Snorkeling in Bonaire

Options Abound in a Snorkeler's Paradise

If theme park developers were tasked with creating the ideal snorkeling destination, it would look a lot like Bonaire. The water is warm and clear, the weather is good year round, and there are miles of reefs to explore. Most sites have no currents or waves to deal with, and snorkelers never have to swim far, because coral gardens begin just a few feet from shore. The waters are home to hundreds of species of tropical fish that thrive under the protection of an all-island marine park. Explore when and where you want by wading in from shore or enjoying a short boat ride in calm seas.

Highlights

  • Best for: Everyone with a love of water and nature
  • Best season to visit: Year-round, as it's below the hurricane belt
  • Weather: 70s, sunny and dry in the winter, 80s in the summer, with occasional afternoon or evening showers

Bonaire Information

Snorkeling in Bonaire Overview

Bonaire's snorkeling sites are located along the island's western coast, which provides shelter from prevailing easterly winds and swells. A number of waterfront resorts have reefs right off their docks or beaches, and also offer boat rides to nearby sites. Many more sites can be reached from parking areas along the coastal highway.

Snorkeling in Bonaire Tips

To get the most out of a snorkel vacation, work with the water sports staff at your resort to create a mixed schedule that includes both boat and shore excursions. For the ultimate variety, book a rental car for access to miles of snorkel sites that are accessible from the coastal highway.

Best Places to Snorkel in Bonaire

At sites like Windsock and Karpata, groves of elkhorn coral grow close to shore and rise almost to the surface. A short boat ride brings snorkelers to the deserted island of Klein Bonaire, where star and brain coral are set against a white sand bottom at sites like Rock Pile, while forests of colorful sea fans cover Captain Don's Reef. For something very different, head to the east coast to snorkel a mangrove estuary.

What to Pack for Snorkeling in Bonaire

If you are bringing your own gear, and plan to do any snorkeling from shore, choose open-heel fins that fit into separate dive boots, as this combination will provide greater comfort when walking across gravel beaches and into the water.  Pack a jug of water for rinsing off afterward, and a large towel for changing.

Specials

Snorkeling

Bonaire

Harbour Village Beach Club

CLUB DIVE PACKAGE - includes 7 nights in your choice of a Courtyard or Marina front room accommodations, 6 days of 1-tank boat dives plus unlimited shore diving, free Nitrox, breakfast daily, free WiFi & computer room access, roundtrip airport transfers, use of fitness center, kayaks, paddleboards, hotel tax and service charges. Upgrade to 6 days of 2-tank boat diving for an additional cost.

Valid travel 4/10/21-12/17/21.
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From $1,786 per person based on double diver

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Packages

Snorkeling

Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort

BUDDY DIVE ACTIVITY PACKAGE includes 7 nights in your choice of Studio, 1, 2 or 3-bedroom accommodations, breakfast daily, snorkel equipment rental for 7 days, mountain bike rental for 1 day, 1 guided boat snorkel trip, 1 guided cave exploration tour, 1 guided mangrove kayak tour, 7 days vehicle rental including taxes, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Welcome drink and Manager's Rum Punch Party.
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From $1,073 per person double occupancy

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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Captain Dons Habitat

BECOME A DIVER includes 7 nights deluxe oceanview accommodations, four days of Open Water Certification including books, gear, tanks and instruction, free WiFi, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,087 per person double occupancy

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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Harbour Village Beach Club

ROMANCE PACKAGE includes 7 nights in choice of a Luxurious Club Room, 1 Bedroom or 2 Bedroom Suite, daily full American breakfast, 1 aromatherapy massage per person, 1 scuba dive experience for beginners or 1 boat dive for certified divers, 1 torch light dinner on the beach (no beverages included), 1 hammock on the beach with Champagne (per couple), service charges and government tax.
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From $1,668 per person double occupancy

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Resorts

Snorkeling

Bonaire

Plaza Beach & Dive Resort Bonaire

Tranquil oceanfront resort on one of Bonaire’s finest beaches, with the adjacent house reef 18th Palms that is perfect for shore diving. On-site Toucan Diving offers tank fills and dive gear storage room plus top-side adventure activities. Accommodations include spacious suites. Enjoy the casual restaurant, beachside bar, outdoor pool and day spa.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

Intimate, tranquil dive resort in the southern part of Bonaire. Spacious, fully-equipped apartments, most overlooking the water with air-conditioned bedrooms. Professional PADI 5-Star dive center and rental shop. Two expansive sunbathing/dive docks. Only 10 minutes to downtown attractions.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort

Full-service resort with studios, 1, 2 & 3-bedroom apartments, 2 swimming pools and 2 restaurants. Professional PADI 5-Star CDC Center & Dive Academy. Onsite two-lane air/Nitrox drive-thru & digital photo center. Fully equipped dive & retail shop with a fleet of 6 dive boats, plus extensive technical diving facility on grounds.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Caribbean Club Bonaire

Friendly full service resort features one and two-bedroom studios and ocean view villas, PADI 5-star dive shop and activity center, two swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, and meeting room. Explore eco-adventures like bird-watching, hiking, mountain biking and caving.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino

Located Oceanside with spacious oceanfront & garden hotel rooms, poolside studios with kitchenettes and balconies or patios. Five custom dive boats, 24-hour shore diving, PADI 5-Star dive center, dive certifications, rentals, dive shop & storage lockers. Two pools, beach, BBQ grills, gym, day spa, casino, daily activities. Three beachfront restaurants & 2 bars, all-inclusive plan available free WI-FI.

Ask about Monthly Dive Specials (free nights, free meals, room upgrades may apply during some seasons).

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Captain Dons Habitat

Since 1976, the original “home of diving freedom”. Varied accommodation types to fit all needs from standard rooms to three-bedroom oceanfront villas. Scheduled boat dives daily. Excellent house reef just a few fin kicks away from a dedicated shore diving pier.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Harbour Village Beach Club

One of Bonaire's most exclusive resorts, this property is situated on a beautiful private beach alongside a private marina amid lush landscaping. Amenities include a pool and sundeck, a spa, fitness center and tennis courts. La Balandra Beach Bar & Grill—built in the style of a Spanish galleon—offers excellent cuisine in a breathtaking oceanfront location.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Snorkeling

Bonaire

Sand Dollar Condominiums

Spacious and comfortable studio, one, two and three bedroom accommodations on island. All units have kitchens, dining and living areas. The roomy porches or balconies offer views of the ocean and Bari Reef that beckon irresistibly to divers and snorkelers.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for additional information.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

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Entry Requirments: US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport, valid for the length of stay. No visa is required for stays shorter than 90 days.

Exit Requirments: The departure tax is USD $36.05 per person, which should be included in your international airline ticket taxes, so there should be nothing to pay at the airport. Domestic departure tax is $9.27 to Curacao, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius or Aruba and should also be included in your airline ticket taxes.

Immunizations

No vaccinations or preventative medications are required for travel to Bonaire. Check with the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov

Culture and Customs

Bonaire provides a low-key take on island life. Bonairean culture blends the traditions of Spain, Africa and the Netherlands. Locals who may initially display the discrete reserves of the Dutch quickly prove warm and accommodating of visitors. And despite decades of tourism, the service industry mentality does not dominate the cultural psyche. Cruise ships now call at the Kralendijk waterfront, but divers remain the main source of business for on-island resorts. Nightlife is more likely to mean a sunset dinner at the harbor followed by a stroll to an ice cream shop, or tall tales of underwater adventures shared at a waterfront tiki bar, with a reasonable bedtime in anticipation of tomorrow's adventures. And there are ample adventures to be found. Washington Slagbaai National Park covers the entire northern end of the island, creating an outdoor playground for hiking, mountain biking, birding and day trips to small surf-washed coves hidden within iron shore bluffs. The trade winds that cool the island also power kite boarders, and the sheltered waters of Lac Bay are home to Jibe City, one of the Caribbean's epicenters of windsurfing action. Blue water fishermen don't have to travel far to hook up with trophy catches, kayakers can find shelter in mangrove channels, and sailing charters provide a relaxing way to skim the coastline without venturing into open ocean. An experience unique to Bonaire are the cave snorkel trips that take swimmers into clear pools of fresh water hidden below the island's limestone substrate.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity is 127 volt, 50 cycle. Many dive shops offer stations for charging lights, strobes or delicate equipment.

Most hotels offer WiFi and some local restaurants and bars offer WiFi. Surf-it hotspots are available with a Surf-it prepaid card from Telbo. Calling Bonaire requires dialing 011-599-7 and 6 digit number. Be sure to check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer an international plan or you will be subject to roaming charges.

Water Quality

Bonaire offers desalinated sea water which is purified and safe to drink. Bottled water is also available for purchase.

Language & Currency

There are 4 main languages spoken in Bonaire, Dutch is the official one used in government and legal transactions, while Papiamentu is used in daily exchanges and spoken by the locals. English and Spanish are also widely spoken.

As of January 1, 2011, the U.S. Dollar became the official currency of Bonaire. Credit cards are normally accepted in most restaurants, bars and stores. It is recommended you contact your credit card company before travel to make sure they know you will be using the card out of the country. ATMs are available which Cirrus, NYCE and other networks.

Time

Bonaire is in the Atlantic Time Zone (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Bonaire is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).

Location, Size and Population

Bonaire is 24 miles long by 3-7 miles wide, approximately 111 square miles. The small island offshore, Klein Bonaire, which is uninhabited is 2.3 square miles. Bonaire is located just 30 miles from Curacao, 50 miles North of Venezuela and 80 miles East of Aruba. Bonaire is located in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and outside of the Hurricane Belt. The population of Bonaire is 18,900 (2016).