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Dive Review of Carib Inn in
Bonaire

January, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Edward Clapp, ca, usa
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 3874
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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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