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Help with our 30th Anniversary trip....

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by mcpowell, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. mcpowell

    mcpowell Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Georgia
    257
    210
    43
    In May of 2020 my wife and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. (Thank you, thank you! I chose wisely :wink:)

    We’ve been to Cozumel several times over the last few years, and have really loved it. It fits our requirements very well, but we are open to other ideas. We’ll likely take 2-3 trips together as we’ve vowed to ditch the kids next year and make it all about us. Hehe.

    More background:
    My wife is not a diver, but is fine with me going in the mornings. I’m usually back to the condo by 1:00 in Cozumel, and that works just fine. We definitely want to stay where we can see the ocean from our balcony; preferably where someone will come check on her and bring her a drink with a little umbrella in it while she/we hang by the pool near or on the beach. From what I’ve read about Bonaire, I think it would be a little too rustic. What about Curaçao? Grand Cayman is a possibility. How much is there to do on the smaller Cayman Islands? I’d think I’d love them, but she may get bored. A few good restaurants close by would be a big plus.

    We’d prefer it to be within a 2-4 hour flight from Atlanta GA as a full day of travel is more than we care for.

    I’m not trying for budget lodgings here, you only have a 30 year anniversary once. $2000-$3000 for a week of lodging would be okay. Remember...beach, pool, ocean view, and bringer of drinks....

    I much prefer small dive boats of 8 divers or less. Please, no cattle boats. Wrecks and reefs are both fine by me for diving, I’m not too picky, but I’d much prefer good visibility. If viz is only 10-20’, I’d rather stay on the beach with my bride.

    Looking for suggestions and then I’ll obsess with the Google.
     
    nelson likes this.
  2. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,195
    5,770
    113
    The newly renovated Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort has everything on your list. Nice beach, pool complex, pool bar,drink bringer and if they kept it, one of the restaurants is waterfront - we moved our table 10' onto the beach. It was also an exceedingly nice property - IMO better than the Marriott Renaissance down the street (no beach)
    Carib Sea Sports should either have moved back on-site or they're at the Hilton next door. I believe Goby Divers would pick you up from there also.

    It's in Piscadera Bay resort area so there's a few restaurants nearby plus Pirates Bay beach bar. % minutes drive to the north side of Willemstad for more options - many with ocean or harbor views.

    LionsDive Beach Resort Curaçao! might be the other option but IDK if they have the drink-bringer.
    They do have a bar right on the beach though.
    In the Sea Aquarium area so there are other restaurants nearby although Hemingways there is one of the better ones. Mambo Beach Blvd is walking distance, shops, restaurants etc. Plus Lions Dive has a shuttle to downtown since they're about 10mins south.

    Places to look at on Grand Cayman with all of that would be the the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort or the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa or the The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa.

    Dive ops all will pick you up at any Seven Mile Beach property for the short ride to the marina. You might like Indigo Divers but there's a lot of small boat dive operators to choose from - many specialize in 6-8 divers max on boats that could comfortably take double. www.cita.ky has a list to choose from. Red Sail is actually at both the Westin and the Marriott but I don't think they're what you want, larger boats,the Disney Cruise operator etc.

    Visibility on Cayman's North Wall can exceed belief. They told us to watch our computers on descent, it's so clear there's nothing to refernce, Curacao is a close second. Caymn had the more interesting diving.
     
    mcpowell likes this.
  3. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,195
    5,770
    113
    If you think Bonaire is too rustic don't even consider Brac or Little Cayman..
     
  4. wildbill9

    wildbill9 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: arkansas
    516
    390
    63
    1st congratulations on 30 years ! We also just had our 30th. Unfortunately I can't help your search, we did a LOB for our anniversary but we both love diving, little Cayman, Southern Cross is outside your budget, Bonaire won't work for her and Cozumel had been done. Maybe Curacao but may be to pricey. Good luck in your search but mostly CONGRATULATIONS. Bill
     
    mcpowell likes this.
  5. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,195
    5,770
    113
    fyi Curacao is cheaper than Bonaire. Also easier to get to and flights are much less. Most of what ends up on Bonaire goes thru Curacao first - it's the regional port for the area.
     
  6. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    8,013
    5,713
    113
    Except for the direct flights to/from Bonaire from the US on AA, UA, and DL, none of which go through Curacao either direction.....
     
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  7. mcpowell

    mcpowell Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Georgia
    257
    210
    43
    Thanks for the advice. I’ll spend a bit of time researching Curacao. The lodging there seems to be a better value than Grand Cayman, at least at first glance.
     
  8. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,195
    5,770
    113
    Read ny post again...I made no reference to flights but most goods go thru Curacao first.
     
  9. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,195
    5,770
    113
    Everything on Curacao will be a better value than Cayman - it's one of the most expensive dive destinations in the Caribbean.Food is really high, dives aren't exactly cheap at around 2/$100. It didn't occur to me earlier but I probably suggested resorts over your budget. The less expensive suites (Comfort/Sunshine) options aren't waterfront but are a short walk to the beach. Neither of the AI dive resorts - Sunset House or Cobalt Coast have much of a beach - and likely no drink bringer. Cobalt is also 15mins from anything else.

    Provo in Turks/Caicos being a close second. I did not suggest it as the better diving is about an hour boat ride so you wouldn't get back till mid/late afternoon.
     
  10. GrafCanuck

    GrafCanuck Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: London, Ontario
    235
    109
    43
    Congratulations are your up and coming 30th wedding anniversary. Yikes my 35 years is approaching, and thanks for the reminder.

    My wife is a non-diver as well. In the past 12 months we've been to Bonaire twice. Prior to that, we had been to Curacao 5 times over a 3 year period. Both are excellent diving islands. For a pure diving vacation, Bonaire for me would be my first choice over Curacao. Bonaire is small, compact, over 60 shore dive sites, a billion dive shops with dive boats, and a fairly wide choice of restaurants. Have stayed at Divi and Captain Don's. Both were ok. We are planning a trip back to Bonaire in 2020 and likely will try the Sand Dollar. The good news is that there are many choices, but I don't believe 5 stars hotels exist on the island. Note that one downside of Bonaire is the lack of beaches, excluding Kleine Bonaire. Note that Bonaire is NOT rustic.

    Curacao is a larger island, with larger resorts. Personally I didn't see any 5 star resorts on Curacao either. Curacao is more European than Bonaire. Neither island is rustic. Both are not your prototypical Caribbean lush island. Curacao has some nice long beaches. Reef like in both islands is good, at least when compared to the other popular Caribbean islands. Dive prices a little lower in Bonaire, has been my findings. We've stayed at the Sea Aquarium, Blue Bay and Nos Kruseros multiple times. Nos Kruseros is in Westpunt and 45 minutes from the airport and Wilemstad. Probably too far, but the diving is excellent. Most tourists will stay within 10 minutes of Willemstad. Lots of accommodation choices. I used Ocean Encounters and they were good. I"ve heard good things about the Dive Bus.

    All the best and enjoy.
     

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