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Thread: 1st of Many Trips: 6/30-7/7

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Thumbs up 1st of Many Trips: 6/30-7/7

    This was our first dive vacation and our first trip to Bonaire. My wife and I had a great time on this vacation and can't wait to make another trip. In planning our trip, information found on this site was very helpful and I thought I needed to reciprocate.

    Travel: We live in Nashville, TN, but found it to be cheaper to drive to Atlanta, stay in a park and fly hotel, and fly out the next morning on the morning Delta flight.

    Lodging: I hadn't seen a lot of this happening in the trip reports so I wanted to be sure to put it out because It has worked well for us in the past and is pretty cost effective. We stayed in Marji Keith's vacation rental at Caribbean Court Apartments. Link:www.vrbo.com/101320 Marji was great and we were really happy with the accommodations.

    Dive Shop: Another thing we really liked about booking with Marji is that she lives in the same complex and had connections with the on site dive shop, Div'Ocean Bonaire. We got a discount off of our tank rentals for staying with Marji and found the shop to be great. Peter, Joep, and William were always available to share their knowledge of the local diving. They let us store our gear on site so we didn't have to worry about it at our place and the tank building was open 24/7. Big thanks to Peter, Joep, and William. They did a lot to make this trip great for us. Link: http://www.divoceanbonaire.com/

    Dining: Our apartment had a kitchen and I really enjoy cooking so we ate in about half of our meals (mostly breakfast and lunch). This saved a lot of money for us. We hit dinner at Appetite (probably our favorite), At Sea, Unbelievable, Rum Runners, and Pasa Bon Pizza (great). We got lunch at El Mundo and a Peruvian restaurant (good food, slow service) that is next to Appetite. We only ate out for breakfast one day and we got lucky enough to stumble on to Exito Bakery and Cafe (very good, we will be back). We also got a couple of drinks at Karel and Gelato at Lilly's and Gio.

    Rental: Marji also had an agreement with Caribe Car Rental. I was initially worried about renting from a smaller company because of past experiences, but when I looked, I couldn't find any bad reviews for Caribe. Again, I was not disappointed. Patrick was waiting for us when we got to the airport, was great to talk to on the short drive (even giving us directions to Caribbean court), and was just as good when he took us back to the airport. We got a 2011 Nissan Pickup that was practically new. I would definitely recommend Caribe to others. Link: http://www.caribebonaire.com/

    Diving: We ended up doing 15 dives on 13 sites in our week stay. As I said, we are new to diving so we opted to do a 2 tank shore dive on Sunday and a 2 tank boat dive to Klein on Monday. This was very good for us to see how the diving should be done and make sure we didn't make the rookie mistakes. Both days were great. Joep and Peter were great dive masters and made sure that we saw a little bit of everything. This helped us to learn how to look for the stuff we wanted to see. Other than that, we did our own thing. We would occasionally stop in the shop to inquire about possible sites and it was always very helpful. I feel like the guys at Div'Ocean know exactly what our skill level and interests are and know how to help us see what we want.

    Non Diving: It is really important to us to sea the entire island and make sure we don't miss any hidden jewels. It is clear that Bonaire is definitely diving first, but we did see a list of activities that interested us and were able to hit a couple. Our list: Fishing, Mangrove kayaking, Climbing Bundaris, Spelunking, Mountain Biking, and just driving around the island. Of that, we got to climb the mountain (very difficult, but well worth it), tour the Cadushy Distillery, and driving the island. I wasn't that disappointed because of the amount of diving and relaxing we did, but we know what we need to try to fit in the next few times.

    Overall, this was a GREAT trip. We were able to do our own thing on our own schedule and really see the island for ourselves. I would Highly recommend the Lodging, Rental Company, and Dive shop that we use and will most definitely be calling them first when we come back. We have run the numbers for a couple of scenarios and it is clear that we saved between $500 and $1000 for booking this trip instead of getting in with one of the big resorts. Great for an adventurous group.

  2. #2
    randl's Avatar
    randl is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Great report, WVBerrys. You made a number of distinct choices that aren't mentioned here very often - and had a great time!

  3. #3
    jkehnle is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    First, a hearty welcome to Bonaire Talk -- and especially since you now seem addicted like the rest of us. And thanks for your report, which reflected your obvious delight in our favorite island.

    Greetings as well from an old Nashvillian. I haven't lived there for nearly 50 years, but somehow, ”Naishvul" is still...well...home, I guess.

    BTW, just today we finalized our 16th trip to Bonaire...

  4. #4
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    Thanks for an informative trip report.

  5. #5
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    Great report Jordan and Cynthia and welcome to BT. Now if you want 5 stars for this report we need pictures .
    And Jerry said, Keep it light, Keep it friendly. Post Like Jerry.

  6. #6
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    And I wonder if we are related especially with the same last name and from the same area. Most of my family is from the DC area.
    And Jerry said, Keep it light, Keep it friendly. Post Like Jerry.

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure. I don't know much about the Berry side of my family other than the clan in the southern West Virginia (Near Beckley, WV). We didn't take any underwater pictures, but I'll try to get some of the mountain. My wife is the picture keeper.

    And thanks to everyone for the kind words.
    Last edited by WVBerrys; 07-12-2012 at 07:05 PM. Reason: left something out

  8. #8
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    Jul 2011
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    Hi WVBerrys,
    Thanks so much for writing this. I just googled my name to see what would happen (scary!) and your post on Bonairetalk came up. I would have thanked you long ago but never saw it.
    Hope you can make it back this year!
    Marji

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