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Reviewed 2 June 2012

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at Isla Marisol, and overall, it was a wonderful trip. I'll start off with the reasons why Isla Marisol didn't get five stars from me. Initially when we got to our room, I'll admit it... I was a bit disappointed with the accommodations. I guess I was picturing something more glamorous. I didn't look at photos in advance... and neither did I think about how in the world would they be able to provide such luxury on an island?! Obviously AC was very limited, therefore, a bit tough at night when you're trying to sleep. I think it worked maybe half the time we were there. There were sting bugs ALL over the place which apparently migrated to the island, but eventually left after 3-4 days. In addition to sting bugs, I got a bit of sand flies and mosquito bites so don't forget your bug spray!

What I loved about Isla Marisol were the people, activities, and food! The staff was AMAZING. Let's start with diving... Mora, Tony, Seth, and Liv were an exceptional dive team. It was a bit hectic during our first dive since everyone was trying to fit their BC, wet suit, fins, goggles, etc. But, it was a lot more smooth and calm afterwards. Luis was the man when it came to snorkeling and fishing. He was super accommodating and professional. Tony, Ally, Tara, Orlando, and Albert were also awesome! And the food... Aunt Jenice and the cooking staff were incredible with their menu. I think we left heavier than we came!

Everyone was just so super and lovely... including the other guests we met on the island! We had such a grand time, and we hope to be back in the near future :)

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Amy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2012

First off I would like to say that no matter what other reviews say ... I, personally, LOVED the time I spent on Isla Marisol. My friend Kelly and I went on a "girls-trip" to Isla Marisol on April 21st to 28th. We are from Canada so the flights were pretty unpredictable (keep this in mind if you plan on going). WE ended up being the last ones arrived ... after a harrowing trip on a 6 seater plan from Dangriega to the coast to catch the boat. There were quite a few mix ups (the fault of the airlines and not the resort ...) so we were LATE, and stressed out to have had everyone waiting for us in the heat. Lucky for us we had the pleasure of being amongst an outstanding group of understanding people. (Kind've like people who enjoy the "getting-there" and not just the "arriving") so we didn't have rocks thrown at us for being tardy. We finally left the dock somewhere around 5pm maybe a little later.
The crossing was perfect ... I was sitting up top so had a great view ... and WHAT a VIEW it was. Two hours on the boat to get to the island and I was thinking it is actually in the middle of nowhere ... ok ... so it wasn't but it FELT like it to me!! Arriving at the island our things were taken off the boat along with the supplies for the island, kitchen, huts, bar etc ... keep in mind that boats only go to and from the island 2x a week!!! (see suggestions below for what to bring). I found Mora and crew very organized at getting everyone to our huts and we met later for dinner in the dining area to find out all the details for the week. There were some of the group who where there specifically to dive and others, like me, only to snorkel.
Not enough can be said about the wonderful cooking staff! They are professional and eager to be sure that everyone enjoys their meals. Don't be afraid to tell them of allergies, dislikes etc. they are willing to accommodate ... (However, be reasonable...they cannot make things appear out of thin air) ...like a filet mignon or veal cutlets ...
Although ... on day 2 of our trip our wonderful bartender told us they are out of ice ... SHOCKING ...oh well... ( it comes from the mainland and for whatever reason was forgotten). This is definitely something that needs to be addressed, for the sake of future visitors ... especially those like me who take a vacation for those crazy little icy drinks lol... BUT ... I got over it rather quickly ... I was in paradise after all, and Maria ended up being a dear and making a few trays in the freezer overnight lol... that was AWESOME... (more about that word later).
The bar is lovely and well stocked ... it was a little tense when Maria had to leave the island on Tuesday for an emergency and wouldn't be back. This left us without a bartender for a night ... then Mora stepped in (sorry Mora ... Maria's drinks were WAY better lol) ... so if they get that part organized it will work out better... but really ... it was no hardship ... it was paradise after all.
"5 o'clocking" out at the bar with the rest of the travelers and some of the island crew was just plain fun. The bar is also a great place to see a variety of fish ... they come right up to the bar and swim underneath ... I loved that! Stingray were seen regularly as well as nurse shark and a variety of birds ... not to be missed!
NOW on to my favorite part ... the snorkeling. I have snorkeled in Barbados, Egypt, Ghana and Jamaica ... and it has been "Ok" ... Snorkeling in BELIZE was "AWESOME" ... not a word I normally use excessively, however while on the island it was the first thing that came out of my mouth more than 20 times a day! - definition of awesome: "extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe" snorkeling in Belize was all of these things.
Our wonderful guide Luis quickly realized the "daunting" part as I was pretty apprehensive the first few days, not being able to swim very well and never having been in water that deep ... meant that I would be stuck to him like glue for our first few trips out lol... luckily I got more comfortable with swimming and the variety of wildlife underwater quite quickly and was able to go out on my own. Luis was truly a wonderful guide - taking the time to bring up different animals and crustaceans that we could touch ... baby sharks ... conch... spiny things that felt really weird crawling on your hand ... and we also got to see him taking care of the pristine reefs by killing of the hated (but gorgeous) Lion fish.
I can't name all the animals I saw but I won't ever forget the vision of the stingray gliding over the sand ... or the dolphins in the wild coming over to say hello ... AWESOME ... back to the nitty gritty. The snorkeling guide was fantastic! The captain of the boat (Francis) was wonderful! Always on the lookout to see if everyone was ok and to let us know what is in the area. The boats themselves ... basic ... but fine. If you are looking for luxury as in "plushness, extravagance" you won't find it ... other than the experience. The weather was wonderful our entire trip.
The bugs ... well let me just say ... I got bite ... but it was my own fault. I decided that I would sleep outside on a neighbors hammock (thanks again Diane! Lol) for a few hours after the bar the second last night ... the next morning my entire left shoulder was covered in bites. (Personally, I think the hammock was infested since Diane also had quite a few bites on the same shoulder! Other than that I hadn't gotten bite at all... other than by the island-living bug... Keep in mind that I was VERY good at putting on bug spray every day (... except that last night lol...). SO ... it is an island ... you are walking on sand ... they ARE bugs. Bring spray ... all is well.
Eddy wasn't on the island this whole week so I have nothing to say to recommend or other about him ... other than it would have been nice to know who to go to for any issues... Mora or the ladies in the kitchen were my regular go-to people if I had any questions though so no worries about that either. My biggest crisis was trying to get internet to let my family know I had arrived safely and would likely be out of contact much of the week. I had issues getting internet but others were ok.
The hut was excellent... my bed was comfy ... the sounds of the waves was divine ...I had hot water whenever I wanted it and my friend had not complaints either. The electricity does go out ... oh well, didn't hurt my trip at all. The only negative that I can think of was that the bar was closed down one night at 10pm ... now I am an early sleeper anyways but 10pm??? really ... that was just a little early for me on vacation. A few of us did end up staying up and drinking on the dock for another 4 hours though lol... what a great night! I would suggest anyone who goes take into account that cabana 1 is at the end of the dock for the bar ... if you are a light sleeper or have kids with you or whatever don't take that one ... (it's ok I think I will end up buying that one anyways so you won't have to worry about it lol...) ;p

Seriously ... the island is a wonderful place for remembering the things that are most important in your life. I thank all of the staff for their efforts to make our trip as memorable as it was!

Now my to-bring/do list: Bring bug spray ... whatever kind works for you. Bring bug killer ... spray your hammock and your room. Buy Belizean RUM from duty free at airport $11 ... omg it was lovely!!! Buy cold champagne - in case you are the one that is late and holding everyone up ... wish I would have thought of that ... or at least some chips or something to pass around ... Bring snacks for the week ... 5 o'clock somewhere is always better with snacks ... olives ... crackers ... cheese ... peanuts ... whatever ... nice to share ... if you like a certain whiskey or have a bottle of Guatemalan rum at home you wanna share ... bring it :) lol... thanks Mike and Linda that was wonderful...
Bring those plastic blow up float things ... if you like to float ... Suntan lotion ... after burn stuff ... sun was VERY hot!!! Aloe or something... Antihistamines!
Go out and get your own snorkel gear ... it will fit better and you can reuse it (Mine cost $85 a small price to pay... I will now go upgrade the mask to one that has better visual!), bring mask defogger - thanks for all who lent me some!
A real-honest-to-goodness underwater camera (I didn't know what I would see and brought two of those stupid throw away ones ... I got 3 blurry pictures ... ) rent one online if you don't want to buy ... but don't be kicking yourself, like I am, not to have brought one ... I was lucky and made some wonderful friends who have sent me their pics ... AWESOME pictures!!! Thanks all.
A FLASHLIGHT is a must ... be especially creative and bring one that doubles for underwater use so you can convince Luis to do a NIGHT SNORKEL!!!
If you are using some kind of a coupon/groupon/swamjam etc ... be sure to READ THE ISLAND info ... not the groupon only, there are occasionally errors, our groupon had 2 snorkels a day but the island info said only one was included so that was an extra unexpected expense at the end of the week. If you can get there the day before do it - I would (and do some shopping for cool stuff to bring to island ...).
Otherwise ... bring your sense of humor... your sense of wonder and some common sense ... be open to new friendship and enjoy.
If I won a million dollars tomorrow I would be booked on the next flight with my husband back to this wonderful place ... as it is I am hoping to find another groupon for April next year :)

Room Tip: We had cabana #6 ... it was lovely ... only a few steps from the water ...
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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9  Thank IMSHARPER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2012

My friend and I spent a week here in April and I almost had to drag her back on the boat to go home.
Our adventure getting there was a bit stressful. Our flight from Carolina was late getting into Belize city, resulting in our missing our flight to Dangriga and only getting there just before the boat was set to take off. No one seemed annoyed that they had to wait for us (we weren't that late) and we appreciated that.
The cabanas are simple. The beds on the hard side. The view from almost any cabana, stunning.
We were lucky to be with a group of cool, laid back people who didn't mind if the power went out and the blender didn't work. The other guests are what turned a great trip into an "awesome" trip.
The food was delicious and the staff was willing to accommodate if there was something you couldn't eat. That said, there was not a huge selection at each meal; they were only feeding 25 people.
Our group was incredibly lucky to have a new snorkel guide, Louis. Louis was able to identify almost any fish you asked about. He single handedly is in the process of ridding the Carribean from the invasive Lion Fish. He found us a wild pod of dolphins to swim with. He caught us a turtle and a shark. What more could we ask for!
I was lucky not to get many bug bites. A few others were not so lucky. Bring bug spray just in case.
This Island is how a vacation should be. You can be as busy (2 snorkels a day) or as relaxed as you want. It is private and isolated.
As other reviews have stated, if you are expecting cocktails by the pool a spa and executive suites, you need to go somewhere else. The other guests will be as pleased with your decision as you are. If you want to leave the mainland for a while and enjoy some quiet, stars and clean air, this is your place.

Room Tip: Cabanas 1, 2, 3 and 4 are right on the water. Cabana 1 is closest to the bar. I didn't hear any complaints from the other rooms (we were in 6)
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank K2511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2012

You won't see any complaints here! I have to say that the guy with the review entitled 'Fairy Tale Wedding & the Honest Truth about the Resort' is exactly spot-on in his review, and that the negative reviews dated 2005 and 2008 are waaaayyy out of date and do not accurately reflect even close to the experience my husband and I had in August 2011.

We stayed at Isla Marisol in low/hurricane season so there was a grand total of 8 of us on the island. I loved it and would recommend seeing the island during this time. There are no big groups of divers or rowdy people that can get on your nerves but perfectly custom tailored dives and lots of time with the dive master.

Speaking of the dive master, Mora was excellent. Just excellent. A real pro. The scuba diving was amazing but that goes without saying. I mean, the water was clear and the sealife was unreal!

Also while we were there, there was a tropical storm, that almost turned into a hurricane but didn't. Eddie did a wonderful job of handling this situation. He quickly evacuated the island as a safety precaution and put us in a hotel on the mainland which we didn't have to pay for of course and which provided us with an excellent dinner and rooms for the night for all 8 of us. We were brought back after the tropical storm had passed and continued diving with amazing weather. I really can't say a bad thing about Eddie. He breaks his back to run the place and does a damn good job on continuously improving things and in communicating with the guests and receiving feedback graciously and professionally. He really made us feel right at home and like VIP guests, always making the time to talk to us and to organize every little thing. I mean, we were completely in his hands, a million miles from home and he took wonderful care of us.

So back to island life...

...the food. Oh the food. Freshly squeezed lime juice, papaya juices, watermelon juice, galore. Freshly baked cookies some days and lobster and fresh white fish so good, like I have never experienced before. It was just a pleasure to start the day with a wonderful breakfast, go for a dive, come back, have lunch waiting, enjoy every last bite of it, have a siesta in the afternoon, go for a dive, then get back, have a shower, watch the sunset and sit down for another beautiful meal at 6:30 pm. Then socializing for a little bit and being in bed by 8 pm at the latest and falling asleep by 9pm.

My husband and I just loved it. It was such a purely relaxing rhythm to the day that left us feeling in a state of blissful relaxation for two weeks after the holidays had already ended. I mean, what more can you want?

Looking back through the pictures, the place is just stunning. I have traveled quite a lot and I have to say, that some of the images that I saw on Isla Marisol just took my breath away. I was mesmorized by the beauty of the place. I really would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank WorldTravel335
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012

My brother, my son and I spent a week at Isla Marisol last month and had a fantastic time. I don't know of anything I'd change (except perhaps the long trip to get there from where I live). I would just add one comment about the bugs - we had almost no bug bites the whole week on the island, never even bothered with bug spray, but all three of us found we got munched while waiting for our plane in Dangriga on the way home. My advice is just to put some bug spray on when you're on the mainland; then see how the bugs are at Isla Marisol.

That being said, if you like to be off the beaten track but comfortable and well fed, go to Isla Marisol. The snorkeling, the staff, the sunrises and sunsets, the other visitors - just fantastic. I'm keeping an eye on Living Social and Groupon for another deal, so I can go back with my husband who had to work that week.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Reef House, a two-bedroom/two bath place on the east side of the island, facing the open sea. Loved it. A little more private than the cabanas, but still an easy walk to the restaurant, bar and dive shop.
Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
2  Thank Karen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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