Diver exploring a reef full of life in Bonaire

Shore Diving Capital of the Caribbean

Protected, sheltered and close. These three words explain why Bonaire draws divers back time and again to enjoy some of the finest reefs in the Caribbean. The entire island is surrounded by a zone of protection, the National Marine Park, and the western shore is washed in clear water and sheltered from wind and waves. Reefs begin just yards from the beach. Boat diving is relaxed and shore diving is as simple as parking and wading in. Ashore, the vibe is low-key relaxation and outdoor recreation, with a roster of adventures that includes windsurfing, mangrove tours, mountain biking, hiking and day trips to remote, surf-washed coves.

Highlights

  • Best for: Divers of all ability levels
  • 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

About Diving in Bonaire

The majority of sites along the island's western coast and around the nearby island of Klein Bonaire feature similar profiles: Beaches or rocky shorelines are fronted by a coastal ledge that slopes gradually from the waterline to a depth of around 25 feet, then turns downward at a steeper angle to reach depths of around 100 feet. At some sites, coral growth begins right at the shore, while more often the upper ledge features a sandy bottom, with dense coral cover beginning at the edge of the drop. This profile makes it easy for divers to wade in and get comfortable, then drop onto the coral slope and choose their depth.Water temperatures range from the high 70s to mid-80s.

Diving in Bonaire Tips

The shore diving is exceptional, but some boat dives as well because some sites—including all on Klein Bonaire‚can only be reached by water. If shore diving with a rental car, look for the yellow-painted and numbered stones along the shore that mark the entry point for each site.

Best Places to Dive in Bonaire

The Hilma Hooker is an easy yet impressive wreck that can be accessed from shore. The pilings of Salt Pier harbor a menagerie of marine life. Karpata combines abundant marine life with groves of elkhorn coral starting in shallow water. Tarpon flash through schooling baitfish at Bari Reef. On Klein Bonaire, Monte's Divi is a good bet for seahorses and Forest offers thick growths of soft corals and black coral trees.

What to Pack for Diving in Bonaire

A skin suit to 3mm wetsuit. Open-heel fins and thicker-soled boots for shore dives, a small tarp for gearing up from a rental car, and a water jug and towel for rinsing off afterward.

Specials

Dive

Buddy Dive Resort

BONAIRE - MARINE LIFE EDUCATION WEEKS - SECOND DIVER DIVES FREE includes 8 night accommodations, 6 days of 1-tank boat dives, unlimited shore diving, free Nitrox, breakfast buffet daily, 9 day truck rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid for Saturday arrivals and Sunday departures from Houston 8/19/17-9/29/17.
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From $1,137 per person double diver

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Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

BONAIRE - MARINE LIFE EDUCATION WEEKS - 7TH NIGHT FREE includes 8 night 1-bedroom suite deluxe accommodations, 6 days of 1-tank boat dives, 6 days unlimited shore diving, free nitrox, 9 day vehicle rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid for Saturday arrivals and Sunday departures from Houston 8/19/17-9/29/17.
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From $1,347 per person double diver

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Caribbean Club Bonaire

BONAIRE - MARINE LIFE EDUCATION WEEKS - SECOND DIVER DIVES FREE includes 8 night 1-bedroom accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving including free Nitrox, free manager's rum punch party, breakfast buffet daily, 9 day truck rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid for Saturday arrivals and Sunday departures from Houston 8/19/17-9/29/17 & 11/25/17-12/23/17.
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From $754 per person double diver

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Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

BONAIRE - MARINE LIFE EDUCATION WEEKS - 7TH NIGHT FREE includes 7 night 1-bedroom suite deluxe accommodations, 6 days of 1-tank boat dives, 6 days unlimited shore diving, free nitrox, 8 day vehicle rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 8/19/17-9/29/17.
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From $1,207 per person double diver

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Captain Dons Habitat

BONAIRE - SUMMER DIVE AND DRIVE includes 7 night deluxe oceanview accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving, one 2-tank boat dive, 8 days truck rental including taxes, free WiFi, airport transfers and hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 7/2/17 & 8/6/17-12/17/17 Free bottle of wine when traveling 8/16/17-11/4/17
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From $782 per person double diver

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Sand Dollar Condominiums

BONAIRE - BONAIRE FALL FESTIVAL includes 7 night 2-bedroom accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving, free Nitrox, Dutch Caribbean welcome basket including snacks and beverages, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid 8/19/17-11/4/17.
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From $616 per person double diver

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Buddy Dive Resort

BONAIRE - MARINE LIFE EDUCATION WEEKS - SECOND DIVER DIVES FREE includes 7 night accommodations, 6 days of 1-tank boat dives, unlimited shore diving, free Nitrox, breakfast buffet daily, 8 day truck rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 8/19/17-9/29/17 & 11/25/17-12/23/17.
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From $1,017 per person double diver

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Caribbean Club Bonaire

BONAIRE - MARINE LIFE EDUCATION WEEKS - SECOND DIVER DIVES FREE includes 7 night 1-bedroom accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving including free Nitrox, free manager's rum punch party, breakfast buffet daily, 8 day truck rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid 8/19/17-9/29/17 & 11/25/17-12/23/17. Discount included and averaged between two divers.
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From $675 per person double diver

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Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino

BONAIRE - 7TH NIGHT FREE + FREE NITROX includes 7 nights standard accommodations, 6 days of 2-tank boat dives, unlimited shore diving (not including transportation), welcome cocktail, breakfast daily, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 8/1/17-8/31/17 & 12/1/17-12/19/17 Free Nitrox when traveling 12/1/17-12/19/17
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From $898 per person double diver

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Harbour Village Beach Club

BONAIRE - CLUB DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights in your choice of Courtyard or Marinafront accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, welcome cocktail. Hotel tax and service charges. 6 days of diving including 6 1-tank guided boat dives, unlimited shore diving, chilled juice on boat dives, use of tanks, weights and belts.
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From $1,742 per person based on double occupancy

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Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire

BONAIRE - 20% OFF DIVE EXPERIENCE PACKAGE includes 7 night jr. suite laguna view accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving (+$300 for 6 days of 2-tank boat dives), free Nitrox, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and beverages including house brand alcohol, free WiFi, scheduled entertainment, use of non-motorized watersports, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 8/31/17.
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From $888 per person double diver

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Packages

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Courtyard Bonaire

LEARN TO DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights deluxe room with canal view accommodations, 3 and 1/2 day open water diver certification including 4 dives, breakfast buffet daily, free WiFi, 1000 Marriott Rewards points per room, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $784 per person double diver

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Courtyard Bonaire

7-NIGHT EXPLORE DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights deluxe room with canal view accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives, 6 days of unlimited shore diving, free Nitrox, breakfast buffet daily, pick-up vehicle rental, free WiFi, 1000 Marriott Rewards points per room, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $896 per person double diver

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Courtyard Bonaire

7-NIGHT ESCAPE DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights deluxe room with canal view accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving, free Nitrox, breakfast buffet daily, pick-up vehicle rental, free WiFi, 1000 Marriott Rewards points per room, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $746 per person double diver

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Captain Dons Habitat

BECOME A DIVER includes 7 night deluxe oceanview accommodations, PADI Open Water Diver course, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 4/1/17-12/15/17 and 3/31/17-12/14/18.
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From $1,059 per person double occupancy

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Buddy Dive Resort

BECOME A DIVER includes 7 night accommodations, PADI Open Water Diver course including intruction, materials and use of required equipment, daily breakfast buffet, 7 day truck rental including taxes, free WiFi, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,230 per person double diver

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Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire

BECOME A DIVER includes 7 night jr. suite laguna view accommodations, PADI Open Water Diver course, all meals, snacks and beverages including house brand alcohol, scheduled entertainment, use of non-motorized watersports, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 4/9/17-12/23/17.
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From $1,404 per person double occupancy

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Den Laman Condominiums

BONAIRE - 7 nights accommodations includes Beginners windsurfing lesson includign 1 hour group lesson, 1 hour practice time, lunch and use of equipment and transportation, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $638 per person double occupancy

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Den Laman Condominiums

BONAIRE - 7 nights accommodations includes full day Washington National Park Off Road tour (excluding Park Fee $25 pp) package includes roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $576 per person double occupancy

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Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

DRIVE, DIVE & STAY PACKAGE includes 7 nights in your choice of a Suite, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom or Penthouse accommodations, choice of 6 days of unlimited shore diving, 6 days 1-tank boat dives with unlimited shore diving, free nitrox, 7 days vehicle rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges.
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From $1,166. per person double diver

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Buddy Dive Resort

DRIVE & DIVE PACKAGE - Package includes 7 nights in your choice of Studio, 1, 2 or 3-bedroom accommodations, choice of 6 days of unlimited shore diving, 6 days 1-tank boat dives with unlimited shore diving. free nitrox, breakfast daily, 7 days vehicle rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges.
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From $1,034 per person double diver

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Caribbean Club Bonaire

MARINE EDUCATION WEEK - 2ND DIVER DIVES FREE includes 7 night 2-bedroom quad accommodations, 6 days of unlimited shore diving including free Nitrox, free manager's rum punch party, breakfast buffet daily, 7 day truck rental including taxes, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 8/19/17-9/29/17.
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From $555 per person quad diver

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Caribbean Club Bonaire

DIVE & EXPLORE PACKAGE includes 7 night accommodations in your choice of Studio, 1 or 2 Bedrooms, Penthouse, Honeymoon Cottage, 6 days unlimited shore diving or upgrade to 6 days of 1-tank boat dives or 6 days of 2-tank boat dives, 7 day vehicle rental including taxes, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $762 per person quad diver

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Eden Beach Resort

DRIVE & DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night accommodations in your choice of Studio, King Studio, Two Bedroom, 6 days unlimited shore diving or upgrade to 6-tank boat dives or 11-tank boat dives, 7 day truck rental including taxes, optional roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, service charge and energy surcharge.
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From $836 per person double diver

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Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino

2 TANK DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights in your choice of Standard, Deluxe or Studio accommodations, 6 days of 2-tank boat dives, unlimited shore diving, breakfast daily, welcome cocktail, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes, and service charges.
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From $1,115 per person double diver

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Harbour Village Beach Club

2017 DIVE INTO LUXURY PACKAGE includes 7 nights in your choice of a 1 bedroom Suite or 2 bedroom Suite, 6 days of 1-tank boat dives plus unlimited shore diving, breakfast daily, 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.
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From $2,455 per person based on double occupancy

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Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire

ALL-INCLUSIVE DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night accommodations in your choice of Laguna, Pool or Ocean View, 6 days unlimited shore diving or upgrade to 6 days of 1-tank boat dives ($200 pp) or 6 days of 2-tank boat dives ($300 pp), free nitrox , buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner (cooking station, bbq & theme nights), snacks, unlimited amount of drinks, excluding premium brands. Use of paddle boards, kayaks, catamarans and snorkeling equipment. Frequent daytime activities include beach volleyball, tennis, gym, yoga, body pump and evening entertainment. Hotel tax, service charge and energy surcharge.
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From $1,110 per person double diver

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Resorts

Dive

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.
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Captain Dons Habitat

Captain Don’s Habitat has been known as the “home of diving freedom” since 1976. From full 2-story 3 & 4 bedroom ocean front villas to 2 bedroom bungalows and ocean front deluxe junior suites, Captain Don's Habitat has an accommodation to fit everyone's needs.
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Buddy Dive Resort

DRIVE & DIVE PACKAGE- Package includes 7 nights in your choice of Studio, 1, 2 or 3-bedroom accommodations, choice of 6 days of unlimited shore diving, 6 days 1-tank boat dives with unlimited shore diving. free nitrox, breakfast daily, 7 days vehicle rental including taxes, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges.
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Eden Beach Resort

Eden Beach Resort, a cozy site where you may plan to go on your next vacation. It is located in the Dutch Caribbean island territory of Bonaire in the south Caribbean Sea. At Eden Beach Resort we want to turn your visit into a special experience.Re-designed installations offer a combination of the luxury of a perfect environment, family atmosphere in which one and all will enjoy themselves.
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Bellafonte Bonaire

These boutique oceanfront apartments offer paradise in a private setting. Bellafonte is an tranquil retreat tucked away on the stunning island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean. With direct access to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean via a private pier, paradise really is a step away. With only 22 seaside apartments, Bellafonte provides the discerning traveler with world-class accommodations that feel like home.
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Belmar Oceanfront Apartments

An intimate tranquil oceanfront dive resort in the southern part of Bonaire, with spacious fully-equipped air-conditioned rooms, and two expansive sunbathing/dive docks.
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Caribbean Club Bonaire

Caribbean Club Bonaire features cottages, studios, ocean view penthouses, and ocean view cottages deluxe, together with an on-premises full-service dive shop and activity center, two swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, and meeting room.
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Courtyard Bonaire

The new state-of-the-art lobby at Courtyard provides greater flexibility and choices for our guests. You'll also enjoy inviting, flexible spaces where you can work or relax, free Wi-Fi throughout and easy access to the latest news, weather and airport conditions via our GoBoard technology. Plus, our well-equipped fitness center, the outdoor pool will help you stay refreshed and energized. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, your stay at Courtyard is sure to be more comfortable, more productive and more enjoyable than ever before!
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Den Laman Condominiums

Den Laman Condominiums offer value with a view. The property is located in front of Bari Reef, the REEF organizations #1 ranked reef in the Caribbean boasting a record breaking 388 fish species to date. Featuring 16 modern, fully A/C studio, one and two bedroom apartments, it is also home to the waterfront Sunset Bar and Grille, Fisheye Photo/Video, Bonaire Dive and Adventure, and Discover Bonaire (provider of guided snorkeling, kayaking, mountain biking and other activities).
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Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino

Located Oceanside, the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino is the perfect base for vacationers drawn to the sleepy island of Bonaire and world-class Caribbean diving. Spacious oceanfront and garden view rooms and suites are decorated in bright, tropical colors. Divi Flamingo will be celebrated 60 years of Hospitality in Bonaire in 2012. Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino is offering a variety of packages that are sure to appeal to one of your interests.
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Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire

Tranquil by nature, this is where vibrant coral reefs teem with amazing marine life steps from one of Bonaire’s finest beaches and “18 Palms” dive and snorkel sites.
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Sand Dollar Condominiums

Sand Dollar offers 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.
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Diving in Bonaire

Favorable geography makes Bonaire the shore diving capital of the Caribbean. The island's boomerang shape shelters the west coast from prevailing easterly trade winds and ocean swells, no rivers flow from the arid landscape to mar visibility, currents are mild to non-existent, and reefs begin downward slopes just yards from shore. Hurricanes are extremely rare, as Bonaire sits south of the Caribbean's hurricane belt, and weather and sea conditions have minimal seasonal variation. Humans have also played a role in the island's rise to diving fame. The Bonaire National Marine Park was established in 1979, and the island's entire coastline is protected. All divers must purchase a marine park tag, which funds the park, and are asked to perform an initial checkout dive to fine tune buoyancy before visiting area reefs. There are more than 60 dives sites on the western side of the island, and another 25 on the low-lying, uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire, which lies less than 1,000 yards to the west. A coastal highway gives access to many sites, which are marked by yellow-painted rocks at turn offs and parking areas. A number of rental car agencies offer compact pickup trucks fitted with tank racks, and these are often seen parked all along the coastline. A number of dive resorts are clustered along the shoreline to the north and south of the town's main town, Kralendijk. Resorts offer a combination of shore diving on house reefs and daily boat dives to sections of the coast that cannot be easily reached by land, as well as sites on Klein Bonaire. Many resorts and dive shops offer shore diving packages that provide unlimited tank rentals and air fills. Physical descriptions of Bonaire's dive sites often seem repetitive, as many sites share similar characteristics. In general, sites begin on a beach, rock-covered shore or low coastal cliff, where near-shore shallows from 10 to 50 yards in width lead to the upper end of a sloping reef at depths of 25 to 30 feet. Some sites have scattered coral heads in the shallows, many have sand or rubble, and a few offer luxuriant coral growths right up to the waterline. From 25 feet downward, slopes are covered in thick growths of hard and soft corals that hold a wide range of tropical fish and other marine life. At depths of around 100 feet, many reefs level out into a deeper sand sledge that extends offshore to a second drop that is beyond the depths of scuba. Not all sites follow this common pattern. On the island's north coast, sites within Washington Slagbaai National Park begin in narrower coves tucked between rocky headlands. Along the island's southern coast, some sites offer sufficient current to stage a drift dive. The wreck of the 230-foot Hilma Hooker is easily reached from shore, and a pair of piers attract marine life. The long-time favorite, Town Pier, now requires a guide for access, while the expansive network of pillars at Salt Pier harbor a diverse array of life. A small number of adventurous divers visit the island's eastern shore when conditions permit. Here, sites such as White Hole offer drop offs, clefts and caverns that attract turtles, rays and schooling fish–plus, one of the best chances to see sharks.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry Requirments: US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport, valid at least three months beyond the planned period 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).