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Suggestions for 1 month diving vacation

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My wife and I are thinking of taking a 1 month trip for diving in the Caribbean sometime in September through early November. We're not "beach people" so don't need to be on a beach, we'd rather be on the water with nice snorkeling or diving off of our rental. We plan to dive probably every other day or so, so we'd want to be within walking distance to a photographer-friendly dive shop where we can store our gear.

Another requirement is the island have good grocery stores and numerous inexpensive restaurants, cafes.

San Pedro, Belize comes to mind. Possibly also Roatan just not sure which area would be best. Also considering Bocas Del Toro in Panama.

Any other suggestions? Somewhere in the Bahamas? Mexico?

I'd appreciate any personal observations.

Thanks,

Forest

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Great diving from shore, no concern with beaches sounds like Bonaire to me. The grocery stores are nice. Restaurants are numerous, with great food but not cheap - they were similar in price to midwest US prices when we were there a few yrs ago. Not overly high but not inexpensive. You are coming during Hurricane season and Bonaire is generally South of the worst of those storms.

I was not aware of good diving from shore at San Pedro. All diving/snorkeling was from boats when we were there. But I am certainly no expert on that region.

 

Restaurant and accommodation prices are quite good at Cozumel but diving is via boat. There was some nice snorkeling at their national park beach some yrs ago but have not visited that park in a long time.

 

If you find a place that has ALL your criteria, I suspect a lot of us will be beating path to their door. It sounds perfect to me..I have just not found all of it so far.

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Another vote for Bonaire. In fact, Bonaire and Curacao are the only Caribbean islands that I would travel to in September.

Bonaire has very good diving(,esp. from the shore),great food, reasonable prices, and a wonderful dry climate. We like the accomodations at the Divi .For more info, try the website Bonairetalk.com

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The water is warm in the Caribbean from September through November and as a result these are prime hurricane months.

The advantage to Bonaire is that it is south of the usual hurricane paths, has great shore diving with very little tide and good grocery stores. Dinning is not that reasonable compared to places like Cancun and in general a sit down evening meal is a 2-3 hour event. In regards to cost, Cozumel/Cancun is less than Bonaire since to get around in Bonaire you need to rent a small truck to shore dive and being an island everything is imported.

Edited by eyu

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Bonaire is sounding pretty good. We've talked about going there for the last 30 years so it looks like it's time!

Any recommendations for a place to stay? Only need a 1 bedroom, would prefer a pool, and definately want to step outside and fall in the water.

Is it better to stay in town or a little out of town as far as restaurants?

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Look at the Plaza, they run specials that include a truck rental. They have Toucan Divers who know where the frog fish and seahorses are.

Also look at the Sand Dollar, Bari Reef is excellent and outside your door.

Edited by eyu

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I stayed at the Plaza resort a few yrs ago and it worked for us. My wife, the non-diver, wanted a beach. The Plaza has a reasonable beach and really the only one on the island with one. My dive buddies stayed at Buddy's and loved it. No beach but the diving right off their dock is quite nice. I believe other resorts have good diving from their dock's as well.

Bonairetalk.com is a great website for info and there are several local's that check it for questions. We found all the advice for dinner and diving from that site to be quite accurate.

The diving off the beach at Plaza is not nearly as good as other resorts. You would likely not do it twice. I would only select the Plaza if a sand beach is important and diving from your 'home' dock was not important.

Many of the resorts include truck rental with their packages. Buddy's has a nice setup for tank replacements in the parking area. You might ask about tank refill methods on Bonairetalk. The Plaza's method was adequate but not nearly as nice as Buddy's setup.

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I went to Bonaire for the 1st time this past May. I was disappointed with the condition of the reef and coral. I posted a question about it on scubaboard and many recent visitors have noticed a decline from just a few years ago.

 

This was my 1st time to Bonaire so perhaps my expections were off. I've been to many places in the Caribbean and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Maybe Bonaire is just not for me. When I dive and shoot video, my mind/eye tells me to record when I see something interesting. I don't really think about it. It just happens. That did not happen too often during my 1 week trip. I basically just did some casual shooting with a GoPro.

Edited by ronscuba

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I also would recommend Bonaire. One of the nicer islands for diving in the Caribbean. Lots of morays and smaller stuff to see. The island is especially catered to divers, like drive through tank fill up stations and around the island are yellow stones with names (the coast side) on the floor, indicating a dive spot. If you have a rental car you just drive up to the water, put your gear on trip twice and you are on the reef.

For a place to stay one month, i would recommend an apartment with kitchen to rent. There are some nice ones not to far from dive centers, with pool and also close to the city center on the beach (for food shopping and restaurants). From our place we just had to step over a small road (little traffic) and dropped on the reef. Did everyday night dive for 2 weeks. Loved it. Sorry but i don't recall the name of the place anymore. I just know it was close to the yellow submarine dive center (which has a few seahorses fixed at its house reef).

This is very relaxed diving, so nothing for the thrill seeker.

 

If you are interested, here is a link to some of the pics I got from Bonaire: http://hwelle.squarespace.com/bonaire/

 

Good luck and have a great trip.

 

Cheers,

 

Henrik

Edited by Blade305

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I went to Bonaire for the 1st time this past May. I was disappointed with the condition of the reef and coral.

 

It is my impression that all the reefs in Caribbean have declined over the last 10 years. That said, Bonaire still has some healthy coral, like on Kline Bonaire.

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It is my impression that all the reefs in Caribbean have declined over the last 10 years. That said, Bonaire still has some healthy coral, like on Kline Bonaire.

 

This was my 1st time to Bonaire, so I can only compare it to other places I've been in the Caribbean over the past 11 years. Bonaire did have a lot of fish life, but I was surprised at the coral health and I couldn't find a lot that made me want to shoot video.

 

Bonaire has a huge following so perhaps it's just not the place for me.

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