Having sampled a fair few of the offshore private islands and island resorts Belize has to offer I was looking for something truly away from it all, somewhere that blends with the landscape and isn't built like a concrete block on the beach.... and Off the Wall is just that.
I didn't miss the TV, or the light pollution, the noise, traffic or dimly lit bars, the chi-chi restaurants of San Pedro or Caye Caulker, the constant whirr of the a/c, the background drone of a generator, or a slick, marble bathroom with all the trimmings of a 5 star resort. Off The Wall gave me exactly what you dream a Paradise Island is all about. Spacious, beautifully mosaic decorated open air showers with handmade coconut candle lighting (should you get distracted from the waving coconut palms and astoundingly clear constellations above), natural paths wending their way through coconut and gumbo limbo trees, hibiscus and lilies, lemongrass and aloe. My all natural wooden cabin (with one of the most comfortable mattresses ever) was oceanside (they all are... who needs a/c or fans with your own private breeze!), and I could absolutely believe that i was totally alone on the island early mornings on my porch doing yoga alongside naturally formed driftwood sculptures and shells.
Walks along the southeastern shore bring you in contact with the gentle waves over the nearby coral reef (the diving is a literal two minute boat ride out to the fabulous wall), a myriad of colourful hermit crab populations, blue crabs, huge yellow and green iguanas (Stumpy the three legged iguana was resident next to my cabin, Kendra has some great stories about the island and its changes over the years) white lilies, fuscia morning glories, huge pink conch shells and all manner of coral boulders and pebbles, the north western shore is white coral sand, populated with amazing swing beds and hammocks amongst the coconut palms.
The dive crew just makes everything so easy, from preparing your equipment to rolling into the clear warm water (can't believe it was a balmy 83degrees). Junior was our helpful boat captain, and Matthew, Tyrone & Doreth the DMs & Instructor - laid back enough to fit perfectly in paradise, but more professional, courteous and knowledgeable than I've seen in many bigger and more international resorts. I took my own diving equipment which the crew took care of (not just a quick rinse, but a through, careful wash), but they have well maintained Sherwood BCDs & regulators, and new 3mm wetsuits (not that you'd need one most of the year round!) or rash guards and boxed rental masks. The tanks were about to be sent for their yearly inspection just as i was leaving the resort - so no shoddy equipment here.
We saw garden eels, flounder, barracuda, shark, crab, lobster, conch, turtles, stingrays and eaglerays, and big schools of jack, and Kendra even woke me up one evening to come see a nesting hawksbill turtle on their beach. You really feel like you've been set free the regimented dive schedules and can roll out of your hammock into your bcd and off the boat, when you feel like it (though I'm sure that during high season there is a little more to prepare, I was there at the end of the season - no reason not to go... the night sky lit up with the most incredible lightening over nearby Honduras, and gorgeously clear and warm days)
The food Eileen & Theresa prepared was fabulous - I just couldn't get enough of Eileen's (no-diet) Lemon meringue pie, the homemade granola with island coconut, the coffee (I'm a coffee addict), her green rice, the veggie patties, superb surface-interval cookies, her local recipe local fish, dropped off by the fishermen early morning (get up to see the hungry stingray circle the end of the cleaning dock for scraps.... ) - all in all not a thing I wouldn't devour (well, only Eileen's home made habanero & onion salsa, but i was told it was amazing).
Loved Kendra's little gift shop - handmade local jewellery, a really nice selection of summer dresses and tops, mayan carvings, sarongs and t shirts, and there is a veritable library of all kinds of books from novels to plant and animal ID books (the entire collection of the Humann fish/coral/animal ID books) which you can borrow to while away time in your hammock.
I thoroughly recommend Off the Wall to paradise seekers who really do want to get away from it all, proof that a genuinely environmentally friendly resort (rainwater showers, greywater recycling, composting toilets etc etc) need not mean compromising your comfort, and it all comes with a top notch crew to match. You truly feel that Jim & Kendra are inviting you to join the family when you stay - they went out of their way to create a welcoming environment. I can't wait to be back there with visiting family & friends!
- 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