Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Roatan vs Bonaire

  1. #1
    Grouper
    Join Date
    08/25/2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    372

    Roatan vs Bonaire

    Can anyone who's been to both give me some idea of how the diving on Roatan (CocoView or other areas) compares to the diving on Bonaire. I'm most interested in coral and fish life. I have absolutely no interest in wrecks.

  2. #2
    Barracuda
    Join Date
    10/29/2007
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,025
    Images
    25
    I have been to both this year (Bonaire in May, Roatan in Oct.). I feel the diving and sea life is much better in Bonaire. The coral seemed more vibrant there as well. It is possible that I have a skewed view because it rained many days while we were in Roatan, so visibility suffered on a number of dives. I was not unhappy with the diving in Roatan, just happier with Bonaire.

    We dove with Divi Divers in Bonaire, Aqua Adventures in Roatan.
    And on the eighth day, God said, "OK, Murphy, you take over"

  3. #3
    Guppy
    Join Date
    02/25/2012
    Location
    Comanche, Ok
    Posts
    108
    Images
    16
    They are different in other ways that may impact your choices. Look at the flight availability for both. I found it easier to get to and from Roatan. I rented a pickup on Bonaire due to doing mostly shore dives. I didn't rent a vehicle on Roatan but I did all boat dives. While they both have shore and boat diving, the availability depends on where you stay on each island. Are you taking a diving buddy with you? If doing the shore dives at many dive sites whenever you want 24/7 is something that interests you, Bonaire has the edge. If you are a single diver that needs an instabuddy, boat diving may be a better fit. Roatan offers several dive operators that fit that style.
    I preferred Bonaire for the freedom of going whenever I wanted. Then again in Roatan it was nice to walk the short distance to the boat and have all my gear already loaded and ready to go.
    Overall the reefs seemed to be healthier and more fish in Bonaire but that is based on limited areas of dive sites on Roatan. In Bonaire I went to a larger portion of the island.
    They were both good but there was 1 thing that was annoying at Roatan. Everyone had to pay a departure tax, while not uncommon it had to be paid at the airport unlike some other countries that can add it to the ticket cost. It was just another line that you had to wait in. That was last year, it maybe different now.
    I dove with Subwaywatersports at Roatan & Buddydive at Bonaire.
    I will be returning to Bonaire because my wife likes the snorkeling.
    If it doesn't fit, force it. If it breaks it needed to be replaced anyway.

  4. #4
    Are you mostly interested in shore diving on Roatan? Because it really doesn't exist there outside of the AI resorts which each have their own house reef - most you have to stay there to dive there.

    I know of two "public" shore dives. At one it's a courtesy to rent from the on-site owner of the dock, the other is almost a better snorkel. And there's virtually no operator on the island that will rent tanks for removal from their facility/control either - I only know of one that might - Sueno Del Mar.

    I agree with the vibrant comment. And we were there on sunny March days. I mentioned it to someone else who'd been to both and they agreed - everything often looked a little gray on Roatan - IDK if it's a different sand color? Fish life is similar except there's more variety in large pelagics - outside of the Bonaire East Side dives. There's no sharks on either island but we did see a few big grouper, turtles, stingrays, and there are some wild dolphins that you might run into on boat dives near the east end.

    Another difference is that the AI resorts on Roatan are spread all over the island and isolated. Cocoview and Fantasy Island are adjoining but there's not much else nearby. Since you take a boat the final stretch to Cocoview - it's harder to coordinate off-resort activities. And the West End where all the restaurants/nightlife is located is a 30min cab ride away. Reef House Resort is even farther east and Anthony's Key is on the north side and in a gated, secured compound. 5mins. drive to the West End though. They have a very meh shore dive there also - it's a long walk out to deeper water. You can also "muck dive" in the channel between the main resort and the Key.

    Since you don't like wrecks, that eliminates one of the two dives off Cocoview. Another thing to understand about Cocoview diving is that they do 2 boat dives followed by two drop-off dives on their house reef to get to 4 dives/day. And you can night dive there also. The West End/West Bay operators do 3-4 individual boat dives per day each at a different site. The proximity of the reef there allows for that - we even had time for lunch between dives - it was a little rushed occasionally. Someone does a night dive every night except Friday and Sat.

    Most of Roatan works on a Sat->Sat exchange - the majority of flights and the AI resorts typically follow that schedule. Kind of like Bonaire.

    A lot of people who go to Roatan and stay at Cocoview and the other AI's get picked up at the airport, dive there, eat there, hang out at night there and shuttle back to the airport at the end of the week. CCV even provides special handling for your luggage separately - they send you tags for it. The other AI's are more or less similar. Except for Anthony's Key, most are too far removed from any other sort of dining/shopping options. AKR is 5mins. by cab from the West End where most of that is. I haven't heard any rave reviews for CCV food, we at at AKR one night and it was decent but not memorable.

    Having done both, I'd go back to Curacao first...

  5. #5
    Shark snagel's Avatar
    Join Date
    08/04/2007
    Location
    Warrensburg, MO USA
    Age
    51
    Posts
    3,805
    Images
    9
    I've been to both several times and would agree with what everybody has said. However, for me the the reef in Roatan seemed much more vibrant than Bonaire. It boils down to if I want to do a week of shore diving with the freedom of going where ever and when ever I want....I go to Bonaire. If I want to do boat diving with a boat schedule I want to go to Roatan. I enjoy the freedom of exploring the island in Bonaire, but after 4 trips I think I have everything figured out. In Roatan, I'm one of those that got to the resorts and pretty much stayed there. We have dove with Fantasy Island and Anthony Keys Resort. The dive operations were great in both places. We were at FI before the new management so the resort was pretty much a mess, but have heard it's better. We didn't stay at AKR, just dove with them through a cruise stop over.

    Curacao, yep liked it also. Kind of the best of both worlds....shore diving and boat diving.

    Snagel

  6. #6
    Grouper
    Join Date
    08/25/2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    372
    Quote Originally Posted by Steveo View Post
    Are you taking a diving buddy with you? If doing the shore dives at many dive sites whenever you want 24/7 is something that interests you, Bonaire has the edge. If you are a single diver that needs an instabuddy, boat diving may be a better fit. Roatan offers several dive operators that fit that style.
    I'm not taking a buddy and absolutely do not want (would not tollerate) an instabuddy. I dive solo. I've got the card and ?150-200? solo dives in both warm and very cold water. One of the things I love about Bonaire is the freedom to dive alone. From what I understand CCV doesn't require a buddy and the single supplement penalty is only $200/week.

  7. #7
    At CCV they'll drop you off by yourself for the 2nd dives. It's known to be solo friendly. Anthony's Key however has a no solo diving policy IIRC.

  8. #8
    Grouper
    Join Date
    08/25/2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    372
    Quote Originally Posted by diversteve View Post
    At CCV they'll drop you off by yourself for the 2nd dives. It's known to be solo friendly. Anthony's Key however has a no solo diving policy IIRC.
    Thank's for the info. I had pretty much settled on CCV but it's always good to know which places are no solo restricted.

    I ran into that "no solo" crap everywhere on Grand Cayman (as well as max 100' and back with 500 psi) - except the Kittywake/Paradise Reef boat dive. The divemaster was cool with my going solo. Didn't even ask to see my card. Go figure.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. DM in roatan
    By shad in forum Trips & Travel
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-06-2010, 13:27
  2. Bonaire or Roatan
    By kat in forum Trips & Travel
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 12-30-2009, 10:51
  3. Roatan / Bonaire
    By ScubaVideos in forum Scuba Diving Tube Videos
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-17-2009, 12:50
  4. Roatan, here I come!
    By Panchita in forum Trips & Travel
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 04-28-2008, 11:21
  5. Trip Report - Bonaire / Port Bonaire Resort
    By BobArnold8265 in forum Caribbean -> Central America
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 10-07-2007, 20:30

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •