6 dive sites to discover in Bonaire
Located east of Curaçao and surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, the small island of Bonaire offers big adventures beneath the waves! Scuba enthusiasts – from beginners to seasoned divers – can discover the underwater beauty of the Bonaire National Marine Park when they visit this exciting destination. The park starts at the high-water mark and extends to 60 meters of depth, protecting the fringe reef that surrounds the island. With so much to discover, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite dive sites – read on and plan your adventure.
Bari Reef is one of the most visited dive sites in Bonaire – and for good reason! Located just off the coast of the island near the capital city of Kralendijk, Bari Reef is one of the top locations in the Caribbean for fish diversity, with over 300 different species for divers to observe living among the corals. With easy access from the beach and no strong currents, Bari Reef is a perfect spot for beginner divers to get comfortable in the water. More experienced divers can enjoy spectacular night dives and get up close to curious fish coming in to examine their lights.
Located just off the shore of No Name Beach on the small islet of Klein Bonaire, this site is a great spot for beginners to practice their scuba diving skills. Vacationers can access this site very easily from the beach, with a gentle slope leading to the sandy plateau. While there isn’t much in the way of coral, there is still plenty of marine life to find like yellow-headed jawfish that hide in the sandy sea floor. No Name Beach offers divers a great place to relax before or after their dive, with plenty of room to soak up the sun on the white-sand shores of this uninhabited island.
Where to stay: Travellers hoping to explore these two dive sites can stay at Eden Beach Resort, a charming beachfront property offering adventures in the deep blue. Certified divers can look forward to Dive Package Rooms featuring convenient inclusions like six days of unlimited shore dives. Beginners can take advantage of the resort’s introductory dive courses from the on-site five-star PADI dive center. When vacationers aren’t exploring the underwater world, they can soak in breathtaking ocean views from the on-site Spice Bar & Restaurant, one of the top restaurants on the island.
Arguably the most famous dive site in Bonaire, the Hilma Hooker shipwreck draws experienced divers and novices from around the world. The wreck lies almost 100 feet below the surface at the beginning of a double reef system and has been claimed by the sea, covered in different varieties of coral and home to schools of tropical fish and marine life. Experienced divers can get up close to the wreck, while beginners tend to stay around 60 feet deep and admire the craft at a safe distance through the crystal-clear water.
Located just off shore from the airport and named after the wind bags that measure wind speed on the tarmac, Windsock is a beautiful dive site ideal for both novice and experienced scuba divers. Vacationers can swim out over a shallow, sandy plateau that gives way to a beautiful reef of hard and soft corals. Travellers will find a host of exotic marine life living among the reef including stingrays, sea turtles and parrotfish. After their dive, travellers can relax on a pair of beautiful nearby beaches and watch as planes fly by overhead on their way to and from the airport.
Where to stay: Scuba diving enthusiasts can stay near these two popular dive sites at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort and Casino, featuring a five-star PADI dive center on site. Guests can book a Dive Package Room which includes scuba diving equipment and two tank morning boat dives per day or add a dive package to non-dive room categories. There’s plenty for guests to enjoy out of the water, with an on-site casino, sunset yoga and various local attractions in downtown Playa, located within walking distance.
These twin dive sites are located off the western coast of Bonaire and are perfect for beginner scuba divers. Vacationers can find Andrea I from the beach and discover a beautiful reef made up of soft and hard coral home to sea sponges, turtles and a variety of parrotfish. Scuba divers will find stunning formations of plate coral, whip coral and cobble coral 20 meters deep at Andrea II, just north of its sister site. The site is also very beautiful in the shallows, with different species of coral found at just six meters, perfect for snorkelling. Hidden amongst the corals, travellers can observe barracuda, turtles and seahorses.
Perfect for both beginners and advanced divers, Oil Slick Leap is located just off a stretch of rocky shore overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea. While it is recommended to get to the dive site by boat, vacationers can also enter the water from a pier with a steel ladder leading down to the sea but more adventurous travellers have been known to jump off the rocks. Divers of all skill levels can look forward to incredible visibility and observe an array of marine life that inhabit the site from schools of barracuda to seahorses hiding among the rocks. The bottom of Oil Slick Leap slopes gradually at first before steeply descending to the deep blue, offering shallow dives for beginners and deep exploration for more experienced divers.
Where to stay: Featuring a prime oceanfront location and excellent PADI dive center, the family-friendly Captain Don’s Habitat resort is the perfect place for scuba diving enthusiasts. With multiple dive packages available, guests can look forward to three daily departures to over 70 dive sites across the island, including Andrea I and II and Oil Slick Leap. When vacationers aren’t exploring the deep blue, they can wander into town and explore a host of oceanside cafés before retiring to spacious accommodations including two-bedroom bungalows offering fully-equipped kitchens.