A thatched cabana on posts over the ocean within a World Heritage site on the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere with coral patches just 200 feet in front of the house.

Home of a marine biologist (Turtleman) for over 20 years.

Built by hand with beachcombed 2 inch thick tropical hardwood lumber and a handcut coconut palm leaf thatched roof.

Decorated with unique treasures found beachcombing and diving such as Portuguese glass fishing floats and notes in a bottle that crossed the Atlantic, old bottles from an 18th Century wreck, shells of sea creatures (found empty on the reef), and tropical orchids and palms collected from our land.

Cabana has a king size bed (or twins) with a sleeping loft that kids love! You will be amazed by the numbers of stars and lights in the water you see at night from the veranda.

Because the house is located over the water in a World Heritage Site, it was built with protection of the environment a foremost concern and features composting toilet, solar shower, and solar powered fan (which is seldom used because the wind over the water and the open design keeps the house cool naturally).

This is a nature lover’s paradise with over 120 species of coral reef fish, over 150 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals. At times, the sky is absolutely filled with migrating birds and butterflies and dragonflies and the sea filled with huge schools of migrating snapper. There are endangered Nassau Grouper and Goliath Grouper, Hawksbill , Green, and Loggerhead sea turtles, and even manatee on the reef in front of the cabana and on land there are peccary, deer, fox, ocelot, anteaters, agouti, gibnut, opossums, raccoons, and much more.

Schools of Tarpon, Spadefish, and Permit on the reef near the cabana

The house is located at the northern end of Ambergris Caye within the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, one of seven marine protected areas in Belize that were declared a World Heritage Site in 2000.

The barrier reef comes very close to the island in front of the cabana and you can snorkel from shore without the need of costly daytrips, when you want and for as long or short as you like!

This is particularly good for a family that has young beginners that may just want to play in the tidal pools that surround the cabana and avid snorkelers that want to be in the water all day!!!

Sea horse found in tidal pool by Daniel Manatee watching snorkeler

For the beachcomber inside us all there are miles of beach to explore, including the only green sea turtle nesting beach in Belize just one mile north and Rocky Point where you can walk to where the barrier reef ends then begins again!

Green Sea Turtle after nesting
(photo by Jim Beveridge, Seaing is Belizing)
Green sea turtle hatchling

Also, there are miles of grass flats where the avid bone fisherman can stalk bonefish from dusk to dawn! You will probably even see bonefish from the cabana if you watch for their tailing!

The children can play in the tidal pools while Dad stalks bonefish on the high tide!

But it is not only the ocean we have to offer, we also have the most remote part of the island with jungle trails that can lead you to undisturbed areas where the peccary, deer, fox, ocelot, agouti, gibnut, anteaters, raccoons, opossums, iguanas and much, much more may never have seen a human!

Spiny-tailed Iguana and Grey Fox seen from our windows

Environmental Education
When you come to The Turtleman’s House we want to share our knowledge, concern, and love for the area with you and your family; therefore, we include in your stay at no additional cost daily environmental education about the reef, fish, and wildlife. We want to teach you about the coral reef and its’ fish, corals, sea turtles, sharks and rays, lobster and conch; corals and global warming; the sea grass beds and tidal flats; the beach and jungle wildlife. Also, we like to include a field trip for a better learning experience.

A rescued green turtle hatchling Nurse shark in Basil Jones Cut

In addition we offer some unique personalized tours exclusively for our guests.

You can go with the Turtleman to encounter manatee under the water! He is an experienced guide, researcher, and naturalist who will train and supervise you in the proper conduct when viewing manatees in the water! This is an experience that you will remember and tell others about forever; because the manatee comes to you in the clear waters of the barrier reef.

Because we are located at the northern end of Ambergris Caye; the area has been very undisturbed and in the jungle there are animals like the white- lipped peccary, the collared peccary, ocelot, anteater, whitetail deer, and even puma! You can go with the Turtleman to areas where no others go and search for peccary, deer, fox, iguanas, Yucatan jays, and more! He will guide you on paths only he uses and teach you about the habitats and wildlife.

Have you ever wanted to see a yellow-headed jawfish or go on a night snorkel? Other specialized trips are possible depending on your individual interests ask us about seeing things that particularly interest you!

Your Hosts
Your hosts are Marine Biologist Greg Smith (Turtleman), his wife Rosemary, and sons Daniel and Tellen. Greg has over 25 years experience living in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. He conducted studies that extended the southern boundary of Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve to include a sea turtle nesting site, a manatee resting area, and the coral wall of Basil Jones Cut. He was awarded the Belize Audubon Society’s James Waight Award for Sea Turtle Protection efforts in 1991.

His manatee research was featured on “Wildthings” and “National Geographic” Cable programs. His Sea Turtle Protection efforts were shown on a Belize Channel 5 program and won best Caribbean environmental news story and was shown on CNN. He has conducted studies on Sea Turtles, Manatees, Crocodiles, Hicatee River Turtles, Coral Bleaching, Coral die-offs, Commercial species of Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, and Reptiles and Mammals of Bacalar Chico National Park.

Rosemary loves guests. She loves to cook and entertain and she will definitely try to spoil you. Our sons, Daniel and Tellen love the water and will gladly take you on the beach and into the tidal pools to show you what lives there.

We guarantee a unique experience with quality personal service!

Turtleman‘s House Over The Water :
$150 US /night plus 9% hotel tax Family rates : children under 10 stay free, children over 10 add $10 US/night
Minimum 3 nights stay
Complimentary pickup and return to San Pedro Town (15 miles south)

Meals are served family style with your hosts
Breakfast $8 US; Lunch $8 US; Dinner $12 US
Two restaurants with bars also available in walking distance

Environmental Education:
Daily educational presentation no cost, we want to share our knowledge
Manatee viewing $50us per group (numbers limited to 1-4 persons)
Jungle Paths $50us per group (numbers limited to 1-6 persons) Others - ask us about things that interest you.

Snorkeling equipment:
Daily rental $5 per person

Contact us for reservations or more information at [email protected], or phone 501-6149661

Recommended Things to bring:

  • A hat and lots of sunblock cream!
  • Your own snorkeling equipment, particularly for the kids
  • Long pants, long sleeved shirt, good walking shoes for jungle walks
  • Light wetsuit shorty suit or vest for snorkeling in Dec, Jan, Feb
  • 25% deposit required to hold your reservation
  • We do not accept credit cards at this time
  • Full refund less $50 handling fee with cancellation notice 60 days prior to arrival; 50% refund with cancellation notice 30 days prior to arrival; no refund with cancellation notice less than 30 days
  • Insect repellent
  • Mail Deposits via registered letter in travelers checks, personal check, certified check, or bank draft to Greg Smith, P. O. Box 142, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America

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