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Trip Report Jan 2004

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My husband and I made our first trip to Bonaire in January 2004. We truly enjoyed the island and would return. It is a small arid island with a population of only 12,000. The atmosphere is incredibly laid back/relaxed. No real nightlife although there are plenty of good restaurants. Bonaire is best if you are looking for a quiet vacation with fantastic snorkeling and diving. There are not any beaches like you find in Mexico, Aruba or other islands but the underwater features more than make up for the lack of sandy shorelines. We snorkelled several times a day and saw the most amazing things. It is easy to find shallow snorkel spots with various critters including eels, octopus, squid etc.. We had either full sun or part sun every day. One afternoon became blustery and there were night rains but I'd say overall the week of weather was super. We stayed at the Divi Flamingo - it was fine not great. The location is super and the overall facilties are good. It is an older property but comfortable. Bonaire is not a place of fancy hotels anyway. Our only real gripes were poor TV reception at night, a darkish room and most of all tons of mosquitos in the room where we had to burn citronella candles and coils to keep them at bay. Out of our total 3 week trip to the ABCs I received the most bites in my own room. We figured out the problem was 2 fold...slate window in the bathroom even when closed allowed gnats and mosquitos in and the maid left the door open (as all usually do ) when she cleaned. I was tired of getting bitten and that was the only reason I was ready to leave the island. While I would recommend the Divi over other places I think we'll stay at the Plaza Resort next time. Some things we did on Bonaire: snorkel sail with the Woodwind was a lot of fun - Dee and Ulf are nice and it is a good way to either start or end your time in Bonaire; the nature tour with Jerry Ligdon was a disappointment. He said we could go to Washington Park, then the day before said no but we'd do the rest of the island - ended up being just a bird watching tour with die hard birders and shorter than promised so I would not recommend him unless you are a big birder. Although we did learn some things and see part of the island. We rented a scooter from the Plaza and that was great fun esp at $28/day for a double scooter. We did a 1 hr class and 1 hr. guided snorkel with marine biolgist Karen at Sea & Dicover. She is really nice and we learned a bunch which enriched our snorkeling experiences greatly thereafter. Our best "tours" were with Renee. She is a biologist and former owner of the Woodwind. We went on a guided 3-stop snorkel (from shore) day with her...big bang for the buck. We also did a night snorkel with her at the Divi Flamingo and there were some great critters to see just there at the hotel. With Renee on the day trip we went to great and varied sites, the day was good and long 9:30-4pm. She suppplied beer,sodas, lunch and transportation and it was $30 each plus it was a private tour. We also rented a little Boston Whaler from the Plaza and went to snorkel at Klein Bonaire on our own. That was really worth it and if we had had more time would have done it again. It was fun to exlore on our own. If anyone has more questions about Bonaire or Curacao and Aruba - just e-mail me. Boanire rated high in our book of travel and we'd travelled significantly around the world.

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