Pricing out trip to Bonaire

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by cathycalg, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. cathycalg

    cathycalg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
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    Hi...a trip is in the works for 2 weeks, Jan 2013. I've priced most of the main resorts that have drive and dive packages. Then I priced out a condo, not on the oceanfront but close, and costs for vehicle rental and diving. It adds up to at least a thousand dollars less for my do-it-yourself package, as opposed to the resort package. The condo is right next door to the Plaza Resort. I'm wondering if I've missed something .. I tried to compare apples to apples. Also, I wonder if we'll miss out by not being right on the beach. Any insights?
    thanks, Cathy
     
  2. RJP

    RJP PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    13,415
    5,898
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    Depends on how much you want to dive vs other things. When I go to Bonaire, I'm there to "dive, dive, dive" 5-6 times a day. For that, who cares how close your accommodations are to the beach? (Such as beaches are in Bonaire, which is to say "not at all.")

    Also, my buddy and I didn't feel like cooking ("dive, dive, dive") so a condo was out for us. We stayed at Plaza and would do so again. Breakfast buffet included, we bought cold cuts and PB&J for lunch, and then went out and blew that savings on dinner. :)
     
  3. diversteve

    diversteve Administrator Staff Member

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Phoenix
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    It's probably location - off-water is always cheaper. What condo? Port Bonaire? We rented a condo - most have a drive/dive option that's often just several hundred $ more. There are places in Belnem that are also less expensive as they're a few minutes south of town. But closer to the good southern dive sites.

    If you want a beach - one that you can actually enter the water from w/o climbing over ironshore - you're pretty much limited to the Plaza, Eden Beach, the Divi (not much beach) or Harbour Village (priciest resort on island). There's a little strip of sand between Sand Dollar and Den Laman also. Or Sorobon = but it's a drive to all the dive sites from there.
     
  4. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    4,811
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    No, I don't think you're missing anything. On the two week-long trips I've taken to Bonaire, we priced out dive/drive/stay packages at the larger resorts vs. a DIY package (room/condo not on the water). The DIY package ended up being $500-$700 less per person. We're from San Diego, so we get to see/play in the ocean a lot when we're home. It wasn't really necessary to secure rooms overlooking the water while on vacation. We ate fresh fruit and oatmeal or cereal in the morning, cold cut sandwiches for lunch, and cooked in the kitchen or ate out for dinner. Some of the restaurants we tried were good...some were rather forgettable.

    As RJP mentioned, the larger resorts may offer buffet breakfasts as part of the dive/drive/stay packages. Some people might find value in that.

    The larger resorts might also include some boat dives in the dive/drive/stay packages. :dontknow:
     
  5. oly5050user

    oly5050user Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Westchester NY
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    I prefer a resort that has a house reef. So that those spur of the moment dives are so easy to access. Resorts may also have a buffet breakfast plan and pick you up at the airport and include a truck in the package. Security is at the resorts, no so at private condos.Less of a chance of a room being broke into. Compare apples to apples and by the time you figure in what a resort offers over a condo the difference is not really all that great.
     
  6. drrich2

    drrich2 Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    4,586
    2,078
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    I hope to make a solo trip using Dive Hut in the future; with a group I've stayed at Buddy Dive and Eden Beach Resort. Dive Hut is cheaper, and the difference goes up fairly dramatically for solo accommodations, from what I understand.

    Make sure your dive package includes free nitrox.

    Richard.
     
  7. cathycalg

    cathycalg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
    30
    4
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    Are people not staying at a particular resort allowed to shore dive in front of the resort?? Forexample, could I shore dive on the house reef in front of Buddy's even if I'm not staying there?


    thanks for your help,
    c

    ---------- Post added April 13th, 2012 at 01:09 PM ----------

    diversteve, the condo we're considering is in Caribbean Court, right next door to the Plaza.
     
  8. lmorin

    lmorin Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Hampshire
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    At Buddy, you ask permission to dive from their dock. They give permission. Right next door is Sand Dollar, Den Laman and between the two, Bonaire Dive and Adventure. You will not be allowed to dive from the BDA dock if you are not a registered (i.e., paying) diver with them. However, alternate access to Bari Reef, the house reef, is simple and easily accessible from an entrance just to the south of Den Laman. Other resorts may or may not allow you access to their reef, if it means going through their property without a public access point. You must ask permission at each such location.
     
    oly5050user likes this.
  9. oly5050user

    oly5050user Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Westchester NY
    3,416
    455
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    [
    Yes you can ,just let the office at Buddys know that you are there. Other resorts do not allow non guest on the house reef.Examples are Habitat(need to pay at office for the privilage),Sand Dollar,Black Durgeon. It is the ease at any time just stepping out of your room at Buddy's walk 30 seconds and you are on the dock ready to go in the water.No loading up a truck and driving . I will be at Buddy's May 18th..taking a group of 19..





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  10. cathycalg

    cathycalg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
    30
    4
    8
    [
    I'll definitely have to think more about the "house reef" vs the "DIY package". At the end of the day, the money "saved" by the DIY route may not mean all that much versus the convenience of a resort like Buddy's. It's difficult to make a decision sometimes when you've never been to a place. A confession: I tend to cheap out sometimes and regret it later.

    What can you tell me about the accommodations at Buddy's??

    I hope you and your group have a great time, oly5050user




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  11. diversteve

    diversteve Administrator Staff Member

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Phoenix
    19,683
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    If you're interested in Buddy Dive, they also have two affiliated properties - BelMar condos in Belnem (where we stay) and Caribbean Club which is off-water up the hill near Buddy Dive. For boat dives either property uses Buddy's boats. From CC you'd drive down to Buddy's dock, from BelMar they might bring the boat down depending on demand. Buddy has the only drive-thru tank pickup on the island - located streetside at the back of the property. Guests from all 3 resorts can exchange tanks there from 8-5.

    I haven't priced it lately but Caribbean Club used to be quite a bit cheaper than either of the other two locations.

    BelMar is all about being 50' from the water off your west-facing patio. However it's about 15' above the water on an ironshore bluff - there's stairs down to the divedock. Their house reef isn't as good as some of the others - Buddy's Reef would likely be better. The advantage BelMar has is it's literally under 5mins. to the start of the best of the south side divesites. There's no food near BelMar - everything is a 5min. drive past the airport and around the lagoon (where Caribbean Court is located) to either the Plaza or the south end of Kralendijk. Belnem is really quiet at night, it's a residential area mostly with some on-water small condo complexes.

    If you still want a beach, Buddy's has one - sort of. It's a strip of sand in front of the resort but there's ironshore between it and the water - good for sunning anyway. Click the Resort link on the Buddy Dive site and the overhead shot shows it - it's the strip of sand to the right. The pool/strip of sand to the left is the former Lions Den resort now also owned by Buddy Dive. As you can see both have short ironshore "cliffs" between them and the water. I think the Buddy's side has some ladders. The dive shop is where the boat is moored at the dock.

    One other thing to know is all the parking is in the lots to the rear of the property. IDK if it matters except when you carry your gear/luggage in and out to shore dive. I think you can temporarily park behind your condo to load - someone who's been there recently (oly5050user?) verify that?

    The road at the very top of the picture is the main road that runs along the dive resorts and continues north to all the north side dive sites. South on it about 5+mins. is Kralendijk.

    We dove several of the other resorts. We just rented tanks from each of them, it saved having to carry them from the parking lot(s) and made us paying customers. At Habitat there's a small usage fee (was $5) but you get to use their lockers/showers etc. You can swim north from there to the Cliff site, there's also a public access point between it and the next complex if you know where to turn.
     
  12. cathycalg

    cathycalg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
    30
    4
    8
    Thanks for taking the time to reply,diversteve. I was thinking that maybe the way to go would be to rent tanks/etc from each resort to dive on their house reef...we plan to go for two weeks, so one week we could buy a 6-day package for our shore dives not affiliated with a resort...and then pay as we go for the resort diving. I'm not worried about a beach, particularily. Whichever way we go, it's bound to be good!
     
  13. akirawut

    akirawut Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
    385
    16
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    Keep in mind that as long as you aren't too far from the water, you almost have a house reef almost anywhere on Bonaire.

    Even near BDA where you can't dive off their dock, you can still access the reef just south of the Den Laman (sp?) property. Although diving with BDA is a good options anyways.

    Admittedly it does mean you have to have tanks ready to go. We didn't find that to be any problem, get new ones every time you drop old ones off, regardless of your plans. Want to get in the water? No problem!
     
  14. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    4,811
    867
    0
    @cathycalg: After 2 trips to Bonaire taking the DIY package route, we figure each person has saved up enough to do another trip to Bonaire (or elsewhere).

    oly5050user
    takes large groups to Bonaire. Moving a group of approx. 20 human beings is like herding cattle. I can certainly understand why someone in his position (trip organizer) would want to streamline transport from airport to resort. There's also something to be said for dealing with one entity for all components of the dive/drive/stay package. A large group bringing a lot of business to the resort has more leverage when it comes to customer service issues. The larger resorts may also comp one or two spots for a larger group. However, even if the comped spots are spread out as a shared "discount" across all group members, the overall price per person is still hundreds of dollars higher than a DIY package at a property not on the water. If you're on a budget, that price difference is significant.

    FWIW, our group hasn't had any issues at all diving off the Buddy Dive dock on our past two trips to Bonaire. We asked for permission and received it for day and night dives. To avoid schlepping gear, we dropped off all the scuba gear at the turnaround right by the dock, then re-parked the cars in the parking lot. No big deal.

    If you aren't sure whether the DIY or large resort package route is more appropriate for your group, why not just choose one and then do the other on Bonaire trip #2? :D
    While you are on-island, during a surface interval, you could pop your head into a few different resorts and ask to see their rooms. Think of it as recon for subsequent trips.
     
    herbdb likes this.
  15. cathycalg

    cathycalg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
    30
    4
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    Thanks, Bubbletrubble. I think we are going the DIY route. No matter what resort you stay at...you're going to go to other dive sites anyway. Plus, I like the idea of shaving costs on two or three trips to pay for a third or fourth. WE plan to keep on diving as long as we can. :D
     
  16. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    3,835
    272
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    You will normally save a considerable amount of money when you stay off the water.
    Just depends on what vacation experience you want.

    I stay on water to make my non-diving spouse happy. She does not need a sandy beach - just a good view.
    If she has that, She is fine with my 4-5 dives a day schedule.

    Just depends on your needs!
     
  17. billmosel

    billmosel Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Rockaway NJ
    290
    10
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    Cathy, check you VRBO® is Vacation Rentals By Owner. they have a lot of listings in Bonaire where you deal with the owners of the condos. I have done the DIY thing for years and it has saved me mucho dinero. It also gives you more freedom to do what you want. Like what akirawut said, there is a house reef all over Bonaire.
     
  18. cathycalg

    cathycalg Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
    30
    4
    8
    Thanks for the tip on VRBO. I've used this site before and have already found a condo in Bonaire I'm interested in. Cheers.
     

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