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View Full Version : Sand Dollar vs Den Laman vs Belmar



maryw
04-13-2013, 09:13 AM
We are planning our third trip to Bonaire and are deciding where to stay this time. We stayed at the Sand Dollar previously but are looking to try a different place this time. We are strongly considering the Belmar Apartments as our 17 and 20 year old daughters would like some time at the pool; my husband and I are interested to know how the snorkeling is right at Belmar as well. Any thoughts on this as well as on Den Laman would be appreciated. Suggestions of other places are great too. We are snorkelers only. Thanks!

ModFreddie
04-13-2013, 12:01 PM
Mary have you considered the Plaza??? the snorkeling is good, there is a pool and there is a very nice beach.. closer to town too... also might be some night life for the girls.......

wwguy
04-13-2013, 12:14 PM
We stayed at Belmar Apartments once with our 12 year old son. The pool was great, as was the easy access to the sea via the dock. Whenever we weren't diving it seemed like he was either in the pool or snorkeling on his own. We also liked how the property layout offers an oceanfront experience for every apartment.

For me "good snorkeling" means exploring the rock and coral formations in the shallows, where marine life is closer and easier to see. I enjoy floating over the sand flats and reef drop-off too, but I enjoy shallow-water snorkeling the most. Belmar has good snorkeling along the ironshore coastline, but the snorkeling near Bari Reef at Sand Dollar and Den Laman is hard to beat. Klein Bonaire and the Bonaire coastline do a great job of protecting this area from wind, waves, and currents. In my opinion snorkeling over the reef drop-off is about the same everywhere along Resort Row (Belnem to Hato.)

Here's how I rank them:
1) Belmar = oceanfront + oceanfront pool + good snorkeling.
2) Den Laman = oceanfront in some apartments + no pool + better snorkeling. (Great sunbathing on small beach right at the water's edge.)
3) Sand Dollar = ocean view in most apartments + no pool + better snorkeling.

They're all good choices for your criteria.

DiverVince
04-13-2013, 03:18 PM
Mary: I've personally stayed at all three. Out of the 3 choices you indicated, I'd choose Belmar. They've just made some property renovations and the snorkeling offshore is fine. My problem with Belmar is that you have little privacy on the seaside terraces because of the way the building is constructed (like a big U). Sometimes I don't feel like chatting with my neighbor at 07:00 as I'm having breakfast. :) I'm not a fan of Den Laman since the units do not have flow through ventilation, something I consider a must in the tropics. All the units use airco which is "a must" IMHO.

traveljennie
04-13-2013, 03:20 PM
Sand Dollar has a pool...unless things have changed since January.

maryw
04-13-2013, 03:31 PM
Thanks to everyone for the input! This has been very helpful!

wwguy
04-13-2013, 03:44 PM
Sand Dollar has a pool...unless things have changed since January.

Thanks for the correction. I should have looked at their website first. I was using satellite images on Google maps for reference and didn't notice it.

My updated ranking:
1) Belmar = oceanfront + oceanfront pool + good snorkeling.
2) Sand Dollar = ocean view in most apartments + pool + better snorkeling.
3) Den Laman = oceanfront in some apartments + no pool + better snorkeling. (Great sunbathing on small beach right at the water's edge.)

My primary reason for moving San Dollar up in the list is Vince's post. Natural airflow is non-negotiable for me too. I also agree with the proximity of apartments at Belmar. We had the unit on the ground floor on the north end, so we didn't feel surrounded.

lorimich
04-19-2013, 04:00 PM
SAnd Dollar has ocean view from everyone. They are set up as a zig-zag. It has a pool and a nice sand beach area - great for day, night snorkeling & diving! I saw a eel, blennies, and tons of fish, starting at 1 ft to about 12ft out next to the pier.

larry
04-22-2013, 01:28 PM
I have not stayed at Belmar, but can't imagine that the snorkeling would be as good as at Den Laman/Sand Dollar. Remnants of an old hotel foundation form a very attractive "aquarium" for hundreds to thousands of fish immediately south of Den Laman and there is one of the only stands of elkhorn coral right out in front of Sand Dollar. It also is very attractive to fish. Two unique snorkeling options in easily accessible, shallow water.

For the record, Sand Dollar has a pool. It is not ocean-side. It also has a real beach, which is ocean-side. And, all condo units have ocean views.