Return to Bonaire

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

tkaelin

Contributor
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
1,433
Location
CT
# of dives
500 - 999
Hopefully returning to BON in a couple months. Last trip to BON was in 2016. This upcoming trip was originally booked in "19 for the Spring of '20 and has been rebooked a number of times. Excited to return and this will be our first dive trip out of the country since Jan '20.

We have a package booked through Maduro to stay at Capt Dons in one of their ocean front deluxe jr. suites and comes with 10 boat dives each with free nitrox on the boat dives. We will have a rental pick up as well. We have dove through Capt Don's on all of our past trips and this will be the first time staying on the property. I think we know what to expect as far as the pluses and minus with Capt Dons. Anyone been there recently? Did they ever fix up the blue dive lockers down below by the dock? Seemed to be a project they could never finish. On our last trip, air tanks were now available down by the dock but nitrox tanks were still up above. Is this still the case?

Since its been a while since our last trip, I would be interested to hear from others who have been to the island in the past year as far as any big changes (other than covid restriction related things). Any well-known restaurants that have closed or any new ones highly recommended? Bobbi Jans still up and running on the weekends?

Thanks. TK
 

tursiops

Marine Scientist and Master Instructor
ScubaBoard Supporter
Scuba Instructor
Messages
14,805
Reaction score
13,755
Location
U.S. East Coast
# of dives
2500 - 4999
I've been back to Buddy Dive 8 times since your last visit, most recently last month.
Many restaurants are closed (e.g., Salatiga), several have moved (e.g. Pasa Bon Pizza, Between Two Buns),, and there are several new ones (Joe's Restaurant is excellent, especially if you like Belgian beer in the right glass). Bobbejan's is still going. Rum Runners has improved.
The Korean grocery store just north of Capt Don's has been expanded and will suffice for most needs.
Seat belts are required.
Many roads are in bad shape; a few are better.
Cruise ships cause downtown and the roads to be crowded; they are awful
Underwater, I perceive a slow decline in fish diversity and coral health. Klein Bonaire is still looking good, as are the boat-only northern sites.
 

RIHappyDiver

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
871
Reaction score
679
Location
Rhode Island
# of dives
100 - 199
I'm going back to BON in January, only other trip was 2018 with a stay at Capt. Don's, so curios about the same type things.
Also, on topic of your trip but off topic of BON, @tkaelin what do you find are the advantages of using Maduro?

Erik
 
OP
tkaelin

tkaelin

Contributor
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
1,433
Location
CT
# of dives
500 - 999
I've been back to Buddy Dive 8 times since your last visit, most recently last month
Wow. Okay I guess you have up to date info. Thanks. Roads worse than '16? They were a mess back then.
 
OP
tkaelin

tkaelin

Contributor
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
1,433
Location
CT
# of dives
500 - 999
Also, on topic of your trip but off topic of BON, @tkaelin what do you find are the advantages of using Maduro?
I never use travel agents or travel services but did this time. Maduro seems to have a pretty good reputation here on SB but the main reason is I wanted to stay at the Capt Don's in the ocean front deluxe jr. suite and booking through Maduro seemed to make sense. They also offered what I thought were very reasonable packages. The one I booked came with 6 boat dives each with a bonus of 4 more each with nitrox on the boat dives free. We will not likely use all the boat dives but it was an attractive offer.
 
OP
tkaelin

tkaelin

Contributor
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
1,433
Location
CT
# of dives
500 - 999
Underwater, I perceive a slow decline in fish diversity and coral health. Klein Bonaire is still looking good, as are the boat-only northern sites.
With 20 boat dives at our disposal that will be our preference. I recall Capt Don's always had a 2 PM boat going to Klein which many times only hand a handful of divers signed up. Very enjoyable. Some of our best diving has been on Klein and boat sites north. Thanks again.
 

Jersey

Contributor
Messages
1,120
Reaction score
281
Location
SE PA/ Southern NJ
# of dives
200 - 499
Capt Dons pizza is still excellent! Its our go-to post night dives. They are building new something at the front of the resort, not sure what. Some of new eats, some old favorites gone. For dining, def Joes. At least once. Mushrooms gratinee, French Onion Soup. and an awesome selection of beers. We had wine and charcuterie at Cie La Vie (NEW) on our March trip, really good. Mezze, Cuba Compagnie, Cappriccio, Mi Banana, Joes, Patagonia, Ocean Oasis, At Sea round out some of dining favorites. Make reservations, we sat at many of the above and watched people turned away. At Cuba Compagnie I think we counted 34 potential guests during our dinner. Chefs is at Bamboo Bali, offers a pre-fixe dining option, one seating per night, 16 guests. Everything is prepared in front of you in a garden oasis. Think it's $150/person, including the wine pairing and worth it. Good luck getting reservations, I tried in Jan 2022 for March 2022 and they were fully booked. Just managed to secure a reservation for March 2023. Gio;s offers a pre-pay punch card, you pay $17 for 10 scoops, normally $20. Wont tell you how many cards we burned through, you would think we have a gelato problem.

Check some of the food trucks! Awesome offerings.

What used to be Zhong Kong + the Chinese restaurant, across from Don's, is now just 'Supermarket'. Great stock of ice cream. Bubba Burgers reasonably priced as well. I think I pay $18 for a box at home, they were $21 a box. We also shop Bon di Gro, Warehouse, Peiterzons (sp?) and Van den Tweel. I don't find prices all that different from suburban Philadelphia, but your mileage may vary here.

Island was packed during out March trip, much more than our Oct trip. We chatted up groups from UK, France, Italy as well as the normal South Americans, Americans & Dutch. Friends told us the situation is the rest of the world was still restricted to booking travel (Red Sea, Indonesia, Australia....) so people were searching alternatives and landed on Bonaire. This resulted in shortage of rental cars, lodging, dining opportunities....Looked like a crazy time for Buddy Dive (where we stayed) with lessons, check out dives, guided night dives, etc. Happy to see people back and spending money.

We did the litre to gallon conversion - at home it's $4.55, Bonaire was $5.35. Our friends had a diesel truck and diesel was actually cheaper than home prices.

Building boom is CRAZY. 20 years ago there was nothing near Belnam, now the road to Sorobon has several new developments, as well at resorts along the Blvd. Roads are worse than ever (see building boom) big dump trucks and concrete pumpers (we counted 3 at one site), sewer mains going in some neighborhoods - they broke our friends water lines 3 times in 1 week resulting in digging, filling, digging....

Fish seem to come and go, didn't see the large stuff - larger snapper (Cubera) and groupers. Was looking at older pics and seeing Flamingo Nudi's everywhere, now, nada. Still killing and grilling Lionfish every chance we get.
 
OP
tkaelin

tkaelin

Contributor
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
1,433
Location
CT
# of dives
500 - 999
Thanks for all the great info. Hoping the island is not as busy in a couple months but we shall see.
Made a reservation at Ingredients. Did you eat there and how was it. Tried Chefs but nothing until end of June I think. TK
 

Jersey

Contributor
Messages
1,120
Reaction score
281
Location
SE PA/ Southern NJ
# of dives
200 - 499
Haven't eaten at Ingridients for a few years, it was really good. We tend to want to get away from the resort for dinner. The Ingridients views are awesome, beautiful sunsets. We did eat in Blennies one night and will often grab an order of fries around lunch, food onsite at Buddy is very good and prices not bad.

For the Buddy-fans, they have done away with Friday night Rum Punch Party and daily Happy Hour. (They also only serve pizza Sunday nights. Pizza is low cost/high profit margin - why not have it every day? Love pizza!) Friday night used to be a great opportunity to buy your DM's a bucket and hang with them for a few, trade contact info with fellow guests, plan your next trip. I passed my comments on to the resort.
 

Lorenzoid

ScubaBoard Supporter
Staff member
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
11,823
Reaction score
8,998
Location
USA
# of dives
I just don't log dives
Since its been a while since our last trip, I would be interested to hear from others who have been to the island in the past year as far as any big changes (other than covid restriction related things). Any well-known restaurants that have closed or any new ones highly recommended? Bobbi Jans still up and running on the weekends?
A number of us have been in your shoes--having forgone a couple of years of Bonaire while the world sorted out covid--and some of the trip reports posted in the past year addressed things that had changed, old restaurants closed, new restaurants open, and so forth. So definitely take a look at those trip reports if you haven't already. Although we did not visit Bobbejan's during our Bonaire trip last month, the place appeared to be open for business as usual.
 

Top Bottom