@drrich2 how many dives did you get a CoCo View in the week you were there?What's your best budget trip plan (e.g.: airfare, room, rental truck, shore diving) for Bonaire? I hope this thread will help budget-minded divers plan a Bonaire trip. Best doesn't mean cheapest, but let's strive for cheap.
A frequent lament in the rec. dive hobby is the cost of dive trips, a barrier to recruiting and maintaining divers. A separate issue is the need for solo options; not everyone travels with a dive buddy, and some places one can dive alone. Here are some figures from my past solo trips (with airfare, tips, pretty much everything):
7-Day May 2021 Cocoview Resort (Roatan) Trip: $3,600 (roughly).
8-Day Oct. 2019 Bonaire Trip: $3,000 + food & a few miscellaneous costs, figure $3,500 total to be on the safe side. 30 Dives.
8-Day Sept. 2018 Cozumel Trip: $3,250 with food. 26 Dives.
7-Day April 2018 Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Trip: $3,350 (would’ve been ~$4,255 without 34% off Aggressor Fleet sale). 27 Dives.
I researched Bonaire options with a new emphasis on budget with the option for a longer stay (both due to retirement), and started this thread to share my findings and gather other forum members' impressions and advice. If this goes well, maybe we could try it for Cozumel, Roatan, etc... One thing at a time.
I'll lead, and go in-depth on my reasoning and cost analysis. I aimed for a 2-week stay (like 2 dive trips for the price of 1 airfare), non-oceanfront (tends to be cheaper), automatic transmission truck (I don't drive stick), unlimited nitrox tank shore diving (no boat dives), solo traveler and diver (with SDI Solo Diver cert.) and prefer big (100-cf) tanks if possible. I used Feb. 2 – 16, 2022 where possible; I gave Aqua Viva Suites Feb. 16 – Mar. 2 due availability of their cheapest room category. I chose Wed. - Wed. rather than Sat. - Sat. (or Sun.) due to @tursiops post on another thread the former tend to be cheaper. He was right! On 9-21-21 I’d decided on Wed. - Wed. so on Orbitz I booked an AA round trip flight Feb. 16 - Mar. 2 for $566.36. Then I wondered what a similar Saturday - Sat. trip would’ve run, so I ran Feb. 12 - 26. The cheapest flight was on AA, yes, but for $1,388.86 - 6 a.m. departure, 1 hour 12 min. layover in Miami, arrival 2:24 p.m. in Bonaire, so practically the same flight…at well over double the cost. Delta, with 6 a.m. departure, 1 hour 37 min. layover in Atlanta, 2:45 arrival - $1,576.36! Wow!!!