We wanted to pass along our trip report, since so many other trip reports had helped us in planning our own trip:
ALM: Kudos to them. We had a great flight from and back to Atlanta. We would fly ALM again in a heartbeat. The horror stories - can't relate to them at all.
Car Rental: We rented a jeep from a car rental company that we have had great success with in the States. Although we was not real impressed with our Jeep rental, we won't be mentioning the name of the rental company, because we don't believe that our experience will be the same as yours (why start a frenzy). Our advice - rent a 4 door truck (Hilux model from Toyota)from any one of the local rental companies.
Accomodations: We stayed at the Black Durgon and loved it. We wanted quiet and we got it. In fact we had our own piece of paradise for the week, since we were the only two there all week. Al insist on keeping the place small, quiet and as he would want it if he was a guest. Although Al was in the States for the week, Doris took great care of us. We will return to Bonaire and the Black Durgon is where we will stay (Al save room number 5 for us).
Crime: Got news for you - if you don't visit Bonaire because you have heard horror stories - don't sell yourself short - We played it smart just as we would back in the States and had absolutely no problems anywhere. We've seen crime on other islands we have visited and as we saw it, the talk about crime on Bonaire has become "a big fish story".
Diving: We had chose Bonaire as the site to get our open water certification. As a new diver, I can say that I was very intimidated, so much so I had thought after day one of training that I may have made a bad decision (I think it was that taking off of the mask underwater that we didnt practice in the pool that really got to me). My advice to new divers, stick with it, because it is worth it. We thank our dive instructor, Ally, for being extremely patient. As for dive sites, we spent alot of time during training at Small Wall. You will have to get there by boat because it is not accessible by shore. On that note, thank you Al for keeping it private from shore. You made our stay more private and quiet. We did dive Margate Bay, 1000 Steps, Karpata, Windsock, Ole Blue. All five of these sites were nice. Windsock seemed to have more wood planks than I would like to have seen, but don't know if it was from the wave action or if there were other coral building reasons. Our favorite by far was Ole Blue - easy access and the biggest quantity of fish..
Site seeing must: Splelonk Lighthouse, Salt Works, Seru Largu - what a view, Jibe City Windsurfers, the Washington Slagbaai Park is worth the $10 and the road from Karpata to Rincon has some great views. Yes we did see almost every inch of the island.
Dining - Highest on our list for my finicky eating habits was: Croccantino and Compadres Mexican Grill. We also ate at Capriccio, City Cafe, Rendez-Vous, Zeezicht. You will find the service to be good at all of these restaurants. We learned years ago while traveling different islands that you will wait for what seems to be an eternity to get the check... we just ask for it to be delivered as the plates are cleared. It ensures that you are back site seeing in short order.
We always loved Aruba but believe Bonaire is the place to be for one big reason. It is not commercialized yet and Thank-You. The quantity of fish to see the the greatest of any island we have visited. We plan to return to Bonaire within the next 10 months.