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“Highly Professional!”

Bonaire Dive and Adventure
Certificate of Excellence
Moira, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Highly Professional!”
Reviewed February 27, 2014

We used Bonaire Dive & Adventure as our diving base on our trip there in Jan 2014. The whole set-up is extremely professional. On arrival there was a comprehensive orientation briefing. Tanks are always available; kit is stored securely; and help is on hand for advice or tools for adjusting kit etc. Everyone is helpful and knowledgeable and there is a good dive shop. Access to the superb house reef is from their private pier. Everything is so convenient, and so good, you could be tempted never to get in your truck and do the superb shore dives around the island! But we dragged ourselves away and did so as you'd miss a range of great dives if you did not. We found that, being with BDA and staying on-site in the adjacent, lovely Den Laman Condos, it was great for that early morning dive, or for an evening dive after being out shore diving during the day. And once you've dived the house reef and know it, you can do a night dive, as we did, and dive accompanied by huge, magnificent, silver tarpon!. In the surrounding area there is access to shops and places to eat, and it is only a short drive into Kralendjik. However, try the restaurant right on the pier here first: beautifully situated right on the ocean facing Klein Bonaire - or enjoy a drink here in the evening watching the fabulous sunset after a satisfying day's diving. We were here for 2 weeks in Jan 2014 and I feel that Kurt has overstated the access issues. There were no animosities apparent, and if I owned such a great facility, I'd want to protect it too! We have experienced other dive operations on Bonaire and would rate BDA our preferred operation by far.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Siriusue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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English first
Troy, Michigan
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Couldn't be more diver friendly”
Reviewed February 25, 2014

The operation at Bonaire Dive and Adventure is amazing. I have never experienced a setup that makes diving easier. There are tanks available 24 hours a day, boat dives are simple to sign up for, and the pier on Bari Reef makes entry and exit a breeze. They even have a separate area by the parking lot to make shore diving from your car easy, providing tanks and rinse tanks for your gear when you get back.

The staff is always helpful and friendly and all really know their stuff. You'll hear a lot about Gerry, and for good reason. If you do the Dive With a Naturalist dive, and you really should, you will not look at the reef the same way again. We had so much more fun diving after being taught about fish identification and behavior by Gerry. He loves what he does and I think he knows every fish on the reef by name. Carl led my wife's open water checkout dives and she had nothing but praise for him. He made sure she could do everything on her own, rather than doing everything for her and she felt confident and ready to dive on her own after being certified. Mannex was always fun to dive with, especially on boat dives where he would harass other boats in a friendly and fun way. Just don't believe what he says about the frog fish, it's real and not rubber.

There are some reviews that talk about Andre being hard to deal with. I'm not sure if he's mellowed or those people were just impossible to deal with but he and Catherine were always smiling, waving, and super friendly. If they're in the middle of doing something they may be a bit short with you, but that's just because they're very safety focused and serious about what they do. Just be patient for a minute and they'll be happy to help you with whatever they need when they're done. Andre was great to talk to as he always had interesting information about the island that made the experience more interesting. Catherine is super funny and friendly. They have a rum punch party every Monday and I recommend going and hanging out with the staff. They're great!

We stayed at the Den Laman condominiums so BDA was the natural choice for our dive shop. After diving with them we will never stay anywhere else or dive with anyone else on Bonaire. We can't wait to go back and BDA is a big reason why.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank DasAlbatross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dardanelle, Arkansas
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“It's always an adventure at BDA”
Reviewed February 24, 2014

We have stayed with Den Laman and dove with BDA 10 times over the last 5 years so we feel that we can make an accurate assessment of their operation. We also have watched them evolve over the years - trading access hours for inconvenience.

We have to say that we feel sure they would be out of business if either of these two factors were true.

1--they were NOT located on Bonaire at an excellent and perhaps one of the best shore accessible reefs in the Caribbean - and basically have no real competition
2--they were more than a stone's throw from Den Laman Condo which we love.

Interacting with them and their operation is currently the textbook definition of "necessary evil".

Andre struggles with trying to provide high quality easily accessible 24/7 access to diving and still provide some level of security to both his (most important) and your (secondary important) equipment. He is also trying to guard his pier from his newly found competition - at the risk of alienating his own paying customers.

They have also seemed to have a falling out (obviously a pissing contest of some kind) with the Sand Dollar and there is now a competing (if you can call it that) operator -Dive Friends. This has caused the BDA operation to be very protective of their pier and has made the access (for BDA customers) very [if not extremely] difficult.

For example, After 4pm and before 8:30am-- it begins like this:
To check out and analyze a tank and actually go diving, you have to unlock and lock 4 different padlocks. Each padlock requires a combination "lock box" to obtain the key for an associated padlock. (WOW). Let's not forget to finish your dive and put away a tank, get off the pier, and put your gear in the gear room requires 3 out of the 4 steps below.

Take your gear that you might have in your room, and unlock the lock box to obtain first key to gear room. Unlock padlock with key you obtained and then get gear from gear room. Relock padlock and replace key in lockbox and relock. Walk down to pier, and unlock lock box to obtain second key to unlock padlock on pier gates. Unlock padlock with key from lockbox and replace key in lockbox and relock. Now, pick back up your gear (you had to set everything down right?) and proceed to benches. Now to get a tank: unlock lock box to obtain third key to padlock to get fresh NITROX tank. Unlock padlock with key. Replace key in lockbox and relock. Remove tank.
Need/want to actually analyze your tank? Guess, what, it's locked in a pelican case, locked separately. Unlock lockbox and obtain fourth key to padlock. Unlock padlock to pelican case and get analyzer. Replace key in lock box and relock. Replace analyzer and relock padlock on pelican case.

CONGRADULATIONS, you are now locked on the dock, with a analyzed tank, and only have to set up your gear and get ready to go diving.

Sure hope that you didn't forget something in the gear room or elsewhere. You can count on another 15 minutes of padlocks to get where you need to be.

Novel idea:
How about they just hire a night watchman and do away with all this BS - you know like they had years ago in 2009? It's not a vacation guys.


Final thought:
In all fairness, I think they need credit for trying hard to improve the experience by making things accessible 24/7 a Bonaire tradition.

But perhaps applying some technology like ALREADY in use at Den Laman with their waterproof electronic presentation keys would make locking and unlocking doors and access MUCH easier and more streamlined.

They could also control WHO and WHEN individuals had access and track individual use (for billing purposes). It wouldn't be so bad to wave a key and have doors open and just have to shut them like in a hotel room.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Kurt O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Excellent dive operation”
Reviewed February 19, 2014 via mobile

I dove with Bonaire Dive and Adverture during the week of January 11-18, 2014.

This is an excellent dive operation. The first thing was a dive orientation given by Andre - the owner. He told me about the dive areas, topography, currents, depths etc. It was very informative. Then I did a check out dive which they do with everyone. Plan for these activities before diving because they can take time. But will ensure you are prepared and capable.

The facilities are also excellent. Aside from the scuba shop, there is a gear room which is accessible anytime. Although locked at night, divers have access. Boat and shore diving are just at the pier which is on the premise of Den Laman condominiums. The boat crew and dive masters are knowledgeable and attentive. They load tanks on the boat, assist with gear, and help with water entry and exits. They are excellent with new and experienced divers. Boat dives were approximately 50 minutes and each site was different. If you get a chance to dive with Gerry you will have an exceptionally good time. He is a retired marine biologist who will tell you a lot about each dive site and what you can expect to see; as well as point out things of interest underwater. Take the special lecture and dive with Gerry - it will be well worth it

I highly recommend Bonaire Dive and Adventure.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Beverley2828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
69 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 252 helpful votes
“Fantastic customer service and facilities”
Reviewed February 19, 2014

I echo everyone else's reviews on having great facilities with access to Bari Reef. As an update to a previous review, they do have cages at the parking lot for 24/7 access to load tanks into your truck. What really stood out for me was the customer service. I realized I had lost my dive computer on our last night while packing up, and the amazing staff at BDA actually drove it out to the airport when it turned up the next morning! Way above and beyond. Thanks for a great vacation!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank AL-the-squid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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