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Reviewed 4 July 2011

Ramshackle: Likely to fall to pieces; so poorly kept up that disintegration is likely; rickety

We decided to re-name this resort the "Ramshackle Inn", and with good reason.
I was looking forward to the seclusion and quiet of Xamen Ek for my husband and I's diving trip, but we were sorely disappointed. First of all, the website (both pictures and information) are very outdated. It is very obvious that Mike (the owner) has let the place go. There was mold and dirt in the common areas (most of the light fixtures had dirt collecting in the bottom of them). Mike also passed on quite a bit of falsified information to us, both before we arrived and while we were there--we are both divers, and since his website boasts Scuba Steve as the local divemaster, we used that information to choose this resort. Mike told us via email that "we can figure out the diving when you get here" and upon arrival, we were told that Scuba Steve moved to a different resort because he wasn't getting business at Xamen Ek. Mike did recommend White Sands resort and dive shop, which was excellent, but we would have stayed there had we known. We both wish we would have rented a golf cart because the resort was very far away from town, but we were able to get there via the boat ferry, though that took about 45 minutes each way. We also discovered 3 nearby resorts that had menus significantly less in price than the resort restaurant. In fact, Portofino (1 resort to the north) actually let us use their swimming pool, towels, and snorkeling equipment at no charge, and we spent as much time there as possible. While the food at Xamen Ek was pretty good, they were often out of things because "it was the off season", and the kitchen was very unclean. We were able to find someone to get us a drink 1 time in the entire week we were there, and we eventually gave up and hung out at Portofino's pool and bar. The gardens are very beautiful, but the junk and trash that accompanies the plants do not exactly enhance the beauty. Finally, the rooms---we stayed in one of the poolside cabanas. Evidently, a couple coming to the hotel 3 days after us were much more important and got the more updated cabana--when we arrived, our cabana did not even have toilet paper. There were 3-4 leaky holes in the roof, including one that was nearly as large as my head. The staff had to be aware that they were there when we arrived, because the furniture was arranged in a fashion that made absolutely no sense...but avoided all the water leaks, so when it rained, the water simply pooled on the floor. The shower hadn't been cleaned in months, the bugs overtook everything, and the shower drain had pieces of metal shards sticking out of it. The website boasted queen size beds, and instead we were greeted with a full bed that was full of bugs and slightly softer than a piece of plywood. The resort boasted wireless internet, yes, but when we used it to stream music in the room, Mike asked us to stop because it slowed it down too much.
Mike recommended some excellent tours and experiences, and we very much enjoyed that part, but we tried to spend as little time at the resort as possible. I realize that the resort was relatively inexpensive compared to some other neighboring resorts, but I would have gladly paid extra to know that we didn't have to haul all of our valuables everywhere we went because we didn't feel safe leaving them in the room. I would have probably give this resort a "fair" rating (because the location is beautiful, even if there is no beach), if it weren't for the misinformation we were given before we left and during our stay. Perhaps once someone else buys the resort and fixes it up (give it at least a year, trust me), it will be a nice place again, but right now, stay away. When we told locals where we were staying, we were smirked and laughed at quite a bit, and with good reason. We didn't let our resort influence our vacation to Belize--the country is beautiful, and the people are very friendly. However, we could have found a much nicer resort for the same price. Trust me....go somewhere else.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ctinkham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vash83, Manager at Xaman Ek Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 December 2011

I must say that xamanek now has a new management and a new restaurant and spa going
now open here at our location is Jambel Jerk Pit with affordable prices and the quality is on the high end.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2011

This was actually my second stay. I stayed here last year, and came back again this year because of the great service and location.
The owner, Mike, is very friendly... it feels more like staying with an old friend than at a hotel. The resort is relaxing, scenery is breathtaking. You can easily stroll along miles of beach, almost empty of people finding the perfect shells. Take the kayak provided out to Mexico Rocks (popular snorkeling destination at Ambergris) - you can actually see it from your room! A quick paddle and you are there on your own adventure. The water taxi's come frequently, and it's a quick 15 minute boat trip into town.
Mike has lived there for years, and always has the very best guides leading his excursions. I've snorkeled the reserve many times on trips he's set up - always seeing sea turtles, baracuda, nurse shark, sting rays, eel, sea cucumber - getting to interact and touch most of these creatures with a very experienced guide. The price for this is about $40 per person - about a 3 - 4 hour trip - very reasonable! I also did an all day tour to the Aztec rouines... Lamanai. This was amazing! It's a boat adventure, jungle adventure and temple adventure all in one - exotic birds, monkeys climbing in the boat, crocs, bats.... the guide was just amazing. He prepared an authentic Belizean lunch for us.... it was an experience of a lifetime.
You will not regret booking here.... it was the perfect get away!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Calleyrenee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2010

Our stay at Xaman Ek provided the perfect start to a week of adventure, exploration, and relaxation. From scuba diving to island cuisine and Belikin beer, we experienced all that Belize has to offer in the comfort of a cozy, user-friendly resort.

My partner and I stayed in one of the beautifully thatched-roof cabanas by the pool. We were greeted by beautiful, fresh-cut flowers in our room. We especially enjoyed the breezy, quiet nights... it was important to catch up on sleep after days full of scuba diving. And slept we did: Xaman Ek is very secluded. No rowdy neighbors here!

Mike and his divemaster Steve both did an outstanding job organizing awesome scuba trips! We got personal attention, stunning dive sites, and invaluable training at an amazing price.

Mike, the owner and operating manager did an incredible job overseeing our stay. He frequently made sure we were comfortable and pointed out all the amenities available to us. Mike also has quite the green thumb! The grounds around the resort are a testimony to Mike's love of gardening... Xaman Ek is surrounded by breathtaking flowers, palms, and other native plants.

We ate a few breakfasts, lunches and one dinner in the Resory restaurant. No complaints! We experienced great service and delicious food. For dinner I ordered a whole fish (red snapper, I believe...) and it was out of this world! Breakfast was the best... Eggs and black beans, served with hot coffee and fresh tropical fruit... Perfection.

Xaman Ek's wonderfully secluded location makes it necessary to catch the water-taxi into San Pedro. Be prepared to pay for the round trip when you want to go into town. (Costs are similar to cab fare in any major city.)

Our favorite parts of our stay at Xaman Ek? Carribean-style breakfast on the beach-front patio, Scuba Steve's scuba trips, relaxing in the hammocks lining the perimeter of the resort, and the bright, tropical flowers!

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cmsvln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2010

For the 4th time, I visited Xaman Ek and am planning my return trip in October.
I love this place. Seclusion, caring staff, beautiful views, close to great dive spots, complete services offered at one location and great personal attention from the owner!

I'll keep going back to this island secret!

Stayed: August 2010, travelled with friends
Thank Eric D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2010

Mike greeted us on the docks in San Pedro with a big smile. We were staying at the Xaman Ek for three nights, and attended a wedding at a nearby resort which was booked. We felt fortunate to have stayed at the Xaman Ek. Mike was a very pleasant and thoughtful guy, who provided us with some great conversation. Anything we needed was attended to, right down to a crib for our six month old little girl, and bananas for her to eat.

The food we had were great. Conch omelette is a must ... pina coladas are also a must try!

I'd go back to the Xaman Ek again just to visit Mike. He's a chill guy who cares greatly about his guests.

Stayed: May 2010, travelled with family
1  Thank mirahan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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