Bonaire Trip Report
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Aug 13, 2012 8:32 AM Last Post By: Karlo
Oct 16, 2011 7:21 PM
15Anyone who doesn't think Indonesia has amazing diving probably dove only South Bali, the Gilis or the 1000 Islands, and missed Komodo, Labuanbajo, Ambon, Banda, Saparua, Nusa Laut, the islands off Biak, Bunaken, Lembeh, Pulau Weh, Ternate, Halmahera, etc. etc. ad infinitum. If all you did was dive Java or Bali, don't generalize about what's available in the other 16,000 islands. That would be like going to Anchorage and claiming that anyone who said there was warm water in the US was clueless.
I've been to Indonesia several times, and to the Philippines five times, and while there are some great Philippine dives (around El Nido, Coron, Apo Island, Bohol, Alona to a degree, etc.), it's far more limited than Indonesia in terms of places to go. It certainly is easier for people who speak only English and crave the familiar, though.
If you hated Indonesia, you'll probably love Bonaire. Food is expensive and food quality is poor unless you pay a lot, accommodation costs many times the Philippine and outer-islands Indonesian standard, local transport in the SE Asian sense doesn't exist, there's no local culture to speak of, you'll have plenty of cruise-ship types swarming around, and you'll be able to get by with a tiny fish ID card. Enjoy!
Oct 18, 2011 1:58 AM
16Robyne, I haven't been to Indonesia yet to dive, but I have done a little diving in that part of the world, and I was going to make the same general observation as Karlo ... namely that diving in a couple of places in a country with over 13,000 islands and the second most amount of coastline of any country in the world (over 30,000 miles worth), is not a representative sample.
On the other hand, I enjoy Bonaire a whole lot more than Karlo :) There's much less variety of coral and fish life in the Caribbean compared to the Pacific off South East Asia, but the abundance and ease of good shore diving makes Bonaire a unique place that I think most divers would enjoy. Also, even though it does get cruise ships (an annoying addition in recent years), most stay in and around tiny Kralendijk or on Jeep excursions around the island. It's kind of a non-event if you are a diver ... there are plenty of dive sites you can choose from that you will have all to yourself.
Aug 12, 2012 6:40 AM
17I'm really surprised to hear so many people say diving in the Red Sea is so much better than Bonaire, as we found it to be the exact opposite. We went to Egypt with friends to celebrate a birthday, so we only did two days diving whilst we were there, but we did get out to Ras Mohammed to see shark reef/Jolanda and weren't impressed - dead coral everywhere and very limited marine life. We're going back to Bonaire for 3 weeks in December for our honeymoon and can't wait - give me shore diving in buddy pairs over cattle boats any day, even if entries and exits can be tough.
Aug 13, 2012 8:32 AM
18Again, if you go to the Red Sea and get on a "cattle boat", that would be natural selection. Get out of Sharm and go up the Gulf to Dahab, Nuweiba, etc., and you can dive from beaches that aren't really just dead coral piled on an iron shore, and see many times the number and variety of fish and coral you'll find in Bonaire, or anywhere in the Caribbean. Go to the other side of the Red Sea to Marsa Alam, etc., and again, it will eclipse Bonaire.
Going on a "cattle boat" to a grossly overexploited mass tourist spot near package-tour Sharm and generalizing about diving in the Red Sea is like going to Disneyland and complaining about how crowded American parks are.
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