We recently visited Isla Marisol, and found it to be everything as advertised. I just couldn't get over how beautiful, private, and quiet the island is. As they say in real estate, it really is all about location, location, location. The sunrises and sunsets were amazing!
From the moment Eddie's smile greeted us in Dangriga it was obvious that service is his utmost priority. Eddie Usher (the owner) went out of his way to accommodate our early schedule to get us back to Dangriga in time to catch our flights home. He even arranged an afternoon dive for us the day we arrived, truly a bonus! It is also obvious that Eddie loves his piece of the world. This island has been in his family for generations. He truly loves it, and his heritage. It is very important to him to NOT go for the fast buck, but to protect the island and the reef system for the future.
The resort lodgings could be fancier (and more expensive) but Eddie prioritizes the important things: reliable fast comfortable boats, clean cabanas, comfortable beds, good food and great service. The cabanas are quite simple, almost Spartan, but have great decks with covered porches, complete with chairs and a hammock. Yes, trash and seaweed on the beach was a problem, but after watching the workers spend hours each morning cleaning it up only to have it blow back by the next morning, my heart goes out to them. They really do work hard to keep up! The workers don't clean the entire island shoreline however, just the part directly in front of the resort. Perhaps that is what the other reviews are referring to. The sand flies were not a problem, as we always had a breeze during our stay.
For people interested in going to Isla Marisol, they should realize it is a dedicated dive resort. They offer snorkeling and kayaking but other than that there is nothing to do but enjoy the beautiful location. There isn't any shopping, no night-life, no spas, no hiking. Just diving, eating, sleeping and enjoying the beach.
Take everything you need, from Meds, to sun-screen, bug spray, a small flashlight and batteries. There is nothing available to buy. For clothes, it isn't fancy. We never wore shoes during our visit. I would however, recommend a pair of long pants, waterproof jacket and light weight fleece as we had one windy day and it got quite chilly. The nights cool off too. After a day of sun, a long sleeved, light weight shirt came in handy.
I loved the food. However, if you are a picky eater you may not like it, and you may want to discuss your eating preferences with them before you arrive. There were no choices to be made, you sat down, and dinner (and breakfast and lunch) was served. The food was always freshly prepared and prepared well. The portions were very generous, and they were always offering us more. There were also several types of freshly squeezed citrus juice from Eddie's own orchards at every meal. The tangerine juice was amazing. I'm certainly not a food critic, but the best I could describe it was south-of-the-boarder, Caribbean type food. They call it traditional Belizean. It was somewhat spicy (not hot) with salsa, onions, rice, beans, and some veggies that I had never seen before. We were served fresh fish or shrimp every night, sometimes fried, sometimes grilled, always way more than a person should eat! Also, after an afternoon dive, dinner is a long way off, so I would recommend bringing some snacks to tide you over.
I have mixed reviews for the diving but I would still recommend it to anyone who wants to dive Belize. I loved 2 of the sites, but the others were just OK. The reef appears healthy with lobster and turtles, but there didn't seem to be tons of fish, nor the bright coral colors when compared to some other dive destinations in the Caribbean. The visibility was somewhat murky, but that can change at any dive site from day to day. The dives were long, lasting 60 minutes (provided you dove within the range of your computer and air consumption.) We were there for just a partial week and got in only eight dives. We voluntarily gave up one afternoon dive due to windy weather and another because we were flying out the next day. Had we stayed an entire week I feel I could better assess the diving. We have dove in lots of places including Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, Caymans, Costa Rica, Bonaire, Cozumel and Tobago, so I maybe scrutinize dive sites more than some people. I would definitely like to go back again to explore more sites some day. I know it would be worth it!
If you are tying to compare resorts on Glover's Reef there are many. But to my knowledge, only Isla Marisol and Manta Resort have private bathrooms in each cabana with hot showers and flush toilets. The others have composting toilets with a shower building that all the guests use. The biggest advantage I can see with Isla Marisol over Manta, is that Isla Marisol operates out of Dangiga with only an hour and a quarter long boat ride, compared with Manta's 3-4 hour ride out of Belize City. On the rough day of our crossing, I was happy to get on solid ground! Also Isla Marisol offers 3, 4 and 7 night packages, (Manta only Saturday to Saturday stays) so you have more options when planning your vacation.
In all, I feel Isla Marisol is a good value for the money (afternoon dives are included) and you will never find a more beautiful, quiet location.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.