I’m a world traveler but never heard of Bonaire until I visited. Here are 16 surprising things I learned about the Caribbean island.

I was greatly impressed by the marine life in Bonaire. As soon as I started spotting fish, I was reminded why I wanted to get PADI certified here.

The author got PADI certified in Bonaire.

Latifah Al-Hazza

Last year, I wanted to get scuba certified in time for summer and needed to complete my PADI certification.

I was researching places to do it when I first heard about Bonaire, as it’s considered one of the best places to dive in the world. Bonaire is also different from other Caribbean islands because they’re the shore diving capital of the Caribbean, according to Girls That Scuba

To get PADI certification, a diver is required to complete a certain number of dives in a pool, as well as a certain number of dives in open water, whether that’s the ocean or lake, etc.

In order to maximize my time in Bonaire and not spend my entire trip taking scuba courses, I decided to take pool courses in Kuwait where I was staying at the time, before I traveled to Bonaire.

That way, all I had left to complete by the time I was to arrive in Bonaire was my open-water courses.

While taking these courses in two different locations with different instructors at first seemed daunting, I ultimately thought it was a great decision because I got to see all of Bonaire, not just its pools, and spend more time in the ocean. I also think I learned even more than I might have otherwise because I was able to glean information from two different instructors who each shared their own personal tips. 

In Bonaire, I got certified at Buddy Dive, where I found the instructors to be laid-back and patient, so I was able to perfect each skill set before moving forward.

Once I started diving in Bonaire, I quickly understood why it had such a strong reputation. I didn’t have to go far, or even on a boat, to see the diverse underwater world Bonaire hosts. Immediately , I spotted sea horses, frog fish, squid, and sea turtles, which also helped me to forget how nervous I was and reminded me of why I wanted to get certified in the first place. 

This post was originally published on Insider

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