TURNEFFE FLATS LODGE
Year-round consistency; busy season from January through June. Prime fishing June through August
Permit, bonefish, and resident tarpon are the standard quarry; migratory tarpon (including some giants) are caught between May and October. Snook, snapper, triggerfish and barracuda also available
Beach cabanas and multi-room villas set amongst swaying palms with views of the reef and Caribbean Sea.
What’s not to like? Turneffe Flats is situated on one of only four coral atolls in the northern hemisphere. The lodge rests offshore from the Belizean mainland, nestled on an idyllic caye amongst swaying palms, just yards from pristine white sandy beaches and the Caribbean Sea. This location offers anglers quick access to permit and bonefish flats and deeper cuts where massive tarpon are found. This is one of the most comfortable, stylish and best run operations in all of the Caribbean—the accommodations, food, hospitality and guides are second to none. If you are looking for a no-brainer style saltwater fly-fishing trip, where everything meshes and the days are long and rewarding, this is it.
Turneffe Flats Lodge
Saltwater anglers seeking their first permit or bonefish would be hard pressed to find a better option. Turneffe Flats offers an interesting phenomenon in which guides pole a long mangrove shoreline where schools of permit travel and offer multiple shots to anglers. Bonefish are found near the reef and provide repeated shots for anglers. Cagey permit—including some very large fish—are found in singles and doubles and small groups along various flats through the atoll. Resident tarpon are found throughout the year and migratory tarpon are present from May to October and range between 50 and 200 pounds (seriously, you could hook a 150-to 200-pounder here). Snook, jacks, ‘cuda, triggerfish and snapper round out the options.
Most Turneffe guests target bonefish at least part of the time—and there are some great options to be had. The seaward side of Turneffe Atoll has large schools of bonefish that offer beginning anglers plenty of shots while they learn the saltwater game. For experienced anglers, large singles and doubles averaging six-to eight pounds—with some eclipsing the 10-pound mark—can be found on the seaside back reef flats.
Hard-core permit anglers know that Belize is “the permit capital of the world” and that Turneffe Atoll is an epicenter. Anglers mostly cast to singles and doubles on numerous flats and bars, but large schools of permit are also found tailing in shallow water. In either case, anglers fish most often from poled skiffs, although wade fishing options are also found on the oceanside flats.
Migratory tarpon arrive at Turneffe in May and remain through September. These are large, migratory beasts that range between 60 and 200 pounds. Tarpon inhabit Turneffe’s creeks, channels and lagoons and pounce on large baitfish imitations. To handle these bad boys you’ll need a 10-to 12-weight rod and no fear—hooking into a 100-to 150-pound tarpon is one of fly-fishing’s greatest thrills.
While the “big three” demand the most angling effort, other species are worth pursuing while visiting Turneffe Flats. Barracuda are abundant, and the interior of the atoll offers snook, snappers and jacks, all of which are hard-fighting fish. One of the most rewarding experiences at Turneffe is wade fishing the home flat in front of the lodge, casting Clousers and poppers, never knowing what might eat a fly. Pure, simple fly-fishing fun for novice and experts alike.
Schedule: Turneffe’s schedule is quite flexible, depending on which species is your primary target and how long you want to be on the water. Standard days run about eight hours, beginning after breakfast and ending around 5 p.m. Adjustments are made to take advantage of prime tides and other factors. Tarpon anglers may start their days before breakfast and take advantage of prime morning hours. Packed lunches are available or anglers can choose to return to the lodge to refuel and then hit the flats in the afternoon.
BOATS & EQUIPMENT
Anglers fish from 16-foot Dolphin Super Skiffs custom built in the U.S. These are comfortable boats that cut the chop when running and pole well in skinny water. They have large casting decks and six rod holders. All skiffs are equipped with VHF radios and safety gear. Lean bars available on request.
Turneffe Flats offers four choices for accommodations, each tastefully decorated, air conditioned and with its own unique advantages. Turneffe’s eight beach cabanas are ideal for couples, while the Reef Villa, Garden Villa and Pelican Villa are perfect for groups and families.
The main lodge is the social center of Turneffe Flats and offers a beautiful mahogany bar, a spacious seating area, and a quaint dining room. Lodge guests and staff gather under mounts of tarpon and permit for pre-diner hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and to share the day’s highlights. The upper and lower decks offer reclining lounges and overlook a gorgeous oceanfront pool and the Caribbean Sea.
Three meals a day are part of your fly-fishing, diving or Atoll Adventure package and feature Belizean and American dishes served family style in a large dining area. Fresh seafood, local produce and home- baked pastries highlight the menu. Guests can pack a lunch on the water with them or return to the lodge for their midday meal.
Don’t hesitate to bring your non-angling or half-time angling family and friends. In addition to their fishing program Turneffe Flats offers a top-quality scuba diving operation, including weekly trips to Lighthouse Reef to dive and explore the famous Blue Hole, Half Moon Wall, and Long Caye. PADI and SDI instruction are available on-site. The lodge offers a wide range of courses, including Discover programs and Advanced Diver Certification. Turneffe Flats also offers a popular eco-adventure package to explore the atoll aboard a 25-foot twin-engine boat, led by the lodge’s informative and fun Atoll Adventure Guides. This flexible package is completely adaptable to the desires of guests on a day-to-day basis.
Travel to Belize from the United States is easy with direct flights to BZE from the following locations:
Los Angeles, CA
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TIMES
Twice a week, guests are ferried to Turneffe Flats on a large and comfortable private vessel. It is vital that guests arrive in Belize City no later than 3PM. Should a guest arrive later than 3PM, the lodge can arrange for a night to be spent in Belize City’s Radisson Fort George Hotel. Guests can then take the staff boat out to the atoll early Sunday morning.
On the day of departure from Turneffe Flats, guests are urged to schedule their flights out of Belize City after 11:30AM. This allows for leeway should any unforeseen weather circumstances that morning that may delay arrivals at the airport.
TYPICAL LENGTH OF STAY
Typical stay is 7 nights/6 days (Saturday to Saturday)
Shorter midweek stays and single angler arrangements can be made, based on availability
All prices per person, USD
7 Nights/6 Days
December 28 through June 20 $4,690
June 20 through December 19 $4,090
4 Nights/3 Days
December 28 through June 20 $2,750
June 20 through December 19 $2,750
3 Nights/2 Days
December 28 through June 20 $1,790
June 20 through December 19 $1,790
7 Nights/6 Days
December 28 through June 20 $6590
June 20 through December 18 $5,990
4 Nights/3 Days
December 28 through June 20 $3,990
June 20 through December 18 $3,990
3 Nights/2 Days
December 28 through June 20 $2,490
June 20 through December 18 $2,490
Saturday and Wednesday airport transfers
Seven nights lodging at Turneffe Flats
Daily guided activity as per package booked
Three meals daily plus hors d’oeuvres
Use of on-site amenities including pool, internet, sea kayaks and gym
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
Flights to and from Belize City
Bar tab, gratuities, equipment rentals
Additional transfers on days other than Saturday and Wednesday
Gratuity for guides and staff
Wi-Fi is available at the lodge. Cell phones may or may not function in Belize City. They will not work while on Turneffe Atoll.
At Gil’s Fly Fishing International, we are always happy to help you book a trip without charging any fee. We do not believe in extra payments, which is why even if you book a trip through the lodge directly or through outfitters, the amount will be exactly the same.
Bookings are confirmed with a 50 percent deposit. Balance must be received before the start of your trip. Notification of cancellation must be received 60 days prior to your scheduled arrival in order to receive a full credit for an alternate date. All payments are final and nonrefundable, with the exception of a medical or family emergency at GFFI’s discretion.