Bonaire is called Divers Paradise for a good reason. Snorkeling and diving off the coast of Bonaire are among the best in the world and even the most experienced divers are amazed by the beautiful underwater world. Only a few steps from the shore, the fringing reefs provide a variety of shallow soft corals and steep reef walls covered in sponges and hard corals. Besides, the diversity of reef creatures guarantees amazing dives, every single time.
The shoreline of Bonaire is filled with many beautiful dive sites, all worth the exploration. Nonetheless, as not everyone has the opportunity to explore all 87 dive sites, we are more than happy to share with you our favorite spots!
1. Salt Pier
Salt Pier is an iconic Bonaire shore dive. Although the reef is less spectacular than other sites, the structure or the pier easily makes up for it. Besides that, the pillars offer a great photo opportunity, marine life has also colonized the pillars that support the pier and the surrounding waters. Barracuda and sea turtles are commonly found at this site, as well as schools of grunts and snappers. Moreover, the pillars are encrusted with soft corals and sponges, as well as the nests of territorial Sergeant Mayors. Diving at Salt Pier is a must-do while in Bonaire.
2. The Lake
Don’t let the name fool you, the lake is a dive site located on the west shoreline about 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) after Bachelor’s Beach. The dive site gets its name from the ‘lake’ of sand that lies between the first and second reef slopes and should not be confused with an actual lake dive. The first reef allows great diving opportunities for divers from every level, while the second reef can only be explored by divers holding a Deep Diver certification. As you navigate through the dive site, keep an eye out for the transition from sand to the reef and (if qualified) make time to explore the second reef and its complex coral heads and sponges.
3. Margate Bay
While this dive site gets its name from the Black Margate, it is not always easy to find this fish around the reef. Nonetheless, Margate Bay is a beautiful dive site and is home to a variety of marine life. The reef slope starts at a depth of around 25 feet (8 meters) and reaches its ending at around 100 feet (30 meters). During the dive, do not only observe the corals beneath you, but also the marine life including black durgons, blue and brown chromis, and perhaps some hidden moray eels and lobsters.
4. La Dania’s Leap to Karpata
Karpata is perhaps one of the best-known dive sites of Bonaire and it ranks high on everyone’s list. The dive site offers a sharp reef drop starting at a depth of 25 feet (7.5 meters) and dropping down to 150 feet (46 meters). While many divers explore the reef of Karpata, only a few are familiar with the combination of La Dania’s Leap and Karpata. At Beyond the Corals, we like to amaze our divers by taking them out on this drift dive, allowing them to experience the best of both dive sites. As it is not possible to exit the water at La Dania’s Leap, this dive is only suitable for those who are well-trained and not fearful.
5. Red Beryl
Red Beryl is one of our favorite dive sites, due to the mix of hard and soft corals, in combination with the diversity of marine life. Snappers, parrotfishes, shrimps, crabs, anemones, and octopuses can be found on this dive site. As Red Beryl is closely located to the stretch of coast which is popular amongst kitesurfers, it is important to remain close to the bottom when you are heading out or returning from the reef. Moreover, it is highly recommended to bring along a Surface Marker Buoy to indicate your position underwater.
6. Bachelor’s Beach
Besides it being one of the few sand beaches of Bonaire, Bachelor’s Beach is also a beautiful reef for both snorkelers and divers. It is known as a dive site that has something in stock for everyone, whether you are a coral lover or a huge fan of observing many species of reef fish. The complexity of the reef supports shelter for trumpetfish, pufferfish, parrotfish, creole wrasses, frogfish, and so on. Also, make sure you keep an eye out for our coral nursery trees, located close to the buoy. The dive site can be entered via small stairs, followed by easy access on a sandy bottom. Besides exploring Bachelor’s Beach by day, it is also a great dive site to explore by night. During a night dive, divers can expect huge tarpons by their side, as well as spotting some free swimming eels.
If you would like to learn more about our coral nursery, feel free to cross the street from Bachelor’s Beach and ask our staff for more information.
So far our favorite dive sites of Bonaire. Are you ready to explore the underwater world of Bonaire yourself? At Beyond The Corals we are more than happy to show you the beauty of the reefs stretching alongside the coast. This top 6 is only the beginning of what Bonaire has to offer and we would love to share our enthusiasm for other great dives sites.