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Dive Review of Isla Marisol in
Belize/Glovers Reef

Isla Marisol, Jun, 2005,

by Diane Pogrant, NJ, usa ( 2 reports). Report 1771.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Isla Marisol Glovers Reef Atoll Belize
This is not a plush resort, but a high-end scuba and fishing camp. One comes here to dive or fish, not to loll around in the sun. Food can be excellent to mediocre, depending on the cook. Cabañas are basic. There are screens but the no-see-ums are smaller than the mesh. Cabañas have both ceiling and free standing fans, which we kept on at all times. There is no air-co. Bathrooms are small and clean, with desalinated water for showering. The rooms could use a comfortable chair and table for reading or working on cameras. Reapplying insect repellant before retiring for the night is needed if one doesn’t want to wake up with new bites. The cabañas have nice porches with chairs and hammocks, but sitting on them is an invitation for the no-see-ums to feast. So your choice really is to be in your cabaña or out in the bar at the end of a long dock. The dive dock is perhaps the buggiest place, being surrounded by mangroves and grass. I put on my lycra skin before going to dive. Out in the boats, away from the islands is the best place to get your tan. Sans lycra upon returning from a dive, I often sprinted back to my cabaña to avoid the bugs.

The diving is very good. I spent 2 weeks there both this June and last July, doing 73 dives over those 2 trips. All dives are drift dives, always with a dive master. The reef shows no effect of divers and has no trash. The reef critters are ‘wild’ with no conditioning by dive masters. Wonderful. Some combination of large groupers, sharks, rays and turtles show up for nearly every dive. One section of the reef had batfish for me every time I dove. There were also oceanic triggers nesting, many pairs of scrawled and white spot filefish, butterfly fish and angelfish of all descriptions. The reef itself is mostly shades of beige, which, when backlit by the afternoon sun looks like spun gold. Lovely. Lavender fans, purple sponges and gorgonians, yellow tube sponges and orange elephant ear sponges provide colorful touches. And the ever-flowing rivers of blue fishes: creole, snappers, runners and many others. There are large numbers of juvenile spotted drum here. Enormous rough and smooth barrel sponges abound here, sometimes with interesting critters nestled inside. Scorpion fish, green and moray eels, trumpet fish, and many kinds of jacks. Looking through my Caribbean reef fish books, almost everything is here except the biggest sharks.
The dive masters are special. Last year I had an effervescent fellow, willing to do anything I wanted, always on the lookout for big stuff, he usually found it. We had sharks, rays and turtles on nearly every dive. This year’s divemaster was the best ‘personal valet divemaster’ I have ever had in my 25 years of diving and 800+ dives. I literally had only to get on the boat and get off at the end. Gear was perfectly set up, fins, weigh belt, mask, and set in precisely the same spot each time. If I was forgetful and left my dive socks in my mask instead of in my booties, they were back in my booties for the next dive. Everything was rinsed after each dive; fresh cold drinking water always was available on the boat. Should I forget to put on weight belt or fins, there was gentle reminder before he brought my tank to me and assisted me into my BC. Heavenly. This was the first dive trip I went home from with my back feeling better than when I left. Of special note: there are a few 50 and 60 cubic foot tanks for light air users, which also helped my back. Nitrox is not available. All other dive gear, including computers, is available for rent. Dive limits are imposed by computers and air. You do have to come up when the divemaster runs out of time or air. We were always close. My dives were from 55 to 74 minutes. The 84 degree water was like a bathtub; the occasional upwelling was refreshing, not cold.

What is very special is the opportunity to have an island all to yourself. You and the divemaster on a private dive. You and the fishing guide, alone in paradise. The cook catering to your needs and desires. By the end of a trip here, you have new friends and the desire to return . . . soon.

I am the husband of the reviewer above, and a diver and fishpainter for more than sixty years. I got to Belize when it was still British Honduras, and many times later including a chartered boat dive trip the whole length of the barrier reef and two other atolls in Belize, Turneffe, and Lighthouse as well as many other dive sites in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. We chose to go to the isolated atoll of Glover’s reef hoping that it would still be untouched by resorts, hotels, spas and other damages civilization has done to the waters and sea creatures of the Caribbean. After two dive trips to Glover’s I can say with conviction that it is the last place left in the Caribbean that is still like it used to be sixty years ago, for the number and variety its fish, and for its direct simplicity. If you go there to enjoy hot tubs, lie in the sand while uniformed waiters bring cold margueritas and shiver in air-conditioned suites watching TV you will be totally disappointed. If you go for the diving, the fly casting, the off-shore game fishing and the direct simplicity of a family owned island, with good food, boats, guides and glimpses of how it used to before travel agencies and hotels, then Isla Marisol is the right place to for you.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving PNG, Australia, Yap, Palau, Fiji, Hawaii, Red Sea, Caymans, Bonaire, Belize, Bahamas, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 84-85°F / 29-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions You and the divemasters computers and air. I did 55-74 minute dives. Night dives were 45 minutes max.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments I'm not a photographer, but there is plenty here to shoot. There are no special accomodations for cameras, but the crew is very careful with all gear. A rinse tank on the boat was set up for the videographer. No developing on 35mm film. Bring your own laptop for viewing digital stills.
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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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