Captain Don's Habitat Bonaire reviews

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

4.0 Very Good

  • Cleanliness 4.0
  • Location 4.5
  • Rooms 4.0
  • Service 4.0
  • Value 4.0

677 TripAdvisor reviews

TripAdvisor users rated this property 2 out of 5

We won't be returning

SeriousCallersOnly (Vancouver, Washington) on Jul 13, 2024

My review has three sections because the resort, Rum Runners restaurant, and Captain Don's dive operation are separately owned businesses. 1) RESORT: Our room was quite new; had a wonderful ocean view, and was nice otherwise. Comfortable bed. However, the room was so dark and had such inadequate lighting that using our dive lights and phone flashlights was needed to be able to unpack. Inadequate air conditioning -- it was difficult to get our room under 75 degrees even when running the a/c 24/7 and keeping the drapes closed. Maintenance examined our unit and advised that it was simply “too small” for the room size. However, in an adjacent building a literal stone’s throw away, a similarly-sized a/c unit kept our friend’s room downright frigid. Haphazard housekeeping. During our 8 day stay we never were given even one washcloth so I used hand and bath towels. We needed to request towels several times as they weren’t always replaced after removal. Bed linens weren’t changed until Day 6 of our stay—and only after I requested this on Day 5 because we were so sweaty from our very warm room. We also needed to request that the body wash dispenser be refilled on Day 5 – it was completely out. Others in our large dive group experienced similar housekeeping and room issues. Everyone was always very nice but I had the distinct impression Housekeeping was understaffed. Using the room safe entailed an extra $6 fee. The safe didn’t always work. Maintenance had to come twice to examine it; replacing batteries resolved the issues. 2) RUM RUNNERS RESTAURANT: The restaurant (owned separately from the resort) was quite slow and food not especially good. We had only one truly great meal there (BBQ ribs). Dinner reservations were required. After discovering an excellent Chinese restaurant (CarreFour) only a short walk away, we ate all meals other than breakfast there. 3) CAPTAIN DON'S DIVE SHOP: A second dive shop (TDS aka Technical Diving Services) is only steps away from the one most closely affiliated with Captain Don’s. This review is specific to the Captain Don’s shop only, with my memory refreshed from contemporaneous notations made in my dive logbook. Prior to this trip I had 50 Open Water dives (including Belize, Cozumel, and Fiji). My husband had 60+, so we do have some experience with different dive operations. Our mandatory arrival briefing (which I am 110% in favor of) run by Captain Don’s dive shop was so upsetting and anxiety provoking that I did not want to dive there and was ready to return home immediately. Captain Don’s touts that itself as the “Home of Diving Freedom” but I feel a better descriptor is the “Home of Diving Abandonment”. This was my strong feeling from that briefing and little changed to alter it during the subsequent 7 days. Others in our group had very similar feelings. During orientation we were asked to show our C-cards but when divers offered their Nitrox cards, were rebuffed and advised they weren’t needed. Only 2 people *total* ever staffed our dive boat -- this was for a group averaging 14-17 divers, and flies in the face of safety “best practices”. Our boat/dive team was as helpful as possible. They were kind and did their best – I have no quarrel with them. However, I remain very uneasy with Captain Don’s dive op’s attention to safety, which starts at an organization’s top. For example, on one dive our DM experienced an issue requiring brief ascent – leaving no one below with our large, very spread out group numbering 17 that day. Captain Don’s dive operation had other issues, including running out of weights – but to their credit, the dive lockers and “baby pier” have been recently refurbished and are in great condition. Captain Don’s doesn’t offer 100cf tanks but the adjacent dive shop (TDS) only steps away does; my husband easily rented them there. Most people on our boat dived with Nitrox. Our boat had an analyzer but divers needed to locate it, then calibrate and run it themselves, typically en route to a dive site. It was chaotic. We were completely on our own to analyze our tanks. Nitrox readings were not logged or monitored in any way, which defies both our Nitrox training and Fiji experience. If a diver did not analyze their tanks the DMs would not be the wiser. Maybe this is what Captain Don’s categorizes as “Diving Freedom”? We were “reassured” by the dive crew that Nitrox tanks all had the same EAN because they were filled at the same time with the same blend…but this is an erroneous assumption. EAN can still vary based on how much remains in a tank prior to refill. My EANs for each tank on a given day varied slightly, which is to be expected. My tanks averaged 2900-3200 psi but others on our boat had pressures of up to 3700 psi. My husband and I have never seen so many O-rings blow. To their credit, after so many failures our two divemasters advised our group one day that they had personally inspected all O-rings prior our boarding. Diving itself was excellent. Our two divemasters made extra effort to locate terrific sites, including relocating one day prior to us entering the water after our DM’s evaluation of the current determined it was too strong. Good, easily accessible house reef down to 90 feet. We have dived in Belize, Cozumel, and Fiji – and have never experienced what we did in Bonaire. Several members of our group had dived with Captain Don’s as recently as 2 years ago. They reported that their experiences then were very different than what we all encountered on this trip – it was the Hot Topic during a group dinner. Upon return, we reported our many concerns to our local shop, the trip organizer. The owner, who has never been to Captain Don’s, was highly apologetic and expressed concern himself about our experiences. In addition to the safety issues we often felt like we were only a number and not particularly welcome. This includes both the resort and CD’s dive shop. Our two boat crew/divemasters were the welcome exceptions. Both seemed very sincere when they told our group how much they enjoyed diving with us all week, and that groups weren’t always as fun as ours. Dealing with an unending procession of entitled tourists can be difficult and burn out even the most hospitable employee. However, we have never experienced what we did at Captain Don’s. We won’t be returning to Captain Don’s Habitat – and probably not to Bonaire either.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5


Maria J on Jun 27, 2024

Me and my brand new wife spent our honeymoon in Bonaire during which four of our nights were spent at captain dons rum runners. We loved the drinks and the staff was great, Sheldon, Dirk, and Zjenon, were friendly and welcoming. And the drinks were on point.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

Blissed out on Bonaire

OneWhoKnowsLondon (London) on Jun 10, 2024

Went for drinks @ RumRunners…great atmosphere! Live music as the sun set. Cocktail hour by the water an absolute must - sea breeze literally that, Sheldon was the ABSOLUTE BEST mixologist in the ABC islands…a real star. Order the Bonaire Breeze Tiki - pure theatre!

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

Amazing place!

Monica H on May 17, 2024

Thank you so, so much for the absolutely amazing time I had! I just can't express how much I loved the facial and the massage. Seriously, it was incredible! I'm already counting down the days until I can see you all again in the future. I mean, this was our 3rd visit and it was just as mind-blowing as the very first time we visited. You all are truly the best!

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

I made my first trip Capt Don's in the mid eighties, boy has a lot changed. All good,

Wendell A (The Villages, Florida) on Apr 26, 2024

My wife and I go to Capt Don's at least once a year. the dive operation is going to be better than ever. the new dive area has been redone with new lockers and new diver's peir. i am older dive and on the boat dives the dive master and boat captain are always ready to give this old guy a hand in and out of the water. This year i watched a 12 year old get her C-Card.

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