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“Very Convenient, Efficient Dive Shop with Great Staff...want to rate it higher but....”

Great Adventures Bonaire
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Spent and dove here for a week with my three children and my wife. We dove about 12 times (so twice a day) and did a combination of shore dives (3) in the South and boat dives from Harbour Village (8 day dives and 1 night dive).

The set up couldn't be better. They do a great job of taking care of your equipment, and seriously the staff couldn't have been nicer and the overall professionalism exhibited by the operation was nearly 5 stars. The reefs appear to be in good shape and my kids really enjoyed diving with Great Adventures.

Not a lot of big life to be seen on the South Side (mostly hard and soft corals, small/medium reef fish, etc)..if you want to see big life you have to go over to the East Side.

A special word to Ken who was our private Divemaster for the week. He was the consummate professional and made our trip there perfect. He should get a raise!

While I want so bad to tell all my readers that the dive shop at Great Adventures Bonaire was 5*, I simply cannot for two reasons:

1. During the time we were there, it was a total cattle car operation on nearly every single morning dive. At times the boat was at capacity (maybe 20+ divers) with only one guide. That being said, they do a good job of getting people on and off the boat so I have no issue there but when you have that many divers on a boat with one guide and a whole spectrum of divers (from those being certified to those taking new classes) it seems a bit careless and at times underwater a bit chaotic.

The BEST thing I did was hire Ken for the week to be the private guide for my daughter because not only was he amazing he was able to help make my daughter a much more confident and better diver. If we hadn't had Ken I would have been worried about my three daughters diving with this large of a group with one DM (especially on night dives).

In fairness, afternoon dives were often much better with less people. I know everyone is trying to make money but if you are going to have 20+ people on a dive (a night dive as well) how much does it really cost to hire a few more guides? You are charging $50/$60 a dive...if you are jammed up that tight I would like to see either more guides and probably another boat. That is just my opinion.

Again, we had a great time but if you are thinking 6-10 divers and a guide on a dive boat you need to understand that simply wasn't our experience (at least in the morning).

2. This irks me quite a lot. I go to check out the last day and the bill comes to around $2K (that is for a lot of dives and a full week of a private DM). I review the bill and they add a 15% service charge to the bill. When I asked what this was, I get the most nonsensical response ever. The dive shop says it is 7.5% for them and 7.5% for the hotel....I don't even know what that means? So when you say the dive cost $50 or $60..it really is $57.5 or $69 a dive? Why screw with pricing that way at a dive shop. When I asked the front desk about it I get a completely different story, saying that it used to be included in the price and now they just add it as a service charge so that there is no sales tax put on it, huh? Mind you this is above and beyond the sales tax line. The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth. In my opinion, be up front and state the price don't play games with service charges unless that 15% is going to staff and if that is the case then tell people that when they ask how much dives and equipment cost.

All in all, I want to LOVE Great Adventures and tell everyone I know to seek them out (their staff alone - all of them- would make it a 5 star operation). However, I would be hesitant to recommend unless the guide to diver ratio (or even boat to diver ratio) was amended. Finally, the tick tacky add-on intentionally ambiguous "Service Charges" leave a bad taste in one's mouth after spending a lot of money with the shop.

Thank AlanH1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatAdvBonaire, Manager at Great Adventures Bonaire, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Alan,

Thank you so much for your very positive feedback about the dive team and in particular Ken. Ken did his Instructor training here with me at Great Adventures Bonaire and I am therefore particularly pleased that he impressed you so much.

I am sorry for the perception that we have given you about the way that we run our boat trips. Certified divers are trained to dive independently with a buddy to their certified level. The job of the guide on the boat is to give an overall plan that individual buddy teams can dive within to their certified level and there are no official ratios for a dive guide. With very mild currents, fantastic visibility and sloping shoulder reefs, navigation and diving is relatively easy. That said we did have three instructors on board in the mornings, one for your family of 5, one for another family of three and one for the rest of the divers. This was also the same for your night boat where we had 15 divers and 4 instructors on the dive. These instructors were identified to the divers before the boat left the dock and during the briefing.

I would also like to apologize for the misinformation you received about the service charge from both the dive team and the front desk staff. All of our published pricing in our brochures and on the website includes local taxes and service charge and it states in our dive brochure that service charge and taxes are included. When you saw the service charge and tax added to your bill, it was simply a breakdown, which may have caused confusion.

I regret the way that these two issues have left you feeling about your experience with us. If you would like to discuss this further you can contact me directly at gab@harbourvillage.com

Kind Regards,

Christine Ball
Dive Operations Manager

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Write a ReviewReviews (26)
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"harbour village"
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"concierge service"
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"small wreck"
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"anne marie"
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"scuba certification"
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in 3 reviews
"dive operation"
in 6 reviews
"fantastic tour"
in 2 reviews
"boat diving"
in 3 reviews
"excellent diving"
in 2 reviews
"top notch"
in 5 reviews
"the reefs"
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1 - 5 of 26 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

What a great dive operation! Co-located with the Harbour Village Beach Club, I literally only walked 40 feet from my unit to the the dive boat, (20 feet to the dive shop). They have two large well equipped boats and a staff that is second to none. Also, they offer free concierge dive service, which includes bringing your stored equipment to and from the boat and a rinse after the dive. They run their boats at 9 am and 2 pm on single tank dives, so you're back in plenty of time to enjoy lunch or dinner with a non-diving spouse. They will coordinate a dive/snorkel trip if that spouse would like to come along on the boat... takes a little "heads up" to the shop and I think they need a minimum number of 3-4 snorkelers. Tanks, (air and Nitrox), are always available for shore dives and there is a small wreck just off the beach and excellent diving by doing a short passage below the harbor inlet.

Despite getting certified nearly 40 years ago, I have never pursued anything other than my current Open Water and EAN. I decided to do the Advanced Open Water, so I picked up the PADI book and read and completed the Knowledge Reviews in advance. I called ahead to Chris, the Dive Center owner, and on arrival she arranged for Warren to be my instructor. He's friendly, highly skilled and provided thorough briefs and debriefs of the completed dives. If you're thinking of adding another certification, this is definitely the place to do it.

Thank genemal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2018 via mobile

My husband and I finished our open water certification there last month. We stayed at Harbor Village and arranged ahead of time to do this. Everything was so organized and easy. I can't say enough about Ken!! He was our instructor for the certification. He was the nicest, most patient teacher. He explained everything thoroughly and made me feel at ease. He is just awesome! We went on several boat dives. Dive Master Warren and Alfonso were amazing and knowledgeable. So much fun and we learned so much. The dive sites were breathtaking and the experience was just so easy and organized and everything was just perfect. We've fallen in love with Bonaire and Harbor Village and Great Adventures! We are coming back in July!!

Thank Indy-TLCliff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2018

We have been diving with Great Adventures Bonaire on two separate diving trips. One in November 2016 and one in April 2017.

Both trips were outstanding. The staff at the dive shop went out of their way to ensure that everyone on the dive boats were happily entertained and safe.

My husband completed his Advanced while on vacation and my girls took the Coral Restoration course with GAB. All three appreciated the personalized attention and felt that the y learned a lot during these courses.

They have recently instituted "concierge diving", meaning that your gear is already loaded on the the boat prior to departure and stowed for you afterwards. While this is a nice feature, I am not sure that it is essential.

Overall, fantastic quality of staff set this dive shop apart.

Thank 777amandaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 December 2017

In Bonaire for our third time, again in Harbour Village, we had the chance of enjoying once again the top services of Great Adventures Bonaire. GAB not only is at your doorstep if you are in this resort, but it is the best option, in my opinion, on the entire island.You'll find a really professional and dedicated staff, a dive shop with a lot of snorkeling and dive options, not to say of their perfectly maintained boats and equipment. They are really helping in advices and service (we enjoyed CONCIERGE SERVICE, it means they manage all your dive stuff, your own or rented, and you just have to wake up in the morning and find everything perfectly rinsed and ready to use on the boat). Thank you folk, and we'll be back very soon from Italy. And thank you Christina: you know why.

Thank Biavati
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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