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Dive Review of Isla Marisol in
Belize/Glover's Reef

April, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Smith, Oklahoma, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 4745
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozuml and Aquamal Mexico, Roatan Hondurous, St. John and St. Croix USVIs,
Virgin Gorda BVIs, Grand Caman and Exuma Bahamas Islands.
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy  
Seas
calm, choppy, surge  
Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Suggested 45 min. limit at max 75' but hour long dives up to 100 feet max
for experienced divers with computers were permitted.   
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
I am not a photographer, but there were two or three diving. No rinse tanks
on the boats, but the dive master and captian were helpful in managing the
photographer's equipment.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
4 stars  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
First and foremost, this trip included some of the best Caribbean diving my
wife and I have experienced.  Extraordinary dive sites, healthy coral with
lots of small to very large fish. 

A few guests had only moderate NOSEEUM problems, but, we and most of our
fellow divers were eaten alive by the little buggers in spite of normally
adequate application of 98% DEET.  The dive shop dock area is especially
bad.  Any time the breeze calms; you are at serious head to toe risk.  

Isla Marisol Resort is located on Glover's Reef apx. 36 miles east of
Dangriga, Belize and accessed by a 1 ½ half hour boat ride.  Our
trip began with a delay while Captain Francisco tried to dislodge our
supply laden, low-tide grounded boat.  Six locals waded into the very
shallow harbor and with much shouting and heaving, got us on our way.   

Our small but adequate cabana (#3) was a short walk down the beach from the
on shore dining hall and pier bar.  Only a 10 strip of white sand
separated us from the gentle surf.  Cabanas 3 through 7 are the newest with
3 and 4 being closest to the water.  There are a total of ten cabanas
available, and the older ones are pretty ratty looking.  There is a larger
guest house further down the island for groups of 4 to 6.  Our beds were
comfortable and the ceiling fan provided sufficient cooling. A free
standing portable air conditioner was provided, but we preferred the
natural breezes.  Gaps in the screens exacerbated the insect problem.  Our
request for repairs went unattended to.  A funky electric powered shower
head provided decent warm to hot showers most of the time.  Outside our 6
wide sliding glass door, a front porch with 2 chairs, hammock and drying
line provided a restful retreat for reading, napping and an unobstructed
view of the ocean.  Daily maid services included sweeping, making up the
bed and fresh towels as needed.  

Jack of all trades, Mora, tended the bar which featured cold beer, mixed
drinks, limited wine selection and sodas.  The bar was a popular pre-dinner
gathering place for guests, Dive Master Kitty, Captains Chad and George
along with travelers from large boats anchored just off shore. Dive tale
swapping, new acquantinences and marveling at the sunset were the order of
the day.  

Most of the dive sites we visited were only a comfortable five minute boat
ride away with the longest trip (except the shark dive excursion which I
will get to later) being fifteen minutes to Long Cay Wall, reputed to be
one of Jacques Cousteaus favorite dive sites in the world.  SW Cay Wall,
Grouper Gulch, Front Porch and Aquarium all had plenty to offer.  great
barracuda, Nassau, stripped and black grouper from 10# to 75#, lobster,
crab, scorpion fish, spotted eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, nurse sharks,
very large parrot fish, angles, giant hermit crab, hog fish and the
incredible Grandpa loggerhead turtle were among our sightings.  

The dining hall food prepared by Elizabeth, Alicia and Barbara ranged from
pretty darned good to a little boring. Lots of shrimp, chicken and fish
dishes with sheet cake deserts for lunch and dinner and cooked to order
breakfasts of eggs, meat and breads. A delicious chicken soup, shrimp and
macaroni salad, grilled fish sandwiches and really tasty cole slaw were my
lunch favorites.  Lobster and locally caught whole baked Snapper get my
highest marks for dinner.  There was always plenty of fresh watermelon,
papaya and pineapple and cake and cookies to round things out. Fresh
orange, pineapple and watermelon juices and overly sweet lemonade were the
main beverages along with bottled water. 

Now for the bad part . . . the whale shark dive trip.  I cant imagine that
our experience was typical or usual, but at an extra cost of $175.00 US per
diver, the resort does extra trips corresponding to the full moon to an
area where Whale Sharks are often spotted.  Though there are obviously no
guarantees that these beautiful creatures will be on the scene, it sounded
to us like a good idea and we signed up along with six other guests to make
an early afternoon trip.  A fairly rough 45 minute ride in an
inappropriately small boat getting there along with 8 plus seas and poorly
planned and unsafely executed diving by a different captain and dive crew
than handled our day to day diving topped off with a return trip that was
the worst pounding I have ever experienced in a boat is a brief summary of
six unpleasant hours off the coast of Belize.  To his credit, Owner Eddie
Usher did not charge any of the divers, which included 2 newly certified
men and one 70+ year old woman, for this particular trip and hopefully he
took to heart the negative reports from all the divers.  IMO, this is an
often challenging trip not suited for older or less experienced divers. 
Sufficient information is not given to potential participants regarding the
likely difficulties, nor are there restrictions on experience and physical
conditioning.  Its a good revenue source pushed to all willing to sign up
without sufficient regard to the inherent difficulties and possible
dangers.  

Isla Marisol is a reasonably priced dive resort I would return to for the
excellent reef and wall diving, star filled night skies, decent food and
accommodations and excellent staff.  On future C.A dive trips Ill take
more repellent, slather it on anytime Im outside, plus be prepared with
anti-itch cream & Benadryl. Ill definitely pass on the whale shark
trips.  
 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.


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