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Dive Review of Captain Don's Habitat/Coral Paradise Resort in
Bonaire

Captain Don's Habitat/Coral Paradise Resort, Mar, 2010,

by George Lock Jr, PA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 5420.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Roatan, Belize, Palau, North Atlantic
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 80 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility to Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Maximum depths were recommended but not limited.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Camaras were handled well by the boat crews. Camera tanks on the boats and at the dive shop were usually inadequate in size for the demand.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Kenny and Margaret at the Coral Paradise Resort run a first class operation, and they are great hosts. The rooms have everything you need for a relaxing, comfortable, and worry-free stay. The resort is kept very clean and is well maintained. Being so closely situated to Captain Don's Habitat gives you the best of both worlds: you get all the benefits of having a restaurant and dive facility within a two-minute walk, while getting the service and attention you can only find in a small resort.

The boat dives at Captain Don's Habitat go to great sites. Dives could easily last for an hour. There was little evidence at depths beyond ~ 30 feet of hurricane or storm damage. However, I found the boats too crowded, often with 20 divers. With that many divers, one had to gear up in shifts. There was only a small camera table on the boat, and the camera rinse tank was too small to handle the photographers needs. Boats depart at 8:30 and 11:00 AM and return between dives to reload/refill tanks. Afternoon dives depart at 2:00 PM, but if one takes an 11:00 AM dive, there was rarely enough time to get lunch. A crowded boat makes for a longer trip. Most of the boat crews were very helpful and friendly. One incident was relegated to "minor" status because of the vigilance of the boat captain. Nitrox is available, but probably not necessary for most.

The dive packages all include unlimited shore dives. The shore dive at the dive shop is a good one with a lot of fish and macro subjects. The island has many good shore dive sites, but one needs a rental vehicle (abundantly available) to access them.

Rum Runners, the restaurant at Habitat had a good buffet breakfast and good lunches, with friendly and efficient waiters. However, dinners at Rum Runners took a long time, and the service was incredibly slow. Our group tried several restaurants in the nearby vicinity and were quite pleased with Richards, Mona Lisa, Chibi Chibi (at the Divi Flamingo resort), and It Rains Fishes. Again, a vehicle is necessary to get to these restaurants.

The petty crime frequently reported on Bonaire does affect the way one behaves. Everything must be locked up. Nothing can be left in unattended vehicles. So, all of your dive and photo gear must be locked up. While that doesnt sound so bad, it necessitates a lot more hauling around, from dive lockers and rooms to and from the boats. Contrast that with Little Cayman, where one can leave gear hanging in the open, and cameras soaking in unattended rinse tanks right at the dock, with no fear of problems. Why the local community and businesses allow this problem to persist on Bonaire is a mystery, because it does affect the logistics and ease of diving.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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