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Dive Review of Carib Inn in
Bonaire

Carib Inn, Jan, 2008,

by Edward Clapp, ca, usa (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3874.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, SCAL, NCAL, FL, PR, Belize, Dominica, Saba, Grand/Little Cayman
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 100 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Really, none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Bonaire Trip 1/08

This is a three part review: travel, accommodations, and diving.

I've been to Bonaire and dived with the Carib Inn (www.caribinn.com) four times over the last twenty or so years and have always had a great time. The island has seen considerable change since my first visit and there are lots more people and more things to do besides dive: windsurf, explore a mangrove swamp, bicycle, and check out petroglyphs are some of them. The restaurants are good, though menues are big on meat and starches and it's hard to find fresh vegetables.

This trip, American Airlines did a very poor job of getting us to Bonaire. First, they failed to honor our seat assignments, claiming Travelocity hadn't passed them along. In today's computer age, this is unforgivable on American's part. Second, they had a luggage problem on flights from San Juan to Bonaire. Over the course of several days, they had managed to get backed up in getting luggage on the plane for its passengers. On the flight we took, we were told the flight had been overbooked and offered travel vouchers, a seat on the same flight the next evening, and expenses for the interim. They did not, repeat, NOT tell us our luggage would be likely not to fly with us. This would have made for a different decision on our part, as we'd have preferred to spend a day in San Juan than a day in Bonaire without dive gear.

Evidently, American made a business decision that it'd be cheaper to send us on without luggage than to offer a higher incentive for people to give up their seats.

When we got to Bonaire, the single person behind the American counter was frazzled, and understandably so, given that the baggage problem had been going on for several days. In fact, we ran into a family whose luggage had taken five days to catch up with them. She made no offers to pay for expenses such as toiletries, much less rental of scuba equipment. I was able to send out an email from the place where we stayed asking American about this and got the unbelievably incompetent response that since we'd gotten no vouchers at the airport, American would pay nothing for us to buy things to tide us over for the day along with some misrepresentations regarding the overbooking.

American has only one flight a day from San Juan to Bonaire. Four of our five bags arrived the next day after we did, but one bag -- with crucial supplies -- took two days. This cost us dive days.

We weren't able to get into the Carib Inn for the week and Bruce Bowker had recommended Blachi Koko (www.blachikokobonaire.com), which has several apartments a very short distance away, so we stayed there. It's run by a young couple, Laetitia Sernaglia and Matthieu Foudraine, who've put a lot of time and energy making it a lovely place, even though it's one property away from the beach. They're new to the business, being divemasters at different shops on the island, and they can't spend full time on the premises even though they work hard at keeping their guests happy, and are doing a good job - for instance, we were met at the airport, so we didn't have to take a taxi, and were shown how to work things in the apartment. There's room for improvement: one nice touch would be to provide washcloths in addition to towels; they definitely need rubber bath mats in the shower to protect against a very slippery floor; and, to an American's eyes at least, the security measures - you need a key to unlock the front door from the inside and another key to get into and out of the premises - are a safety concern.

With time, Blachi Koko could easily become a preferred place to stay on the island. In any event, we enjoyed our stay there and I'd happily return if the Carib Inn were full.

Diving at the Carib Inn was as wonderful as ever. Bruce has a terrific operation with little staff turnover and lots of repeat customers, for good reason. The dive masters give you lots of flexibility and yet make helpful suggestions if you're about to make a mistake. If you ask for advice, they give it. The reefs were lovely as were the fish. We were there in January and the water temperature was 80 degrees, which I found cold even with a pretty good wet suit. On the other hand, my dive buddy wore only a bathing suit, was toasty, and thought the rest of us where whimps.

The closest to a negative thing I can say about the dive operation is that one, and only one, of the dive masters seemed not very excited about her job - she seemed to want to get out to the dive site and back to shore as quickly as possible, though without actually rushing anyone. I'd rate her as competent but not outstanding, but maybe she was having a bad day.


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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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