Bonaire or Roatan

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by kpickerell, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. kpickerell

    kpickerell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Louisiana
    42
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    We've got a group that dives together. We're looking at the pros and cons between Bonaire and Roatan in August. Most of us have been to both, but it's been a few years. We've spent the last few years in Brac, Little Cayman, Cozumel, Curacao, and various parts of the S. Pacific. In Roatan, although I'd prefer Coco View, we're being offered Turquoise Bay because there's a promo. With Bonaire it's a toss-up between Buddy Dive and Capt. Don's. Any opinions? I know about the shore diving in Bonaire, so that's a plus, and I know about the sand fleas in Roatan, which are a negative.
     
  2. T.C.

    T.C. Single Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Columbus, Georgia
    989
    614
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    Having been to both islands, I say without hesitation; go to Buddy Dive in Bonaire!

    Pros and cons:
    Bonaire-
    Pro's: Better viz, more dive sites, more freedom to dive where you wish/when you wish, more coral cover, more fish life, better nightlife/ places to eat downtown, safer environment (hey, they don't need armed guards at your resort in Bonaire, unlike Roatan).

    Con's: Expensive to get there, longer flight, have to drive yourself around to dive sites, consequently, further from aid in the event of an emergency, dealing with cruise ship tourists when a cattle boat unloads.

    Roatan:
    Pro's: Cheaper flight, cheaper vacation, less "adventerous" trip (no wrangling your own tanks, finding your dive site, and walking around in full gear, etc.)

    Con's: Less coral, fish and viz, less variety of places to eat, having to go where the boat crew chooses for that trip, less variety of shore diving, less secure/safe place, especially for smaller groups at night.

    Go to Bonaire, and you'll never regret it! Hope this helps; I'm going there in late September. Enjoy whereever you go!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
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  3. kpickerell

    kpickerell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Louisiana
    42
    1
    0
    Thanks TC. I appreciate the input. You're echoing my sentiments, but I think the group needs to be sold on Bonaire. BTW, we found air to Bonaire cheaper. I'm a travel agent, so I found a flight to Curacao in the $400 range and then a round trip puddle jumper from Curacao to Bonaire for $94. it was about $200 more to Roatan, although RTB is easier to get to.
     
  4. T.C.

    T.C. Single Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Columbus, Georgia
    989
    614
    0
    You're welcome! You're quite resorceful to make the connections to Curacao to Bonaire. I'm sure the group will appreciate having an extra $300-$500+ !

    I hope you can convince them of Bonaire, you'll all love it. I can send some pictures of Bonaire if they need more convincing, but one trip to Bonaire and they'll never doubt your destination picks again! :D
    http://www.bonairediveguide.com/
    EDIT: Wanted to share this map if you haven't been there before, you can see all the sites. You can pick up a paper copy of this map for free anywhere in Bonaire. Don't worry about the Beginner/Experienced ratings; my sister went to many "experienced" sites, and this was her first dives after her OW training.
     
  5. giffenk

    giffenk Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: toronto
    2,313
    1,005
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    They both have good diving. A big plus for Bonaire (for me) is that it has some very excellent restaurants.
     
  6. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    9,131
    1,800
    113
    You're not really comparing Bonaire to Roatan,
    you're comparing Buddy/Dons vs Turquoise Bay.

    Go to Bonaire.

    You have previously been to Roatan's best. Your group rejects
    that because of the cost, so that has to be taken as
    a benchmark and starting point.

    I often am asked to compare the Island Nation of
    Bonaire to the Roatan resort of CocoView. That is
    a much fairer comparison.

    When people relate their experiences on Roatan, they do
    this most often from a very narrow snapshot of a perspective.
    There are huge differences on Roatan between operations and
    the highly localized dive zones that they serve.

    In Bonaire, comparatively, every dive visitor can get similar
    pictures of the environments available. There is pretty much
    one perspective for most visitors.

    I would heartily agree that non-dive diversions abound on
    Bonaire. Again- you have to decide just exactly why you
    are going to paradise and what they want out of it.

    There is no one place for everybody, and when you are
    booking for a group- it's like herding cats.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
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  7. Oldbear

    Oldbear Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Marshall Islands
    2,050
    694
    113


    Herding Cats on Vimeo

    :idk:
     
  8. diversteve

    diversteve Administrator Staff Member

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Phoenix
    19,687
    2,562
    113
    Show them these: http://www.bonairepanoramas.com/ - there's even some dive sites featured in the u/w link.
     
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  9. chauncy19

    chauncy19 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cape Cod MA USA
    495
    42
    28
    If anyone is blood donor Roatan is a no go. You will have to wait at least a year to give blood. this is due to heighten risk of Malaria.
    unfortunately will not be able to go back to Roatan because of that. Bonaire is therefore clear winner for me.
     
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  10. kpickerell

    kpickerell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Louisiana
    42
    1
    0
    The cost for both trips is the same. Land is less in Roatan, air is less for Bonaire, so price wasn't a determiner. Actually the group is pretty easy and some of us have been diving together for 15 years or more. I usually go to DEMA every year and a decision is made based on what's presented by the resorts, wholesalers, etc. I didn't go last year and it's to my disadvantage. Most of us have been to both islands with the majority having visited Roatan more. I'm not familiar with Turquoise Bay and have heard mixed reviews. I guess I'm leaning more towards Bonaire for several reasons: 1) more opportunity to dive; 2) no sand fleas; 3) no drift dives, which is important when half the group is taking pictures. Also, I remember last year several of the Roatan resorts offering some pretty sweet deals that we could take advantage of later down the road because I'm sure they'll offer them again. One was to AKR when they were offering a buy one and get one half off. It came out to be about $1200 with air, food, diving, and accommodations.
     
  11. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    9,131
    1,800
    113
    ?

    I had previously in this thread recommended Bonaire for your group, but the above doesn't compute.

    You have been to CoCoView on Roatan previously. There is no place in the Caribbean that you are going to get that many dives in a week~ 27 in a week is easy. This woul be impossible in Bonaire- not even close.

    Sand fleas are a pain in the Bay Islands but avoidable through selecting the correct property and dosing with deet. Scorpions of Bonaire are worse threat- there is no chemical preventative... City folk just have to acclimate to acting like locals. A rare problem, but since it was brought up...

    Again you refer to your past trip to Roatan, a place that is universally regarded as macro shooter heaven... And no drift dives.

    there are any number of great reasons to go to Bonaire, but I wouldn't hang your hat on those.
     
  12. sock

    sock Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location:
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    Have been to both and my choice would be bonaire
     
  13. kpickerell

    kpickerell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Louisiana
    42
    1
    0
    Thanks RoatanMan, but the logic computes when you consider that we've not being offered CoCo View, unfortunately, but Turquoise Bay, as I mentioned in a post. Therefore, we would not have as many dives as with Bonaire. I also have to take into consideration that at least two of our divers have serious allergic reactions to bites (one had to use an epipen last time because of sand flea bites), and at least 1/3 of our boat dives have been drift. Not a bad thing except when you're trying to stay still long enough to get a shot. In addition to scorpions, though, dengue fever is endemic to the ABC's. My husband contracted it last time we were in Curacao and that was a nasty thing for sure. He's one of the people on the fence about destination. Both have pros and cons.
     
  14. chauncy19

    chauncy19 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cape Cod MA USA
    495
    42
    28
    kpickerell
    funny i caught dengue in Curacao a couple of years ago. it was during the "rainy" season November 2010 to be specific. Although Dengue is in the ABC and Bonaire for sure so I am told, its hard to imagine its not in Roatan too. Need to take the threat seriously. Admit I am no expert on Mosquitoes illnesses just a lazy recreational diver.
     
  15. T.C.

    T.C. Single Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Columbus, Georgia
    989
    614
    0
    ????

    Kpickerell's reasons are very sound and logical for selecting Bonaire over Roatan

    Bonaire is unlimited shore diving. Anytime, anywhere- no waiting on a boat, or told the boat only makes X trips a day. It is very easy to make 30- 35 dives in a week. Dive once in the morning, two dives before lunch, two after, and one night dive. That's six a day, and you can see how 35+ dives a week becomes very easy.

    I believe that without a non-standard vacation package, more than 30 dives would be difficult in Roatan. Not so in Bonaire; if one wishes, they'll always have more dive opportunities in Bonaire.

    Bonaire advertises itself as the home of diving freedom. It's very true.
     
  16. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    9,131
    1,800
    113
    Now I see ;)
     
  17. kpickerell

    kpickerell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Louisiana
    42
    1
    0
    I'd need to go to a work-out boot camp before I'd attempt 35 dives in a week. ;) But I'm usually good for about 20-25. I gave up hard core when I decided that having an apres' dive beer while downloading my pictures was so much easier.
     
    Doc likes this.
  18. T.C.

    T.C. Single Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Columbus, Georgia
    989
    614
    0
    Yeah I did that... 12 years ago.
     
  19. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    9,131
    1,800
    113
    For how many days in a row before you stopped to eat/sleep/pee?

    I like Bonaire, but the reality of diving there is after a boat dive in the AM, the drive-to shore dives are single tank excursions (unless somebody remains onshore to guard your stuff & car). Same for a night dive.

    Its really 4x a day max, and that's a hump at that. Driving to a shore dive, gearing up, slogging out and back... That eats a lot of time and a whole lot of energy. It's not like falling off a boat.

    I look for an "ease" of diving, I give Bonaire a C+ in that regard. You really don't need to go to Bonaire to "just dive-dive-dive". There are a lot of other nice diversions.

    in Bonaire, I like to take time for different unusual restaurants, and that takes time to get to and enjoy. I'm not talking about the standard tourist places near the dock.

    Bonaire has a lot going for it, but 35 in a week is some kind of Galactic Record... Even "12 years" ago.
     
  20. T.C.

    T.C. Single Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Columbus, Georgia
    989
    614
    0
    Eat? take a speargun; eat while diving. Sleep? That's what your buddy is for; sleep while diving. Need I address the third?:D

    Seriously, I was referring to the "boot camp" part. I did that, 12 years ago in Kentucky.

    Don't take anything you won't use with you, and no one will bother your stuff. All the resort tanks are marked, and no one will steal those. Take a cheap towel and the gear you'll dive with; that's all you need- you can do as many shore dives per run as you wish, you don't need a shore guard.

    True, it's not for everyone. When I went, I was just back from a year in Afghanistan, and my dive buddy was my sister; who hikes, rock climbs and skis whenever she can. The effort of shore diving in Bonaire and carrying gear wasn't a big deal to either of us.

    Well, I'm going in September. I hope my dive buddies can keep up;); I've already got two that said they will.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
    Doc likes this.

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