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

Isla Marisol, Apr, 2009,

by Michael Smith, Oklahoma, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 4745.

No photos available at this time

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
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 10í 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 6í 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 Cousteauís 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 ďGrandpaĒ 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 canít 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 8í 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. Itís 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 Iíll take more repellent, slather it on anytime Iím outside, plus be prepared with anti-itch cream & Benadryl. Iíll definitely pass on the whale shark trips.

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 79-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

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
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
UW Photo 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.
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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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