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15 years since last Bonaire trip

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by klschnepp, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. klschnepp

    klschnepp Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: London
    Returning 14-28 december and need to book shore air (nitrox) plus maybe some boat dives. Have house near Buddy Dive, but remember them being a bit of a nightmare even if you stayed on site. Any recommendations on operators? We are confident divers and only need tanks & weights.

    No doubt the island quite different, any insights on island life would be much appreciated !
  2. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Right now they're building a resort in the vacant field you might remember as north of Eden Beach, just south of Bari Reef.
    Fronting it at least for now is Coco Beach Club.

    There's a Courtyard by Marriott east of the lagoon south of the airport. Also another villa property on a different part of the lagoon that's been there maybe a decade. The Donkeys are mostly on the farm..

    Delphins resort went in a couple years ago in the Lighthouse Poinu/Punt Vierkant area south.

    Cruise ships regularly dock at Town Pier so I believe it's permanently closed to diving. Buddy's was running up to Slagbaai Park but that may have stopped.

    Check out Dive Friends, they have 6? locations, Some of them will do the BMP Orientation the afternoon you arrive.

    They're at the north end of the Cliff dive site (in the villas north of Hamlet Oasis, at Sand Dollar streetside, at Den Laman next door (boat access), in town at Yellow Sub (boat) at Port Bonaire(boat) south of the airport and at Delphins. AFAIK all are tank exchange locations.

    In town At Sea is a good restaurant since you were there. I believe Donna/Giorgio's moved from where you might remember it. City Cafe closed, And there's a Subway.That Italian/Seak place in town with the huge portions closed years ago. There's a large Van Den Tweel market across from Warehouse Foods,

    Plaza Resort went AI some years ago and another poster told me they stopped the midweek BBQ.

    Not much seems to have changed at the dive sites although there's food truck often found at one of the kite surfer sites on the SW side.

    And there's a different process to get your BMP tags now - there's a thread about it here.
  3. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Hi @klschnepp

    Dive Friends would work well for you. Hamlet Oasis and Sand Dollar are very close to you, boats leave the Sand Dollar/Den Laman pier every morning. We were there Sept/Oct and bought our marine park tags, by credit card, at Dive Friends Sand Dollar.
    uncfnp likes this.
  4. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    +++1 for Dive Friends.
  5. GrafCanuck

    GrafCanuck Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: London, Ontario
    +1 for Dive Friends at Den Laman......and they have 6-7 other locations around the western part of the island...
  6. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    You should still reserve in advance if you want an automatic truck. It may not have changed as much as you think - when I was there in October, the gas station I used didn't take VISA or MasterCard - so carry some cash. Van Den Tweel is a really nice grocery store, but when staying north of town, Zhung Kong, though way smaller and more basic, may do fine for you (it's just north of the Buddy Dive area).

    To me, Bonaire feels a tad more 'bustly' (I imagine the cruise industry has something to do with that), but still pretty rustic.

    Someone else remembers City Cafe! I really liked it. The retail location of Cactus Blue also closed; the name Cactus Blue went to a food truck, still in business though it's changed ownership. Years ago I also ate at Papaya Moon (IIRC) and Richard's, also not there anymore.

    When I was there in October (my research notes) the Cactus Blue food truck was at the Corporal Meiss dive site, between Windsock and Bachlor's Beach, south section of the coast, and just north of Windsock is the Port Bonaire Dive Friends location for swapping out tanks, so this is a good stretch to know. I was quite happy with Dive Friends as services provider.
  7. gbf

    gbf Manta Ray

    I've been itching to tell about this place from our trip in Aug/Sept2019. You didn't ask for restaurants, but I couldn't stand it.

    Red Palm Village Restaurant.

    We tripped over them at Taste of Bonaire. Young daughter and I had a roasted red pepper soup and a tuna dish that were so good we went around to get the rest of our gang out of other lines to come try it. The owner gave us a $20 off coupon (he called it "buying you a bottle of wine") so a group of 8 of us went for dinner. Its on what I call the "back" road to Sorobon, the one from Kralenjdik instead of past the airport.

    It was truly outstanding.
  8. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Zhung Kong was just completing an extensive renovation and expansion when @drrich2 and I were there in Sept/Oct. Many new freezers and refrigerators, much more space. They were still busy stocking when we left. The store did not even have signage yet. I would imagine all of this is done now. We find Zhung Kong very quick and convenient when we are staying at Den Laman. Here is a picture of the partially finished store taken by Richard. We missed the store entirely the first time we drove by despite having been there many, many times 8 Day Trip Report: Sand Dollar, Dive Friends
    tkaelin likes this.
  9. klschnepp

    klschnepp Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: London
    this is wonderfully helpful!! thank you!!! (and we have booked in with Dive Friends).
  10. tkaelin

    tkaelin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: CT
    Good news about Zhung Kong. Very convenient if staying in this area/part of the island.

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