Budget Trip Challenge - Bonaire

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drrich2

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AB Shows automatic quad cabs as well.

AB shows them available.
Interesting. When I go to AB Car Rental (Bonaire) just now, under Our Fleet, View the Available Cars, and hit the right arrow to scroll, I do indeed see Double Cabin Pick Up Truck - Automatic Transmission ($42.50 p/d low season). Which is really strange, because 9-17-21, asking about a rental, I e-mailed them "Hello! Thank you, but I would need an automatic, not a manual. How much extra is that?" That same day, this was the response:

"Dear Richard,

Sorry, no double cabin pick up truck available anymore…. Only compact SUV, not suitable for divers…

Don’t know if this will be OK?

Kind regards/Met vriendelijke groeten,

José
mailto:info@ABcarrental.com
https://www.ABcarrental.com
Kaya Industria 31
Kralendijk, Bonaire
Phone: (+599) 717 89 80
AB Car Rental has expanded its services and now provides a full service PADI Dive
Center that offers unlimited shore diving packages and much more:
  • 6 days Unlimited air package $150,-
  • Free Nitrox upgrade
  • Courses and Guided dives
For more information https://www.ab-dive.com

Logo AB Carrental

"

P.S.: Maybe he meant they just didn't have one for the dates I gave. If so, I think my interpretation of his wording was understandable. I hope they do usually have the automatic pickups.
 

agd

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Interesting. When I go to AB Car Rental (Bonaire) just now, under Our Fleet, View the Available Cars, and hit the right arrow to scroll, I do indeed see Double Cabin Pick Up Truck - Automatic Transmission ($42.50 p/d low season). Which is really strange, because 9-17-21, asking about a rental, I e-mailed them "Hello! Thank you, but I would need an automatic, not a manual. How much extra is that?" That same day, this was the response:

"Dear Richard,

Sorry, no double cabin pick up truck available anymore…. Only compact SUV, not suitable for divers…

Don’t know if this will be OK?

Kind regards/Met vriendelijke groeten,

José
mailto:info@ABcarrental.com
https://www.ABcarrental.com
Kaya Industria 31
Kralendijk, Bonaire
Phone: (+599) 717 89 80
AB Car Rental has expanded its services and now provides a full service PADI Dive
Center that offers unlimited shore diving packages and much more:
  • 6 days Unlimited air package $150,-
  • Free Nitrox upgrade
  • Courses and Guided dives
For more information https://www.ab-dive.com

View attachment 684625
"

P.S.: Maybe he meant they just didn't have one for the dates I gave. If so, I think my interpretation of his wording was understandable. I hope they do usually have the automatic pickups.
Hi Richard

A bit off topic and forgive me for being presumptuous, but have you considered learning to handle a manual?

Someone of your abilities should be able to do that relatively easily and it opens up many rental options in Bonaire that may be more available and economical. Plus it is a skill that is very useful elsewhere. For example, all the low price car rentals in Europe and Asia, if you ever decide to go, are universally manual. You have to upgrade a number of categories and double the cost before the option of an automatic is generally available.

I apologize for suggesting this if you have a physical limitation that prevents you from doing so, but if not it is a valuable life skill to acquire. Fun too.

Cheers

AGD
 

drrich2

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A bit off topic and forgive me for being presumptuous, but have you considered learning to handle a manual?
No offense taken at all, and a worthy point. I'm not formally handicapped, just kind of an eccentric oddball. In a nutshell, I'm a bit slow acquiring motor skills, not good at multi-tasking, and not fast...I'm analytical and like to think things through, so 'heat of the moment' situations that require prompt reaction can be nerve wracking for me.

My wife knows how to drive stick; I haven't used anything like that since I was a kid operating Dad's tractor in the yard a bit (I don't recall how, and I wasn't enthused then). I picture myself in Bonaire, with foreign road signs, in a rental vehicle I'm not used to driving, approaching a busy roundabout, needing to stop, do whatever it is people do with a clutch, put it in a low gear to get started, move up a gear or two once under way (I did drive ATVs as a kid using a foot switch to change gears, but no clutch or shifting around a stick shift involved), and having to watch other cars while I'm doing all this.

I hope to be blessed with one 'bucket list' long-distance trip to the Indonesian region (Raja Ampat is the plan), via live-aboard. Pretty much there, on the boat and back, no driving. Hope to someday send our little girl on a tourist trip to Europe, but I don't plan to go.
 

divezonescuba

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Not to hijack the thread, but thinking out of the box (Bonaire).

A Red Sea liveaboard is $1100 or less for a week of diving with nitrox, food, and a place to sleep. Another $1000 to $1400 gets you there.

Shore diving is even cheaper. A week of that including the diving, hotel, and meals is about $750.

If our two week trip to Bonaire gets cancelled in Jan, thats where we are headed.
 

drrich2

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A Red Sea liveaboard is $1100 or less for a week of diving with nitrox, food, and a place to sleep. Another $1000 to $1400 gets you there.
Yes, Red Sea live-aboard trips often feature surprisingly low fares, and you're the 2nd person I think I've read indicated the roundtrip airfare can be pretty decent. Traveling that far to catch a live-aboard (and not wanting to miss the boat), I'd aim to arrive the day before (so a hotel room one night), flying out of Nashville I suspect it'd be 2 or 3 days going and 2 coming coming back (haven't plotted it), so there's some time commitment. Many people would take advantage of the change to go see the pyramids.

Another option I'd look at is the Philippines. Supposedly offer Indonesia-like diving (and it is Coral Triangle) on a better budget (if you don't stay at Atlantis Resort, etc...). Not sure how the price would compare.

A key goal for this trip is solo shore diving. I love live-aboard and day boat diving, but after awhile, I start itching to conduct my own dives privately, and I'm not a good enough underwater navigator to do that boat diving (except my California trip). Bonaire scratches that itch.

I'm planning to leave my wife trapped in effective single parenthood with our strong-willed, demanding, high-maintenance, ADHD 3rd grader, so I'm hoping when I get home nothing's thrown at my head and the dogs don't think I died. This 2-week trip to save money idea is experimental. If I don't post a trip report within a week of getting back, send help.
 

arew+4

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You best come home with a suitable gift for such a saintly woman, else you'll be diving in your bath tub for the foreseeable future. 😁
 

JaminBrown

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For our first trip coming up at the end of the month, I did some some serious price shopping.

We're a couple, staying at one of Den Laman's studios (Flounder), renting a truck from AB, and getting our dive package from Dive Friends (with a discount for staying at Den Laman).

I calculated a PP cost of $883 for a 7 day stay, with unlimited shore diving and nitrox, or for a 10 day trip (what we are doing) at $1078 PP. That does not include food, but does include the STINPA park tags and taxes.

We'll likely be making our own breakfasts most days (we usually have a bowl of oatmeal with fruit, and tea), so we can splurge a little on food and grab some boat dives if we feel like it.
 

drrich2

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We're a couple, staying at one of Den Laman's studios (Flounder), renting a truck from AB, and getting our dive package from Dive Friends (with a discount for staying at Den Laman).
Thanks for posting. What kind of airfare price did you guys get on that 10-day stay? I'm glad to see some numbers for a Den Laman stay. On my last Bonaire trip, I stayed at Sand Dollar Condo.s, the adjacent property, so I got a look at the outside of the building. I knew Scubadada had stayed there, and I trust his judgement so I figured Den Laman is probably a worthy contender. So when reaching out to vendors for this trip, I checked into them and e-mailed Sunwise Bonaire.

Their condo. listing page indicates the condo.s are booked via various entities; Sunwise Bonaire, SunRentals Bonaire and Carib Mall. When I booked my last trip with Sand Dollar, I don't think I had to get into asking about a particular room, but I sent Sunwise an e-mail asking for a package deal. Here's part of the response:

"Hi Richard,

Thank you for your kind inquiry.

We don’t have package deals per se, because we want to offer our guests freedom of choice.

Instead of compiled packages with regular partners, we try to conclude as many 'separate deals' as possible for our guests, so that they can compile their own package.

By entering the coupon code RELATION10 on our website, you will immediately receive a 10% discount on the rent of the accommodation.

With AB Car Rental you receive a 10% discount through Sunwise, just like with AB Dive, if you let us ask them for a quote.

VIP Diving also offers a 10% discount on all its diving-related matters and even 20% when everything is prepaid. Dive Friends Bonaire (on the Den Laman premises) also offers the Sunwise guests a 20% discount.

As soon as we know your exact dates, we can ask these companies for non-binding quotes.

Here you can check availability and rates for the Den Laman units for Feb 2-16: You searched for - Sunwise Bonaire

Please let me know if you have any additional questions and we’re looking forward to your stay!

Met zonnige groet / Sunny regards,
Sunwise Bonaire - Ron Opdam"

On the face of it, this doesn't look that different from what I settled on via Aqua Villa Suites, but AVS arranged the package for me. With Den Laman, it'd be on me to book the rental truck and dive services separately (as you did).

In Den Laman's favor, it's oceanfront (with a sandy beach, albeit a rocky one on that side of the big pier), Zhung Kong supermarket isn't all that far up the road, it's close to Kralendijk and has Bari Reef as a house reef.
 

MrBigfins

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Can't speak on the specific subject, but I can say that once you take a multiweek trip everything changes. Recently took a 1 week trip for the first time in awhile and it was brutal. 2+ weeks is the way to go for sure. You save on airfare, you aren't rushed so you aren't just getting settled in when you start to count down to when you have to return, you can dive so much that you don't mind a day off in the middle. You will thoroughly enjoy yourself
 
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