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View Full Version : Similar diving to Bonaire?



Telstar2112
12-30-2018, 12:13 AM
Been to Bonaire about 7 times and we love it and will be back soon! But we are also wondering where else in the greater Caribbean area may be worthy of a diving vacation that also has great shore diving?? We really love the freedom of being able to go at our own pace and our own schedule. Any suggestions? While in the immediate time frame we are looking to stay near the Caribbean I guess it would be good to hear of further places as well for the future. But shore diving is the main thing we are looking for, not live-aboards.

Thanks,
Steve.

tunicate
12-30-2018, 06:34 PM
Following with interest. Personally have never found another location that is "built" for shore diving like Bonaire. You need not only the reef proximity but also the infrastructure where shore diving is supported/ encouraged. Love to learn if theres other places out there...

AdivingBel
12-31-2018, 01:22 PM
Curacao is nice and is our choice for a shore diving getaway when we don't go to Bonaire (We love Bonaire :)). Getting from site to site is not as easy as Bonaire, but there is plenty of easily accessible shore diving. The swim-outs can be a bit longer, but that's due to many of the entries being from beaches (some set back in small coves) which are much easier than ironshore. There is lots to see on the swim-outs so I don't see them as a big negative. Several of the beaches have facilities that include on-site dive shops, so less tank lugging for those sites. We stay in the Westpunt area at a location with a wonderful house reef. Between the house reef and the other nearby sites we get plenty of dives in. There's also some really nice boat diving, so its worth adding a boat trip or two.

There's some nice shore diving on Cayman Brac & St. Croix. IMHO, it's more of an add-on to boat diving in those locations unless you know a local or long time visitor. Not to down play those locations, there are some nice shore diving sites (i.e. Frederiksted Pier, Cane Bay, Scott's Dock, Radar Reef, etc.). Good luck & dive safely. :) All IMHO, YMMV.

Telstar2112
01-03-2019, 11:37 PM
What about Belize or Roatan? Anyone can compare to Bonaire?

Cornhusker
01-04-2019, 09:58 AM
Belize nearly impossible as reef is way our from shore and some places in Roatan can provide some shore diving but very limited. Cayman Brac is same way as some access but truly a boat dive island--same as St John USVI and Tortola. Curacao was closest as did multiple dives along coast when we stayed downtown area and then way up at the opposite end at now closed dive location but bring nothing and leave nothing as people would take half full water bottles from your truck! 5-days and we arrive on Bonaire for 2-months and cannot wait--bags nearly all packed and steaks and other frozen treats ready for the trip!! Cornhusker..

Telstar2112
01-04-2019, 12:54 PM
Lucky You! 2 months, Nice, Enjoy!. In the little research I did, some of those places act like they do have shore diving but I was suspect as to the amount and reality. I won't be upset if I "have to" just go back to Bonaire!

tunicate
01-04-2019, 05:15 PM
We never dove Curacao but I imagine there is some quality shore diving there, however its a different kind of place. For us, there is a difference between available shore diving and the total freedom to shore dive.

I don't know if the concept of Diving Freedom was coined as just a PR schpiel but once we discovered Bonaire shore diving we realized that no matter what other options might be out there in other locations, the best realization of that Diving Freedom was in Bonaire

Busy lives and careers, the last thing we wanted was to be on any form of schedule for our weeks off, aside from arriving and departing. And although we sniffed around at other places, the place we felt the most free was Bonaire.

Been a while but headed back in June. :D

Bob T
01-05-2019, 09:53 AM
We have been diving on Bonaire for 19th year this year and it is the best. We have been on the Aggressor dive boats and they are outstanding. The times in Belize were so good from the boat and you get kind spoiled with everything setup for you. We're thinking of using the Aggressor again in Cuba and seeing how the dives are. BUT... the best I think is Bonaire for us. We have the timeshare at the Divi and they are fantastic too.

Scooter Rickshaw
01-05-2019, 11:03 AM
Going back to Bonaire this Feb. after searching for new adventures like yourself and I can't wait. Hawaii was a big disappointment, some of the shore entries are treacherous and most of the reefs have been bleached (about 80%) on the big island. Having said that, the Pelagic night dive was incredible and one of my most memorable dives. Plan on doing a fraction of diving if you go to Curacao unless you boat dive as well, agreed with many of the other posters, you won't be driving the shore, dive site are very spread out and you need to bring your C-card to every dive site as there are dive operators at most sites and bottle rentals are strongly encouraged at sites. Plus, you can't get a rental truck that's set up for diving which is kinda of a pain but again you're probably not driving with bottles. IMO Curacao seems better suited to boat diving for these reasons. I really don't have anything good to say about Grand Cayman although there's a few spots you can shore dive. Roatan is a beautiful, great diving, mostly from boat similar to Belize but the island itself is much more interesting (check for travel advisories before booking due to Honduran **** show). My post isn't intended to discourage new options, as illustrated by all these post, Bonaire is special. if you're looking for the same experience you'll be disappointed but your looking for something new anyway! See you back in Bonaire soon!

Cornhusker
01-06-2019, 10:16 AM
We never dove Curacao but I imagine there is some quality shore diving there, however its a different kind of place. For us, there is a difference between available shore diving and the total freedom to shore dive.

I don't know if the concept of Diving Freedom was coined as just a PR schpiel but once we discovered Bonaire shore diving we realized that no matter what other options might be out there in other locations, the best realization of that Diving Freedom was in Bonaire

Busy lives and careers, the last thing we wanted was to be on any form of schedule for our weeks off, aside from arriving and departing. And although we sniffed around at other places, the place we felt the most free was Bonaire.

Been a while but headed back in June. :D

Captain Don was I believe person who indicated Diving Freedom on Bonaire from what I have understood....many others on this site can verify as I have been wrong before....according to my wife.

nicintime
01-06-2019, 12:41 PM
Bonaire is unique.

I have looked and when it comes to shore diving both from number of dive sites to entries to cost there is nothing that even comes close.

And believe me I have looked and would gladly visit if I found one, but I keep going back to Bonaire because I'm Shore diver and the diving Freedom that Bonaire has offered really cannot be found any place else. I watched this thread with interest when it sprung up in case they were places that I did not know about but so far nothing touches Bonaire.

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States in the region of Puget Sound and we have amazing Shore diving opportunities up here , but of course it's all cold water. And I love cold water and between Washington and Vancouver the diving opportunities are amazing but again all that is crammed into a little Twenty Mile Island called Bonaire can't be touched any place that I've found so far.

smits
01-07-2019, 05:11 AM
I’ve been diving on Curacao and Bonaire since 1977
We have a rental Villa on Blue Bay Curacao and go there twice a year. Blue Bay has a some very nice reefs: The Wall and The garden.
But there are many sites more where diving is very nice: Mushroom forest, snake bay, superior producer, double reef and dozens more.
That being said: I rate diving on Bonaire a bit higher, but Curacao is a good second.
The beaches on Curacao are better.

Curacao is much bigger. People from all over the world have settled here. Population is 160.000 vs 20.000 Bonaire.
Curacao has more historical sites. There is much more to do on Curacao. Bonaire is more laid back.

Diving only, I would prefer Bonaire.
If you want more than diving, I would choose Curacao.
We often combine both islands in one trip.

GrafCanuck
02-28-2019, 10:11 AM
Curacao is as close to Bonaire from a shore diving perspective. Have been to Curacao 4 x's over the past 3 years. Last year in Bonaire for the first time and going back this April. Both are unique islands and recommend both. Have been to Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia, St Martin, Anguilla, St Barts, St Thomas, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Cuba and Cozumel. I would rank Bonaire and Curacao at the top of the list for a dive vacation. Note that my wife is a non-diver and she loves Bonaire and Curacao.