Bonaire, an island in the Netherlands Antilles that practically touches the Venezuela coastline, doesn’t often get the attention it deserves, so allow Travel Agent to help out. Like all Caribbean destinations, Bonaire would appeal to families and sun seekers. But its real strength is in eco- and adventure tourism. In addition to world-renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, activities include windsurfing, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, birdwatching and deep-sea and bone fishing. For more information, contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire’s official web site at www.tourismbonaire.com.
Here’s some news we think might help you in booking Bonaire. First, notes from hotels:
Belmar Oceanfront Apartments (www.belmar-bonaire.com): Bring a friend for free April 1 through May 31, with a “Drive, Dive & Stay” package. Starting at $613 per person, based on quad occupancy in a two-bedroom unit, the package includes seven nights’ accommodation, six days of unlimited shore diving, car rental, roundtrip airport transfers and all taxes. The friend will dive for free, and both guests will receive a free barbecue dinner.
Buddy Dive (www.buddydive.com): Soft renovation of the rooms is nearly complete. The “Super Spring Saver Special” offers guests a 50 percent discount on food and beverages at the pool bar (max $75 per person) March 29 through May 31 when booked with the drive and dive package, which includes seven nights’ accommodation, six days of 24-hour unlimited shore diving, breakfast, car rental, roundtrip airport transfers and all sales taxes. Packages start from $658 per person, based on six people in a three-bedroom unit.
Captain Don’s Habitat (www.habitatbonaire.com): Renovation and upgrade of the traditional island-style cottages are complete. All cottages now have two bedrooms and two baths. Wireless Internet service is available throughout the property, and guests are now enjoying services provided by the onsite Intermezzo Day Spa. The “7th Night Free” on weekly packages from April 26 through June 28 is priced from $778 per person double for oceanview accommodations, buffet breakfast daily, welcome drink, manager’s rum punch party, six single-tank boat dives and six days of 24-hour unlimited shore diving.
Caribbean Club Bonaire (www.caribbeanclubbonaire.com): In the spring, eight brand-new two-bedroom apartments, including a honeymoon suite with Jacuzzi with ocean view, will be ready. Right now, book your Free Diver, valid April 1 through May 31, with the “Drive & Explore” package which includes seven nights’ accommodation, room tax, six days of unlimited shore diving or four activities (mangrove kayak tour, cave snorkel trip, mountain bike rental, snorkeling), breakfast, car rental, roundtrip airport transfers and all sales taxes; every second diver dives for free. Packages start from $530 per person based on quad occupancy in a two-bedroom standard unit. For more information, call 800-906-7708 or e-mail [email protected].
Bonaire’s newest mini-resort, Coral Paradise Inn (www.coralparadise.com), will open in March with eight units, each with two queen-size beds, full kitchen, air conditioning and a pool view just 100 steps from the sea. Diving is available. Book the “Let the Good Times Roll” package starting at $649 per person double, which includes seven nights’ accommodation (with one night free), six days of unlimited shore diving (six boat dives and equipment), pickup truck for the week, roundtrip airport transfers and all government taxes. Meal plans and other activities can be arranged. For more information, call 877-267-2572 or e-mail [email protected].
Den Laman Condominiums (www.denlaman.com): Seven-night packages start at $595 per person double, including studio accommodations, rental truck and six days of unlimited tanks for shore diving. Valid April 12 through December 19. Call 800-382-1094 or e-mail [email protected].
The Divi Flamingo Resort & Casino (www.diviresorts.com) has renovated all guest rooms with new furniture, draperies and bedding. Studio suite renovations will begin in 2008. Reserve by February 1 for travel March 29 through June 30, 2008 and enjoy up to 40 percent off nightly room rates. Call 800-367-3484.
Golden Reef Inn (www.goldenreefinn.com) has monthly specials such as free BBQ dinner in February, 15 percent off spa services in March, seventh night free in April, free room upgrade in May. Call 866-790-7333 or e-mail [email protected].
“Dive Into Luxury” at Harbour Village Beach Club (www.harbourvillage.com). From April 16 through December 18, the second person in your party dives for free. The package includes seven nights’ accommodation in a one-bedroom suite, daily breakfast and six days of diving (one boat dive per day, unlimited shore diving). Priced from $1,876 for the first guest and $1,628 for the second. Contact [email protected].
Formerly known as The Great Escape, the Hotel Roomer (www.roomerbonaire.com) has undergone a complete renovation. Prices start at $95 per room. Hotel Roomer also serves dinner, starting at $10 per plate. For more information, call 011-599-717-7488 or e-mail [email protected].
La Pura Vista (www.lapuravista.com), Bonaire’s private hillside guesthouses, offers a “Dive & Drive” package of seven nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast served on a terrace, seven days’ pickup truck rental, six days of unlimited shore diving, welcome drink, welcome basket and unlimited coffee and tea, starting at $699 for a standard studio, $950 for a deluxe room and $1,099 for a deluxe suite. Valid through December 20. Call 011-599-717-6582 or e-mail [email protected].
Plaza Resort Bonaire (www.plazaresortbonaire.com) and 18 Palms reef-front dive resort has refurbished 60 standard suites and added a Jacuzzi at the swimming pool, among other improvements. There is 2-for-1 shore diving May through September when booked with a standard or grand suite. Call 800-766-6016 or e-mail [email protected].
Other news from Bonaire:
The yacht Bowalie (www.bowalie.com) has added “Grand Tour Deluxe” sailing trips. The North Tour allows participants to explore Washington Slagbaai National Park by four-wheel drive, followed by an adventurous sail from the park back to the marina. The 10-hour tour costs $185 per person and includes lunch, drinks and snacks. The South Tour combines snorkeling, sailing, viewing the salt mines and slave huts and kayaking through mangroves. This eight-hour tour is $155 per person and includes lunch and drinks. Minimum age is 12 for both trips, and prices do not include the $10 nature fee.
Dive Friends Bonaire (www.dive-friends-bonaire.com) has renovated its fleet. Over the past several months, the dive operator’s Grote Sub and Kleine Sub were out of the water for complete reconstruction. Both are now back in the water, joining Dive Frenzy.
Div’Ocean (www.divocean-bonaire.com), Bonaire’s newest full-service dive shop, is expected to open early this year at Caribbean Court Resort. The multi-lingual staff teaches dive courses from PADI, IDD, WOSD and SSI; organizes boat dives, guided dives, guided night dives and east-coast dives; and has an inventory of retail and service equipment.
Solo travelers to Bonaire can meet up with other solo travelers to dive or windsurf each day during Singles Weeks, which are taking place February 23 through March 15. To enjoy the island’s activities with new friends during these special weeks, visit www.bonairecaribbean.com.
Hosted in eight countries worldwide, Kids Sea Camp (www.kidsseacamp.com) will convene for its fourth year in Bonaire, at Buddy Dive, June 7-14 and June 14-21. Marine artist Ron Rogest will be hosting this year’s Bonaire camps with Margo Peyton, working with the kids ages 4-15 on a painting project as well as an outreach program for local children to learn about the underwater world through painting. Kids also are exposed to conservation and marine awareness issues, like protection of sea turtles and other animals. Children will get the opportunity to participate in SASY, PADI Seal Team, PADI Jr. Open Water certification program and the Sport Dive Treasure Hunt. For more information, call 803-419-2556, e-mail [email protected].
NetTech, N.V. has launched the online service Bonaire Surveys for polling different segments of Bonaire’s tourist or resident population. Results are automatically and immediately tabulated and can be viewed by the public or kept private for the entity requesting the data. For more information, visit www.bonairesurveys.com.