I’ve covered Bonaire a number of times for Emerging Horizons, and although you won’t find ADA access there, it is doable with some advance planning. Nobody knows that better than the Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) as they’ve been planning trips to the island for years.
And if you’d like to join them on their next excursion, you’re in luck, as registration is still open for their 24th annual trip to Bonaire.
Slated for August 9-16, 2008, the trip includes seven nights hotel accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, six days of boat diving, three dives per day and unlimited shore diving on the beautiful Calabas Reef. Price for scuba divers is $1,240 per person double occupancy, $1,670 single occupancy. Non-diving guests charges are $880 double occupancy; $1,345 single occupancy.
The trip is also open to able-bodied divers who would like to get their dive buddy certification. Additionally, certified instructors can enroll in a course that will earn them teaching status for training divers with disabilities. So the trip offers a little something for everybody. To be honest, if I wasn’t knee deep in research for the third edition of Barrier-Free Travel; A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers, I might even give it try.
The program will be based at The Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, which features wheelchair-accessible rooms with roll-in showers. The hotel dive shop, Divi Dive Bonaire, has a boat with roll-on access and a dive crew which includes HSA-trained dive masters.
I’ve heard from folks who have gone on this trip (some year after year) and they’ve all given it great reviews, so I have absolutely no problems recommending this fun excursion. Not only will you see some great marine life, but the HSA folks and Divi Flamingo staff will make sure all your access needs are met.
For more information, call 949.498.4540 or drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. But you’d better hurry, as this popular trip fills up fast!