Just returned yesterday from an 8 day trip on island. This is our 3rd trip to Bonaire and loved it just as much as always. This trip we brought along 8 friends of ours.
Flights - We came from the West Coast, so connections can always be challenging. We booked through Orbitz for about 1/2 of the group and it was a Continental flight with United connections. We found that the United/Continental merger is not as seamless as they'd have you believe. Our flight to Denver was cancelled, and fortunately Orbitz called us at 2:00 am to let us know about the cancellation and a re-booking for later in the day. We had a 6:00 am original departure that was then moved to later in the afternoon, causing a little stress that the connection might be difficult. 4 of our party hadn't found out about the cancellation and had not been rebooked to different flights. After speaking with United, I was able to get all our party on a flight either through Denver or San Francisco. Our San Fran contingent got to the airport to find that their new flight was delayed and they may miss their connection also. The five of them were rebooked to Delta and went to Salt Lake and then to Houston and arrived with about 2 hours to spare. When myself and two others arrived at the airport, we found that the second Denver flight was also delayed and that we'd definitely miss our connection. We met a very angry United agent that said there was no way for us to get there until the next day and that we'd miss our flights. Fortunately, the San Fran flight was delayed and had room, so we finally talked with another agent that was able to book us on that flight after convincing her that the Continental flight didn't leave until 11:59, not 11:30 which is what United had in their system. We arrived in Houston at 11:15 from San Fran and they said it wasn't a legal connection until they finally booked it and found that it actually printed our luggage tags. The agent told us that if it wasn't a valid connection, the computer wouldn't allow them to print the baggage tags. Not sure how true that is, but I didn't really care at that point. All our other connections were right on time and we made it to the Bonaire flight with about 20 minutes to spare. Flights home went without a hitch and we even got to upgrade to first class from Bonaire to Houston for $99 - it was wonderful.
We stayed at the Beaurang residence through SunRentals and had a wonderful experience with them. We purchased the diving package and had 7 days unlimited nitrox included, plus 3 pickups from Budget. We introduced ourselves to Richard at Richard's Restaurant and he was a most gracious host. He allowed us to use his ice machine anytime we wanted and on Monday night when he was closed, he left the lights on to his dock and allowed us to move a table and chairs out for our own dinner on the dock, it was a wonderful time. We mostly ate in and took turns cooking dinners as couples and ate like kings. We did eat out 3 nights, but I can't remember the grill that we ate in the first night, somewhere up near Buddy dive. It was our arrival day, so we were all pretty dead by that time. We ate at Cactus Blue on Wednesday and listened to Moogie play and danced until closing. The meal was amazing and the service second to none. On Saturday, our last night, we ate at Richard's to return his graciousness and had a wonderful dinner and drinks with the sunset.
Our goal for the trip was to get as much diving in as possible, however, the 5 of us that were routed through Salt Lake didn't receive their luggage. We made the 9 am dive briefing and rotated gear amongst the 5 that did get their luggage and managed to get 3 dives on our arrival day. From there we managed 4-5 dives a day and I ended up with 29 dives over the course of the 6 1/2 days of diving. With SunRentals were were able to get 20 tanks delivered to our house on most days - mainly when the cruise ships weren't in because they were too busy to deliver and we really appreciated that service. We used the Buddy Dive drive through the rest of time and would pull out 20 tanks at a time.
We would spend one day on the South end and the next on the North end. South end we hit The Lake, Alice in Wonderland, Hilma Hooker, Red Beryl, Margate Bay, Aquarius, Red Slave and a few others. Our favs were on the North end with 1000 Steps, Oil Slick, Karpate, Tolo/Ol' Blue, Candyland, Tailer Made, Nukove, the Fishing Village and the unamed sight at the end of the coral road right above Tailer Made. It was a whirlwind of a trip and I had to come back to work just to relax.
We had absolutely no issues with theft. Left our windows down and doors unlocked on the vehicles and took all our sunglasses and keys in Otter boxes with us on the dives. We did leave a collapseable cooler with food, water, sodas, and even beer and never had it gone through. We left old t-shirts and flip flops in the cars as well, again nothing that we were that concerned with losing.
All in all, the trip was amazing and we introduced 7 new folks to diving life on Bonaire. We will definitely be returning, the question is how soon. So many places I need to travel to!