Night Diving in Bonaire: The Ostracod experience

Anyone who has dived before will tell you that diving is a unique experience. Maybe you are even one of the lucky people who has already been diving in the beautiful Caribbean waters. However, have you ever witnessed the underwater magic whilst night diving in Bonaire?

Bonaire is renowned for its pristine coral reefs and abundant marine life. During the day, divers can enjoy the busy reefs full of life and watch the dozens of different species that roam about. Night diving however becomes a totally different experience.

Keep reading and you will discover why a night dive and especially the ostracod can be a completely unique experience every diver should have at least once in their lifetime. Let´s start!

Diving into a different world

It is recommended to do a night dive on a reef you are familiar with. However, even a dive site that you know by heart, will surprise you whilst diving it at night! It’s like you’re diving it for the first time again. The reef gets transformed as many species take shelter for the night and rest. Whilst the nocturnal predators take center stage and come out of their hiding places. From moray eels and octopus out and about, to big lobsters, snappers, barracudas and tarpon in full hunting mode. Night diving is exciting! If this already sounds appealing to you, we’d like to introduce you to the following scenario:

You’re submerged in the warm, clear waters of Bonaire. As you glide through the underwater landscape, a symphony of tiny, flickering lights surrounds you, a mesmerizing spectacle that only happens in a few places around the world.

That´s what happens when you add ostracods’ bioluminescence to the night dive equation. You will find into a realm that feels like something out of a science fiction film.

Night Diving in Bonaire: Divers entering the water for the ostracod night dive
Divers entering the water for the ostracod night dive

First things first, what are ostracods?

Before we dive into the magical world of ostracods, let’s get to know these intriguing creatures. Ostracods are minuscule, shrimp-like crustaceans that measure only a few millimeters in length. They are as big as to a grain of sand. Despite their diminutive size, they play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems. What sets them apart from other marine organisms is their ability to produce bioluminescence.

These creatures possess specialized organs called photophores that contain light-producing chemicals. When ostracods are disturbed or threatened, they release a burst of bioluminescent light as a defence mechanism. In our regions, they have further developed this ability for courtship, trying to attract a mate.

The result is a breathtaking display of twinkling stars underwater. It’s a phenomenon that defies description and leaves divers in awe of nature’s artistry.

Why is night diving in Bonaire with Ostracods so unique?

Ostracod bioluminescence is a rare phenomenon found in only a few places around the world and Bonaire has the pleasure to be one of these exceptional locations. As a diver, being in the right place at the right time to witness this natural light show is a privilege. This ethereal dazzling transforms the depths of the Caribbean Sea into an otherworldly wonderland. Experiencing ostracod bioluminescence underscores the interconnectedness of all life forms in the ocean. It’s a reminder of the intricate web of marine biodiversity, where even the tiniest creatures play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the underwater ecosystem.  

Divers ready to enjoy the ostracod experience.
Divers ready to enjoy the ostracod experience.

Why you should dive with Ostracods in Bonaire

As a diver, exploring the depths of Bonaire at night and witnessing the ostracods’ bioluminescent display is an experience that will stay with you forever. Here’s why it’s a must-do activity:

1. Unforgettable Memories Diving with ostracods in Bonaire is an unforgettable adventure that will etch itself into your memory. The surreal beauty of the bioluminescent light show is something you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

2. Appreciation for Marine Life. This experience deepens your appreciation for the diversity and wonder of marine life. It’s a humbling reminder of the marvels that exist beneath the ocean’s surface.

Practical information about night diving in Bonaire

We run guided ostracod night dives multiple days a month. These creatures have a strict biological clock though, so you should plan your stay accordingly if you’d like to join. The best days to view the ostracod mating ritual and gorgeous lightshow, take place 3 to 5 days after full moon.

Haven’t done a night dive before? No worries, we’ve got you covered! At Beyond The Corals we keep our groups small, and we go over a thorough dive briefing before heading into the water so everyone is as comfortable as can be for their first night diving in Bonaire!

When joining us on a guided ostracod dive, the use of a dive light set is included. We offer both a primary and secondary light to each diver to make sure we dive extra safe.

Continuing education

If you want to really dive deep into the world of night diving, you can further your education through these different courses:

PADI Advanced Open Water Diver: This course is for the Open Water Divers who are either looking for new dive adventures, improving their scuba skills, or both at once. Taking the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course will help you gain more confidence and improve your dive experiences. You do five different dives all under the expert guidance of your PADI Instructor. No formal classroom session, just a lot of diving and a few knowledge reviews. Night diving is one of the elective dives that you can choose.

PADI Night Diver Specialty: This specialty can be done by anyone qualified as Open Water Diver or higher. On the PADI Night Diver specialty course, you will learn in three dives how to communicate at night, witness the remarkable behaviours of marine life at night and practise navigating in darkness. The first dive of the Night Diver specialty course may count toward your Advanced Open Water Diver certification.
Furthermore, every PADI specialty certification you earn counts towards the prestigious Master Scuba Diver rating. Only two percent of divers ever achieve this elite level.


Night diving in Bonaire with ostracods is more than just a dive; it’s a spiritual journey into the heart of the ocean’s mysteries. The bioluminescent magic of these tiny creatures is a testament to the wonders of nature and a reminder of our responsibility to protect and preserve our oceans.

If you’re a diver seeking a unique and transformative experience, make sure to put night diving in Bonaire with ostracods on your bucket list—it’s an adventure you won’t want to miss. We are waiting for you!

Divers ready just before heading down to the magical adventure of ostracod night diving
Divers ready just before heading down to the magical adventure of ostracod night diving