Adventures and Group Travel
Dates: November 18-26, 2017 (NINE DAYS, EIGHT NIGHTS)
Price: 879.00 (for the first 12 deposits).
Keeping up our tradition of amazing warm water diving trips on Thanksgiving, this year we're going to shore diving capital of the world: The breathtaking Bonaire.
While everyone in the U.S. is bundling up and getting their drysuits out, We're going to be diving with no exposure suit in the warm waters of the Caribbean and chilling at nice white sandy beaches during our surface intervals.
For those of you who are not familiar with Bonaire, it's one of the most beautiful Caribbean Islands and known as the Shore Diving Capital of the World. Surrounded by countless white sand, warm water, calm beaches with perfectly easy entries and incredible visibility, Bonaire is a must-go place for every diver. With as many as 90 officially listed dive sites, Bonaire’s sea abounds with beautiful marine life and a fascinating variety of multi-colored tropical fish. The sea is remarkably calm with average visibility of 100 feet and water temperatures of 80 degrees. The fringing reef begins close to the shore, usually a short 30 feet swim or less.
Bonaire offers something special for every diver. Beginners will find sites with calm waters and reefs that run parallel to the shore with plenty of amazing marine life. Advanced divers will find deeper sites with moderate to strong current and some great wrecks. They even have tech dives like The Windjammer Wreck and Coopers Barge. Tech divers will need to apply for a permit for the tech dives and go through a prep dive with a tech divemaster prior to tech dives, by the way.
Here are a few lists of dive sites with descriptions:
I booked us an nine-day/eight-night package with 2 three-bedroom apartments, 2 six-passenger vans and the unlimited diving package at Belmar Oceanfront Apartments, one of Buddy Dive’s breathtaking resorts right at the ocean where all the apartments have an ocean view.
Unlimited diving package means we can go diving right at the reef in front of the hotel or pick up as many tanks as we want and take them with us in our vans to go diving at any beach on the island.
As usual we will be taking advantage of Thanksgiving and the weekends, so we only have to take THREE DAYS off work, but go on a NINE DAY paradise vacation!
This trip is going to be a diving overload. Because things are so easy and safe, we don’t need to wait for a boat a dive master or anything. Starting on day one, as soon as we arrive we can settle down in our room, go through an orientation and go dive. Belmar has a reef right in front of the resort, so all we have to do is pick up a tank, and walk right into the water right there.
And then from day 2 on we’ll wake up, have breakfast get on our vans and go diving. We will have at least two different vans, so we can also split the group sometimes if different people want to hit different sites, or if for example one day the advanced divers want to hit certain spots and the beginners want to do something different. Like I said before, if we want to hire a guide for some of the days, that will definitely be an option too. New divers often feel safer with a guide, so that is definitely an option. All that can be easily arranged on location since Belmar has a full dive shop on site.
We obviously don’t have to dive all day or even every day. Since we have different vans, people will have the option to go do different things if they feel like it. Bonaire is a beautiful island with many different attractions such as beaches where you can snorkel, rent paddle boards kayak or just chill, biking, caving (yes! I might want to hit some of those myself!), hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, ATV. Holy shit! We’re going to want to move there! :-D
- 879.00. I know, super cheap, right? For NINE DAYS on Thanksgiving at a great oceanfront resort with van rental and unlimited dives included, that’s amazing! You’re welcome. :-). But grab it fast because if I have to add spots beyond the initial 12, they will for sure be more expensive
- A deposit of 300.00 (non-refundable) secures your reservation. Then you have until August 18 to finish making your payment. Once we receive your deposit, we will send you an invoice for the remaining amount (MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN E MAIL YOU CHECK LISTED WITH PAY PAL. THAT'S WHERE YOU'LL RECEIVE YOUR INVOICE AND QUESTIONNAIRE).
- Full payment is only due on August 18, 3 months before the trip. So you have a lot of time to pay. You can make payments in any way you prefer so long as you are fully paid by at the due date.
- If you make payments or pay in full before the due date your payments (minus the deposit) are refundable before the due date (August 18). After that, all payments are entirely non-refundable. We STRONGLY suggest that you get travel insurance to cover you in case you need to cancel your trip for any reason.
- Double-occupancy room in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment. See ABOUT OCCUPANCY below. As of the time of the posting we have four apartments. Depending on the size of the group, we might have to change that number.
- Six-passenger vans for the group. As of the time of this posting we have four vans. Depending on the size of the group we might have to change that number.
- Unlimited diving (tanks and weights) provided by Belmar.
- Flights (see FLIGHT below).
- Optional activities and rentals
- Travel insurance (highly recommended). We do offer Travel Guard travel insurance and can send you a quote once you pay your deposit. You can also get insurance with any company you would like.
- Tips to guides, drivers, staff, etc.
- Diving equipment other than tanks and weights (they do have a full shop on site for us to rent whatever we need).
- Souvenirs or anything extra you would like to get.
- Any activity not described in the itinerary.
- There will be a yearly nature fee 25.00 that every scuba diver has to pay to dive in Bonaire. That will be collected prior to our first dive.
- I tried to include as much as I could on the price so that we won’t have extra expenses at the island. However there might be things that I was unaware of that may come up while we’re there. Whatever it is, IF there is anything, it’ll probably not be much. But be aware that since I’ve never been to Bonaire myself, there might be things that I didn’t know of.
- Double occupancy: you will be paired up with someone of the same gender as a roommate. Unless you have someone that you are already coming with, of course.
- Single supplement (if you want a room for yourself): 859.00. For this trip, to book a single room you will have to pay for two spots, since we are getting a full apartment.
- The last people to RSVP and pay the deposit MAY have to be put in triple occupancy rooms (if we end up with an odd number of men or women).
August 18, which is also the due date for the payment.
Flight is NOT included. Flights are very easy to book on your own and some people want to do side trips, so it gets really unpractical to include flight. Besides many of you can use miles or other ways of making your flight free or saving money if you book it by yourself. So instead of including air, I will suggest the flights so you can go to Kayak.com, Cheapoaire.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, or any booking website and book your own. The best time to book a flight is usually 3-4 months before (the best day is Tuesday and the best time is between 12:00 and 3:00 PM). I will book mine at that point and then will e mail the group telling you what I got. If you do book the flight I suggest from LA, we’ll meet at LAX. If not, I’ll just meet you in there. Shuttle to the hotel is included regardless so long as you arrive at the same day as the group.
I just did a quick search online and as of right now the tickets are about 1,000.00. Like I said, the best time to buy is usually around 3-4 months before, so by then we’ll probably be able to get it cheaper.
- Arrives at Flamingo International Airport (BON) at any time on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Our check in time is 3:00 PM.
- Leaves from Flamingo International Airport (BON) on Sunday, November 26, 2017. We will probably be diving until mid or maybe late afternoon on Saturday, so be mindful of that when booking your flight and make sure to give yourself at least 18 hours between your last dive and your flight. I recommend 24 hours to be safe. I will probably book my flight late in the afternoon. Our checkout time at Belmar is 10:00 AM.
SOME OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
- Passport is required, of course. Your passport must be valid for 6 months after our return date of November 26, 2017. Therefore it must be valid until at least May 26, 2018. If you don't have a valid passport or if you passport expires before May 26, 2018, make sure to get started on a new one ASAP. Here's the link for the Department of State Passport section: http://travel.state.gov//content/travel/en.html
- As of the time of this posting, American Citizens don’t need a Visa to Bonaire. If you have a foreign passport, you may need a visa. Here's the Dutch Consulate page so you can look into that: http://www.dutchmissions.com/. Again, get on it ASAP so you don't get held up because of some unexpected delay.
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