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We just returned from a week in Bonaire, June 16-23. It was our first time to Bonaire. It was a great trip, with some nice dives. Water temps were around 81* and visibility was 60-80 at most sites. We were told some deep water updrafts were causing the reduced viz, but I was fine with it.
We stayed at Deep Blue View Bonaire - The Deep Blue View B&B - The Intimate Dive Resort , a relaxing bed and breakfast sitting on a hill above town. I could not recommend DBV more, its private setting and limited number of customers (only 5 rooms) provided the perfect environment for the personalized service we received. Great gear lockers, rinse tanks, and plenty of air and nitrox tanks available. They also have some AL 100s for you air hogs out there. We didn’t need to rent any gear, but DBV/LaTina Divers had some nice looking Cressi BCs and regs that appeared nearly new. Nice.
We used LaTina Divers (DBV’s in-house dive op). Again, more personalize service. Their new 36 foot Newton dive boat limits passengers to no more than 10 divers, so it is never crowded. It takes you to Klein Bonaire, the Washigton Slagbaai National Park, or some of the places that are difficult or inaccessible from shore. The Washingtong Slagbaai Park sites were excellent.
I’m not going to go into endless detail about the dives, as there are plenty of other threads on that topic here. Bonaire is billed as the shore diving capital of the world. We did a mix of boat and shore dives. You will need to rent a truck to get around the island and you just pick a shore dive site and go. I felt the diving was good. Lots of fish and healthy reefs. The few lionfish we saw were quickly speared by the divemasters. There were a few challenging shore dive sites, but see below for a tip on how to minimize trouble with them.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy by Susan Porter. Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy, BSDME, Author Susan Porter It is a great guide, especially for those new to Bonaire like ourselves. It rates the difficulty of each site and gives a general description, entry/exit concerns, and other info on various sites around the island. We got to meet Susan while she crewed on the boat dives up to the northern part of the island. The book really made our shore dives easier.
I searched Scubaboard prior to the trip and want to thank other SBer’s for their advice and reviews on restaurants on the island. As with any vacation some guesswork is usually involved when picking a place to eat. We ate at the following places:
The Ribs Factory—the best ribs I’ve ever had anywhere. Located on the waterfront over the mall—closed Wednesdays
It Rains Fishes—excellent dishes and reasonable prices. Great view of the waterfront from outside seating. Plenty of fans to keep the bugs away.
Pasa Bon Pizza—Outstanding pizza—call ahead to place your order to avoid delays even if eating there—wear bug spray too—closed Monday and Tuesday
Capriccio—we were told by friends who have been to Bonaire many times that Capriccio is not what it used to be. I felt they put more effort in the building’s architecture and the dishes were lacking in size and taste for the price the meal cost. Located on the waterfront. Make reservations if you plan to try it.
Zee Zicht—Ok meal, but they were out of a lot of things and I felt the menu was ok, but generally unimpressive. On the waterfront.
Gio’s Ice Cream—Wow! The best ice cream in the world. We went there three times. So good. Across the street from the mall. Also, a great value. $6 feeds two.
Elle’s Deli—off the traffic circle by the marina. Great little sandwich shop with an extensive menu. Try your sandwich on Waldkorn bread. Yummy. Great prices too.
Spice bar @ Eden Beach Resort—this used to be Bongos on the Beach. It is down from the marina. We went there for lunch and it was really good. Try the steak sandwich. They have live music on the beach at night, so if noise is a concern, stick to lunch.
Whatta Burger—on the waterfront. Simply the worst burger I’ve ever had. Terrible service and the burger tasted like it was just out of the freezer and then was thrown on the grill for a few minutes before serving. It was all pink inside. The two employees there seemed annoyed that customers were coming in. Save your digestive tract the agony and skip this one.
A few other tips I found useful:
-the water is safe to drink from the tap
-don’t leave anything you wouldn’t want stolen in your vehicle and leave the windows down and doors unlocked when you park so thieves don’t break them
-take a trip up to the Washington Slagbaai park—dives are very nice there
-most rental vehicles are manual transmission, but at least they drive on the right there
-be careful driving around—people walking, goats, donkeys, dogs and other drivers not using signals are your hazards to avoid. Learn the international road signs and their meanings
-departure tax is included in your airfare
-get a small dry box to wear around your neck or tie in a BC pocket to carry your truck/room key and a small amount of money while you dive
-US dollar is the currency of the island
It was a fun trip and the accommodations and service at DBV were top notch. The diving wasn’t the greatest I’ve experienced, but the adventure and laid back style of the shore diving was a fun experience. We will be back.
been true on United/Continental for a couple of years. can't now remember in last several trips paying the departure tax. how quickly the mind goes.
however the departure tax collector is in the same general area fwiw.
No, Deep Blue View is up in a residential area in the hills over looking town. I think the neighbourhood is "Republic" (sp?). They have two pools on the property.
DBV is a is a unique place and well worth it. Menno, Ester and the dogs really know how to look after you. Nice breakfasts every day, a fantastic BBQ dinner one day. Very nice.
Hawkwood is correct, although I would describe one of the "pools" as more like un-heated jacuzzi.
We found the lack of diving on the resort site not to be an issue at all. If we were in a heavy diving mood, we just backed our truck up to the dive locker area, loaded up gear and tanks, and headed off for some shore dives (which are just a short drive nearly anywhere--its a small island). For the boat, again just a few minutes to the circle and we were at the marina.
The whole setup helped keep the resort a place to relax. Plenty of pool chairs or hammocks, and a fridge that guests share to grab a cold one out of. With limited guests there, there was no noise disturbing us at any time. We visited Eden Beach Resort while there and while they do have shore diving on site, there was a lot more hustle and activity and noise there.
DBV may not be for everyone, but for me that was the most relaxing vacation I've had in a long time and we'll definitely return there.