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Bonaire11

Registered
Messages
39
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Location
Dallas
# of dives
200 - 499
We found a good amount of divers on our most recent trip. But, not a lot more than in the past. This is high season and the island just started getting flights again from United recently. So, a lot of Americans doing everything to get out of the US post shutdown. I would say the popular spots (as usual) have a lot of traffic. But, varying the time of day you dive (mainly in the afternoon) helps with that.

The building in the Belnem area is the biggest change since 2020 closure. But, that really doesn't affect diving. Still the best place for our money to dive in the Caribbean...
 

diverrex

Contributor
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Location
LA - North Hollywood
# of dives
500 - 999
We left Bonaire yesterday on AA. The VeriFLY app speeded up the departure process, I highly recommend it.

When we went through Miami on Nov 27 the gate agent reviewed our vaccination cards and negative test results. We noted that he wasn’t
paying any attention to the fact that our test was done in the Pacific time zone three hours different than Miami and he said we shouldn’t confuse him with math.

For departure we had the antigen test done by Covid Test Bonaire for $40. It took less than 1 hour to get an email result. We uploaded those results to VeriFLY and it took them about three hours to accept those results and clear us to fly.
 

uncfnp

Solo Diver
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Location
North Carolina
# of dives
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One thing I will add is that a lot of the divers were European, seemed more than usual. And I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many, shall we say, pale (male) derrieres. 🙄
 
OP
ReadyTo Dive

ReadyTo Dive

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Messages
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Location
United States
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Sorry for the delay, been busy diving.

Did 5 today, 3 yesterday. Highlights include 2 seahorses, several monster tarpon kind of stalking our lights on a night dive and found the resident frogfish. Did a couple of boat dives today, 1 on Klein. Going up (far?) north tomorrow, need some sleep now though tbh. Oh and at least 1 cruise ship was in today, total night/day difference from yesterday when we seemingly had the entire island to ourselves... Alot of congestion. And at times (at our unit mainly) the mosquitoes have been *SO BAD*, just relentless. Good reason to stay underwater.
 

cjibber

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Messages
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Location
UK
# of dives
1000 - 2499
One thing I will add is that a lot of the divers were European, seemed more than usual. And I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many, shall we say, pale (male) derrieres. 🙄
For a lot of Europeans, getting to Bonaire takes about the same amount of time and effort (and cost) as getting to S. E. Asia. With the covid restrictions that are currently in place in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia those options have been effectively taken away. Bonaire is much easier at the moment, particularly if you are Dutch. From Amsterdam, Bonaire is only a nine hour direct flight with relatively little hassle. We noticed a lot more people from The Netherlands than usual when we were there in Oct/Nov.
 
OP
ReadyTo Dive

ReadyTo Dive

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Messages
210
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Location
United States
# of dives
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We just returned from Bonaire about 12 hours ago but our experience will not be of any help to anyone else two days from now due to new restrictions and etc. Do your research before your trip!

We paid for our tests and made an appointment at Bon Bida (which is located 1 minute away from Den Laman) before we left home. The cost was $135.07 for two people.

We filled out their online questions/info before we arrived to our appointment. There were a few people in front of us when we arrived (20 minutes early) but the line moved quickly enough.

They took our passports and gave us each a one-nostril-only light swabbing, not very deeply and 20 minutes later we had back our passports and results. We had to ask for/insist that they gave us printed copies of our negative results which we ABSOLUTELY needed at the airport because Verifly would not upload/complete the final portion (verified results) of the process so the AA check-in agent required us to fill out a quick one page form (that maybe everybody had to fill out anyways?) and then thoroughly checked/visually verified our vaccination cards.

We were then given boarding passes and allowed to give them our checked bags and went through security (which also went very quickly). As soon as we made it through security the Verifly app completed the final portion/process so maybe it was either just bad timing on our part (we tested at 10:15 am and checked in at 1:45-2pm) or maybe AA inputted something manually that completed everything. We were no longer asked for any other paperwork or documents either in Bonaire or when we arrived back in Miami.

It was an amazing trip and a “quite stressful but totally worth the effort” process. Now that we have completed the trip I would say that we would do it all again. Good luck to everyone, do your research to make sure you have every step understood/completed properly before moving forward to the next and safe diving!
 

Steelyeyes

Contributor
Messages
833
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691
Location
Kralendijk, Bonaire
# of dives
500 - 999
Thanks for the detailed, practical details on getting there in terms of testing, documentation, etc...

I love Bonaire. There are a couple of things worrying me about it in recent times based on reports.

1.) It seems the government decided they've maxed out on the benefits of pandering to dive tourism and they want more money coming in, so they're branching out. Bonaire is getting more built up. Be 'interesting' to see where that goes.

2.) I read that lately some dive sites like Salt Pier have been quite crowded. Hope you'll let us know if you see more crowding than usual.

I hope these changes don't ruin the Bonaire experience I love. Otherwise, I'll have to start reading more trip reports on the Westpunt area of Curacao.
Salt Pier gets busy quite often. We live here and only dive it infrequently. When we do go we enter south of the pier where there is a sand ramp walk in, no drop off. We generally stay just south of the pier itself and see plenty to keep us interested.

It is true that a lot of commercial hotel type accommodations are being built and not many people are happy about it, except the chosen few that will make $$ (which is true about the larger cruise ships BTW). There has even been some pushback on one site due to improper permitting but its the Caribbean and odds are a little grease in the $pot will make that go away.
 

drrich2

ScubaBoard Supporter
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Location
Southwestern Kentucky
# of dives
500 - 999
When we do go we enter south of the pier where there is a sand ramp walk in, no drop off.
Interesting! Do you find entering south of the pier superior than north of the pier? I think I've done north, just because I tend to be headed southward and park before I reach the pier, so it just 'kind of happened' without thinking much about it. Maybe it's time to think...(when all else fails, of course).
 

diverrex

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Location
LA - North Hollywood
# of dives
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When we departed Bonaire on Dec 11 we had tested around 4:30 PM the day before. We uploaded our test results to Verifly and it took about 4 hours before Verifly confirmed the results and cleared our pass. It was much easier to check in with Verifly. We didn't have to fill out anything at the airport.

My understanding is the rules to enter just changed again. Anyone going to Bonaire should monitor the rules daily.
 

Steelyeyes

Contributor
Messages
833
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Location
Kralendijk, Bonaire
# of dives
500 - 999
Interesting! Do you find entering south of the pier superior than north of the pier? I think I've done north, just because I tend to be headed southward and park before I reach the pier, so it just 'kind of happened' without thinking much about it. Maybe it's time to think...(when all else fails, of course).
It's easier to find parking, there generally are somewhere between zero and three other vehicles. You can easily just swim over to the pier from there, we've just seen it enough....unless one of our friends sends us on a wild seahorse or frogfish chase.
 

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