This was our first trip to Bonaire. We traveled with a group of 10 family and friends. (9 divers, 1 snorkeler.)
Flight-We flew out of Houston to Bonaire (11:30- 5:10am flight). The flight was smooth and uneventful. The plain was half empty, so most people could have a row to them self’s. (still hard to sleep even though I had about 4-5 pillows tucked around me). They played a movie and then reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond”.
Car Rental – We rented from Telerin. Poppy met us at the gate with a sign with our name on it. The rental process was quick and easy. She was also helpful when we returned them the following Sunday. In fact she helped us get our boarding passes before others, even though we were in the back of the line. She’s a good person to know! Since our group had rented 3 trucks they were $300 a truck for the week. The trucks were 4 door Great Wall – Deer’s….I think they are made in China. They worked great and had plenty of room for 4 people with a tank rack in the back.
Hotel – We stayed at the Carib Inn. Its easy to find from the airport and didn’t take long to get their. We had not paid for Sat night because it had been booked. We arrived at the hotel around 6am Sunday to find a note that said the maid was cleaning our room and we could get in it after she was done. That was good news! We rented the 2 bedroom suit right on the water. So we waited on the front porch until she was done. She did a great job and was friendly all week. The room was perfect for 2 couples ….Don’t expect 5 star …but they were clean and comfortable and felt like home. Each room had 2 single beds pushed together. They had fans and an AC unit in each room that kept you cool but not cold. With 2 bathrooms (one without a shower) neither bathroom was attached to the bedrooms. The rest of the place didn’t have AC, just a fan. The Kitchen had everything we needed. And this place has a great view of the ocean in the back, just steps from the water. And a pool out the front. We got 2 tanks issued to us for the week for $99, which worked out great. The dive shop is well stocked with some really cool t-shirts. And do we need to talk about Bruce??? The owner is a character! I told him I wasn’t leaving and he was going to have to hire me to work in the shop…he didn’t seem to love this idea. He’s a great guy and his wife is pretty helpful too. If I ever go back to Bonaire I will absolutely stay with Bruce again!
The food – We brought a few snacks from home, bought some stuff at the stores and ate out most nights, never had a bad meal. Some were pretty pricy, but we knew that going in. We ate at KFC (good cheap meal), Bobby Jon’s (great BBQ), The Last Bite Bakery (got to have a brownie), The Lions Den (great hamburgers’!), Papagayo (hamburger was huge but a little pink for me), Papaya Moon (it was all soooo good), Pasa Bon Pizza (Ok. not as good as I expected), Garden Pizza (I liked it better then Pasa Bon), AND my 2 fav’s/ Don’t Miss these places are… Donna & Giorgio’s (loved it all!!!!) and LE-MA-Se in Rincon (the homemade Ice cream was delicious. Try the poncha cream).
Besides diving – My husband doesn’t dive so we tried to split up some of the dive time with other activities. (This place is best for divers, but he was a great sport and is a wonderful guy for supporting me on this trip…I owe him.) We did the 2hr mangrove tour and got to snorkel under the trees to see what lies beneath. I really enjoyed this tour and think it’s a must do. We circled the island a couple times; going north past Karpata to see Goto lake was a beautiful ride. We saw flamingos, wild hogs, goats, donkeys, parrots… Then we stopped in Rincon for Ice Cream. We also stopped at the place with all the junk (you’ll know the place when you see it) Walk around it, if you get a chance. It’s an interesting place. We tried to see the donkey sanctuary, but after driving all the way down the bumpy road, the sign said “closed due to rain”. I was really looking forward to that. We did some shopping down town and bought some shirts at Carib Inn. We drove around going South past the light house and to Lac Bay, but didn’t see much, except for junk on a stick by the water.
Have I mentioned the diving? – (Deep breath in) WOW! It is so beautiful under water in Bonaire. I got to do 14 dives during the week, including 2 night dives. (Other people in the group did more.) I think going down their I wanted to know which were the “don’t miss” dive spots. I will tell you that I did not have a bad dive anywhere. Just get in the water. The thing is, someone will tell you about a great spot that they saw a ray or turtle, but when you go it may not be their, but if you go to another spot it could be their. Most spots look similar to each other (I think). Here’s how the week went:
2 x on Calabas Reef – (in front of Carib Inn and Divi). North and Then south. Beautiful, we saw some Eel and it was just full of fish.
Bari Reef – Asked permission to dive, but not sure we needed to. Geared up close to the pier and a Man (maybe a manager) was very rude to us.
Buddy Dive – Eat lunch by the dive shop – great hamburger. Checked in, was scared after the last guy had been rude, but the people at Buddy were so nice. Great dive! Look under the boat that is sunk. Big Cow /puffer fish.
Hilma Hooker – a must do. Really cool, easy dive.
Angle City – Lots of eel and some squid.
Calabas Reef – night dive...Cool/ Creepy. Lots of Tarpon circling us. Feeding off our light.
Webers Joy/ Witches Hut – Lots of stuff to see, Eels, eagle ray… Good one!
Red Slave – Advanced dive. Kicking current here, but we did see 2 eagle rays.
Oil Slick leap – Besides the night dive at Salt pier, this was my fav spot. Love the leap, in fact we just came here to swim and snorkel a couple times. Look under the ledge behind/ underneath the latter. I saw a big puffer fish here.
Salt Pier – Must Do!! This is so pretty and there is so much to see. Eel, Barracuda, Drum’s, Scorpion fish, brittle stars…Octopus.
Andrea II – finally saw 2 turle’s here. Grouper, puffer…
Margate Bay – We didn’t see too much, but other groups did. Bruce recommended this one.
1000 Steps – Big dead Green moray eel, giant jelly fish and all those steps… Got to do it.
Recommendations/ things I have learned – Where sun block and Bug spray! I got ate up the whole time. Most restaurants are out doors and you will get eaten. Margate Bay is a breading ground for mosquitoes. You will also get eaten on the Mangrove tour without spray. Never got anything stolen but saw broken window glass at a lot of parking area’s. Just don’t take anything you care about. Freeze some water for after the dive. Most grocery stores don’t have bags so take your own tote or bag. Take lots of pic’s. Have patience and chill out. Have a great time!
Did I miss anything???