Shore diving is what put our beautiful island on the map! On Bonaire, you’ll find the simplest way to dive is from the shore, as there are over 60 sites to choose from. Shore diving offers the freedom to choose where and when you want to dive, how often and for how long. However, shore diving also has its own set of potential hazards, most of which come into play during your entry and exit. This blog offers a few pointers on enjoying shore diving on Bonaire the most.
Shore diving on Bonaire: how to get started
To start, every diver must purchase a Bonaire Marine Park tag. The Bonaire 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. For $45, you are set for an entire calendar year and you will have full access to all the dive sites, plus free admission to Washington Slagbaai National Park. Payment can be made at our dive shop, the Tourism Office in Kralendijk, at all STINAPA offices, online at BonaireNatureFee.org or at the activity desk of most hotels.
Grab your tanks and go!
Most scuba divers staying on Bonaire rent a vehicle. There are a number of local and international rental car companies in Bonaire, and our team is happy to assist you in making reservations and connecting you to services.
Most rental vehicles are equipped to carry scuba tanks, and the most common rentals are pick-up trucks. As you drive the main coastal roads of Bonaire, you’ll find bright yellow stones marking each dive site. We advise starting with the more easily accessible sites south of downtown Kralendijk. These sites feature gentle sloping sandy entries with minimal rocky areas. As you get more comfortable with entry/exit and underwater navigation, the team at Beyond the Corals would be happy to suggest more challenging sites to the north.
Water & Surface Conditions
Shore diving on Bonaire is easy and predictable, and not too deep (less than 70ft). There are not a lot of currents, nothing big in the water to bite you, and the dive sites are well marked. You can feel comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll experience great diving during any month of the year!
Know the entry/exit points
Attempting a shore entry in a place that you’ve already dived a hundred times is one thing, but when visiting a site for the first time it’s imperative that you know what to expect by researching the conditions ahead of time. No matter how thoroughly you have researched a dive site though, once you arrive, it is important to take a moment to assess conditions on the dive day.
The team at Beyond the Corals is happy to provide you with input about dive sites and conditions to make your time fun and safe. Armed with information from our expert dive instructors and guides, you can be sure you’ll be capable and confident to find the shore diving sites appropriate to your level of experience. Once decided, try to find a static reference point on the shore that corresponds with your place of entry so that you can use it to exit as well. Our team can give you all the tips you need.
Ready to make a successful shore dive on Bonaire?
The keys to successful shore diving on Bonaire are planning and preparation. Before heading out for your first dive on the island, make sure that you have all the information you need to remain safe.
And remember, a wise diver never hesitates to cancel a dive when insufficiently prepared or if the conditions seem too challenging on a given day — as with all kinds of diving, there’s always tomorrow.
On Bonaire, where the conditions are almost always right, however, using the information in this article, prepare to discover for yourself the unique freedom of diving from the shore. Get a rental car or truck, pick up some dive tanks from our 5* PADI Dive Center and dive on your own schedule. A great time guaranteed!