As part of its conservation efforts, Bonaire requires all divers, even those who have visited the island in the past, to have an orientation dive with a local; and purchase a license to enter the marine park (all the sea around the island is part of the marine park). To dive in Bonaire, we had to have the required orientation. At the same time, I hadn’t gone diving since obtaining my certification and was feeling a bit anxious about diving again. Enter Buddy Dive.
We were delighted to discover the southern Caribbean island of Bonaire offered many accommodation options, including luxury rental villas. After a few email exchanges with Sunrentals, one of the largest rental agencies on the island, we were rewarded with last minute space in Crown Court 44A, one of their most popular rental homes and one of very few waterfront homes with WiFi. The roomy three bedroom waterfront $2 million villa was in Bonaire’s most luxurious residential neighborhood.
The Great Adventures Dive center was onsite at the Harbour Village Beach Club property making it convenient for club members and guests. By far the main activity seemed to be dive courses, shore diving, and diving and snorkeling boat excursions. Snorkeling and diving on the Harbour Village beach were easy and there was a small sailboat wreck about 40 feet deep off of the beach. On several occasions we took advantage of the easy shore dive opportunities to explore the nearby wreck and Something Special reef. Other times we went on boat excursions.
I liked Harbour Village so much the first time I stayed there, my husband and I visited the boutique hotel the following year. Sometimes a return visit can be disappointing because properties change in between visits; the room is not as nice the second time as it was the first time; weather is less favorable or other circumstances conspire to spoil the experience. To our surprise, Harbour Village was, in almost every respect, as delightful or more the second time.
For a small island Bonaire really packs a punch. When few spoke about ecotourism in the Caribbean, Bonaire was busy establishing marine and national parks. Island authorities still oversee those areas with care, ensuring unspoiled waters for locals and visitors alike. At the same time, although for years it has been a diving Mecca attracting countless European and United States visitors, locals have not rested on their laurels. We observed pleasant, well organized, modern operations staffed by enthusiastic divers with a professional attitude.