I went to this hotel for a diving trip and loved it. I was on my own for a few days and with a larger group for the majority of the time. I immediately relaxed when I arrived and it was such a tranquil place away from the bustle of the mainland. The hotel and dive centre had changed management since we booked and on day 1 I looked for Paradise Divers and found it was not there, or rather that there was no dive centre. I had a bit of a shock as I had 10 others joining me a few days later for a dive trip that had been arranged a year or so ago through Dick and Morna who had been to the UK to promote Marina Paraiso and Paradise Divers. However, Brad, the Manager quickly explained that Paradise Divers was still in operation but that the dive centre had been replaced by a bakery but was being relocated on the premises . The diving was being run by Ivan who had been an instructor and dive guide there for a while and was temporarily operating from a lock up on the premises. The diving was from a small boat (Caribbean style) taking up to six divers and for three days I dove with others at the hotel. We had some fantastic dives including the thrill of a fast drift dive surrounded by mating turtles, which is a once a year occurrence. The dives tended to be fairly short at around 35 to 45 minutes which for those used to one hour dives might be on the short side, however, four dives a day are on offer. Currently there is only one instructor/dive guide, which seems light and would mean that if there was a course certified divers would not be able to dive, but it s low season and when our group arrived there was a larger boat ready and waiting with two more dive guides.
As well as enjoying the diving I loved my comfortable room which was simple, but clean and with plenty of storage and a lovely balcony with a view of the pool and marina. The aircon was effective and quiet so it was extremely comfortable.
The palapa bar was lovely and Jacky makes an excellent Margarita - I had to try several to ensure that the quality was consistent:-) I spent many evenings around the bar meeting new and interesting people. For the first few days I was the only British guest amongst predominantly American and Canadian clientele so I think I was something of a novelty and will probably be known as the chatty English woman who talked to everyone!
Barlitos was lovely but portion sizes geared to the American clientele rather than the European market so I had to choose carefully and make sure I did not order too much. Breads and Bagels are home made and quite delicious, and part way through our trip we discovered cinnamon rolls "to go" which made a wonderful treat after the first dive of the morning. Unfortunately when my group arrived we were unable to enjoy our breakfasts as much as the ones I had had earlier on my trip, but this was due to timing with the restaurant opening at around 7.30 and the dives at 8 - we overwhelmed the staff by being there ready and waiting by 7.15 desperate to be fed. The kitchen staff struggled with so many of us and there were more than a few bagels wrapped in paper towels and taken onto the dive boat.
The managers, Brad andTiffany, work incredibly hard managing the hotel, which is a new venture for them, and running Barlitos which they have relocated from Hidalgo. Their two children were a source of great entertainment to us and loved to chat to guests. It is apparent that they simply love the place ....although what child would not enjoy that great pool and gardens? At times over the weekend the pool seemed to be packed with day visitors which is not so great for hotel guests as there are only a few loungers, but this will be resolved shortly with the opening of a new pool which I believe is for Barlito and day pass guests.
All in all, I think I've found my perfect Mexican island and hotel and will certainly be back once the dive centre is up and running again and I can be confident of getting to dive every day. I would recommend to divers, but get in touch before you go to ensure that your needs can be accommodated - it may be difficult with one person who is trying to teach and guide. Also Ivan did say that there has to be a minimum of two divers so if you're travelling solo you'd probably want to check that there are other divers booked in.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Conveniently located on the bay, Marina Paraiso Hotel on beautiful Isla Mujeres is less than a mile from the passenger ferry downtown. The only resort on Isla with a marina, a 22 room hotel, a licensed dive shop, Paradise Divers & a full service restaurant, Barlito. All rooms include A/C, wifi, satellite television, mini fridge, safe, patio or balcony, ceiling fan and daily maid service. Enjoy the views of the turquoise water from the infinity pool, the Club Islenos pool, the palapa bar or the deck dining. Marina Paraiso Hotel is truly paradise. ... more less
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