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Dive Review of Isla Marisol in
Belize

Isla Marisol, Jul, 2008,

by Jill Rain, WA, United States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 4218.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 85 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 20 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Off-season at a remote site with excellent staff translates to as good as diving gets in the Caribbean. Isla Marisol is successfully creating a comfortable and dedicated dive destination. 22-acre Usher family island at south end of Glover's reef is the only high-end accomodation on the atoll (beachfront cabanas with en-suite showers, toilets, netted doors/windows, 24-hour power, fans and AC). Manager Eddie Usher was preoccupied on the mainland working out financing to continue improvements on the island, which was a problem for one of our party who had paid for a cert referral (fortunately it was worked out by the end of our stay), but his very gracious and helpful mother was there for a few days, from whom we learned many things about the history of the island, the family and the area.
What to be aware of before you go: (1) Sandflies are aggressive any time the wind dies a little, especially at the boat dock (what we came to call the Death Zone). Even the bar deck at the end of a long dock will have sandflies unless there's a moderate breeze. Keep covered, or use repellant, even for a few minutes outside (Picaridin easier on a wetsuit than Deet). Interestingly, even though the netting on cabana windows was mosquito-size, the sandflies didn't come in - yay);(2) The ride out from Dangriga on a 36' planing open boat is fast but WET and bumpy - assume you will get soaked; (3) Our dives were limited to 45 minutes, even though we all had lots of air left - maybe because we had a new diver? Ask if you can get an hour bottom time.
Here are some notable excellent things about Isla Marisol: (1) The dive master (Giovani) and boat captain (Lyndon) were excellent: competent, friendly, helpful in every way, and a lot of fun; (2)the dive boat can handle big swells (5-6') so we went out to good windward sites regardless of the weather (note: the wind kicks up in the afternoon so viz decreases then); (3) The reef is protected and full of life: great lush huge corals and sponges, high fish diversity and numbers, sharks, turtles, giant groupers. There were only 2, later 3, of us divers, and we never saw any other group. Drifting through wildlife. (4) Topside: The food (cooked and served by Aurora) was excellent and ample, including treats, the fresh fruit juice all day - mango, papaya, watermelon, lemonade, coconut - an island specialty. Beaches raked daily and clean of flotsam. Solar powered path lights for walking back to cabana after dinner. The snorkeling couple reported a really good time, both where they were boated out to, and right at the resort under the docks and in the creek (she identified 108 different species of fish).
Isla Marisol wants to maintain a family operation at a high level of service; we hope they can. They are putting effort and money into the right things: top-notch staff and comfortable accomodation. This is a place we plan to return to.
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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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