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Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

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Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

Hi! We are looking for a place to spend a week in the Caribean in August (due to work this is the ONLY time we can go). I know the weather is iffy this time of year since it is smack dab in the middle of hurricane season so I was thinking of Bonnaire since it is off the beaten hurricane path. I keep seeing conflicting info on beaches vs no beaches and I'm so confused. I have listed our LIKES and DISLIKES. Originally we were going to go to either Vieques (we rented a house there last July and it was incredible) or Culebra BUT I am too worried about the weather this late in the rainy season. I know I want it all and such a place may not exist but if someone could please guide me in the closest direction as possible I would greatly appreciate it!

Also before anyone yells at me for wanting it all, I am just trying to paint a good picture...so please don't feed me to the lions...if I knew the answer I wouldn't post the question :)


1. Clean, sandy beaches

2. Calm, clear, turquoise water

3. Snorkeling that is easily accessible by foot or bike or short car ride.

4. Accommodations with AC

5. Private bathroom

6. Nearby hiking

7. Local seafood

8. Friendly locals

9. low crime rate

10. very casual restaurants (ramshackle with great food preferable)

11. market to buy food so we don’t have to eat at restaurants all the time (don’t need a kitchen, just a cooler and ice), don’t plan on cooking.

12. very casual, comfortable place to get a drink while looking out at the Atlantic or Caribbean (ramshackle with great food preferable)

13. don’t ever want to have to wear more that a tshirt and shorts

14. be able to be outside during the day and not get chewed alive by insects (I am a believer in DEET but I don’t want to have to bathe in it)

15. natural, breathtaking beauty

16. environmentally and ecologically conscious environment

17. sunset sailing and snorkeling trips

18. horseback riding a plus but not a necessity


1. getting chewed alive by insects (a few bites OK)

2. cruise ship ports

3. cruise ship tourists

4. all inclusive resorts

5. large resorts

6. crowds

7. loud bars

8. over abundance of gift shops/souvenir shops

9. parasailing, jet pack flying, water skiing, anything with nearby loud boat motors or the smell of gasoline

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1. Re: Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

Bonaire hits most of your "likes" except sandy beaches. Most beaches are made of broken coral and require water shoes. If you are looking for long stretches of sandy beaches, you won't find it in Bonaire. I believe Lac Bay is pretty sandy, but it is also the main spot for windsurfers.

There are an abundance of snorkel sites that you can reach by car. The book, Bonaire Diving Made Easy, would be a good start with telling you what sites are good for snorkeling and entry points.

Bonaire is very laid back and casual. It is not overrun with cruise visitors like many other islands. August is considered low season so it shouldn't be too crowded. We've always encountered friendly locals (minus the employees at Total Car Rental, but that's a whole other story). Bonaire has many excellent restaurants and supermarkets if you chose to cook. You have a wide variety of accommodations to choose from, we tend to rent from VRBO or Homeaway. You will find accommodations with AC or at least in the bedrooms. You'll need mosquito repellent in the evenings. There aren't many bug-free islands. As far as crime rate, theft from vehicles has been a problem for some. Leave cars unlocked nothing valuable in the car and you won't have a problem. Never had a problem in 2 visits and others will tell you they never had an issue over several visits.

There is plenty to see in Bonaire, both above and below water. Woodwind gets many good recommendations on the board for snorkel tours (have not used them personally). I believe they do sunset cruises. There is a national park that offers hiking, and you'll find other various activities around the island, like kayaking, mountain biking, donkey sanctuary, etc.

Edited: 23 February 2014, 16:29
Marietta, Georgia
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for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
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2. Re: Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

Travel14 is pretty well right on... Bonaire hits about all your "LIKE"s except the white sandy beaches. Lac Bay/Sorobon Beach is about the only real natural sandy beach and the white sand bottom does go on "forever" at only 2 - 3 feet deep, which is what makes it great for us windsurfers. For most people it is probably an interesting place to spend a few yours one day, but unless you are a windsurfer (or want to become one) you won;t want to spend multiple days there. If you walk across the bay there is a great snorkeling area with some of the best live coral on the island. Several of the resort also have fairly small, sometimes man-made, sandy beaches. This sand frequently terminates with an ironstone bottom a short distance into the water.

Bonaire is a very laid back, friendly, and safe island. It has both excellent restaurants such as Capriccio, and At Sea (which was recently named the best restaurant in the Caribbean) as well as local places like Bobbyjan's and the Maiky Snack (very local goat stew). There will be few, if any, cruise ships in August and the town will be rather quiet.. Many accommodations will have kitchen facilities and there are several food/supermarkets. Mosquitoes are generally not a problem during the day but will come out around dusk. The number of mosquitoes will depend largely on the amount of recent rainfall.

You may want to check some of my trip reports with lots of pictures and restaurant reviews at my web page: www.hammocktree.us/ms/trips.html

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3. Re: Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

I truly appreciate the info! Bonaire sounds great...any advice (based on my "LIKES" list) where should we stay that's clean, comfortable and convenient?? I've looked at B n Bs, Inns, Hotels and VRBO...can't decide...

Boise, Idaho
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4. Re: Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

Check out Beachcomber Villas, an intimate oceanfront property with only 2 apartments. They've got both a regular website and a VRBO listing. The 70+ 5-star VRBO reviews speak for themselves. We've stayed there 4 times for a total of 10 fantastic weeks. We've also stayed at 5 or 6 other properties on Bonaire over the years and this is by far our favorite.

Not sure if I'm allowed to post URL links here, but you can find both of their sites easily by googling for "beachcomber villas bonaire".

If you're interested in staying here feel free to send me a PM and we can start an email exchange to answer questions etc.

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5. Re: Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

We rented a waterfront studio at the Sand Dollar via VRBO. We really liked the location as our building was right by the entry point to Bari Reef that has great diving/snorkeling. The owners of the property were very accommodating. I can PM you the link if interested.

6. Re: Caribbean vacation spot in August...Bonnaire??

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