife and coral in the clearest of waters. The entire dive takes roughly half an hour. Snorkelers are also able to explore the rim of the Blue Hole and will often see grey sharks up to 50 feet (16 meters) below.
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Half Moon Caye — an island within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll system — is the second stop. The trip is breath-taking as the boat glides over 10 ft (3 meters) of crystal-clear turquoise waters — in the middle of the ocean. You will catch a glimpse of the red-footed boobie — a rare bird that resides on the atoll, the largest nesting site in the world.

Not only is it a World Heritage Site, but the reef hosts a wide range of rare and endangered coral and fish species. Sharks of all shapes and sizes flock from far and wide to feed at this site. Eagle rays and turtles also frequent the area.

A barbeque also awaits hungry divers and snorkelers, lovingly prepared by our very own chef. Chicken, burgers, fruits and vegetables are slowly grilled to make sure you don’t go hungry following your underwater exploration. It’s not your usual packed lunch, everything is cooked on the island using wood and coal fire grill. Our secret Caribbean marinade is second to none.

After a mouth-watering feast, the third dive site awaits: The Aquarium. The dive site is located within the Lighthouse Atoll and lives true to its name: the area is bursting with aquatic life with an abundance of schooling fish from School Master Snappers, Creole Wrasse, Queen Angelfish, Banded Butterflyfish and Honeycomb Trunkfish.

Renowned for its crystal clear waters — with visibility up to 80 ft (24 meters) — the site plummets to depths of up to 50 feet (15 meters). The Aquarium is reachable by boat, 13 miles east of Turneffe Atoll, to the northeastern corner of Long Caye.
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Here at Blackbird, you won’t find a more safety conscious dive crew — as a remote resort our standards are incredibly high. We always go one step further to ensure your safety.

Large groups are welcome — the most people accommodated on one trip was 33, on top of nine crew.

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TURNEFFE ATOLL SYSTEM: What makes it so important?

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Turneffe Atoll is located just over 24 miles (38 km) east of Belize City and is surrounded by intensely coloured waters, which glisten vivid blue, green and turquoise. An atoll is a ring-shaped reef, island or chain of islands formed of coral. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At approximately 30 miles (38 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide it is the largest atoll in Belize. Turneffe Atoll is made up of a series of mangrove islands, cays, lagoons and lush grassland marine robes — all of which are surrounded and protected by a ring of vibrant and unique coral species.

The atoll was officially declared a marine reserve in 2012 by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development.

It is the most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere. The islands — some of which are larger than 5,000 acres — are covered by more than 77 different varieties of vegetation. Interspersed with lagoons, mangrove forests cover almost all low-lying areas of the atoll.
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Turneffe Atoll’s reef supports a wide range of diverse aquatic species such as the endemic white spotted toadfish and the white lined toadfish. Plentiful sponges and corals provide feeding grounds to endangered animals including the green sea turtle.

Blackbird Caye South is thought to have the largest sea turtle nesting site on the atoll and has witnessed loggerhead turtles nesting on Blackbird Oceanic Field Station beaches in recent years.

Belize’s largest American saltwater crocodile population also resides within the atoll, approximately 200-300 individuals. It is also the only offshore stretch of water designated for the endangered Antillean manatee.

Giant marine toads, green tree snakes and other reptiles and amphibians use the littoral forests and brackish lagoons at their home.

Blackbird Caye Resort can take you there. Check out the website for more information: http://blackbirdresort.com

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