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Trip Report: Placencia Whale Shark Adventure Turtle Inn

Trip Report: Placencia Whale Shark Adventure Turtle Inn

Old May 6th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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Trip Report: Placencia Whale Shark Adventure Turtle Inn

My girlfriend and I spent a wonderful week in Belize. We went to Placencia April 23-30, specifically to try to see whale sharks and were not disappointed. It's amazing to swim with these gentle behemoths. We stayed a the Turtle Inn and really enjoyed ourselves. Our thanks to Katie and others on the board for helping us plan our visit. Here are details from our trip, which may help others in their planning.

Plan was to fly American from Philly to Miami, then change plance for Belize City (BZE). From BZE we were to take Maya Air to Placencia. Due to civil unrest Belize City, American and USair had cancelled fights into BZE the Thursday before our Saturday flight. By Saturday, things wre more stable and we were able to make our flights. It was a pretty long day of travel, but overall was uneventful.

Turtle Inn
We loved the atmosphere at the Turtle Inn - the Balinese style thatched cottages are beatiful and the grounds are well groomed. The staff was very accomodating. It's a pretty small resort, and very laid back, so we got to know a lot of the other guests.

Our cottage, #2, was a sea view. It was spacious and had a great open air shower in the wallled garden out back. We had a nice screened porch in the front, and could see the ocean in between the villas ahead of ours.

It was HOT while we were there. As we were leaving, a local told me that for a few days, we had broken 35 year records for heat. In the mornings especially, it was very hot and humid. Most days a breeze would blow in by 10 am and it get more comfortable. Luckily for us, most of our planned activities were on or in the water, so overall we were able to deal pretty well with the heat.

As for the cottages, there is no air conditioning, but the ceiling fans do really move the air. It was a little sticky, but we never had real trouble sleeping. Being in the oceanfront units is better as far as a breeze goes. We hoped for oceanfront, but none were available - as there are only 3 single cottages on the water. The two bedroom villas were very nice - on a trip back, I'd seriously consider traveling with companions to stay in a villa.

We liked the food at the Turtle Inn, and ate there most nights - found the fresh fish dishes to be the best. We were usually too pooped from diving to venture out, though we heard great things about the Galley in town.

The resort has a nice pool, which was actually cooler than the ocean. A couple of times, we used the resort's kayaks. One afternoon we were in the lagoon behind the resort and breifly saw a couple of dolphins and a manatee. Another day, we took a sit on top and kayaked into town - much cooler than walking or biking. We didn't last too long in town because we were so hot. Did have lunch at DaTatch, which had a great location on the water, but the food was not so great. Ice cream at Tutti Frutti was excellent - especially the fruit flavors.

Whale Sharks
We were able to come within feet of several whale sharks on this trip. It's an amazing feeling to be so close to such a large animal. As a snorkeler, on my two trips out, I saw 2 whale sharks, each about 12-18 feet in length - realatively small as whales sharks go, but pretty impressive when there's one swimming right at you! The divers saw more - and at depth (about 70 feet) my GF saw two additional whale sharks of about 30-40 feet. She has not stopped grinning since

We planned our trip to coincide with April's full moon - the 24th this year. We used the Turtle Inn dive shop for our trips and were happy with their professionalism and service. The dive boat is modern and fast, which is important since the ride to the Spit is over an hour each way. The more divers on a trip the better, since it seems that the whale sharks are attracted to the bubbles that the divers give off. Our best encounters were when our group hooked up with a larger group of divers.

Each trip is a full day, usually 9-4:30 and consists of a morning dive out beyond the reef looking for whale sharks; a lunch break back within the reef - which included time to snorkel the amazing barrier reef; then back outside the reef to search again for the whale sharks. We also did a nice reef dive to Silk Cay - also all day, but this time lunch was on a "deserted island."

Monkey River Trip
We did an excursion up the Monkey River which we also enjoyed. Trip consists of a ride up the river and then a walk through the forest to look for howler monkeys. Our guide was very informative and we learned a lot about the flora and fauna - never seen so many termite nests. The monkeys were pretty high up in the trees, but we could sure hear them - they really do howl. On the trip we saw dolphins, manatees, a river otter, bats and lots of plants, but no crocodiles - maybe next time.

We really had a great trip and look forward to going back to Belize.

Here's a link to our photos on snapfish, my GF got some good shots of whale sharks
Rumrita1 is offline  
Old May 6th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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What a great report! It sounds like you had an unbelieveable experience with the whale sharks. I'm so glad you had a great time. Thanks for sharing.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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Great report! Did you go to the Blue Hole? FYI- when I went to your link, I was asked for a password and thus unable to view?
Pumpy is offline  
Old May 7th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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I had to laugh about your comments on the heat. Although we loved the people, the country, etc., my main memory of Belize was the heat. It was so hot and there was no breeze. We also heard that it was record breaking weather ........
SusanInToronto is offline  
Old May 9th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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Pumpy - we did not go to the blue hole, as our focus was really the whale sharks. Since the blue hole further north, we hope to do it on a future trip to one of the atolls.

Not sure what's up with the Snapfish - I thought this was my guest link. Maybe now you need to be a Snapfish memeber to view. I'll check into it.
Rumrita1 is offline  
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