Bonaire, What did you wish you knew before you went?
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Most everything I could think has been covered. But...
1. The main street that goes through town is a two way. We couldn't tell when we came from the airport. At that main turn it even looks like a pedestrian zone. Took us a while to find our way north again.
2. The bbq night at Capt. Dons is very popular and you need reservations for it.
3. You need reservations for all of the higher end restautants.
I kind of understand what you're saying but I think all you have to do is dive a site down by the light house to have to rethink what you're saying.
One of the reasons that people get the impression you have is because of the dive friendliness of the west side of Bonaire, instead of your typical 10 dive sites you've got what close to 50? You're basically have a reef system that is diveable from one tip of the island to the other, so in a sense you are diving the same reef. However I think there's a tad bit more variety there then you're giving credit. Like I said dive the light house area on the southern point, dive up at the northern point from the park...
Okay, Okay, I knew I wasn't going to receive a dozen "Likes" on this statement. I just meant that the number of sites that vary greatly from the norm is very small relative to the total number of sites. I admittedly haven't dived the lighthouse or some of the sites in the park, or any of the "wild side" (next trip!), but those are just a handful out of, what, 50 sites in total? The vast majority of sites, up and down the protected side of the island, are more similar to each other than they are different. Anyway, I was just answering what I myself wish I had been understood before my first trip to Bonaire. If I had, then instead of chasing dive sites to check off a list I would have been more laid back about it and, just perhaps, enjoyed the trip even more because of it.
Just returned from France.
It seemed like 75% of the people smoked...
You should dive Indonesia! All of our boat crew would light up the minute they got out of the water I almost wanted to keep my regulator in my mouth the whole boat trip back to the resort!
There was a nice lounge area where people would meet up after diving to compare notes and socialize, but there was so much smoke there that we just pretty much hung out on our balcony in the hammock or stayed in our cottage editing photos. We must have seemed pretty anti-social, but I HATE cigarette smoke. (I watched my dad die with lung cancer last year...no fun)
The U.S. is making great strides making people understand that cigarette smoke will kill you. Unfortunately this is not in line with the rest of the world...
A few comments about smoking were interesting and it amazes me when I see divers light up just before and after dives.
CajunDiva made the comment The U.S. is making great strides making people understand that cigarette smoke will kill you. Unfortunately this is not in line with the rest of the world...
When we visit family in the US I notice many more smokers that back home in Ontario, but we go out and socialize more – so it’s not a true comparison. Rates vary in our provinces, being next to Quebec, the rate is 23.3% and 19.5% in Ontario. (daily or occasional smokers, smoking age 12+ years), but going there it seems the Quebec smoking rate is WAY higher. www.smoke-free.ca/pdf.../Canada-2010-smokingratesbyprovince.pdf
I couldn’t find stats on Bonaire divers (or - everyone on the island) by nationality!
If we find a decent restaurant with a non-smoking area, we will go there more often.
Bring your own bicycle/hiker's water bottle. The tap water on Bonaire is excellent, and not only is buying bottled water expensive, Bonaire then has the problem of the disposal of all those one-use, and then landfill plastic water bottles.
We bring Xstal Lite drink mix, or similar powdered mixes to avoid having to guess which mixes we will like when we go to the store. Also we bring small amounts of spices for cooking, rather than purchase larger containers on Island, which we will use very little of in a week.
BUG SPRAY. It was said earlier, but if mosquitoes find the taste of your skin appealing, sundown can make a nice dining experience a lot less enjoyable.
While many of the dive sites are similar, there is more of a variety than has been suggested. Double reef system to the south, with single reef system closer to town and to the north, and then further north in the Park area there is some steep volcanic rock rubble terrain. Even two dives in a row, on the same site often result in very different dives, as the reef is in constant change and you never know who/what you will see next.
The Eastern or Wild Side offers a less dived area, with usually larger life forms, and if you find the western sites too wimpy or easy to access, you can always do shore dives on the Wild Side. Like us you may have new scars to bring home and brag about from you Wild Side entries and exits! For the less adventurous, unwilling to roll around in fire coral and spiny urchins the Eastern side is serviced by boat.
I like the red eyes, as I get in a very full day of diving that first day, arriving early enough in the morning to register, eat breakfast, do the mandatory orientation, and get into the water. It pays to make sure that the resort you are using has a storage facility for your luggage if the room is not going to be ready that early, which is often true. Also a place to change so you can get into clean clothes, and swim suits, so you do not have to sit and wait for your room to be prepared.
It's fascinating to read the mixed reviews and comments. Goes to show it's all in the eyes and experience of the beholder. Form your own decision.
I abhor smoke and have no issue in Bonaire. Nadia Snack has ok Chinese food. The red eye flight is what it is..United is a far cheaper option usually than Delta. Love the idea about snacks for the strays....better yet, adopt a pet from the shelter...Delta allows dogs to fly northbound and all airlines accept cats. ..I don't see too many strays anymore but do donate support the Animal Shelter, please.
Curacao? I fly to and from Bonaire 10+ a year thru Curacao and have no issues, Bob...I take the 11 AM from MIA and arrive in time for either the 3:30 or 5 PM Divi. Northbound is a slight pain March - Nov. when I take the 1:15 Divi and get into BOS midnight.
Food prices are indeed higher as in all of the Caribbean. I wish we had one stop shopping but I tend to drive to a few spots to get the best prices. If you don't have time, Warehouse is your best bet and The Island Supplier for booze.
If you want to dine in and out I suppose you won't be happy. I tend to enjoy a leisurely dining pace and really find the service excellent in most cases. If you are eating in between dives then I agree, prepare food at home. Otherwise, our dining options are staggering.
I wish I had known that I would need a English-Dutch translation app to get me through the meat department at the grocery store. That said, the mysterious kip burgers were delicious, as was the goat stew.
I believe in a loving Creator and believe He has given us the miraculous seas as a sacred trust. Those of us who dive should honor that trust by taking care of this extraordinary place. Take the time to tell people your dive experiences. Not only will they appreciate your stories, but it may encourage them to see the water world as real and worth preserving
Bonaire is the SHORE dive capital of the world. So that is what you should focus on!! Boat dives are of course also good and can be organized at any time. No need to pre book. I can't begin to tell you how often we have taken people shore diving that immediately regretted the boat dive package that they had already booked. My suggestion is dive from shore to start with and if you decide to boat dive you can easily organize it on the spot. One essential element for shore dives is open heel fins with booties and unfortunately not all dive operators have those for rent. Luckily you can buy affordable booties and fins on the island or you can bring them from where you live. I REALLY like (LOVE actually) the TUSA dive booties. Both the low dive slipper and the higher zip up boot have an excellent sole that will keep you safe anywhere on Bonaire and they are nice and light at the same time.
For the food price and gas price complainers...please realize that us island inhabitants pay those prices too and we make about 1/3 of what you are making each month ;-)