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Bonaire Trip Report - Delphins Resort

Discussion in 'Bonaire' started by buffdiver, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. buffdiver

    buffdiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    71
    52
    18
    I had the pleasure to be in Bonaire, my favorite diving destination. over September 22-28. I was with four other divers and we stayed at Delphins. About us: I am an experienced AOW diver with this being my third trip to Bonaire. The other four were beginner to intermediate OW divers. We rented four one BR apts at Delphins for the week.

    Delphins is one of the newest and most posh resorts that I've stayed. I found the cost to be higher than Sand Dollar and Buddy Dive but marginally. We took the "Dive and Drive" package. The apt interiors were modern. Refrigerators, MW, deep bin sinks, polished concrete countertops, and pod type coffee makers (resort provides drip makers on request) were all new and clean. The beds were very clean and comfortable. The bathrooms had standup showers and towel and linen service came daily. Three of the four apts we stayed were downstairs and were fully air conditioned. I stayed upstairs and only the br had AC. I give the apts and guest services a 5 of 5.

    Breakfast was included. It WAS NOT an American bacon, eggs, sausage, type buffet. It was EURO. Cold salami and cheese in a "bread box" with small espresso coffees. Fruit, yogurt, and juices were available. Eggs were made to order but if you wanted more than one, you had to ask. Hot chocolate croissants were there at 7:00am.

    The main restaurant was the Brass Boar! Very pricey for this diver and I didn't bother. The bar and grill was were I ate when at the resort but it was resort prices and more expensive than going off resort. We ate mostly off resort. The food and restaurant would be a 4 of 5. I docked them for the prices and less than attentive service...I know it's a Dutch thing!

    Okay, Diving. We did the Dive and Drive which provided unlimited tanks by Dive Friends who we all know as being one of the best operations in Bonaire and they didn't disappoint. Nitrox was part of the package. But since my original booking for this trip DF no longer offers "free" Nitrox. (At least not as part of the Delphins package.) Rinse tanks and a locker room were provided for equipment. We also did two boat dives from the DF dock next to the Courtyard Marriott. The DMs and Captains took very good care of us (especially our new diver who happen to have an artificial hip) and didn't disappoint. Dive Friends gets 5 of 5.

    The reef at Delphins was a rough entry and long swim (10-12min) to the reef. The first day was impossible due to Tropical Storm Karen out in the ocean. We ended up at Den Leman up north at Sand Dollar to do our buoyancy check. Our new diver who also had an artificial hip struggled at the Delphins reef even the next day after the waves calmed down. It also was a challenge for the rest of us. We ended up at invisibles, toris reef, and "Trailbosses' Rock" most of the time. Delphins Reef AKA Punt Vierkant gets a 3 of 5.

    Summary: Delphins is a destination resort with an awesome pool and beach with more focus on honeymooners, wedding and anniversary occasions. If you just happen to dive also, then that is there too with the Dive Friends center and drive through tank pickup. It doesn't have the primary focus on diving that Buddy Dive, Sand Dollar, and Divi do. If you prefer newer, modern resort and room amenities that Buddy Dive and Sand Dollar do not have (due to age) then Delphins is your ticket. The management at Delphins reports that a boat dock is in the works for 2020. They really want more divers or dive clubs to try them and are willing to offer competitive packages but you will need to be the judge. It definitely fills the need for those 1/2 diving couples where one spouse does not dive (or only snorkel) and the other dives.

    Respectfully Submitted!
     
  2. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Tacoma, WA & Channel Islands, CA- USA
    2,060
    2,158
    113
    Excellent report @buffdiver - I think you nailed all of the prescient points right on the head, particularly regarding Delfin's resort, restaurants and the house reef.
    And you are correct regarding the Nitrox charge with Dive Friends. There is an up-charge. $200 for the week with Nitrox and $180 without. However, there is a 10% discount for repeat customers. Sometimes, you have to remind them of this and request your discount. That brings unlimited Nitrox down to $180 for the week. Sounds like you had a great time. How did you like my dive site?
     
  3. buffdiver

    buffdiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    71
    52
    18
    Your site was awesome! My friend saw your eel, on the coral. We did a night dive there also. If you start from Invisibles you can swim South to that coral head and make it an out and back. We did that too.
     
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  4. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    10,934
    6,382
    113
    I thought it was Greg's Gorgeous Garden, 3G's, for us in the know:)
     
    Trailboss123 and buffdiver like this.
  5. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,991
    5,223
    113
    Really enjoyed your review, loaded with the info. I'd be researching for if I were interested in Delfins. If I were going to hit a place more expensive than Buddy Dive Resort (where I've stayed 3 times), I'd want a good house reef, though.

    Since Delfins seems positioned for the 'not just diving' crowd (either mixed vacation types, or a diver with a non-diver in tow, etc...), if there much on-premises or walking distance from it for non-divers to do? Did you happen to notice any kids' club/play area, etc...?

    I ask because I figure the demographic likely to be looking for a 'Delphin's experience' will want to know.
     
  6. buffdiver

    buffdiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    71
    52
    18
    There were families but no playscapes,etc. just the beach. Non divers will definitely need a vehicle In town is the nearest shopping and dining action.
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  7. buffdiver

    buffdiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Houston
    71
    52
    18
    Good snorkeling.
     
    jbilicska likes this.
  8. GrafCanuck

    GrafCanuck Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: London, Ontario
    240
    111
    43
    Thanks buff diver for this detailed review of Delphins. My wife and I are making plans for our 3rd visit to the island early in 2020. We've stayed at Divi and Capt Don's. Sand Dollar and Den Lamen are on our short list. Not certain if Delphins is for us (although my wife is not a diver) but it is good to get a review like yours to help in the decision making. Cheers. :cool:
     
    buffdiver likes this.
  9. Jersey

    Jersey Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SE PA/ Southern NJ
    1,021
    191
    63
    Excellent report, thank you! My brother is trying to convince his non-diving wife to come down with us next trip. Delphins is what she would like - beach, cabanas around a fancy pool, someone to bring you froo froo drinks. We ate a Brass Boer the year it opened, once was enough, food was good & creative, portions SMALL (think molecular gastronomy - a single bite with a puff of foam and a single blade of grass sticking up), prices high and service atrocious. After asking for a refill of my beverage twice, my buddy walked to the bar and got it for me. AND - they charge $5 per person for water. That shocked me when we got the bill. Why the charge? "It's filtered water" was the reply. Isn't the majority of water on Bonaire filtered? It's not seawater!
     
    buffdiver likes this.
  10. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,679
    1,477
    113
    I just did a guided dive with Floor, a DFB Instructor, at Delfins last week, after doing a shore dive on DFB's house reef near the cruise port. Although I did not get to sample any of the resort's amenities other than the dive entry point, Delfins Resort looked very nice, and certainly more upscale than the Habitat, Buddy Dive, Sand Dollar, etc. But, I would not trade the stairs like is at the Habitat's dock for a more upscale Delfins resort experience. I guess I hit Delfins on a good day because the entry/exit was not particularly challenging, even with multiple joint replacements. However, because of the topography, I can see where it would likely kick your butt with any amount of surge beyond light.
     
    buffdiver likes this.

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