Snorkeling in bonaire is among the best in the world. So, let’s go on a hunt for the best snorkeling in bonaire. The snorkeling on Bonaire is fantastic; it ranks among the best I’ve experienced anywhere. The location is unique.
The greatest snorkeling in the world may be found on Bonaire, a relatively unheralded Caribbean island. One reason is that all coastal waters are protected up to a depth of 200 feet (60 meters) by a national marine preserve. In other words, you won’t be able to find anything like it anyplace else.
Next, the island is largely encircled by a barrier reef, so there are many places to swim or snorkel without having to swim at all. There aren’t many places in the world where you can snorkel from the shore in such abundance.
Bonaire is protected from storms because its position is only 50 miles from the Venezuelan shore. As a result, the island’s coral and biodiversity have more time to grow, thrive, and stay shielded from the enormous storms that slam across the Caribbean Sea every Fall.
Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of Bonaire before. It’s not a popular tourist destination, so it’s still somewhat of a hidden treasure, but if you’re planning a trip centered around the water, this is a great place to go.
How to get to bonaire
Bonaire’s neighbors in the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are Curaçao and Aruba, thus if you’re traveling from the United States (or pretty much anyplace in North or South America), you’ll probably wind up routing through one of those two.
For our stopover from the United States to Bonaire, we spent two days in Curaçao, which is well worth seeing in its own right, before taking a small plane for the 25-minute ride over to Bonaire. It would be best if you didn’t have any trouble locating a flight to Curaçao or Aruba because of the several airlines that offer frequent service to those islands.
However, you can go to Bonaire from Aruba through a brief stop in Curaçao, and there may be direct flights from Curaçao. You’ll likely be able to board a direct flight from your home airport to Amsterdam if you’re traveling from any place in the European region.
With its history as one of the Netherlands Antilles and its present status as a special municipality of the Netherlands, Bonaire has several connections to the Netherlands, including direct flights on KLM.
Tips for snorkeling in bonaire
Regarding water temperature, standard safety procedures, and other factors, the Greatest SNORKELING IN BONAIRE is on par with the best snorkeling in the rest of the Caribbean. On the other hand, some specifics are important to remember.
It’s important to note that most of Bonaire’s coasts are either rocky or comprised of fossilized coral. This implies that if you plan to snorkel in Bonaire, you should have some water shoes. The Aleader Men’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes and the Aleader women’s version, which I wear (available on Amazon), performed admirably for us in the seas off Bonaire. Finally, keep in mind that the island’s east side is often windier and rockier.
Hence, the circumstances aren’t as favorable for general shore snorkeling, and most of your snorkeling will be done on the west side. It is advised to hire a guide with a boat if you wish to explore the underwater life on that side.
Then, just before entering the water, keep an eye out for the reef. In several locations, the reef is startlingly near to shore or in extremely shallow water (sometimes the coral even sticks up a bit above the water at lower tide).
For the sake of yourself and the coral, be sure to take careful note of its location and the locations at which you may safely go around it.
The best snorkeling in bonaire may be found with little effort, which is another great feature of this island. The island is littered with brilliant yellow stones with the names of its many dive spots (85+ in total).
Even if they’re not actively fishing, you could spot them sitting on the side of the road.
Additionally, many excellent guides and snorkel trips are available on Bonaire due to the island’s prime location for snorkelers and scuba divers. Bonaire is a great place to go snorkeling on your own, but if you want to explore a more remote area, I suggest looking into Bonaire snorkel trips. New to Snorkel Go through this complete Snorkeling 101: The Complete Guide to Snorkeling.
Best snorkeling in bonaire: the 10 most incredible spots
Since Bonaire is surrounded by a marine park covering more than 27 square kilometers (10 square miles), selecting the top snorkeling locales might be daunting. However, the 10 locations below stand out as the best snorkeling in bonaire.
My favorite place to go snorkeling in Bonaire is Klein Bonaire, a little, uninhabited island to the west of the main island. Additionally, it is one of a kind.
You may take a water taxi from Eden Beach Resort or Karel’s Beach Bar to Klein Bonaire ($20/person roundtrip) and walk over to the east side of the little offshore island in about 20 minutes. However, once you arrive, you will stand on what is perhaps Bonaire’s whitest sand beach. This place is stunning and perfect for unwinding.
Once you’ve had enough time in the sun, it’s time to go snorkeling, albeit this isn’t your typical experience. Wanna know more about Best Time to Snorkel – Morning or Afternoon?
Hike south down the beach east of Klein Bonaire to Buoy B (Ebo’s Reef). Packaging as little as possible is advisable, but you should bring some food, drink, sun protection, and reef-safe sunscreen. Find a gap in the reef’s coral ring close to shore and swim to the reef’s far side. A spectacular barrier reef teeming with curious fish can be found here, and a natural current will slowly carry you from the island’s southern end to the northern end (Buoy A, No Name Beach).
To simplify your boat transportation and ensure you see the greatest snorkeling sites on the reef, book a spot on Seacow Bonaire’s Klein Bonaire snorkel trip.
Feel free to swim in and out of the coral formations at your own pace or relax and enjoy the ride. You won’t find another snorkeling trip like this one anywhere else. If you’d rather have a guide take care of the logistics of getting you to Klein Bonaire and showing you around the greatest snorkeling spots on the reef before bringing you back to the main island of Bonaire, Seacow Bonaire offers a fantastic double-dip snorkel tour that you won’t want to miss.
1,000 Steps is our go-to snorkeling place while visiting Bonaire’s main island. It’s also only a 15-minute drive from Kralendijk’s downtown area.
Find a spot to park along the road, and then make your way down the stone stairs (it’s a drop, but it’s not quite a thousand). Discover a shady spot in the woods along the coast to change into your snorkeling gear. In this area, you can walk into the ocean and begin some of the Best snorkeling in Bonaire.
We observed the greatest concentration of sea turtles at the 1,000 Steps, where they were either feasting, swimming, or resting. Other fishes we encountered were spotted eagle rays, angelfish, parrotfish, flounder, needlefish, and many others. Rarely have whale sharks been observed here. The vast expanses of the star, elkhorn, staghorn, brain, and other types of coral added to the mystical atmosphere.
Keep in mind that the local lizards and hermit crabs will gladly help themselves to your leftovers if you leave them out, so be sure to put your food away before you hit the water. Take a stroll down the coast to the north after lunch and ascend some historic stone steps to reach a breathtaking vantage point.
Karpata is a short distance north of the Thousand Steps and is making its way up into Washington Slagbaai National Park in northern Bonaire.
Just park your car on the level ground near the coast, then head down to the old concrete platform that dips into the water, where you may sit and don your snorkeling gear. It would be best if you kept a watch on the surf conditions since the region is more open and is best left to more experienced snorkelers.
However, under ideal conditions, you’ll be able to swim through a deep coral thicket stretching at least 150 feet down the coast, teeming with colorful species, including blue tang, angelfish, and hogfish. Not only that, but Karpata is a popular destination for endangered green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles.
Lac Bay is your best chance if you’re in the mood for some snorkeling and happen to be on the eastern leeward side of Bonaire.
As a result of the consistent wind that blows through the bay, windsurfers flock to Bonaire’s Lac Bay. However, because it is shallow and quiet, snorkeling is excellent here.
To get to the water’s edge, park along the road at the point we’ve placed on the map (about 200 yards before reaching the Sorobon Beach Resort). It’s not possible to snorkel in the water right off the coast (and for about 800 feet out), so snorkelers will have to wade out into the center of the bay and follow the edge of the shallows until they reach deeper water.
When you do, you’ll find a massive patch of staghorn coral measuring more than 15,000 square feet, home to juvenile barracudas, tarpons, sea turtles, rays, and other marine animals.
In this area, the water is shallower, so it’s important to avoid colliding with the coral and to keep an eye out for where the windsurfers in Lac Bay put up their equipment.
If you’re interested in kayaking and snorkeling, you won’t want to miss Royal Tours’ trip to Lac Bay. If kayaking is your thing, Lac Bay is a fantastic location. The guides are extremely well-versed in the region, the visibility is excellent, and the supplied transportation from Kralendijk makes it easy to reach the location of some of the best snorkeling in Bonaire, even if you don’t have a car. New to Snorkel Go through this complete Snorkeling 101: The Complete Guide to Snorkeling.
Petrie’s Pillar, located just north of Kralendijk, is home to some of the most interesting coral formations on the island. However, due to its dense coral, it isn’t easy to reach from the beach. Therefore, this section of the reef is best explored from a boat.
Large sponges and coral reefs are abundant here, as is the massive namesake coral pillar, which may be found at a depth of roughly 20 feet. Squid, parrotfish, frogfish, filefish, and sea turtles frequently congregate in schools.
The Wayaka II snorkel is located at the northernmost point of the snorkel places on this list, beneath the cliffs of Washington Slagbaai National Park. Wayaka snorkel locations in Washington Slagbaai are not immediately obvious. Still, you may discover them by looking for a stone stairway leading down to the sea and following the maps.
Before you descend into the water, it’s a good idea to scope out the reef shadow from above and decide which way you want to go through the coral. There are gaps in this region, although it might be hard to spot them from the beach.
Wayaka II is located in northern Bonaire. Therefore the currents there are often stronger than at the island’s major dive sites. Therefore, only advanced snorkelers should venture here.
Once you’re underwater, you’ll see a stunning shallow reef with a gentle slope that drops off just past the buoy, producing a steep wall frequented by tangs, chubs, parrotfish, angelfish, and lots of sergeants.
Driving north from Kralendijk’s downtown, you’ll reach Bari Reef, a popular snorkeling destination. But don’t discount its value because of how simple it is to get there. Over 300 different fish species have been spotted here, making it one of the best places on Bonaire to go fishing.
If you want to jump right into snorkeling in Bonaire without worrying about currents or other difficulties, this is a great place to do it. If you want to get wet, you may cross to the pier’s right side and wade in.
Bari Reef is home to a wide variety of tropical fish, octopus, crab, shrimp, tarpon, and sea sponges. Bring your GoPro here to get spectacular footage of the underwater world.
Red Beryl North
Since Red Beryl is closer to the island’s southern edge, swimmers may encounter stronger currents and a more open water environment. (Have you noticed that the currents become more powerful as you leave the island’s center?) Therefore, this is a more complex field.
Larger marine animals, such as manta rays, octopuses, stingrays, and barracuda, are easier to spot when there is more open water to swim in.
After you’ve had your fill of snorkeling, it’s only a short drive to Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary, one of only four sites on Earth where American Flamingos reproduce in their native habitat of salt lakes. [source].
Near the southern tip of Bonaire lies Tori’s Reef, another challenging snorkel area with higher currents but gorgeous surroundings.
Finding a safe place to enter the water might be challenging; the best bet is to head south toward the bridge. The key to entering the reef without damaging the delicate coral is to select your entry point carefully.
Signs of a healthy and diversified reef system include the presence of predatory eels, rays, and huge fish that prey on the smaller fish in the region.
Margate Bay completes the snorkeling opportunities in Bonaire’s southern region. In contrast to Red Beryl North and Tori’s Reef, Margate Bay features milder currents and less turbulence. So, more people will be able to go snorkeling there.
Though black margates are the most prevalent fish in Margate Bay, other species of colorful fish, such as butterflyfish, trumpetfish, angelfish, and parrotfish, can also be seen here, as can spotted eagle rays and even the rare sea turtle.
If snorkeling is a major part of your next vacation, Bonaire is a fantastic choice. The best snorkeling in bonaire is genuinely some of the best snorkeling in the world due to the island’s distinctive combination of marine protection, protected terrain, and absence of being continually swamped by tourists. When things fall into place like that, it’s a blessing.
The Game is Still on……..
One of my favorite elements of the best snorkeling in bonaire was the opportunity to take great images and movies of all I saw beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea:
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