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Trip Report Bonaire Tips

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First trip to Bonaire--feedback

Arrange for taxi before showing up. Search for "Bonaire Taxis" to see the licensed drivers and their contact info. Victor Ruiz, Taxi 8, was great with clean well maintained van.

Some places may take AMEX, but far away most of my experience suggest that Visa or M/C, sometimes Discover, are the only cards one can use.

Phone system works fine. Don't shy away from using your room phone.

Probably you're driving. Learn to identify the local stop sign. Not North America's version. Rest you can figure out. No traffic lights friends. Stops or circles. Courteous drivers overwhelmingly.

Snorkelers should not wait to get on the island to reserve time with Renee Leach (through Info Bonaire site). You will want to spend hours and days with Renee and her educated eyes. You can't begin to count the species you will see--common and rare. Uncommonly reasonable cost. Sorry to report that you will want to spend time snorkeling far longer than you'll be comfortable in the water here; about 45 minutes. Bring a full wet suit with you or you can sometimes buy a used suit at the larger dive outfits.

The dive/snorkel sites in the island's developed areas are not easy to find from the road. But look hard to those small yellow painted rocks with the site names on them. South of town at the airport and beyond no problem Ditto north once you're by the homes/villas. Note that once the coastal road leaves the inhabited coast behind it is ONE WAY going north until it intersects with the road to the center of the island. So you literally must make a round trip up the north coast, then island, then back to town. Not too long but it can seem that way. Why just one way up north? The foliage is up against the road on both sides. It would be very deadly to try and drive the single lane with its twists and turns in both directions.

Van den Tweets is clearly way and above all the rest of what North Americans would call a super market. Sure its all in Dutch, but you can figure it out without a problem and the cashiers and staff all speak English. Frequently you pay the same price or less than in the States for both food and other stuff. Warehouse Supermarket is indeed the most price competitive on the island but the selection and shopping experience at Tweets is way different.

Being a vegetarian means a comparative limited selection of restaurants. Capriccio, the comparative new Italian restaurant on south end of town and on the water (near the Casino) is great in that respect. For anyone, this place has got to be the best in terms of modern architecture and the place to be seen upscale dining. Reservations a must. Tuesdays of all days is the day they have been closed.

Impressive array of schools, rentals, and just plain doing it for both wind surfing and kite boarding on the island. You can get neat pictures of these too.

Plaza Resort appears to be the largest and most upscale on the island. Buddy Dives is certainly the largest dive resort, boat fleet for dives, and what seems at times like a fleet of pickups for rent that must be in the 100's.

Thought the days cruise ships were in port was going to be heck with people crawling all over the place. Not bad at all. The cruisers are clearly around but they hardly swamp the place.

Here's hoping that Bonaire continues to act to restrict development along the coasts and keeps the island as good looking as it is. This is an exceptional island for snorkeling and diving and I've been all over the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Red Sea.

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