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what should first timers do in bonaire?


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Perhaps you can tell us a bit more about yourselves in order for people to make recommendations.


We will be in Bonaire for our second time this coming March. The first time we were there (2004), we went on a wonderful snorkeling expedition, then rented a scooter ($25 per day) and headed up to the National Park on the North end of the island. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time to really see the park or do much else than return back to the port.


This time, we will rent a scooter, head up to the National Park, do some hiking and photography in the park, head off to a beach to snorkel, then head back to the port.


Bonaire is one of our favourite islands. The people there are very friendly, the island is very clean, and you are never bothered by the locals. We are really looking forward to returning.

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Just cut and paste from my whole cruise review so sorry it isn't perfect.

My favorite island! We arranged to rent a car from Hertz (the Divi Flamingo) location booked with hertz.com for $46.68 and emailed the Divi location and asked them to deliver to the dock, she said they would. They weren’t there, but someone called for me and they came straight away. We could have walked as it wasn’t far. Because they closed at 5pm I chose to return it at the airport location and they shuttled us back for free. Their email was hertz-bonaire@telbonet.an We drove around and saw the salt flats and flamingos and the rest of the time snorkeling close to Donkey beach right by the airport. It is out of this world! We visited the donkey sanctuary last time and that was quite enjoyable. Remember there isn’t much sand on the beach, but you will find little pockets of it. Best snorkeling is away from the sand. Bring water shoes as it is rocky.



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  • 3 weeks later...
We want to rent a car on Bonaire as well. Is it a crazy place to drive or fairly safe? Is the rental place in the airport? Where is it in reference to the docking pier? Thanks!


It's a very safe place to drive. You'll have most of the roads to yourself. The only place that gets more than a few cars at once is right downtown near where the ship docks. And that's usually after dark when the locals circle the block showing off for each other.


There are rental places at the airport but it sounds like the OP had them bring the car to the dock. I've never arrived by cruise ship so I can't be much help there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We were really looking forward to this port. When we got off the ship we approaced the taxi right there and asked for a private tour of the South end of the island.


We were quoted a price of $25 per person for a two hour tour, great off we went and we were very happy. He showed us the salt ponds, flamingos, beaches, light house and slave huts. We asked to be dropped off at Windsock beach.


We chose this beach because of these threads and heard it had great snorkeling and we were not disappointed. There was a group (looked like a ship tour) at one side so we got off a little further down the beach. No one in sight. There was some kind of dock/pipe line that had pilons going into the water so we knew there could be some great activity there for fish.


My husband actually changed right there as no one was around. We brought our own snorkel gear and off we went. The best we've ever done and we have snorkeled all over.


We decided to walk back... it looked close, but that was a big mistake, way to hot and ended up with blisters.


Walked around the square for a bit, grabbed a bite to eat and a beer and that was our day. next time we will go to the northern end of the island and snorkel.

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Vicki... I have been reading your post both live and since your return. Thank you so much for all the information. This Windsock beach - are their any washrooms, chairs shade etc around? thanks

Bonaire is what we call one large public beach. They may have trash cans but that is about it. Somedays the roach coach shows.



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We just rent a jeep wrangler in Bonaire for the day. It is $87.50 including insurance and tax and will have fun and a great experience and will be able to stop wherever we want. We rent it from Total rent a car this is their e.mail info@totalbonaire.com. We will be on the Summit for the march 15 cruise.

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I'll be there with 3 others on April 2, 08 and your day sounds really good. We are on the Crown Princess and we're in port from 11-7. A couple of questions. Is there any particular taxi or tour group to ask for?

Also, Is the Windsock beach rocky? I've heard most are and wanted to know if we needed aquasocks. Second how far was the walk into town and if you wanted to get a taxi back is it readly available. Since we're there in the afternoon do you know when the shops close?


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I would suggest water shoes. the only real beach on the island is pink beach. The ship docks almost in the middle of town. Shop very to be open. We go in july and NO cruise ships and they close 5 - 6pm. With a ship in they may stay open later. I would say taxi are available.



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As soon as we docked on the north pier, people poured off the boat. The excursions were all booked up for Bonaire, btw prior to embarking on the Crown.



We did a taxi to Eden beach resort. We ended up sharing with another couple. The taxi system was a bit confusing, because they weren't letting people get a taxi right on the road, but if you wait by the pier, somehow someone has always picked up all the available taxi's. we left the boat around 1130 (half hour after it docked). also most of their taxi's fit 5-6 people and didn't want to take just the 2 of us to a beach.


We did find another couple to share with, and he charged us $10 (though he did quote as low as $8 total, but then jacked it up to 10 when the couple asked him again cause they didnt hear him the first time. which was fine, i just didn't tip him.)



There were a ton of princess people there at Eden beach. Beach was completely full, and snorkeling decent. you can go off the beach but it is rocky, slippery shelfs you have to carefully go in. you can go off the pier, which is a bit slippery also. the one thing to note is that there is a drop off to deep depths probably within approx 20 feet of the beach, maybe less (i'm not good at approximating). this drop off does limit the area of snorkeling. also the current was kind of strong the day we were there. Perhaps we should have chosen a different spot, water clarity was not that great maybe because there were so many people.




Either way it did not ruin our time, we did like it and it was relaxing. I think since we have been snorkeling in tahiti with excellent clarity and diversity of creatures.




We did stumble into pre-rented chairs that people were leaving so we didn't pay a rental fee and we brought our own snorkel equipment so we didn't have to rent any but you can. The beach bar was good and cheap for food - alcoholic drinks ran around $6 (pina colada was excellent). $10 covered 2 ham & cheese bagettes and fries with a 'salad' (lettuce, 1 tomato, and onion).


we stowed into a taxi with some other people on the way back, this dropped us off at the south pier. from there we did some shopping. littman stores are the ones princess advertises as "their" stores or whatever. horribly overpriced. cute stores up and down the street, reasonable prices. cost 5/pp to go back.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hey, all

we are sailing into Bonaire in Jan 09 but are only there 7-2 so...we do like snorkeling but with the new luggage restrictions not sure we'll want to schlep a bag with our gear so...being our first time there a limited time at that would it be a good idea to do a tour of the island...what recommendations do you all have for me???:o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Love Bonaire.


Stopped there twice.


Both times we rented from Hertz (reserved on line. They will e-mail correspond with you if you have questions) and picked the jeep, then mini-van up at the Divi-Flamingo. Easy. On Bonaire they drive on the right hand side of the road.


The second time one of the couples with us rented snorkel gear at the snorkel shop there at the Divi. Very reasonable, and nice equipment.


The first time was on our own. We tooke the jeep all over the island. Saw all the sights. We had a blast.


The second time we rented a mini-van with two other couples and did our own snorkel tour. After we dropped the other couples off we went near windsock beach, swam, and watched the sunset. We dropped the van off at the airport and they brought us back to the cruiseship pier. Another highlight to our cruise trips.


Have a great time. Bonaire is a wonderous place.



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thanks for the info...since we have such limited time there we went ahead and booked aquaspace (along with a few other of our cc board members) so hopefully that'll be the best choice and...we'll just have to put it on our return list!:)

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  • 2 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Cruising on Emerald Princess in April - will be in Bonaire from 7am to 2pm and I too am wondering what to do since we've never been there before.


Saw 3 excursions on the Princess site.

#1 - Discover Bonaire - 3 hr tour

#2 - Butterfly Farm - 2 hr tour

#3 - Historic Dutch Salining - 2.5 hr tour


Has anyone done one of these or can recommend something else?

There are 5 of us - ages 22 up to 63.

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