My wife and I spent a week at Off The Wall recently and could not be more impressed with the place we visited and people we met.
The resort is quite simply the best barefoot luxury, ecolodge resort that my wife and I have ever seen. The attention to detail around the resort was impressive, from the raked sand paths lined with conch shells and lit by candles at night to the clean fresh water showers. The care for the environment was evident in their conservation efforts and blissful lack of gas-powered generators (wind and solar provided electricity to the main buildings).
Comfortable hammocks, chairs and daybeds were strategically scattered throughout the resort and importantly on both sides of the island. So if the wind died down on one half of the island we had to only walk a few feet to another beautiful location and view, and throughout our stay at least one half of the island had a pleasant breeze to stay cool with. Ice cold beers and sodas were always available as was a rum cocktail and fresh fruit juice bar.
The food was perhaps the biggest surprise. We have traveled extensively throughout Central America and the Caribbean, and although we have enjoyed most of the places we have visited, the food has often not lived up to our experiences in other regions of the world (for eg. Europe and Asia). But not at Off The Wall. Our cook Therese was a food goddess! Every meal was a new amazing set of dishes that mixed the flavors of Belize Caribbean and Creole cuisine. We had 21 different meals during our stay, and all of the were delicious. That this happened in an island in the middle of the ocean is truly remarkable, especially when I think of the number of disappointing, expensive meals I've had in the States.
Perhaps the most amazing thing is they did all of this without even bragging about it. So many places advertise themselves as ecotourism and luxurious, and then fail to deliver. Off The Wall was the opposite, preferring to "under-promise and over-deliver". Wow. Lucky for the traveler who stays with them!
Everyone at the resort was friendly and seemed genuinely happy. The owners Kendra and Jim are nice, caring people who treated us not as paying customers but as guests in their home. They are among the most gracious hosts we have ever met, and shared both incredible and entertaining stories about themselves and their island. The dive instructor Doreth was patient and calming, and our dive master Matthew was talented and fun to dive with. Even the boat captain Tony and the night watchman Mario impressed, and we'd like to thank them all.
And I said all of the above before even getting to the best part: the location. Glovers Reef lived up to its hype and more. The waters were clear and warm. The reef was completely alive, the healthiest we've ever seen. The variety of coral and fish was stunning, and we had notable sightings up close on almost every dive and snorkel. The list includes: dolphins, hawksbill sea turtles (which apparently nest on the island), spotted eagle rays (up to 8 ft wide) and sting rays, giant (6 ft) barracuda, octopus, nurse shark, goliath grouper (~400 lb!), and numerous lobsters larger than anything we'd ever even seen on television. I've dove in a half a dozen countries and this was easily the best place I've ever seen. Perhaps my best advice would be to buy and bring an underwater camera, I know I wish I had. As an added bonus, a school of bonefish live in the calm waters on the leeward side of the island. Jim has a rod to borrow, and I even caught a bonefish on my first cast from shore which was quite fun. There are also sea kayaks and a stand-up paddle board available for guests to use.
For clarity (as it was a little confusing to me when I started looking online at places in Belize), Off The Wall and Slickrock are neighbors on the same island of Long Caye. Their relationship seems very good, and we got to know some of the people down the beach over the week we were there. Slickrock has a beach volleyball court and the staff at Off The Wall would often play in the sunset games. We were welcome to join, and did once, which was quite fun. We also considered staying with Slickrock and their guests seemed very happy. Some differences we noticed were that Slickrock is much larger and more focused on sea kayaking, wind-surfing and kiteboarding. Off The Wall has room for only 10 guests and is primarily a snorkel and dive operation. Our outside impression was that the attention to detail was bit better at Off The Wall, from the location and quality of hammocks and chairs to having fresh water instead of well water showers.
We don't have any criticism of Off The Wall worth mentioning. The price is definitely not cheap, but at Off The Wall you get what you pay for. Quite simply, we give Off The Wall our highest recommendation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Off The Wall Dive Center is situated on a private island in the turquoise waters of Glover's Atoll. We are a small Eco-friendly, PADI 5 star Dive Center and Resort and offer Scuba Courses, Whale Shark trips and the best diving, snorkeling and fly-fishing in Belize, as well as kayaking and stand up paddling. Or, just come to relax and enjoy our white, sandy beaches and idealistic setting for getting away from it all. Our packages include Saturday boat transportation to and from our island, 7 nights accommodations in charming, ocean front cabanas, and all your meals. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Off The Wall Dive Hotel Glovers Reef Atoll
- Off The Wall Dive Center And Resort