Visit Bonaire diving article - Active Caribbean Bonaire article and features

VISIT BONAIRE – diving adventure article

Visit Bonaire for spectacular diving and reefs teeming with fish

Written by Travel Writer Linda Jackson

Visit Bonaire for a diving adventure second to none

Naturalists planning to visit Bonaire will discover a Caribbean island that is pretty hot on sustainable tourism. Nature preservation, coral cultivation, and conservation of coral reefs are also of great importance to Bonaire. Don’t you just love to hear that some countries are keen to protect the environment?

It’s encouraging to learn that, as Bonaire is such a keen follower of conservation fashion, the island is working hard to ensure the marine environment will be enriched and can be enjoyed by all long into the future hopefully.

The above specifics, coupled with the fact that Bonaire’s whole coastline has been declared a marine reserve, are undoubtedly why Scuba diving enthusiasts are drawn to visit Bonaire for Caribbean diving vacations. In fact, the readers of Scuba Diving Magazine voted Bonaire as being the Number One Shore Diving Destination in the Caribbean/Atlantic – only for the 24th consecutive year would you believe!  The island also boasts top marks for macro as well as beginner diving.

OK… down to the nitty gritty – the dive sites. Bonaire boasts 86 dive sites (including 54 shore dive sites), over 350 species of fish, and just under 60 species of coral. Some of Bonaire’s dive sites have tantalizing names too, such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘One Thousand Steps’, ‘Hilma Hooker’, ‘Red Slave’, ‘Oil Slick Leap’ and ‘No Name’ – to name (excuse the pun) just a few.

As for the dive sites – a lot of them can be accessed by boat or the shore (look out for yellow painted stones on the shoreline which indicate where dive sites are located). Mostly the reefs are located on the sheltered side of Bonaire (leeward) and are accessible from the shore. The narrow reef, which starts in the shallows, extends to around 200ft deep, while dive depths generally range from 30ft-90ft. Expect visibility between 60ft and 100ft.

There aren’t so many big fish in the waters of Bonaire, but colourful fish are aplenty… there are a variety of parrot fish, as well as sergeant majors, butterfly fish, and vibrant stripy scrawled filefish. There are also groupers, grunts, gobies, and the weird frogfish – so well camouflaged that they blend into their surroundings making them difficult to spot. Those captivating little seahorses need a good pair of eyes to find them too. But, top of the class, are octopuses – they’re clever. Not only have they got brains, but they are masters of camouflage and slippery escapologists. The spotted eagle ray is oh-so-graceful and striking with its dark black skin adorned with hundreds of small Persil-white spots. Fingers crossed one of these spotted eagle rays will hang around long enough to see it – it’s a great Bonaire marine life experience.

Visit Bonaire to learn to Scuba dive or sign up for advanced courses

Ranked as one of the top diving destinations in the Caribbean, it is no surprise that there are more than two dozen dive operators to choose from, making Bonaire a Caribbean learn-to-dive hotspot.  There are also options for children from ten years old.

In addition, experienced divers who visit Bonaire can sign up for a range of courses such as intermediate and advanced courses, night diving, instructor training and technical diving, as well as decompression procedures and tri-mix. As well as the opportunity in Bonaire to discover freediving, there are also special diving courses for people associated with the International Association for Handicapped Divers (IAHD).

It is highly unlikely, but should anyone suffer from an overdose of Scuba diving, no worries, there is also fantastic kitesurfing and windsurfing – two alternative watersports to diving that are also really popular in Bonaire… thanks to those constant cooling trade winds and the warm waters of the Caribbean.

When you visit Bonaire please note…

  • that all users of the Bonaire National Marine Park must pay a Nature Tag fee
  • you must not touch the reefs – dive operators are hot on protecting them so if you are seen touching the reefs you will be asked to leave the water
  • you must not take shells or remove anything from the water when you visit Bonaire, it is not permitted

Check out these marine life and diving videos…

Good to read if you’re planning to visit Bonaire…

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Images on this Bonaire Travel Articles & Features page are copyright of Tourism Corporation Bonaire, www.linda-jackson.co.uk