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Dive Review of Dive Friends Bonaire/Den Laman in
Bonaire

Dive Friends Bonaire/Den Laman: "Relaxing visit and wonderful diving in Bonaire", Dec, 2017,

by Craig A Wood, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 46 reports with 47 Helpful votes). Report 10107.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My wife and I recently spent 10 days diving off Bonaire, staying at Den Laman and diving with Dive Friends Bonaire. We had been to Bonaire on three previous occasions, but not since 2008. Our previous stays were at Sand Dollar, diving with Bonaire Dive & Adventure.

Reservations: We made all of our reservations through Den Laman including accommodations, truck rental (Avis), and diving with on site, Dive Friends. The Den Laman office communicated very well and answered the few questions we had very promptly. We had all our vouchers well before our travel.

Travel: We flew from Philadelphia to Aruba and back on American Airlines. We flew from Aruba to Bonaire and back, with a stop in Curacao, with Insel Air. Our flight down to Aruba was uneventful, however, Insel Air was 2 ½ hours late to Bonaire. As this was our final destination, it made little difference. Insel Air was also 2 ½ hours late on the return to Aruba. This caused us to miss our nonstop American Airlines flight home and to take a flight with a connection in Miami. Insel Air communicated badly or not at all the entire time. I will avoid Insel Air on future trips. Pick up and drop off of our truck at the airport worked perfectly. A very nice dual cab, manual transmission model with good A/C

Accommodations: We got off on the right foot. We arrived nearly 3 hours late due to the delay in our Insel Air flight. We were met at the Den Laman office, several hours after closing, for our check in and orientation, much appreciated.

We stayed in one of the ocean front, one bedroom units, the Parrotfish, on the 2nd floor. The unit had a kitchen, living room/dining room, bedroom, bath, and a great balcony/terrace. The sunsets on the terrace were absolutely fabulous. The kitchen had a great refrigerator/freezer, stove/oven, and microwave. Probably the only criticism we had was that the kitchen was understocked and needed some bakeware, microwave ware, storage containers, and a few sharp knives. Apparently, the management is working on this complaint. We cooked most of our meals and easily made do. The dining room was quite large, we made the table our base of operations. We didnít use the living room much and never turned on the TV/surround sound stereo. The bedroom was fine, the bed was a platform on the firm side, but quite comfortable after a day of diving. They could have used a dresser, rather than the desk, but there was plenty of room for storage. The bathroom was a single person sink, nice shower with plenty of hot water. The unit had a split unit A/C in the bedroom and in the living room, worked perfectly. Maid service was every other day, more than adequate.

Diving: There were several advantages of staying at Den Laman and using Dive Friends. Marine Park orientation was quick and easy, at your convenience, a huge improvement over the old BD&A. As a guest at Den Laman you have the use a very good gear drying and storage building and you have use of their pier. Dive Friends boats leave the pier every morning and some afternoons. Perhaps best, you have direct access to one of the best dives on the island, the house reef, Bari Reef. Tanks for this dive are available on the pier, couldnít be easier. Nitrox is free. They have an easy tank pick up in the parking lot for shore diving. Tank fills were good, averaging 3100 psi. O-rings rings were generally good, the few defects were picked up during nitrox analysis. They have carts to help transport your gear from the storage unit to the pier. There are multiple, specific rinse tanks on the pier. Dive Friends has 6 other locations around Bonaire

Dive Friends Bonaire has a great collection of very good employees. Peter and Joan in the shop, Captains Helmer, Larry, and Martijn, and DMs Jaspar, Vincent, Jack, Kathryn, and Darcy were all friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, and willing to assist at all times. They were particularly helpful with a few problems my wife had during our visit. We did a leisurely 29 dives during our visit, about half boat and half shore. Dive Friends offers 2 tank AM dives every day and 1 tank PM dives several times per week when there are enough divers. The boats go to Klein Bonaire and to northern sites, generally not accessible from shore. We took only AM dives and dived off 2 of their boats, Pelican and Frenzy. Pelican is a wide, stable open transom where you do a giant stride off the stern. The Frenzy is a nice 2 outboard where you make a back roll entry. Both boats have good ladders. You and your buddy dive loosely with the DM for the first part of the dive and are then free to finish the dive by yourselves. Dive time was said to be limited to 60 minutes, my dives averaged 66 minutes (61-71). I would advise using good common sense and boarding soon after the last divers. Shore dives, particularly Bari Reef, were routinely excellent. We did only dives with very easy entries. During our visit, water temperature was 81-83 degrees, visibility 60-100+ feet, and there was little to moderate current. The reefs were generally in very good shape, especially once you passed out of the flats and onto the wall. The reefs were populated by all of the usual reef fish, turtles, morays, octopi, and a gorgeous seahorse. We saw no frogfish on this visit. The largest fish were Tarpon and Tiger Groupers, we saw no sharks.

This was our 4th trip to Bonaire, but we had not visited since 2008. We had forgotten how easy and beautiful the diving was. We are now completely spoiled by the accommodations and convenience of Den Laman and the diving with Dive Friends. We will return, much sooner than this time.
Websites Dive Friends Bonaire   Den Laman

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Bonaire, Curacao, Turks & Caicos, Roatan, Cozumel, Key Largo, SE Florida (Boynton Beach, Jupiter, West Palm...), Maui, Oahu, Cape Ann, San Diego, Costa Rica, Cocos Island, Panama, Red Sea
Closest Airport Flamingo International Airport Getting There See narrative

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 81-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Boat dive loosely limited to 60 minutes, recreational depth, no deco. Shore diving, you are on your own.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Both boats had rinse containers for cameras, no table. Crew handled cameras carefully. Pier had separate rinse thank for cameras
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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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