Snorkeling "Eighteen Palms"
The "Eighteen Palms" snorkel and dive site is located off the beach in front of the Plaza Resort Bonaire Hotel, opposite the Lieutenant Governor's house. It's near to a busy hotel beach that's pretty good for swimming.
While snorkeling we saw schools of blue tangs, chromis, sergeant majors, and beautiful coral landscapes. The water is very calm and clear, and the reef slants down into the deep so you can just float over top the different kinds of coral. It's also a good place to see eagle rays.
Third trip to plaza resort
This was our third trip to the Plaza Resort Bonaire
We are a family of 4 divers
parents and two college age girls
Toucan Diving was, as always, fantastic and accomodating
They provided the small tanks we needed and were willing to do what we needed to make the diving a success.
Two bedroom lagoon villa was clean and well equipped
We do all our own cooking and remembered to bring a few key kitchen items and an assortment of food items our daughters will eat. Shopped at Cultimara for all else.
We had a weeks wireless internet at "Chat and Browse" for (near Sand Dollar) $40
Staff was attentive despite some language problems.
Plaza Resort could not schedule a mangrove kayak tour on Sunday but arranged it with a fine local operator
Happy hour was great fun
Had a fine meal at Richards.
Bruce Bowker over at Carib Inn is only a few feet away and is a wonder at repairing scuba gear
Had to call on a few items to get the room set up , physical plant is aging a bit.
Carefully locked up everythign in safe. Others had problems.
Someone missed the airport transfer, but we had the truck so no problem
Departure on American airlines was a giant hassle . I had all the lights together but taking out the batteries seemed overkill
One of the Best
We stayed at the Plaza from Feb. 12th through Feb. 20th & enjoyed every minute of it. The grounds are well maintained & the resort is very spread out which gives one the feeling of space and relaxation. We stayed in a Grand Suite, Ocean View, and it was just beautiful with a view of the ocean and beach. The beach is one of the best on the island but you do need either water shoes or dive booties. There were plenty of lounge chairs for all guests & shade was provided by either huts or trees on the beach. Snorkeling was great on the house reef - always saw many interesting and varied fish/eels, etc. You do not have to venture far out as the house reef starts basically by the shore. My husband dove with Toucan Divers and they were the best. Their dive boats & equipment were top-notch & all the dive masters were very professional and accommodating.
Breakfast was very good with a fine selection of fruits, eggs (made to your liking), cereals, pancakes and pastries. The Tipsy Seagull (for dinner) had a wonderful atmosphere & good food & service. The main dining area was good for lunch. I really can't comment on their dinner menu as many times we ate off the property or at the Tipsy Seagull. There are many excellent restaurants within a 15 minute walk of the Plaza and the roads are safe to walk on.
The staff were very friendly & helpful at all times.
We will difinitely be returning to the Plaza in '06.
Any questions, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.
Judy & Les Trafford
Long Island, New York
A Gorgers Paradise
"Days Inn meets Dennys"
We just returned from our Annual two week vacation, we are flabbergasted by the staff attitude and condition of this hotel.
It would appear that they are not interested in the customers, each time we complained about the mozzies and other insects in our room we were met with stares of disbelief at the front desk. even though that area of the hotel is sometime saturated with bugs.
This hotel is aimed at the American market-if you want fizzy drinks, fat laden processed foods, and like to eat with your fingers, you will be happy, if you want plush suites and fine dining stay away, we found that as a family with young children we had to eat out each night. Would recommend Richards restaurant almost next door, where you will find a lot of the hotels patrons.
The accommodation was the standard of a American Interstate motel, large dark long boxed tiled floored rooms, nothing special, functional but not 4 star, the pool was rather small and had cloudy water, which I understand has been like this for a couple of months and we could never find anywhere to sit/lie down, all the seats and loungers on beach were taken if a cruise line came in Port (4 times in our 2 weeks). We found with two young children the sea was almost impossible to enter because of the hidden obstacles on the shoreline (take dive boots).
My Husband is a Diver of 10 years, and found the Toucan diving experience pretty uninspiring and aiming for the beginners/once a year divers , all of the diving is carried on the calm side (west) of the island, which is devoid of fish, it wasn't until he discovered Larrys wild side diving on the second week that saved the diving side of the vacation.
The Hotel needs closing down, refurbishing and replacement of 90% of the staff...with the correct training.
March 25th - April 2nd
We arrived in Bonaire on the late evening flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had rented a car and arrived at the resort lobby (about a 2 minute drive from the airport) within 1/2 hour of landing. The resort grounds are well kept and staff at the lobby were friendly and helpful and offer a complimentary beverage upon arrival. We rented a safe key and asked for an extra key for the room as the 1st key was rather large and we needed something smaller to take on our dive adventures. The front desk employee offered to have the staff carry our luggage to our room for us.
Our baggage arrived shortly after we got to the room.
We stayed in a Grand Suite. As soon as we opened the door all our fears dissapeared. The room and bathroom were very large and clean. The closet was huge and there was a small fridge which came in very handy (we made a trip to the grocery store the next day and stocked up on groceries, beer and booze.) There was a nice deck overlooking the beach with a nice view. The air conditioning worked great and provided a nice reprieve from the heat of the day after our diving excursions.
We didn't spend any time at the pool - we are beach people. The beach area is very nice - idyllic even. We looked forward to lounging on the sand afer our daily dives with a book and a beer under the palm trees. Be advised this isn't a white sand beach but rather a man made beach area and the sand is a bit rough on the bare feet so bring sandals. Each afternoon at 5 is happy hour at the beach bar - 2 for 1 drinks. A nice opportunity to unwind and update your dive log.
We hit the breakfast buffet on our first day. After all we had heard about bfast at the Plaza I expected something more. It was.. ok but we didn't bfast there again. Instead we had cereal and fruit in our room from our cache of groceries most mornings. One morning we splurged and treated ourselves to room service which was quite nice.
We ate one evening at the Tipsy Seagull - the nicer of the two restaurants on the property. We didn't eat at the Banana Tree - it didn't look too appetising. The TS was nice - that goes for both service and the view. Food was... ok. Boinaire has so many good restaurants, including Richards which is practically next door. You should really get out and explore. Be sure to put on bug spray if you go out at night. Most restaurants are open air and you will get bit up if you don't protect yourself. No problems with bugs in the room.
The house dive shop was quite helpful and friendly. The check-in dive was proceeded by a little instructional video - a small inconvenience for what we had to look forward to. We went with the unlimited shore dive package and dove all of the top recommended sites from bonairetalk. What a treat! Having dived all over the world I have to say Bonaire lives up to its reputation for abundance and variety of both coral and marine life. The house reef, 18 Palms was one of our favorite dives of the week. We had some trouble with bad o-rings in the tanks. Be sure to check tank pressure and pick up an extra tank or two just in case.
Overall a great experience. One downside was our room was right by the beach bar. Although it was supposed to close at 10PM, we had to listen to the thump thump music until almost midnight despite our requests to the front desk to have them pipe down after 10. If you go for a Grand Suite maybe request something further from the pool - room G104 or higher.
We recently returned from a 10-day trip to Bonaire, and stayed at the Plaza Resort.
I have only good things to say about the trip.
The diving is spectacular.
The dive shop is run with the customer in mind. We checked in, did the orientation in the classroom and the orientation dive and found everyone to be friendly and competent. When we checked out our weights, they didn’t make us sign our life away, just bring ‘em back at the end of your stay. The dive shop had about 150 full tanks waiting for us each morning and we took all we needed plus a couple for “just in case”. Our group did about 200 dives while we were there and we got one empty tank (which I’m sure was put in the wrong spot by a diver) and a leaky o-ring or two. To get more tanks, just go back and get them, and leave the empty ones where they can fill them. No checking in or out, the freedom was wonderful.
The dive sites are well marked and easy to find. Bonaire is an easy place to drive in.
The plaza Resort was clean, the staff was friendly, and we didn’t have any problems during our stay. There are 3 restaurants in the Plaza, and all were good. We didn’t find the cost of eating out any more than eating out here at home (Montana). The Room had a refrigerator so we bought food for lunching in the room and saved some money that way. The breakfast buffet by the main office served a good meal, and waiting outside were about 20 iguana’s so we slipped a cracker or two in our pockets at breakfast and enjoyed feeding them afterwards. Our room was on the second story, right next to the pool, and overlooking the beach. I think it was one of the best rooms in the place. Besides the tanks at the dive shop, they have two stores of tanks buy the beach for use whenever we wanted. They were nice for night dives, we didn’t have to go back to the dive shop. The tanks, showers, rinse tanks, and dressing benches were “right at out fingertips.
We went to some of the other resorts to dive. Captain Don’s has a nice stairway exit from the water, and is set up for divers. They charged us $5.00 to use their facilities. We also went next door to Buddy Dive Resort. They are set up equally as nice as Captain Don’s. We asked how much to dive there, they told us, “there’s the tanks, there’s the showers, no charge, come see us again”… After a reception like that, we had no choice but to spend a bunch of money in their dive shop!
There is a restaurant downtown called “Casablanca” and I highly recommend it. They have one meal called the meat sampler or meat platter, (I can’t remember for sure) but it has almost enough good food to feed a third world country for a day. We had great meals there.
All in all, a great trip, I would go back again in a heartbeat. We booked our trip through Caradonna Caribbean Tours, Donnamarie did a great job for us.
Had a wonderful time but be aware of serurity problems.
Just returned from the Plaza with 2 other couples. Four of us shared a first floor 2 bedroom villa with the sliding glass patio doors facing away from the resort toward a canal and the airport. On our second day we either did not completely secure the doors (they have a lock and a security bolt) or someone jiggled them open or they were opened from the inside by someone else. We had taken the precautions mentioned on bonairetalk and trip advisors and obtained the lock to the room safe. All our hard to replace items (passports, credit cards and cash) were in the safe. However an ipod and speaker, digital camera, digital camera card, some cash and a cell phone were taken from our room sometime in the afternoon. The management and serurity responed immediately. We were moved to second floor ocean view accomodations and were comped a dinner at the resturant of our choice (on property). We did not have any other problems after that. The management was genuinely concerned and followed up regularly to be sure we were ok.
The facilities were very good (looked to me like the best on the island), pool and beach areas ample with ample seating. The food on property was also very good, especially lobster night at the tipsey seagull. The dive operation, Toucan, is first rate and the set up for diving really convenient (lockers and hanging room for wet suits etc.). The mostly Dutch crowd at happy hour was lots of fun and all in all I would return but would be even more careful next time.