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Melissa5 Dec 7th, 2005 02:23 AM

Bonaire for Romance & Snorkeling with biologist hubby in February 2006? Alternate Suggestion?
Can you help us choose an island for our romantic week in the Caribbean in February 2006? Hubby is a biologist and enjoys islands which are relatively unspoiled and which still have native flora and fauna to enjoy.

We also like snorkeling but are certainly not experts. We don't dive. Hubby is fairly fearless but I am easily frightened out of the water. But I'm willing! Have snorkeled in Hawaii and at US Virgin Islands.

Our favorite islands of all were Dominica and St. Lucia. That was more than 20 years ago though!

We are looking for snorkeling, nature walks, romance, some good local food, music & dancing if available, beautiful scenery.

I prefer nice, romantic accomodations, but we don't like all-inclusive resorts, we prefer to head into town to find local restaurants.

Our trips are a blend of my interests and the interests of my hubby who is a biologist/herpetologist.

Thanks for any advice!

Steve5511 Dec 7th, 2005 10:07 PM

I was in Bonaire a bunch of years ago on a dive trip. It was great diving and we had a blast. The only thing that I would warn you about is that there really wasnt much else to do on the island. It's very small and HOT! There are tours of the salt flats but not much else. We were doing 4-5 dives a day so we were too busy to do anything else really.

nankar Dec 8th, 2005 07:42 AM

Melissa: We were in Bonaire several years ago and I believe it is all you are looking for with the exception of music and dancing! There is not much nightlife outside of the hotels although there is a Carlos and Charlies or Sr.Frogs; I can't remember which. They have beautiful beaches with snorkeling from the beach. Pink Beach earns its name. The best snorkeling ever is off Klein Bonaire which we did on a day trip. Flamingos nest there near the salt flats. There is a wonderful windsurfing area with lessons. There were several good restaurants and probably more now. Richard's was very good. I will certainly be going back one day as it is one of my favorite islands so far.

Melissa5 Dec 10th, 2005 01:05 AM

Steve5511 and NANCAR: thanks for your input on Bonaire. I saw some absolutely stunning underwater photos taken off the coast of Bonaire!

But alas, I tend to spend only about 1 hour per day snokeling, and that's about it for me. (No diving.) So I guess I need an island that also offers other activities.

Right now we are considering Dominica, which is one of the islands we visited on our honeymoon 23 years ago! Hubby likes the nature hikes on Dominica. It has very few sandy beaches, but it is a gorgeous tropical island and one of the less touristy ones, even now, from what I am reading. We are still researching right now but will have to decide soon!

There is a bit more nightlife on Dominica than there is on Bonaire, but not much more, according to the new ratings in the Fodors 2006 guidebook which I just bought.

wunderlust Dec 10th, 2005 08:36 AM

Hands down, Bonaire is my most favorite place. I secretly don't even want to recommend it so less people can know about it. My family has been traveling there for nearly 20 years and can not say nicer things about it and the people there. It is quite unhurried and unspoiled as it claims to be, which means quiet nightlife. The waters are quite calm, nearly bathtub-like, with hardly no waves and warm temperatures. It is one of the few places in the world where you can stand at a dock and see clear below to 15 feet! My mother who is petrified of the water and can't swim likes going in. No fear you can't see the bottom in shallow water! As it is a coral island, there is aquatic life a plenty.

Off the coast is Klein Bonaire in which you can get boat trips or water taxis for snorkling and diving for a few hours. I have heard of people taking picnics out there, too, though it is restricted by the gov't for development I'm not even sure if there are even picnic tables or anything!

There are all the activites you can find on many other islands there and if you want to pay for it, Parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking, booze cruises, sunset cruises, etc. A car is necessary to tour around the island, as there is no public transportation and it's unseemingly large, beyond the downtown area. You can travel north to the National park, and am told you can see Venezuela on a clear day from Bonaire's highest peak. There is cave exploration, too and lots of different terrain to see, such as mangroves to the south, despite the fact that it's a desert island. In terms of wildlife, there are lots of birds, one of largest breeding ground for Flamingos and wild donkeys. It would take nearly an entire day to drive around to just 'see' the island. Off the main roads, the path can be merely a suggestion or potholed to no end!

You do not need an all inclusive. There are many exquisite restaurants in and around 'town' (Kralendijk) that are simply sumptuous. A kitchenette is good to have meals in/around your room should you stay at a beachfront hotel. We usually stay at the Divi Flamingo in the timeshare side and the ocean is steps from our porch.

I highly recommend you check out for more posts and queries on all sorts of subjects for Bonaire. People who come once, almost always come back and it's easy to see why!

Good luck planning your romantic getaway!

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