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Dive Review of Toucan Diving/Plaza Resort in

Toucan Diving/Plaza Resort, Aug, 2005,

by William & Frances Ungerman, CA, United States . Report 1897.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Plaza resort is probably the most upscale resort on Bonaire, yet the prices were reasonable and they offered a tremendous amount of incentives, e.g., free nitrox, second diver dives for free, kids stay and dive free, breakfast included. They also upgraded us to a Grand Suite, unsolicited. For our four-diver family, picking the Plaza was a no-brainer. We were not disappointed. We booked the six boat-dive (12 dives) package. Boats left promptly at 0830 and returned around 1230. Afternoon boats went out at 1430. Fruit (watermelon, peaches)was offered between dives. The skipper and D.M were fairly accompdating on site selection and didn't mind going south or north or to Klein Boneire (where diving and viz was a bit better).

Air temperatures in August were 88-100 degrees F in the daytime with overnight lows of 75-80. Tradewinds made it bearable. No bugs encountered. There is a $25.00 U/W park fee good for the calendar year. A mandatory briefing occurs the first day with an unsupervised "checkout" dive afterwards. Consequently, you miss the first morning boat dives but are allowed to make it up with a night dive (Monday and Thursday) or an afternoon dive. You can't dive the Salt Pier anymore without both Harbor Master permission AND a D/M. They cite the threat of terrorism as the reason. However, when terrorists start blowing up Bonaire's Salt Pier, we're in big trouble. "Action" Jackson (a Toucan D/M) had a major side business charging $25.00 a head to take you there (and he doesn't mention the fee until you're loading tanks in the back of your pickup truck!).

My youngest (ten year old) daughter completed her O/W referral certification here with Instructor "Danny," a Dutch female. Danny was very competent and able to work effectively with little ones. Thirteen dives later Sierra saw Sea Horses, Morays, and Frog Fish. The Plaza's beach is "topless" and a lot of Euporesan females bare themselves shamelessy. Thank goodness us married guys had dark sunglasses. Whereas nearly 100% of the Americans on Bonaire are divers it doesn't appear that more than a third of the Dutch and other Europeans indulge in SCUBA. The Europeans outnumbered the Americans two to one at the Plaza, a Dutch-owned resort. Not diving would be understandable on Aruba and Curacao, but Bonaire??!!

The staff at the Plaza was exceptional: Polite, courteous, helpful and cheerful. All except some of the bartenders at the Coconut Crush Beach Bar who were a mite surly. The Caribbean Point restaurant on- site was excellent with a great staff. The Tipsy Seagull, also on site, was a bit pricey and the food only fair. if you night dive, there is no restaurant on-site open except the Seagull and you need reservations and a spare hundred dollars. In town we ate at The Casablanca (Argentinian flair and expensive), The Rib Factory, near the town pier, (very good), the KFC (What can I say?). The most memorable was Giorgio's and Donna's, a Pizza and Pasta place. Outstanding food and fairly reasonable.

The diving was very good to excellent on the Caribbean scale but the reefs and sites all look pretty much the same after a few dives. We're not complaining, just be advised. Shore diving may be as easy as it gets, but it still involves getting sand all over everything and loading and unloading gear. Plus, thefts from vehicles has reached epidemic proportions we were advised. (We never saw a police officer in the week we were there). Visibility on the signature Hilma Hooker dive was a disappointing 50 feet, the worst of any site.

Getting there. Air Jamaica tries real hard, but it's a classic Caribbean operation: Time is never of the essence. Curiously, before every landing the flight attendants went over the crash procedures in ernest. We have never experienced that on any other airline. There is a $20.00 per person departure tax (U.S. dollars). Both US money or N.A. guilders are accepted everywhere. Rate of exchange $1.00 US to $1.75 NA Guilder.

Toucan Diving had no lockers for us until the last days. They were so busy they were even turning down training requests. The aluminum tanks were typically filled between 2700 and 2900 PSI and were available in 80, 63, and 50 CF configuartions. Rentals are extensive and well maintained. Nitrox fills were invariable in the 33% range.

Unless you are going to shore dive, skip the vehicle rental (mandatory if you are going to shore dive. Tanks are always available 24/7. A superb destination for divers, especialy if you're not too jaded. For new divers it doesn't get much better. For experienced divers, there is always something to see. This was our second trip, the first staying at Captain Don's Habitat. There's a lot to be said for both facilities and Bonaire too.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Pacific and Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 81-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recommended to dive no deeper than 100 feet, return in one hour. Not enforced.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments No particular accomodations other than a large container for a rinse tank aboard.
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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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