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Thread: Bonaire Curcao Trip report

  1. #1
    Grouper
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    Bonaire Curcao Trip report

    We have made it back safe and sound from our Curacao and Bonaire trip. We had a really good time and I wanted to post a trip report. There have been so many about Bonaire I’m going to keep it short. If anyone has any specific questions post them.

    Curacao

    In Curacao we stayed at Marazul Dive Resort. It’s a nice place to stay but I think resort is the wrong classification. It does have a pool and is pretty new. It’s a group of single standing condos that are privately owned so everyone’s experience may vary.

    The one we stayed in was a very nice two bedroom. It said it was a two bedroom with a loft that slept 6. The futon in the loft did not look very inviting but we were only 4 people so it didn’t really matter. Kitchen was in good shape.

    The house reef was right next to Alice in Wonderland and Ocean Encounters shop and was pretty much as good.

    We dove Playa Lagun and ate there. The food and the diving were both pretty good. We also dove Casa Abou; the beach was really nice not as nice as Porta Maria but the diving was better.

    I didn’t take any pictures since I was struggling with my new gear set up and didn’t want to add more stress but I have Curacao pics from last year on my Flicker account.

    Bonaire

    I love Bonaire and can’t say enough about it. We got there 12/31 and went to Capt. Don’s for dinner. It’s a pretty nice place and good food. All of sudden a manta shows up right off the bar wall and kept coming back all night. I wanted to see him while I was in the water but no luck.

    We stayed at Sand Dollar and were very satisfied. The condos are a little older but in pretty good shape. They are very spacious and well maintained. We did have a few issues when we first got there. We contacted the owner and management and both flew into action and it was resolved in less than 24 hours.

    We used Bonaire Adventures Dive shop which is right by the condos. This in one top notch shop, you pretty much have the run of the place. Tanks anytime day or night and a free nitrox upgrade. They also own the pier so if you use Dive Friends which is also right next to the condos you have to enter from the beach. We were advised on day one to use BA and it seemed to be a pretty good choice. I don’t want to put a negative light on Dive Friends because I know absolutely nothing about them.

    We dove Angel City, Oil Slick, Tolo, Karpata, Weber’s Joy,Tailor made, Candy land and Bari (house reef). We did multiple dives on Oil Slick since it’s before the road turns one way and you don’t have to around the whole island to get home. We also saw seahorses with a full memory card so I went back in the hopes to find them again but no luck

    Of all the dives we did ; the north end impressed me most. Tailo rMade, Candy Land and Karpata are the cream of the crop IMO. Of course I’m sure someone will disagree because opinions are like….

    I also did some solo diving for the first time and loved it!I did a solo night dive and it was a little different at first but was pretty awesome. I plan to do a lot more solo diving the next time we go back.

    Here is the part where I compare the two Curacao andBonaire. If you want to compare diving Bonaire wins hands down. It is a diver’s paradise. You hear is again and again divers saying they are free on Bonaire.The reefs are in better shape, bigger fish, rays and so much more. The beaches suck the food is hit or miss and pretty pricey. You are best off shopping and cooking yourself if you can.

    If diving is not the most important part of the trip and you are traveling with non-divers then Curacao. Downtown is amazing ; beaches amazing but the diving is second rate IMO.
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    Last edited by Clernix; 01-12-2013 at 18:43.

  2. #2
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Great report and I agree with everything you outlined. I really miss Bonaire. After about 4 years away, my dive buddies assure me we are going back to Bonaire in 2013. Karpata is awesome! We liked Curacao, but found getting to the diving was a lot more of a challenge than in Bonaire. We spent a couple days at Casa Abou simply because it was easy and the beach was beautiful.

    So, how was the island hopping? If I remember you flew into one island spent a week and then took the hopper to the other. How was that experience?

    Snagel

  3. #3
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    Thank you for posting a trip report! We love Bonaire as well (never been to Curacao) and adore the far south sites like Margate Bay and Atlantis. It doesn't sound like you went that far south. It's been 3 years since we've been to Bonaire and 2013 will be our return as well!! Can't wait.
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  4. #4
    Grouper
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    The only dive we did in the far south was Angel City. I was traveling with two divers that did not like the iron coral on the entries. Maybe I should actually pull back on the statement about the best dives being in the north till I dive more in the south. The corals were pretty amazing though. Getting to Candy Land and Tailor Made was half the fun with my g/f saying the whole way " I think this is wrong".

    They are remote but well worth the trip!

    We did do an island hop and it pretty much went off without a hitch. It was a very small plane; a 15 seat plane. Our two bags had to catch the next flight because of weight issues but we had them in two hours. They actually gave divers an extra 20lbs for gear! Remember those days?

    One thing I didn't mention was the trade winds. OMFG this amazing breeze blowing all day; not to hot and not to cold.

    How clean the island was impressed me too. Also you can walk through town with no "come into my shop" every two seconds. Of course you are the main source of income for a lot of people but you don't get that feeling. In fact the service was almost like in Europe no ass kissing!

  5. #5
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    For me, what is really interesting is that Bonaire and Curacao are fairly close, but it is two different worlds. Bonaire is much more laid back, less busy, a lot more "Robinson Caruso". Curacao seems a lot more modern, many more people, and a little more hectic (at least around the city). I enjoyed them both, but if my focus is diving, Bonaire is where I'm going simply because I like the laid back and the ease of getting to the diving. I would love to do what you did and experience both in one trip...maybe that is something for down the road.

    We've stayed at both the Sand Dollar and Den Lamar and used the Adventure Dive Shop. I don't believe Dive Friends was there the last time we were there and had heard they were associated with Sand Dollar. That all seems a little strange to me and wonder if Sand Dollar had an issue with the Adventure Dive Shop. Is there another dock now that Dive Friends uses? I think you said that they enter the water from the beach.

  6. #6
    Grouper
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    There is only one dock. Right next to the dock is a small piece of sand not really a beach but that is where they enter. We only saw one couple use it. They did have a really cool wagon for their gear and tanks. BA has the tanks on the dock and the locker pretty close.

    Possible I guess, hard to speculate. Who knows maybe not enough kick backs not sure. They couple that runs BA seems really nice but Andrea also seems no nonsense. If you look at the two shops there really is no comparason BA has everything double on the docks and at the loading area for the cars. Dive friends is $20 cheaper per week.

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    I heard that there was a beef between Sand Dollar owners and Bonaire Dive and Adventure, so Sand Dollar turned to Dive Friends. We stay at Den Laman so will use BDA again this year.
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  8. #8
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    BDA has treated us fantastic in the past and since they have tanks and a dock, I'm sure that is where we are going again.

  9. #9
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    We've always had a good experience with BDA, and now that there is 24 hour access to tanks and the gear room, it'll be even better! Though I'd venture to guess we'll follow our old routine of keeping 6 full tanks in our truck and taking our gear up to our balcony after dinner each night. Gear dries better on the balcony than in the gear room with everyone else's wet gear (go figure!), and its nice to have dry gear each morning....not that it stays dry for long!
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  10. #10
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    Did they stop locking the gear room or do people have access codes?

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