Trip Report Bonaire Trip Report - V.I.P. Divers/Aqua Viva Suites

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NDL_Diver

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Wichita
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KIPP TUKKIE, slow smoked chicken (not BBQ). It is pink inside and is why some say undercooked. It is slow smoked cured, yummy.
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 4 PM to 6PM. By frontdoor Van Den Twill market. $ 7.50 for 1/2, $14 for whole.
We grab one half for 2 (YMMV) as we leave the store with salad and veggies and maybe some apple strudle for a quick home meal.

Bring reusable shopping bags, single use are not available on island (empty boxes are available to the right after checkout if you don't have a bag or you can purchase reusable bags at counter.
 

USC8791

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Raleigh, NC
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Was the guy in front of the Van den Twell whom sells rotisserie chickens still around? They were so tasty and perfect for lunch after diving.
Kip Tukkie! Awesome chicken. I believe he arrives at 4:00 PM.
40B10600-0284-4057-AF48-9C3A1FC32C4C.png
 

Ironjock

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Ohio
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great reviews and information as always drrich2 . Planning on our second trip next year and your info will help guide us. Thanks
 

Jersey

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You sure you aren't a cost accountant? Great summary of expenses. See you spent some time and money at Gio's! YUMMMMM!!!!
 

chapells

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Indiana
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Excellent report ! Quite a jam packed trip from the description.

I love working with VIP. My wife and I did our very first "dive" with them many years ago as a Discovery Dive while on a cruise. After getting our OW on Curacao, we got our AOW at VIP and have used them on almost every trip since. Have tried Dive Friends - but just didn't get the same service and connection as we do each time at VIP. I now tend to make longer stays on island and apparently am even lazier - is Sept we did 40 dives spread over a 4 week visit :) I prefer to dive 2 tanks per day and skip a day quite often - so the VIP "tank card" is a better option than the "unlimited" -- 2 leisurely dives leaves time for nap, hikes, long dinners, etc. As I have learned, not everyone is made the same and we each have our own approaches to relaxing.
 
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drrich2

drrich2

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Location
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# of dives
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Great summary of expenses. See you spent some time and money at Gio's! YUMMMMM!!!!
That comes from spending too much time on ScubaBoard reading trip reports, and pondering the logistics of 'Could I do that?' Round trip airfare and other costs, what lengths of flights one can tolerate (going off recall, I think a flight to Bonaire out of Miami is somewhere in the ball park of 3-hours, and out of Charlotte, NC more like 4-hours?), it adds up. It's nice to read about someone's grand diving adventure, much like it's nice to read about someone's experience in a new car or new house.

But...the question looms...what's this gonna cost me? What's the price tag? That's part of why I give an itemized summary; your airfare will be a bit different, you may or may not pay airport parking for your trip, etc...

I love working with VIP.
Often when I was analyzing tanks in the morning one of the staff said 'good morning.' There was a friendly 'vibe' from them. They have more services than what I took advantage of. From what I understand, they have a good rep. for providing private guided shore diving services, and while I don't know the cost offhand, you can have them deliver tanks to your accommodation.

One thing I forgot to mention from meeting @uncfnp and @Soloist is that I got to see their Freedom plates on their BP/W rigs; nice! I knew of the Freedom plates from @Eric Sedletzky from the high praise they get on ScubaBoard, but I don't recall whether I'd seen one before in person.

Part of the fun of interacting with other divers is seeing what toys they've got. I like my Deep6 Eddy fins and that DryFob for the truck key.

I prefer to dive 2 tanks per day and skip a day quite often - so the VIP "tank card" is a better option than the "unlimited" -- 2 leisurely dives leaves time for nap, hikes, long dinners, etc.
In years past I saw people hiking in Washington-Slagbaai Park up north, and wondered how they endured the brutal sun. Bonaire's daily highs don't tend to sound too bad, until one gets out walking around in it. It's beautiful in an arid, scrubby way. I enjoy the Bonaire whiptail lizards, iguanas and occasional glimpse of a yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot.

One thing I like about Bonaire is the general sense it's a pretty safe place to be in terms of getting out. Yes, there's concern about petty theft from rental trucks while shore diving, and there've been reports of burglarized accommodations, but in terms of walking around in the evenings, I never felt like I was apt to get mugged or assaulted. Walking home with take-out one evening (when I learned 6 p.m. was sunny and well-lit, but 7 p.m. was night!), I appreciated that.
 

chapells

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Location
Indiana
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Last year we drove around Washington Slagbaai- stopping at many points along the way: was visually very appealing but extremely bumpy drive. Certainly not something to take on if one has back problems.

We also did the hiking trail at Dos Pos (Two Wells) - which with the lower wind speed in September became a bit of a "forced march" after a while. By plan, we had sunscreen applied, hats, plenty of water and took several rest stops along the way. The bird watching and the views over the Goto Meer were wonderful - but my wife informed me that hike was a once in a lifetime for her :cool: so I'll stick other less lengthy trails next time.

Agree 100% with the feeling of safety. We stayed at Club Nautico downtown in Kralendijk - and felt comfortable walking to dinner at night, running the water-front in the morning, etc. The petty theft at dive sites is a risk - but have always followed local advice to leave truck windows open and don't leave anything too valuable. I have a cylinder dry-box I wear into the water and I put the truck key, some $'s, and/or a credit card if we plan to stop for lunch where a card is taken. I leave spare batteries and other misc items like mask boxes in the truck - I expect that sometime we'll come up to find they've been taken but so far this hasn't happened to us. Much of the year the diver turnaround at sites is such that some divers are usually above water (either prepping to dive, packing up after, or on SI) which likely makes potential thieves wary.
 

Trailboss123

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Great trip report, as usual, Richard. Glad to hear you and others have had a good experience with VIP Diving. I have been a loyal Dive Friends customer, but the resort we are staying at next month has a package deal that includes VIP Diving and has tanks located at the resort itself. So, we will have the option of just grabbing tanks from our resort or from the shop, based on what we are doing during a given day. Looking forward to being back on the island again. Last trip there was for 2 weeks just before the pandemic hit.
 
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