Frequently Asked Questions

Why Bonaire?

Bonaire is a small island located in the southern Caribbean, and it is truly unique in the world. It’s as if this tiny island was made just for diving and snorkeling, as, from virtually any place on the leeward coastline, you can enter the beautiful Caribbean Sea and dive! No other island in the Caribbean has so many unrestricted shore dive sites. Steep walls, sloping drop-offs, exciting wrecks and last, but not least, the double reef system, which will take your breath away. For over 20 years, Bonaire has maintained dedication to protecting its natural beauty and environment. The Bonairean people declared the waters around Bonaire and Klein Bonaire, an underwater marine park.

Why Dive Friends Bonaire?

Dive Friends Bonaire has been providing quality dive services and education since 2002. We pride ourselves on making all of our guests feel like they are visiting with friends while we help them to enjoy their dive vacation. All of our convenient locations are staffed with friendly, professional, and helpful divers. As a PADI Instructor Development Center, we like to think of ourselves as an Institute of Higher Dive Learning and that makes a big difference for our international dive crew. They choose to work at Dive Friends because they have the opportunity to continue with their professional dive training and careers.

Where can I find a complete price list?

Most of our prices can be found on our Diving page. Course prices can be found on our Courses page. You can also click here to download a full price list.

What if I’ve never been shore diving before?

No problem! We have our very own PADI Shore Diver Distinctive Specialty. You can learn the ropes with one of our instructors as your guide.

I’ve been to Bonaire many times, what can you offer that’s new and different?

We promise that you will not be bored. We offer several unique courses such as the Ocean Reef Integrated Dive mask (Full Face Mask) Specialty, Sidemount Diver Specialty, Sea Turtle Awareness Distinctive Specialty, and Experience Tech. Visit our Courses page for more information. We also offer special guided dives such as a UV light night dive or a special guided shore dive with the author of Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy. You can learn more on our Shore Diving page.

What do you mean by unlimited shore diving?

When you sign up for an unlimited shore diving package, you can pick up and drop off tanks at any one of our five locations during our business hours. To see a map of locations and hours visit our Locations page.

Do I have access to tanks 24 hours a day?

The tank lockers and nitrox stations at our dive locations are open from 8am to 5pm. If you’re planning a night dive or a dawn dive, you can leave your tanks in our night locker, just ask any of our crew for details.

I have a DIN regulator, can I use it?

Yes! Our tanks have International/Yoke connections. You can use your DIN regulator with a DIN adaptor. We have DIN adaptors available for rental, $3 per day, and we also have them available to purchase in our retail store.

I need a smaller tank, do you have them?

We have 63 cu ft tanks in both air and Nitrox available at all of our locations.

Can I take more than one tank for shore diving at a time?

Yes, of course you may. Any registered diver may take a maximum of 2 tanks per person. Return those empty tanks and you can pick up two more. We have five locations on the island and there is always a location nearby to change and pick up tanks.

Are weights, weight belts, and tanks all included in the unlimited air packages?

Yes, they are included with all diving packages.

How much for Nitrox?

Dive Friends Bonaire offers a free upgrade to Nitrox-certified divers. If you are not certified, we can easily arrange the course for you when you are on island.

What % and do you have an analyzer?

Our tanks are 32% and we have an analyzer at each of our Nitrox sign out stations at all five of our dive locations.

How do you decide where the boat is going to go?

Our boats will only take you to places that you can’t get to on your own. Our captains make their decision based on where our divers have already been, where you’d like to go, what the current weather conditions are, and what’s been sighted where. Every day besides Wednesday, we’ll go to different dive sites at Klein Bonaire. On Wednesdays, the boat goes north, to dive sites that are inaccessible from shore.

Do you offer private boat services?

Yes, please contact us through our online form or email info@divefriendsbonaire.com for more information.

What is the Bonaire National Marine Park?

The Bonaire National Marine Park was established in 1979 to protect and manage the island’s natural, cultural and historical resources, while allowing ecologically sustainable use, for the benefit of future generations. The Park starts at the high water mark and extends to 200 ft (60 meters) of depth; it covers an area of 6672 acres, or 27 km².

You’ll need to purchase a marine park tag before entering the water. We sell them at each of our dive centers. It’s $25 for divers and $10 for other users. You’ll need to pay cash and then attach your tag to an item of dive or snorkel gear that you will have with you in the water.

If you are diving you will first need to complete a marine park orientation with a buoyancy check which can be done from Yellow Submarine, Dive Inn, Sand Dollar, and Hamlet Oasis at least 1 hour before closing. To see a map of locations and hours visit our Locations page.

Please leave your gloves, chemical glow sticks, and spear guns at home. They are not allowed in the park.

For additional information about the Bonaire National Marine Park, visit http://www.bmp.org.

Do I need to do a Marine Park Orientation?

Yes, it is required of everyone even if you have been diving on Bonaire before but we promise to make it quick and easy.

When can we do our buoyancy check and orientation?

What sets us apart from other dive operations is that Dive Friends Bonaire can provide you with an orientation briefing at any time and any location during normal business hours. Your buoyancy check can be done at Yellow Submarine, Dive Inn, Sand Dollar, and Hamlet Oasis during business hours at least 1 hour prior to closing. To see a map of locations and hours visit our Locations page.

I’d like to get into the water as quickly as possible, can you help me?

Yes, please use our Express Check In.

  • Download our liability form
  • Print it, fill it in on your way here, and bring it with you. Please do not email it to us.
  • Bring your certification card (and Nitrox card if you want to use Nitrox)
  • Bring $25 USD cash for the Bonaire Marine Park tag
  • Bring a credit card for an authorization (not AmEx)
  • Stop by at least 1 hour prior to closing for your marine park orientation and buoyancy check

Note: Marine park buoyancy check can’t be done from our Port Bonaire location.

We’ll get you checked in, give you the marine park orientation, and then supervise your required buoyancy check. We’ll have you in the water in no time. To see a map of locations and hours visit our Locations page.

If you are going to be taking a course with us please download and fill out this medical statement to ensure that you are fit to dive. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you need to have a signed medical statement from a doctor prior to in-water training.

I don’t have a buddy, can you help me find one?

Yes, we have several different options for you.

  • Pre-book a guided shore dive to get in the water right away and take care of your buoyancy check.
  • Sign up for a boat dive for two guided dives and a great way to meet other divers.
  • Write your name and contact info on our “Looking for a buddy” board at Yellow Submarine, Hamlet Oasis, and Dive Inn.
  • Sign up for additional dive training. Even if you are a very experienced diver, we offer a wide range of training; you get an instructor as a buddy, and a new certification card.
I’m travelling with a non-diver, what can they do on Bonaire?

We can assure you that they won’t lack for something to do! They have many different things from which to choose. Check out our Bonaire Activities page for some ideas and contact us for more information.

Can you recommend a good place to stay?

Our accommodation partners can offer everything from budget to luxury. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, please contact us and tell us you’re requirements. We’d be more than happy to help you find the perfect place to stay.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept US currency, debit/PIN card, Visa, MasterCard and Discover. However, Bonaire Marine Park tags must be paid for with cash.

It’s been a while since I’ve been diving, do I need to do a refresher?

If you haven’t been diving for over a year, Dive Friends Bonaire’s policy is to recommend that you refresh your dive skills and knowledge with a refresher. If you haven’t been diving in over two years, it’s required. Your safety is very important to us.

Read our article When Do I Need A Refresher? for more information about why we require a refresher course after 2 years of not diving.

I would like to learn to dive, how does it work?

If you want to become a diver, then you have to complete an open water course. The open water course is a great, fun, and instructive course. The PADI Open Water Diver course is, by far, the world’s most popular scuba certification course. Learning to scuba dive requires both knowledge development (theory, academics) and practical experience (skills, techniques). The course consists of three full days, although in some cases, a fourth day may be required. After completing the requirements, you’ll be a certified diver and you’re allowed to dive with a buddy to a maximum depth of 18 meters/60 feet.

What does the price include on the Open Water course?

The price includes everything which you’ll need for the course–books, tables, equipment. The only thing that is not included (and this is required) is a Bonaire Marine Park Tag.

Do I need a truck to get around Bonaire?

It’s not really necessary to have a truck, but if you want to do shore diving then you will want to have one. Of course, it’s also handy to have a rental vehicle when you wish to see our beautiful island, its nature, and other attractions. Bonaire is known for the easy shore diving, so you can dive any time you want. Just put the tanks in the truck and go diving where you wish.

What should I do in case of an emergency?

If you’re planning on doing some independent shore diving, we’re sure that like any well prepared diver–you’ll make an emergency plan. You can find emergency oxygen and first aid kits at all five of our dive center locations and on our boats. We also have AEDs at Yellow Sub, Port Bonaire, and Dive Inn. When you check in, we can show you on the island map where the hospital and hyperbaric chambers are.

For your peace of mind, here are a few important phone numbers and locations that we think that you should know:

Ambulance: 911 or 912
San Francisco Hospital: 599-717- 8900 (center of Kralendijk)
Bonaire Hyperbaric Chamber: 599-717-8187 (across the street from the San Francisco Hospital in the center of Kralendijk)
Dive Doctors: 599-717-7140 (Centro Medico Central/Dr. van der Vaart) or 599-700-5230 (Dr. Roeters/Dive Medical Bonaire)

If anything in your medical history has changed since you were last diving, it’s a good idea to have a dive checkup. One can be conveniently arranged when you are on-island at Dive Medical Bonaire.

How long should I wait before flying?

In order to get to Bonaire, you have to get on to a plane. We encourage our guests to read the current guidelines from PADI, as follows:

For Dives within the No-Decompression Limits:
Single Dive: A minimum preflight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.
Repetitive Dives and/or Multi-Day Dives: A minimum preflight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.

For Dives requiring decompression stops:
A minimum preflight surface interval of greater than 18 hours is suggested.