Scuba Diving

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

April 13-17, 2008

Bon Bini!

Revan and I traveled to Bonaire in April of 2008. Since we had experienced Cozumel and drift diving in 2006, we decided that the legendary shore diving off of Caribbean Bonaire was next in line for our scuba adventures.

Bonaire is a part of the Dutch Netherlands, and the official language is Dutch. English is widely spoken on the island and for the most part we didn't have any issues with language barriers except at the airport when they lost our luggage. Surprisingly, the island is an arid island. Given its location I expected a tropical environment.

The airline we flew only made one trip to Bonaire each week. When we arrived, we had the unfortunate, but all too common situation where we arrived, but our luggage did not. Since almost all of our dive gear was in our checked luggage, and the airline only flew to the island once a week, this was NOT a good way to start. We picked up our rental car (truck) at the airport and drove to our condo rental at Den Laman. The woman who was at the office at Den Laman went out of her way to help us. She gave us Den Laman tee shirts (no charge) so we had fresh shirts, contacted the airport and arranged (in Dutch) for the condo office to be contacted when news of our luggage was known, and finally, arranged for a free day of scuba rental gear so we could get started diving. How's that for customer service? It sure earned our appreciation and loyalty. Our luggage was shipped via another airline the next day, so we only had to go one dive without our gear. I had the sense to pack my prescription dive mask in my carry-on luggage!

All divers are required to attend a Bonaire National Marine Park Orientation/Briefing and checkout dive before diving in the Bonaire waters. Since all of the dive locations around Bonaire are protected by the Marine Park regulations, the briefing and checkout dive are intended to familiarize divers with the rules, and insure bouyancy is adjusted before heading off to the reefs. is a great resource for the Bonaire dives. It includes maps, GPS coordinates, site reviews and rankings.

Another great resource is the book Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy by Susan Porter. I couldn't find this on Amazon but I was able to order a copy directly from her web site and spent many hours pouring over the information before we actually dived.

A couple of tips that really paid off for us...

We rented a condo at Den Laman. This place was sweet! These condos had full kitchens, modern entertainment centers, fridge, and daily cleaning service.

Our dive shop was Bonaire Dive and Adventure. We didn't have much interaction with the dive shop, but were satisfied with their service. They have a "drip room" where you can hang your gear at the end of each day to dry out. The room is locked at night to safeguard your gear.

I don't remember the hours of the self serve tank replenishment room, but it was fine for most of our diving needs. We were able to do a night dive and drop off the tanks in the night drop area.

Bonaire Above Water

There are other things to do in Bonaire besides diving! Plenty of good places to eat, windsurfing, mango grove tours, caves to explore, and an island to explore.
We took one day to experience the other amenities of Bonaire. We went to Lac Bay to do a little windsurfing. In my case, a very little windsurfing. We took lessons, and then hit the bay. Revan was skimming across the bay in no time. I was spending more time enjoying the sweet taste of gallons of salt water than doing anything like skimming. It was still fun though. Lac Bay is amazing. The natural geography creates a protected, shallow bay that is perfect for windsurfing.

We also explored the island. We did a little geocaching as we explored. There were only 5 or 6 caches on the island, but we found a few. It was interesting to see the wild goats and donkeys throughout the island. We tried to do a mangrove tour, but the only available tour was for a Dutch group and was going to be done in Dutch, not English.

We ended the day exploring Barcardera cave. It was difficult to find, and I got the feeling the locals really don't want to advertise that there are caves on Bonaire. Not sure why... When we asked, we got vague directions or claims that they didn't know. The caves themsleves were fun to see, but not really worth taking the time to find. The one we explored was small, and we didn't go too far into the cave since everything was quickly was covered in bat dung.

Since we had a fully equiped condo and a truck, we took advantage of the local grocery store to keep supplied. We made several trips to grab munchies for the road and for breakfasts and lunches. We did eat at area restaurants for dinners, and ate some breakfasts at the Reef Restaurant that is part of the Den Laman condos.

For shoppers, of course there are plenty of places to shop on Bonaire. We picked up a couple of tee-shirts.

I really disliked the departure process at the airport. We were taken from the air conditioned building, and made to stand out on the tarmac for over an hour while they finished getting the plane ready. There was no shade, and we were baking in the hot sun and humidity. Since we had already passed through the security area, it was not possible to go back inside to the shade or air conditioning.

I almost forgot to mention the Iguanas! They were HUGE. Almost seemed like tame residents of the island. They would hang around the Reef Restaurant waiting for snacks. Don't be fooled though. We saw one girl feeding the Iguanas by hand. I wanted to say something but her dad was right there and OK with it. Sure enough, one of the Iguanas figured her fingers were part of the snack and took a nice bite. Didn't need stitches but I would really worry about infection from a lizard bite. Let the Iquanas feed themselves!


Bonaire Quicksand
Bonaire Lac Bay
Bonaire Iguana


bonaire landscape.jpg
bonaire landscape
pay heed.jpg
pay heed
revan quicksand.jpg
revan quicksand
lac bay.jpg
lac bay
lac bay windsurf
lac bay windsurf.jpg
lac bay windsurf
bonaire geocaching.jpg
bonaire geocaching
bonaire geocaching 2.jpg
bonaire geocaching
barcadera cave 1.jpg
barcadera cave
barcadera cave 2.jpg
barcadera cave
barcadera cave 3.jpg
barcadera cave
barcadera cave 4.jpg
barcadera cave
barcadera cave 5.jpg
barcadera cave
barcadera cave 6.jpg
barcadera cave
barcadera cave 7.jpg
barcadera cave
bonaire hills.jpg
bonaire hills
really cool tree.jpg
really cool tree
cool tree 2.jpg
cool tree
view of kralendijk.jpg
view of kralendijk
bonaire goats.jpg
bonaire goats
bonaire goats 2.jpg
bonaire goats
one thousand steps.jpg
one thousand steps
one thousand steps 3.jpg
one thousand steps
one thousand steps 2.jpg
one thousand steps
den laman.jpg
den laman
den laman and the reef restaurant.jpg
den laman and the reef restaurant
bonaire dive and adventure.jpg
bonaire dive and adventure
den laman pier.jpg
den laman pier
the reef restaurant.jpg
the reef restaurant
bonaire iguanas.jpg
bonaire iguanas
iguanas 2.jpg
kralendijk 2.jpg
kralendijk 3.jpg