The “B” of the Dutch Antilles’ Fundamentals —– Bonaire —– is not as often-visited as its close cozs, Aruba and Curacao. It is, nonetheless, held in high esteem by snorkelers and scuba divers.
Why? Crystal-clear water and 469 types of fish.
The destination is regularly placed as one of the world’s finest undersea locations, attracting lovers excited to experience the miles of vibrant reefs below the water’s surface area. Divers feel a sense of self-reliance, given the ease of access to shore dive sites around the island. Maps showing these sites are commonly offered.
And, in addition to a premium undersea experience, visitors can likewise experience a premium resort. Harbour Village Coastline Club, the island’s only luxury resort, is found in the country’s capital, Kralendijk, on Bonaire’s west coast. The 44-room home is also the island’s only gated and personal coastline club, according to General Manager Jean-Marc Petin.
Standing on among Harbour Coastline’s beachfront balconies, guests might see the tops of snorkels looking up over the waves, sandy feet hanging from hammocks and, occasionally, a fellow visitor emerging from a shore dive.
To accommodate visitors who are accredited divers —– about 60 % of resort-goers, Petin stated —– the resort has its own diving operation, Great Adventures, which just recently received a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) 5 Star Teacher Development Center position, the group’s greatest score, and offers diving dive credentials courses for any ages.
Chris Ball, PADI master teacher for Great Adventures, claimed that beginning next December, the operation will likewise be licensed to instruct dive teachers.
“We have actually had a lot of assistant instructors and dive masters [pertained to the resort] in the last couple of years, and we’ve been targeting those expert levels,” she claimed.
Great Adventures likewise has 2 personal dive watercrafts, bringing groups of Harbour Village guests to open water two times a day. For those who are not certified scuba divers, snorkeling devices is also offered for rent.
Petin acknowledged that the island “hasn’t been enlightening and training young experts for the hospitality market and imports some local talent.
“But local waiters and waitresses make up for the absence of experience by having a good attitude,” he claimed.
Certainly, I found both the service and the services at Harbour Village to be top-notch. I ate sometimes at La Balandra Coastline Bar and Dining establishment, where servers were friendly and reliable, and used the resort’s medical spa and gym during my stay.
Island of adventure
Because of Bonaire’s niche dive/snorkel market, Petin shared he thinks that the 113-square-mile Caribbean island “is still having a hard time to bring in attention as compared to Aruba and Curacao,” and the nation does not have the “glamour and glitz” of its equivalents.
Nonetheless, Ethsel Pieternella, director of tourist for Bonaire, wrote in an email that there is “motion toward a more expanded market” which “on Bonaire, there is a consensus that our cherished diving market need to be one of numerous pillars sustaining our tourist market.”
While Bonaire also does not have the “towering, 500-room hotels and resorts [and] complete resorts” that vacationers discover on many islands of the Caribbean, Petin stated he thinks that this absence of industrial development, far from being a constraint, offers the island a more rustic and independent feel, which also draws in adventure tourists and beachgoers.
For nondivers, there are numerous choices. Bikes, scooters and automobiles are offered to rent to explore miles of white-sand coastlines. On a tour of the island, I saw lots of brilliantly colored “slave huts” that were utilized by those dealing with the salt hills in the mid-1800s. I also passed plenty of kite- and wind-surfing schools that had actually started a business on the coastline.
Pieternella said he thinks the island draws in “upper-middle-class, well-informed tourists looking for a soft journey and leisure location & hellip; that want a family-friendly product at a reasonable cost, quality, value and rate.”
He claimed the island is also in the process of becoming more active in advertising regionally to North America, Latin America and Europe.
The peak season for seeing the island runs from Dec. 21 to Jan. 5; Petin claimed about 30 % of Harbour Village guests are families with kids. Half of the clients hail from the U.S.; the resort attracts about 25 % from Dutch-speaking countries and a 25 % mix of Europeans and South Americans.
The resort’s reservations come from three sources: travel therapists, visit operators and online travel companies.
The resort provides a “star program” for travel agents, where, in addition to the firm’s 10 % commission, counselors can make $150 for each seven-night stay reserved for a one- or two-bedroom suite or premier suite and $100 for every Marina Front room reservation.
Petin shared he is also is intending to grow his business by providing more representative fam trips in the future.
“We do not provide adequate fam journeys to representatives,” he claimed. “My wish would be for more travel representatives and visit operators to come and visit.”