“Divers Paradise” – It doesn’t say on the license plate of every car for nothing!
Whether you are a beginner diver or a more experienced diver, Bonaire should be on your list of dive places to visit! You will have an unforgettable dive holiday! Why? All the water around Bonaire is a protected marine park, the oldest marine park in the world. Everything from 60 meters (190 ft) depth till the highwater line is protected. This means it is strictly forbidden to take anything, living or dead from the water or shore line. Bonaire is situated just outside the hurricane belt, this means the corals have not been destroyed but storms like some other places in the Caribbean. Because Bonaire has very healthy reefs they can endure more. Global warming causes the so called ‘bleaching’ of corals, luckily on Bonaire this is hardly noticeable.
Bonaire Dive Sites
All dive sites on Bonaire are marked with a yellow stone, even the exact entry and exit points are marked with stones. All to avoid divers walking all over corals. Upon check-in at your dive shop, you have to follow the ‘Marine Park Orientation’, followed by a ‘orientation dive’. The marine park rules will be explained to you and this dive is meant to optimally trim your weights.
Bonaire is very serious about the conservation of the beautiful coral reef surrounding the island. You will immediately notice the healthy condition of the reef on your first dives. From beautiful sponges to soft corals, you will find it here. The most unique thing about diving in Bonaire is the ease of shore diving. It gives the ultimate diving freedom! Go where ever and when ever you want to! With a rented pickup truck stacked with tanks and dive gear, you drive around the island. Do you see a spot that seems fun to you? Just pull over, park the car and get into the water! Look for the yellow stones to show you where you can enter. No need to get up early because the boat is leaving at 7am. You can do everything on your own pace. And when you do want to make an early morning dive? Just make sure your dive buddy will join you! (We will stay in bed for a little while more okay?)
Of course there are dive sites that are not accessible from shore, for example Klein Bonaire. This small island is a 5-minute boat ride away and is home to 26 official dive sites. Boats are not allowed to anchor because this will damage the coral, but they can be attached to one of the moorings that are strategically place in the water by STINAPA. Once you arrived at the dive site, the boat crew will do a short briefing and you’re ready to go! Many different species of fish and breathtaking coral will definitely make you feel that you have to come back for another dive!
The visibility in the water is about 30 meters (100ft). Do not just look at the reef, but also into the depth, you might see dolphins passing by! Or one of these: