Where, oh where is Bonaire?
Bonaire is an island paradise located in the southern Caribbean, just north of Venezuela and it is plentiful with marine life, stunning turquoise blue water, and it is also home to over 470 species of fish.
Because of this, Bonaire is a well-known hot spot for divers and snorkelers who come from all over the world to explore its hidden, Instagram-worthy, underwater gems and to behold its breathtaking beauty.
Among these gems are coral reefs, abandoned shipwrecks and more!
If you are looking for the best underwater expedition, Bonaire diving simply cannot be beat. While pictures certainly will not do it justice, but you can rest assured that you’ll come home with thousands of photos to commemorate your experience.
When You Should Visit Bonaire Island
Bonaire is immersed with sunshine year-round, which makes it an ideal spot to soak in the sun and take in its beauty. It is also located outside of the hurricane belt and only has a few wet months per year, with about 22 inches of rainfall annually.
Additionally, Bonaire diving is available 365 days a year, so truly anytime you choose to go would be beautiful, but we can share some insight in regard to when it might be better to pack up your diving gear and head out to the open blue.
From April to November, Bonaire experiences much dryer weather with very little rain. Temperatures during this time average about 85 degrees with very little cloud cover. If you are looking for the ideal diving (or photography) time and the chance to catch some rays on the shore, this time of year would be your best bet.
From December to March, temperatures only slightly cool down, bringing more humidity and very little rainfall. One thing to consider during the more humid months of the year is that it attracts more mosquitoes in the area. If you’re equipped with some high-quality mosquito repellant, this should be no issue.
The rainy season is also when prices drop for diving season, so it would be an ideal time to take advantage of the lower fees and hot deal available on travel websites.
Top Dive Sites in Bonaire
Bonaire is home to some incredible dive sites that will leave you speechless. There are over 86 dive sites within this tropical paradise, which are home to over 57 types of coral.
While you may not be able to pay a visit to each of these sites in one single visit, you can pick and choose which ones may be the best fit for you and your family.
Here are 10 of the most popular Bonaire diving sites and what you can expect:
1. One Thousand Steps
Do not let the title fool you – this site is not actually 1,000 steps, but it does require walking down numerous steps to get to it.
It was actually named because the steps leading down to it feel like you are climbing one thousand steps on your way back up at the end of your journey.
Once you reach its peak, you will see formations of star coral leading into an assortment of sea creatures and nautical delights. Passing sharks have also been spotted near this site.
2. Alice in Wonderland
While you won’t see Alice or the Mad Hatter here, you will see various sea creatures and all the colors of the reef.
Be sure to take caution when passing from reef to reef, as the depth can be a bit tricky.
3. Andrea 1 & 2
If you are a novice diver or snorkeler, this site is for you. Here, you can expect to see many species of fish and soft coral. The coral provides a safe haven for both predators and prey alike to hide within its corners and nooks.
You can surely expect to spot a seahorse or two perched on the coral, as well as numerous types of parrot fish in an assortment of vibrant colors.
4. Bari Reef
With over 300 species of fish, Bari Reef is #1 in the Caribbean for it’s diverse family of fish.
5. Hilma Hooker
Access to this wreck dive is available from boat or shore, which was created in the 1980’s and contains a plethora of marine life. You can view the top of the ship once you reach 60 feet.
It is also a great way to see different types of resilient coral reefs and how they recover after wreckage takes hold.
If you’re a wide-angle photography fiend, this is the spot for you, as you’ll find hidden delights, such as massive ship anchors, coral, and other treasures. The site offers numerous photo opportunities to take in the massive objects and species along the coast.
7. Salt Pier
Schooling fish travel to and from along this beauty, which has easy entry for divers and is a great spot for photography. This is a great site for beginner divers to get their feet wet and learn the lay of the land.
8. Tori’s Reef
Here, you can expect to see congregations of fire coral scattered around the reef, as well as variations of rare fish and eels. The fire coral is particularly vibrant in comparison to the deep turquoise shades in the water and is a once-in-a-lifetime sight.
This spot is #2 in the Caribbean for its vast fish diversity.
This site is one of the rarest diving sites in Bonaire due to its frequent visits by larger species and inhabitants, but you can expect to see rare species of fish and other hidden gems. Be sure to take caution and keep your eyes peeled if you decide to take a deep dive here.
This sandy beach provides excellent shade after a long day of diving and exploring and divers in this location can expect to see turtles, manta rays and other friendly sea-dwellers.
This area is also excellent for beginner divers and snorkelers.
Are You New to Diving?
Since Bonaire offers 24/7 diving, it’s the perfect place for beginner divers and snorkelers to get started. The calm waters, high visibility, and beautiful scenery also make for the perfect backdrop for those learning to dive for the first time. Bonaire offers a wide variety of certifications and courses to help divers familiarize themselves with the equipment required for diving, as well as the functionality of it.
Bonaire is most famous for its shore diving, as this is the easiest and most predictable and the depth is relatively shallow. The dive sites are also easy to locate and marked with the corresponding name, so you can be sure you’ll find the site you’re looking for with ease.
Bringing the kiddos along? There are also numerous Bonaire diving courses available for children as young as 10 to learn the basics and help them build confidence in the sport.
For those more experienced in diving, technical diving courses are also available for dives that require more depth and time.
Freediving is available for the more adventurous folks. Freediving involves holding your breath underwater (known as apnea) and makes for a peaceful and adrenaline-driven dive with no particular agenda or map to guide you.
If you are interested in this type of diving, we recommend you check in with Bonaire’s various dive operators for their skill-building courses available on site. The Deepsea Freediving School, for instance, is run by 12-time world record holder Carlos Coste.
Many resorts also offer the option of using a vehicle to get to each shore dive, so be sure to research what your package includes if you purchase one prior to visiting the sites.
Help Keep Bonaire Beautiful
Bonaire diving dates back to 1962 and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most coveted diving destinations in the world!
One thing to note is that Bonaire is very protective of its shores and does not allow collecting items from the reefs, such as seashells or coral. If a divemaster catches you taking objects, they will typically give you an initial warning, followed by removing you from the water if necessary.
Be a part of the movement to keep it beautiful for generations to come. Your seashell collection can wait.
Staying Green – Bonaire’s Accolades and Awards
Not only is Bonaire known for its out-of-this-world diving experiences, it has been recognized for over 24 years for its sustainability, eco-friendly approach, and nature conservation efforts. Its Stichting Nationale Parken Foundation (STINAPA) was created in 1962 for the sole purpose of protecting the island and its inhabitants.
It is because of this that so much of its beautiful coral reefs and species have survived and thrived over the years. It was recognized by Scuba Diving Magazine as the number one Shore Diving Destination and number one for Macro Diving and Beginner Diving.
Dive Bonaire’s Beautiful Reefs This Year
Recently, Forbes voted Bonaire as one of their 10 Must Dive Destinations.
So, our only question for you is: What are you waiting for?
Book your trip to Bonaire today and be sure to share your experience and Instagram photos with us!