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Bonaire Newbie Questions


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I'm booking a cruise for next winter that will include a stop in Bonaire.  I've never been there so would like some recommendations, ideas or general information about the island which will help me as I make plans for my day in port.

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Bonaire is known for scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing and other water sports.  We do have sandy beaches, but fewer than places like Aruba or Curacao.   The downtown area is charming and easily accessible off the cruise ship.  Since the island is so small, you can do and see a lot in one day, depending on what you like to do.  If you like to snorkel, I'd recommend a snorkel tour that does a drift dive off Klein Bonaire, the uninhabited island offshore from Bonaire.  That island also has one of the nicest sandy beaches for any non-snorkelers in your group.  There are no facilities on the island, so bring water!  If you are a diver, I'd set up a dive in advance with any of the many fine dive shops.  We also have pink salt flats, mountains of salt, a donkey sanctuary, a distillery in Rincon that makes liquor from cactus, flamingos, and beautiful scenery.  I'd look at the shore excursions your ship is offering to get an idea of what's available.  

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45 minutes ago, Katefromupstate said:

Bonaire is known for scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing and other water sports.  We do have sandy beaches, but fewer than places like Aruba or Curacao.   The downtown area is charming and easily accessible off the cruise ship.  Since the island is so small, you can do and see a lot in one day, depending on what you like to do.  If you like to snorkel, I'd recommend a snorkel tour that does a drift dive off Klein Bonaire, the uninhabited island offshore from Bonaire.  That island also has one of the nicest sandy beaches for any non-snorkelers in your group.  There are no facilities on the island, so bring water!  If you are a diver, I'd set up a dive in advance with any of the many fine dive shops.  We also have pink salt flats, mountains of salt, a donkey sanctuary, a distillery in Rincon that makes liquor from cactus, flamingos, and beautiful scenery.  I'd look at the shore excursions your ship is offering to get an idea of what's available.  

Hi Kate! Is there a car rental company that rents a car for 1 day? I went online and a few need a 3 day minimum. Thanks, Ted.

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Hertz used to allow one day rentals that you could pick up at Divi flamingo hotel, a short walk from the ship.  I’ve heard Budget will too. If neither site is letting you book online, you may be running into a 3 day minimum during our high season, which runs from January through April. Even one week rentals can be difficult to reserve during this time.  You could also try calling the 800 number and speaking to someone in person.   If you don’t want to take cruise tours, you could also get a taxi and ask a driver for a daily rate to take you around.  There are golf cart rentals but they don’t go fast enough to get you the places you could in a car, and they really slow down traffic on our narrow roads.  As locals, we dread getting stuck behind golf carts when we’re driving to work, school, errands, etc. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Katefromupstate said:

Bonaire is known for scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing and other water sports.  We do have sandy beaches, but fewer than places like Aruba or Curacao.   The downtown area is charming and easily accessible off the cruise ship.  Since the island is so small, you can do and see a lot in one day, depending on what you like to do.  If you like to snorkel, I'd recommend a snorkel tour that does a drift dive off Klein Bonaire, the uninhabited island offshore from Bonaire.  That island also has one of the nicest sandy beaches for any non-snorkelers in your group.  There are no facilities on the island, so bring water!  If you are a diver, I'd set up a dive in advance with any of the many fine dive shops.  We also have pink salt flats, mountains of salt, a donkey sanctuary, a distillery in Rincon that makes liquor from cactus, flamingos, and beautiful scenery.  I'd look at the shore excursions your ship is offering to get an idea of what's available.  

 

Thank you.  That's exactly what I was hoping to learn.  When possible I prefer to take excursions offered by local people rather than the ship.  Are there companies that offer private tours?  

 

I would enjoy snorkeling, but I am not a "beach" person as such.  Plus I live in SW Florida only 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico so can go to the beach any time.  I would enjoy seeing the downtown area, but  pink salt flats and a donkey sanctuary sound interesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/2/2020 at 4:45 PM, ILoveScotland said:

 

Thank you.  That's exactly what I was hoping to learn.  When possible I prefer to take excursions offered by local people rather than the ship.  Are there companies that offer private tours?  

 

I would enjoy snorkeling, but I am not a "beach" person as such.  Plus I live in SW Florida only 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico so can go to the beach any time.  I would enjoy seeing the downtown area, but  pink salt flats and a donkey sanctuary sound interesting.

When we were there in January, we rented a car for $80+ and drove all over to snorkel and explore.  Visited the Donkey Sanctuary and snorkeled at the salt flats and elsewhere.  I don't think we sat once anywhere!  IF we go on our cruise in May, we plan to walk over to grab a quick ferry to Klein Bonaire for drift snorkeling.  We have done this before and loved it.  No need for any excursions at all anywhere.  Do your research precruise to see what interests you then rent a car to go see it.  There is no way you can see everything on your first visit which is why you have to prioritize for the next visit!!

Edited by jean87510
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