We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The Reef-- the way it used to be.”

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 3 more sites!
Isla Marisol Resort
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Fair Haven, New Jersey
121
Reviewed 13 July 2005

Isla Marisol Southwest Caye, Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize
This is not a plush resort, but more of 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 and finer mesh screens would also stop the breezes, which is essential, given the temperature, humidity and no air conditioning on the island. Cabañas have both ceiling and free standing fans, which we kept on at all times. Bathrooms are small and clean, with plenty of desalinated water for showering. The rooms could use a comfortable chair and table for reading or working on cameras. Since insect repellant is essential and sticky, our legs and feet were usually sandy, which meant rinsing off before sitting on the bed or having sandy sheets. Reapplying insect repellant before retiring for the night is needed if one doesn’t want to wake up new bites. The cabañas have nice porches with beach 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, in the dining area or out in the bar at the end of a long dock. It is a blessing when the wind blows. Eddie had the island fogged most days, but it was almost futile, due to nearly daily rains that washed the oils away. He does try hard. The dive dock is perhaps the buggiest place, being surrounded by mangroves and grass. I put on my lycra skin in my cabaña before going to the dive dock. Out in the boats, away from the islands is the best place to get your tan. Heavenly after a long dive. Sans lycra upon returning from a dive, I often sprinted back to my cabaña to avoid the bugs. If not for the no-see-ums, I would return here many more times. I do enjoy lounging around outside on occasion, and that was impossible.

The diving is very good. I spent 2 weeks there both this June and last July. I did 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. Always worth a look. 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, and 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. He took better care of my gear than I do. 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 possibly 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. There are no dive time limits, except those 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. I found no need for the two wet suits I packed. The 84 degree water was like a bathtub; the occasional upwelling was refreshing, not cold.

The bonefish here are special. A small group is literally a few feet from some of the cabañas. You could almost cast from your porch. There is a group of thousands of bonefish in shallow water a few islands away, 30 minutes by boat. Captain Ashton Richie is a fishing guide extraordinaire. Soft-spoken, intuitive, he knows what you want before you can ask and can spot the bones as the boat pulls in to the bay. For those interested in deep-sea fishing, I can only tell you that the boats never returned empty. Always wahoo, barracuda, king mackerel or more.

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 several times 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 almost every other dive site in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. We chose to go to the nature conservancy on 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 convictions that it is the last place left in the whole Caribbean that is still like it used to be sixty years ago in the water, 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 Marisol is the right place to dive and fish. It isn’t Nassau, Roatan, Bonaire or Turks and Caicos, thanks to its isolation from the mainland, nor is it Ambergris Key in Belize or Grand Cayman or Cancun, thanks to the providence which has kept it mostly unvisited for so long.

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
21  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (195)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

189 - 195 of 195 reviews

Reviewed 7 June 2005

Located 35 miles off the coast of Belize, this resort is one of the more expensive options for your aquatic holiday. We picked Isla Marisol because the area had the reputation as one of the best coral outbreaks in the world, and because we assumed a level of service that would justify the added expense. Sadly it did not.

I must first state that we are not high maintenance people, to the contrary, our first port of call, was Pine Ridge Lodge, a rustic, no electricity lodge located in the Hills of Belize, and we loved it. But Isla Marisol had some fairly significant issues, that simply could not be forgotten, nor over looked.

Yes, the coral was pristine, and yes, the fish were in amazing abundance, but considering a host of other resorts and lodges are just a stone throw away, Isla Marisol is not your only option for these spectacular waters.

The first, and most striking issue, was the trash on the beach. Plastic bottles, shoes, bags, containers, and various other bits of plastic were strewn all over the beach. We were told that debris washes up from cruise ships, and other resorts, but that they have a man that collects trash every morning. Fair enough, we thought, as they shouldn't be blamed for others, but we saw the same junk for five days.

The other issues only compounded the overall sense that this place was all about making some quick cash. The cabanas, only two years young, were strewn with cracks, and looked like they'd been built in a day. "Eye sore" was the phrase that came immediately to mind, as they looked like military huts. The doors lacked screens, the non-working ceiling fan looked older then the coral, and the florescent lighting was not a pleasant touch. Again, I must point out that we are NOT fussy people, these huts were not simple, they were cheap, and were obviously made with zero pride.

The food was also a disappointment. Eddie Usher, the manager, told us about the fresh produce and promised us spectacular food. Canned tomatoes and onions passing as salsa, and a frozen t-bone steak with commercial BBQ sauce that was used the night before on mediocre shrimp was not what we had in mind. We had sampled some great food at Pook's Hill Lodge in the Cayo district, so we knew good food was a possibility in Belize. FYI, fruit cordial (squash) is not real fruit juice.

Finally, we come to the activities. Both my girlfriend and I wanted to snorkel, and we did see some amazing sea life, but the guides were not very helpful. This place obviously caters much more to avid divers, but they do offer a snorkel package for not that much less then the dive package, so some consideration was expected. No one sat with us, and asked us what we wanted to see, or do, in fact Eddie only talked to us to try and convince us to upgrade to the dive package. We weren't properly fitted with masks, or snorkels, and I had to rely on my girlfriends generosity to let me use her snorkel, when mine was obviously broken. They only took us to sites that were 10 minutes away by boat, and on the last day asked us where we wanted to go? Perhaps they had expected us to do extensive research on the area before hand, but isn't that their job?

By themselves all these issues might not be that big a deal, but compounded they show an establishment run by cutting corners, doing the bare minimum, and lacking the customer service one would expect a more expensive resort to have. We've both traveled a lot, and are realists in what to expect, and more importantly, what not to expect from people, but it can truly be said, that Isla Marisol falls short of the mark, far short.

  • Stayed: May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
25  Thank drewnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2005

This resort is relatively new on an island owned by the Usher Family at the southern end of Glover's Atoll. The Ushers seem to be related to everyone in Belize, but the resort is the brainchild of Eddie Usher, a smooth-talking guy in his mid-30s. He has invested significant sums in the development of the resort.

Food was great -- much better than average. Accommodations were good as well...lots of desalinated water and hot showers, soft sheets and towels. The cabanas are airy, well constructed and clean.

Diving: All drift diving, which is the best. Ashton, the boat operator, knows the reef and marine life very well and will tell you much about fish and the reef. Glover's Atoll has some of the best diving in Belize.

When we were there, there were only two of us, and we dived with the dive master by ourselves all week. Lots of turtles, rays, nurse sharks, eels, etc. Visibility was less on this trip than I recall from others. Good dive shop; modern compressor; well maintained boats. Dive sites vary from coral heads to wall diving. Whale shark diving in the spring is a big attraction, but expect more people.

Cons. The place is a little more spendy because of the overhead to operate it (the diesel generator, though quiet, runs constantly). There are sand flies, so Gringos should take plenty of bug spray. Pica-pica, the bane of spring diving is also present, so a full wet suit is recommended, otherwise expect to get nailed. Prednisone and benedryl are good things to have along.

Once you are there, you are there, so take good books and expect to spend lots of time diving, relaxing, and reading.

  • Stayed: May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank James H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Monrovia, California USA
112
Reviewed 12 August 2004

I've visited Isla Marisol Resort on several occassion since its opening in May 2002, Scuba Diving was great, lots to see on a very pristine reef system comprising the Atoll. High recommended for serious divers an Snorkellers. private cabana, hot& cold shower great seafood an great staff.

Kevin Bodden

12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2015
Google Translation

  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank SametTof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2015
Google Translation

  • Stayed: January 2015, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank JeffersonSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
Thank Stefano P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Glovers Reef Atoll
21.2 mi away
Coco Plum Island Resort
Coco Plum Island Resort
#1 of 2 in Coco Plum Cay
1,057 reviews
0 mi away
Clarissa Falls Resort
Clarissa Falls Resort
#1 of 2 in San Jose Succotz
125 reviews
16.9 mi away
Blue Marlin Beach Resort
Blue Marlin Beach Resort
#2 of 2 in South Water Caye
92 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
21.4 mi away
Thatch Caye, a Muy'Ono Resort
Thatch Caye, a Muy'Ono Resort
#2 of 2 in Coco Plum Cay
599 reviews
22.7 mi away
Hatchet Caye Resort
Hatchet Caye Resort
#8 of 20 in Placencia
281 reviews
24.7 mi away
Yok Ha Resort
Yok Ha Resort
#1 of 1 in Waterfoot Caye
142 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Isla Marisol Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Isla Marisol Resort

Address: Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Glovers Reef Atoll
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Glovers Reef Atoll
Price Range: £377 - £779 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Isla Marisol Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Isla Marisol Resort lies on a pristine, secluded palm-studded island on Glover's Reef Atoll (a UN World Heritage site) in Belize. Of the five inhabited island on Glover's Reef, Isla Marisol is the only one offering private en-suite bathrooms, fresh water showers, hot and cold water, air conditioning, and daily housekeeping service. Isla Marisol Resort also offers frosty cold libations at our NEW "over the water" bar and phenomenal Belizean style food in our dining room. Incredible water sports are just a stone's throw from the resort - with most diving and snorkeling sites just 5-15 minutes from the island. All ages and experience welcome! Anglers can hit the "grand-slam" from their front porch, with World class fly fishing for tarpon, permit, and bonefish, quite literally at our door step. Daily deep sea fishing trips for Wahoo, Kingfish, Marlin, and a host of other fun fish, depart from Isla Marisol daily. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Ebookers and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Isla Marisol Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Isla Marisol Hotel Glovers Reef Atoll
Isla Marisol Dangriga

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing