Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, Saltwater Grand Slam, Snook
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Flats, Sightfishing, Skiff, Wading
Fishing Days
3 - 7+
Why We Go
  • Fish at one of the best permit destinations in the Caribbean
  • Enjoy a venerable, professional, and highly service-oriented operation
  • Wade-fish for bonefish
  • Fish with highly experienced, English-speaking guides from well-maintained boats
  • Stay at a fantastic destination for anglers, families, and non-fishing guests alike
  • Experience a range of activities, including snorkeling, diving, and eco-adventuring

Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as a premier saltwater fly fishing, scuba diving and marine ecotourism destination. Located on Belize's Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean, Turneffe Flats Lodge specializes in superior service for a limited number of guests. They are ideally located to enjoy all of Turneffe's 250 square miles of expansive saltwater flats, healthy coral reef, and remarkably rich marine habitat. This destination is ideal for anglers of all skill levels as well as groups with interests other than fishing. This along with their exceptional service makes Turneffe our most popular Belize destination year after year.

Fishing Program

For years Turneffe Flats has been known as one of the Caribbean's premier saltwater fly fishing destinations. The amount and diversity of flats sets Turneffe apart from other destinations and anglers have opportunity to catch bonefish, permit and tarpon on any given day. It is also one of a few places to pursue a Grand Slam, the landing of all three species in a single day. At Turneffe Flats, pairs of anglers are guided by experienced, professional, English-speaking guides. With an average of more than 20 years guiding on the flats, these guides are some of the most experienced and dedicated in the Caribbean.

Turneffe's fishing schedule is flexible and depends on the preferences of the guests. A standard day's fishing is about eight hours and begins after breakfast and ends in the late afternoon. But during tarpon season, many anglers wish to begin fishing shortly after sunrise and then take a rest during the day. There is a long, productive flat in front of the cabins that allows hardcore anglers a chance to fish from sunup to sundown. Anglers are given the daily option to take lunch to-go or return to the lodge for the noon meal. Anglers fish from tiller-driven 16' Dolphin Super Skiffs, custom-built in the U.S. These are comfortable boats with a nice casting deck, rod holders and dry storage.

Bonefishing is a mainstay of program at Turneffe Flats, with miles of crystal clear, wade-able flats, and it is consistently good throughout the year. While wading Turneffe's extensive turtle grass flats, anglers sight-fish to large schools of bonefish as well as smaller groups and singles. These fish average 3- to 5-pounds with some 8- to 12-pound fish. The ocean-side flats offer something for anglers of all levels of expertise. Novice saltwater anglers see hundreds of fish providing a good opportunity to learn the basics of saltwater fly fishing. Experienced anglers find plenty of challenging fishing, particularly fishing to the smaller schools and larger singles. Bonefish also inhabit the mangrove-lined lagoons and flats on the interior of the Turneffe Atoll. These bonefish are often larger and take flies more readily than the ocean-side fish, although they tend to be on the move and casting accuracy is crucial.

Turneffe Flats is also one of a select group of saltwater destinations where guests can experience the excitement of flats fishing for tailing permit with a reasonable opportunity to catch one. On the bars and flats within the Turneffe system, anglers can expect plenty of shots at permit averaging 10- to 20-pounds and sometimes see larger, 30- to 40-pound specimen. Although some tarpon are around throughout the year, Turneffe's prime season generally begins in April and continues to mid-October. June, July, and August are the best months, as migratory fish are present, supplementing the resident population. Most of the migratory tarpon are in the 70- to 90-pound range, though anglers see a few 150-plus pound monsters each year.


The social center for Turneffe Flats Lodge is the air-conditioned main lodge, which includes a dining area and bar. A pre-dinner gathering for hors d'oeuvres, drinks and conversation is customary. The large, breezy verandah is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the evening with other guests. Turneffe Flats prides itself in providing quality dining complete with fresh fruits and seafood, and fresh baked pastries. Meals are served family-style in the main lodge and are a tasty combination of Belizean and American dishes.

Accommodations include eight large guest rooms located on the beach plus two large, three-bedroom villas. All rooms are air-conditioned, and most are furnished with one queen-size bed and one single bed. All rooms have private bathrooms.

Additional Experiences

Turneffe Flats also offers an Atoll Adventure Package, which provides daily-guided activities such as snorkeling, sightseeing, dolphin watching, and bird watching. There is a great area to swim and snorkel in front of the lodge and we recommend that everyone take a little time during their stay to do some snorkeling. Turneffe Flats operates a full SCUBA diving program and diving-specific packages, or combination fishing and diving packages are available. Sea kayaks are also available for use.


Day 1: Arrive Belize City, transfer to Turneffe Flats Lodge via boat.

Days 2 – 7: Six full days of guided fishing

Day 8: Depart lodge and transfer back to Belize City airport.

Rates & Details

2023-24 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy

December 30, 2023 - July 27, 2024:

  • 7 night/6 day package: $5,590 plus tax

June 27 - December 21:

  • 7 night/6 day package: $4,890 plus tax
  • 4 night/3 day package: $3,290 plus tax
  • 3 night/2 day package: $2,190 plus tax

Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, guided fishing/diving/atoll adventure, dive tank, weights, belts, round-trip transportation between Belize City and the lodge

Not Included: Airfare, accommodations and meals in Belize City (if needed), staff & guide gratuities, fishing equipment rentals, dive equipment rentals, alcohol, $40 Blue Hole entrance fee

Target Species: Bonefish, permit, tarpon

Season: Year-round

Capacity: 16 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Beginning to intermediate saltwater fly anglers will enjoy Turneffe Flats, as will all non-fishing guests. Advanced saltwater fly anglers that enjoy challenging and technical bonefishing may find the fishery less demanding than some other destinations, but the permit fishery will always keep their attention.

Where is the lodge? The lodge is located on the Turneffe Atoll, approximately 25 miles off the coast of Belize to the east.

How do I get there? Guests fly into Belize International Airport where they are met by a lodge representative for a 15-minute transfer to the Radisson Fort George hotel in Belize City. From there guests typically board the lodge’s 54-foot dive boat for a 90-minute ride through the Great Barrier Reef and out to the Turneffe Atoll. Typical trips are a Saturday-to-Saturday itinerary, although shorter weeks are possible

When should I go? Although the lodge is open year-round, the peak fishing months are February through May and September through November.

How will I fish? Anglers fish two per boat with a single guide. The 17-foot flats skiffs are clean and well-suited for fly fishing.

Is there wade fishing? Yes, good opportunities to wade the flats exist depending on guests’ desires and fishing goals.

Where will I fish? Guides fish both the exterior, ocean-side flats of the Turneffe Atoll and the interior lagoon.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? In general, runs to the fishing grounds are anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. In some cases, depending on preferences, guests may find fish 10 minutes from the lodge or even on the flat directly in front of the lodge.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Good bonefish opportunities exist year-round. Permit and migratory tarpon are around in good numbers from June to September. Guests might also encounter jacks, snapper and barracuda.

How many fish will I catch? Any time an angler hooks double-digit numbers of bonefish in a single day, is a great day. Permit can be one of the most elusive and tricky species in the world to hook on a fly, so even if only one is caught, it’s a big deal! As well, migratory tarpon can be difficult to hook but the chances are good to encounter one during a week of fishing.

Will I see other anglers? The Turneffe Atoll is very remote and requires guests to pass through the Great Barrier Reef while traveling from Belize City. While on the water, guests may see other anglers from the lodge while but in general, the fishery is expansive, and overcrowding is not an issue.

What are the guides like? The guides are local Belizeans and are hired and trained directly by the lodge. In general, the guides are very skilled, good-natured, and a pleasure to fish with. English is the first language for the guides.

What are the physical demands? There are no special physical demands for this trip. Anglers with good balance and good casting technique will do the best.

Are there any special skills required? Good casters that are accustomed to dealing with the wind will always excel in the saltwater, but no special skills are required.

Does the lodge provide equipment? Yes, the lodge does have high-quality rental gear available and a small, well-stocked fly shop on site. It’s a good idea to let us know in advance if you are planning on using lodge equipment, but an angler could show up to Turneffe Flats without any equipment and be well-looked after.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? Fast action 8-weights with floating lines are ideal for bonefish. Fast action 9-weights are ideal for permit or if the wind picks up. An 11-weight is ideal for migratory tarpon.

What are the top flies? Some of the popular patterns at Turneffe Flats in Bonefish Bitters, Pearl Gotcha, EP Crab, Bauer Flats Crab, Enrico Puglisi Tarpon Streamer, and Squimp.

What are the options if weather conditions become challenging? The guides are adept at moving around the atoll (both the interior lagoon and outer ocean-side flat) to find protected waters. With a circular atoll, there is almost always a way to find a leeward side.

What is a typical day like? Days typically start with coffee and a quick breakfast in the lodge dining room. Anglers then board boats for the day on the water. Fishing is done in the early evening and anglers gather around the lodge to tell fishing stories, have drinks, appetizers, and dinner.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge? The lodge is casual, comfortable, friendly, and very relaxing. Guests dine together family-style with lodge staff and the lively bar is always a hot spot in the evenings for telling fish stories.

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge? The owners Craig and Karen Hayes are often on-site (spending much of the year living on the property), looking after the operation and entertaining guests. The Turneffe Flats management staff is friendly, attentive, and does a great job of making guests feel at home and welcomed.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Meals are hearty and feature a blend of traditional Belizean cuisine and American dishes often with copious amounts of fresh seafood.

What is the alcohol policy? Turneffe Flats has a well-stocked bar including scotch, bourbon, gin, rum, tequila, vermouth, other liqueurs, as well as a selection of red and white wines, and local Belikin beer. Liquor, beer, and cocktails are not included in the package price; individual tabs are kept, and guests can check on their tab at any time.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? The accommodations are comfortable and well-appointed. Nothing is over-the-top at Turneffe Flats, but details are carefully looked after, and the rooms are very clean and comfortable. Both private beachside cabanas and private villas are available.

Is there internet and/or cell service? Yes, the lodge does have a satellite Wi-Fi internet connection available in the main lodge. Connection speeds are relatively slow compared to mainland connections.

Are there other activities? Scuba diving, snorkeling, birding and the popular “Atoll Adventure” program – which explores the eco-system daily with a guide – are great activities that can also be enjoyed at Turneffe Flats. There is a small pool and guests can also walk the extensive property.

Are there any other expenses? There are no significant, non-included expenses to be prepared for on this trip.

Do I need a visa? Anglers do not need a visa to visit Belize, only a valid U.S. passport.

Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances? Like most destinations in the Caribbean, mosquitoes, sand-fleas, and biting black flies (mostly during the summer) can be a nuisance at times. It’s a good idea to bring bug repellent and long sleeves/pants for precautionary reasons. We recommend that guests always consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center For Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

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