Bonaire, What did you wish you knew before you went?

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by divemonkey33, May 1, 2012.

  1. divemonkey33

    divemonkey33 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Basically the title says it all. What did you wish you knew before you got there that you discovered? Like on the last day you found this great place to eat or there is a tour of some remote place. More of the hidden jems of Bonaire, and less of the well known that is on every website about Bonaire.
    Chug likes this.
  2. phelana

    phelana Barracuda

    I wish I knew about Dos Pos walk years ago. This walk is an incredible experience. This is a clip from my website:

    Hikers will be thrilled with the diverse options. One such hike, Ruta Dos Pos, takes you through the wild countryside of Bonaire on well marked trails. The trail is for intermediate hikers and takes 1-1.5 hours. The trail takes you past a fruit plantation, Dos Pos--the local water source for neighboring farmers, and a myriad of animal life. If you are quiet, you will catch a glimpse of the wild pigs locally known as porko di mondi. See Watapana trees, a massive Tamarind tree, and some amazing rocks and geological formations. Cactus is plentiful with many varieties seen on this hike. In the distance near the peak you may see Lake Goto. Listen to the songs of the small chuchubi bird or the squawking prikichi.
  3. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    1. - don't fly through Curacao
    2. - have dog treats for the strays
  4. asha

    asha Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: San Diego, CA
    How come?
  5. g2

    g2 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boulder, CO and Port Townsend, WA
    The Salt Pier is underrated. It was awesome!
    80cf and Lorenzoid like this.
  6. deco_martini

    deco_martini Deep South DIR

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    To be honest, my first dive at Salt Pier was kinda blah compared to an average reef dive. The second time we went around 3:30pm when the sun had everything lit from the right angle and it was a 500% better dive.
    lgreco likes this.
  7. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    We almost always fly through Curacao. That is our preferred way of going to Bonaire!
  8. akirawut

    akirawut Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
    Do the park. Get tanks, bring beers, dive the park - while touring the park. Make a day of it. Eat at the restaurant in said park.
    Drewpy likes this.
  9. luckydays

    luckydays Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Pedro CA
    Bring bug spray. DEET or what ever the most toxic (but safe) product you can find.
    The no see um's and mosquito's suck.
    gypsyjim likes this.
  10. sinistar

    sinistar Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    A few of mine might sound negative but here goes.

    I wish I had known in advance about the visibility and coral bleaching. A group of 8 of us went down. First dive (compared to 6yrs ago) was like - bummer :( It's hard for me to write that because my first trip everything just seemed like paradise. I still really enjoyed it, but many of the group were underwhelmed. Now it's a year later. I hope the viz has improved but I haven't read much otherwise - I really, really hope I am wrong. Viz does not have to be 100+ feet to enjoy dives - but the bar had been set pretty high. The same goes for the beautiful reef colors that were gone, night diving under the town pier, etc.

    We did a Wild Side dive on our last day. That dive rocked!!!! I wish I had known in advance how fun and easy it was - I would have went much earlier in our trip to leave room for a second trip over there.

    For restaurants, it also seemed like things were down a bit from the previous trip (specifically w/r to service). Makes total sense given the economy. Maybe staffs were leaner compared to pre recession times. I guess I thought Bonaire was so popular that they would be more immune to this with so many long term return travelers.

    All that being said, a bucket list item is to dive there with my daughter one day when she gets certified - 6yrs to go!
  11. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Tech Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    Don't expect good Chinese food in the Chinese restaurant there!

    Do as many shore dives as you can on the house reef (we were at Divi). Easy entry, turn left or right and vary your depth on each dive and it's a new dive every time. Do not settle for once on the Hooker. I could have dived her and around her all week.
    farsidefan1 likes this.
  12. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    probably the worst experience flying in my life. How it took 5 hours to get a flight and get to Bonaire is beyond me (and how my luggage made it on the same flight is a miracle).....
  13. drrich2

    drrich2 Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    1.) Most of the rental trucks are manual transmission. Some places can get automatics for an extra charge (like $154 - $200 for the week).

    2.) Do not leave any sort of valuables in your trucks; divers' rental trucks are sitting ducks for petty theft.

    3.) Hit Washington-Slagbaii Park up in the day when the lighting's good for photos.

    4.) Wear thicker-soled boots like SeaSoft Sunrays, because that jagged ironshore can damage your feet through regular thin-soled scuba boots.

    5.) Some favorite restaurants: Wil's Grill, City Cafe', Bon Appetit, Cactus Blue.

    6.) Some favorite dive sites, roughly north to south: Kapata, Tolo, Oil Slick Leap, Andrea (I or II), The Cliff, Buddy Dive's house reef, Hilma Hooker, Angel City, Windsock.

    7.) Get some apples at the store to feed wild donkeys you run across driving around the island. Also for iguanas and Bonaire whip-tail lizards (which in some places will eat out of your hand if you're patient and have some broken up apple in it).

    8.) Since I'm pretty much limited to 80 cf aluminum tanks down there, I wish I'd known about this DiveRite Travel Stage Strap device, which along with an extra reg. & SPG should let me dive 2 tanks at a time next trip (hoping to try this).

    9.) Food is expensive; plan to load up at the grocery store (Warehouse Bonaire may be your best bet on price, Van Den Tweel for selection, but a lot of VDT's isn't in English) on soda & food so you can eat in for breakfast & lunch & keep costs down. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, cereal, that sort of thing.

    10.) Windsock is a good site for night diving, as are some others. The Buddy Dive house reef is also good.

    Winterpeg and Brodydog like this.
  14. mheaster

    mheaster Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tappahannock, Virginia, United States
    I wish i knew I could get by with only two pairs of Shorts and buy a T shirt or two!
    gypsyjim likes this.
  15. Reef Tank

    Reef Tank Barracuda

    Curacao Westpunt, All West Apartments, and Go West
  16. RJP

    RJP PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey

    • How small the island is, therefore how close the dive sites really are to one another.
    • Forget planning what sites you want to dive in what order, on what days. Just "drive and dive."
    • That "please, only two nitrox tanks per diver at a time" is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules
    • Related to above, that if you put 6 tanks per diver in your truck you can drive around the island all day
    • If you dive the park, put at least 3 tanks per diver in the truck, get there when the park opens, make a 1/2 day of it
    • Do dive the park
    • At many resorts with 24 hour tank access, nitrox tanks are only available 8am-5pm
    • Did you know you can fit 2-3 Nitrox tanks in a dive locker?
    • The ocean road is "One Way" northbound at one point; plan accordingly.
    • PB&J sandwiches and powdered iced tea for lunch puts an extra $10 or so in your pocket each day
    • An extra $10 or so in your pocket buys a few extra beers each night
    Drewpy, billmosel and Brodydog like this.
  17. lmorin

    lmorin Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Hampshire
    Sorry you had a negative experience. My wife and I have been to Bonaire about 9 times in the last 3 yrs and never had less than 75 ft vis with wonderful color, if the sun was out. Moreover, we have never seen systematic coral bleaching. There has been hit or miss damage, but nothing wide spread. There are some sites which suffered significant loss of corals and sponges because of a major storm. Others lost nothing.
    MN Lakeman likes this.
  18. Scott from LongIsland

    Scott from LongIsland Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NYC
    Definitely dive the wild side if you have the opportunity. The guys at ViP diving will take you there and they are fantastic. La danias leap drift dive to Karpata is one of my favorites. Taylor made after Karpata makes a nice double header.

    Try a UV night of the few places where you can do that right now. A unique experience to say the least.

    One small item that may or may not come into use is the little tire fill adapter that you can buy for a few bucks either at your lds or down there. I have had a few tires run low or slowly leak. Kinda sucks to have a flat tire after a dive and that little contraption can come in handy (or hopefully won't be needed)
  19. deco_martini

    deco_martini Deep South DIR

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    Knowing which dive sites are on declining parts of reef is good. Climbing Thousand Steps to dive an algae covered reef is anti-climactic.
  20. Craig66

    Craig66 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Jersey
    Knowing that the red eye out of Newark on United leaves at 11:58 and has to be searched for on the day prior to arrival!!!

    ---------- Post added May 2nd, 2012 at 11:20 PM ----------

    Besides Thousand Steps are there any others that are best avoided? - Thanks

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