Enjoy the combination of shore and boat diving
It's rare to hear of a dive destination where a car can be as necessary for exploring dive sites as a boat - unless that destination happens to be Bonaire.
This small island's beautiful reefs are home to more than 650 of the Caribbean's indigenous species of coral and fish - all within a few yards of the shore. Bonaire has more than 80 dive sites along the 26-mile leeward shore, and many are just a short walk and swim from the coastal road.
These reefs customarily begin with short, shallow coral terraces of 5- to 30-foot depths that transition to steep slopes. Covering these submerged hillsides are dense colonies of sponges and corals that come alive in rainbow hues. Here and there, giant split-pore sea rods and devil's sea whips reach out while bulbous orange elephant ear sponges and sprays of purple and yellow tube sponges, 3 to 5 feet across, add their own dash of color.
Due to the lack of strong currents, Bonaire diving is as easy as child's play. Reaching many sites is as simple as wading in and swimming a few feet. Suddenly, you're on the threshold of a colorful, shallow reef bristling with life.
Plaza Resort Bonaire
Plaza Resort Bonaire is geared for families. Roughly a mile from the airport, the resort and recently completed Port Bonaire addition occupy a sprawling, verdantly landscaped 12-acre complex, and offer some of the most spacious accommodations on island.
A part of the Netherlands-based Vandervalk Hotel Company, Plaza Resort is comprised mostly of junior suites encircling the property's private marina. In addition to the suites are 48 one- and two-bedroom villas, 18 one- and two-bedroom apartments, four penthouses and four beach houses with fully equipped kitchens and more.
The Plaza Resort offers three on-site restaurants, and it is a short walk to various downtown eateries. The resort also includes a casino, a large freshwater pool, two beachside bars, a small shopping gallery inside the lobby and a mini-mall with a grocery store, hair salon, ATM facility and fitness center. The property's crowning feature is the private, palm-tree-studded, white-sand beach.
The resort's water-sports center, Toucan Diving, maintains a large supply of filled tanks for the exclusive use of their shore diving guests, who are welcome to carry these tanks to any dive site on the island.
A 5 Star PADI facility and a member of PADI's Gold Palm Resort club, Toucan is more than a dive shop. The facility includes a retail and photo/video center and a large patio and dock complex equipped with numerous freshwater rinse tanks, showers, restrooms and a drying room with individual gear lockers. The well-maintained rental inventory includes current model TUSA and Cressi-sub BCs, regulators, masks, fins, etc.
Toucan offers daily boat dive itineraries, or if you choose, they will even deliver your dive gear, with tanks, to the beach any time during operating hours.
Unlike the customary Bonaire practice of single-tank jaunts, Toucan's morning excursions are conducted as two-tank dives, with a maximum of 12 divers per boat. Travel to most sites seldom takes more than 20 to 25 minutes. Snacks and drinks are provided during surface intervals.
For general information about Bonaire, click on the home page below.