My Pick For Best Scuba Diving Location: Bonaire Wins Hands Down!!!
My husband and I have been diving the Caribbean for over 25 years and Bonaire is still at the top of our list for this area. (Roatan, Honduras would probably be a close second though.)
Bonaire offers the perfect diving getaway experience. It is exactly as mentioned above, laid back atmosphere, healthy reefs teaming with marine life, fantastic vis (perfect for photography too), easy shore diving (except for the 1,000 steps site, there is a reason for its name), friendly people, good local food and a great value. This place is made for divers!
One thing I will mention is that when you rent your van or truck (and you will want to because there are a ton of great spots surrounding this tiny island) make sure you do not bring anything valuable at all. Don't even think about locking up a watch or wallet in the glove compartment, it will be gone by the time you come back.
I have heard from numerous other fellow Bonaire divers and almost everyone has a similar story about how their rental was broken into. One poor fellow even got his Nikes stolen. Just a word of warning to be smart and bring out next to nothing when you rent a vehicle to shore dive.
My 10 year old twin daughters just got certified last week and we are renting a house and a boat to dive in Key Largo for 2 weeks. However we are already planning for next summer and it will be in Bonaire (they have no idea how lucky they are).
The reason being is that Bonaire has so many dive sites that range from beginners to expert and the shore dives make it easy as well as night diving from shore. Also, there is the fact of not having to be on a schedule (we may need to take more rest breaks with the kids). Other than the car thefts Bonaire is a safe place to walk around and I never felt nervous or worried going anywhere. I would feel comfortable taking my kids here.
Make Bonaire one of your top spots to visit. I promise you, you will be talking about that trip for years after and plan to do again!