Bonaire has long been one of the top dive spots in the Caribbean, if not the world. What makes our tiny island so special? Here is our staff’s pick of best dive sites on Bonaire!
Bonaire dive sites are fantastic and diverse, making the area one of the best diving in Caribbean experience thanks to its abundant marine life diversity. Bonaire Marine’s Park offers a total of 86 dive sites, it is home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species. With ample dive sites that are easy to find both from a boat and from the shore, there’s something to offer every level of diver.
The sea around Bonaire and Klein Bonaire – the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) – is protected and managed by STINAPA. The Marine Park surrounds the entire island from the high water mark to the depth of 60 meters (200 ft). All activities in the Bonaire National Marine Park are subject to payment. The fee for snorkeling is set to $25, a Nature Fee to go scuba diving is $45 (incl. free entrance to Washington Slagbaai National Park). Payment can be made at our dive shop, the Tourism Office in Kralendijk, at all STINAPA offices, or online via https://bonairenaturefee.org. Offered by our dive shop, a short and mandatory presentation introduces you to the Marine Park & covers the basic rules for divers. You must attend the orientation before your first dive.
1. One of our favorite dive sites on Bonaire: Salt pier 1
If you’re an avid underwater photographer, or just a diver wanting to capture some wonderful memories, this dive site is perfect to snap wide-angle photos. Barracuda’s, spotted drums, turtles, all can be found hiding under the shadows of the pier. It’s quite a shallow dive starting at 6m going down to 16m. You’ll see an incredible maze of strikingly colored sponge-covered pillars, placed by Stinapa (Bonaire National Park Foundation).
Known for its good visibility and panorama views, Karpata is a great dive site on Bonaire where you can swim along interesting coral formations and ridges. Visibility is usually wonderful here from the surface to bottom and it is not unusual to see giant green moray eels, lobsters, and even the invasive lionfish all hiding under the many stony coral ledges that pepper the reef wall.
3. Invisibles 3
Invisibles is a beautiful spot on the southern part of Bonaire with a nice double reef. Invisibles guarantees plenty of fish, big and small! This is one of the best dive sites to have a chance to see garden eels in shallow water. Spotted drums, parrotfish, trunkfish and spotted eagle rays are also likely to be seen. Finding the second reef tends to be a bit challenging, make sure to ask us for tips.
4. Red Beryl
Red Beryl is a nice, quiet dive site on Bonaire located on a large sandy stretch along the shoreline. It offers an excellent spot for seeing turtles and big tarpons, while large schools of fish can be seen feeding on plankton. Red Beryl is an alternation between sandy areas and coral reefs. The first plateau lies at a depth of 3 meters and is mostly covered with soft corals. Between 10 and 15 meters, you’ll spot lipfish, bullet fish and occasionally a tortoise.
5. Hilma Hooker
This internationally known wreck dive is located near the beginning of a double reef system. The Hilma Hooker is a 72-meter long cargo ship that was sunk off the southern coast of Bonaire in 1984. Access is available from boat or shore. If you’re diving from shore, you’ll find the shallows full of fish and see how corals have developed on this site. Descending down to the Hilma Hooker is a fun experience; you’re in the deep blue and will suddenly see the dark silhouette of the ship as you approach. Lot’s of marine life can be found. If you’re an experienced and certified wreck diver you van even enter the ship and explore all of it!
Bonus: Map of all Dive Sites on Bonaire!
If you are a scuba diver, we highly recommend adding Bonaire to your list. Michel, Kim and the entire team at Beyond The Corals are here to make sure you get the most out of your time on the island. This top 5 dive sites on Bonaire is just the start. We can’t wait to show you many more great Bonaire dive sites!
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