Swimming, Snorkeling & Diving in Bonaire (Where and When)

To ask whether or not Bonaire has nice beaches and a good diving scene is asking the wrong questions. The real questions one should be asking here are: “how many nice beaches does Bonaire have?” and “How many diving sites can I explore in a day in Bonaire?” because frankly, Bonaire packs a punch.
Swimming, Snorkeling & Diving in Bonaire
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Bonaire’s 22 beaches, an expansive reef marine park, and 80+ dive sites, will have you staying longer than you expect. Plus, the friendly multilingual people add to the island’s plethora of charms. This island will have you exploring for days.

Does Bonaire Have Nice Beaches?

The smallest of the ABC Islands, formerly part of the bygone Netherlands Antilles, Bonaire is as beautiful as it is underrated. The island has over 22 beaches, with soft, incredibly white sands, and some have coarser textures and a darker shade. However, Bonaire’s beaches aren’t its only claim to fame, an even bigger draw are its spectacular reefs under its waters.

From the beach famous for its kiteboarders and a whole lot of fun, Atlantis Beach, at the southern parts of the island is one of the go-to spots for those looking to have a good time right by the water. Boka Kokolishi right at the northern tip is a black sand beach famed for its rock formations that protect the shore while creating spectacular splashes.

You can also head on to Eden Beach at the central coasts of the island where it’s one of the most happening spots on the island if not the most happening. Covered with palm trees, this sandy beach has beach chairs and hosts a bar with live music.

You can also take a water taxi to Klein Bonaire from Eden Beach or take diving tours to see the colorful corals and tame fish off the coasts. Bonaire’s waters are known to be one of the best snorkeling and diving sites because of the fringing coral reefs that surround the island.

Does Bonaire Have Sandy Beaches?

Bonaire has sandy beaches that could rival its bigger sister the ABC islands, and these sandy beaches can come with different textures and colors making every beach unique and quirky. Eden Beach a sandy beach mostly covered in palms hosts a beach bar and restaurant with live music, shops, and plenty of activities to offer.

You can take a boat to Klein Bonaire, or Little Bonaire, from the many beaches on the western coast of the island. Klein Bonaire’s No Name Beach may sound enigmatic but it’s possibly the longest white sandy beach strip in Bonaire. Famous for relaxing, picnicking, and BBQ grilling this lengthy sandy strip is one of the must-visits in the country.

And then, there’s the famous Pink Beach. The beach’s sand got its color from millions of crushed shells of the foraminifera. It’s an excellent place to visit if you want to put a relaxing picnic, good snorkel spot, and Instagram-worthy pictures together.

What Is the Water Temperature in Bonaire?

Bonaire has a yearly average atmospheric temperature of 28 C or 82 F, and a yearly water temperature average of 27 C or 80 F. Bonaire is often touted to have a near-perfect climate and temperature for a holiday.

With the island’s tropical climate, met with cooling trade winds that regulate perceived heat, usually coming from the east, Bonaire is an idyllic island that seems to stay on Caribbean must-visit lists despite being relatively overshadowed by its bigger sisters.

Is Bonaire Still Good for Snorkeling?

Surrounded by fringing coral reefs, Bonaire is one of the must-visit places if you’re a snorkeling enthusiast. Thanks to the thriving coral and marine life that still thrive underwater after many tropical storms that damaged the reef since 1999. Although you can’t expect the same level as, let’s say, Belize, Cozumel, or Antigua.

However, there are still plenty of sites that can give you a great snorkeling experience in Bonaire. Lac Bay, or Sorobon, is simply one of the best on the island. Located on the eastern side of the island, the only drawback is the mighty, often dangerous waves you may meet at certain times.

Another exquisite location is the famous island of Klein Bonaire, just of the central-western coasts of the island. You can snorkel just off the shores of No Name Beach, you can take snorkel and dive tours from there, and explore different sides of Klein Bonaire.

And a well-known one, Bari Reef. This spot is great if you’re a marine life enthusiast, as it is brimming with tame fish and has relatively calmer waves for the most part. However, this spot showcases how much reef damage past storms caused the island.

Where Can I Dive in Bonaire?

Apart from the island’s reputation for snorkeling, Bonaire is also one of the most respected diving destinations in the world. This little Caribbean island has been voted Best Shore Dive Destination 22 consecutive times by Scuba Diving Magazine.

Some of the best dive sites that made it to the list are the 1,000 steps, where it ranges from 20 ft or 6 meters to 100 feet or 30 meters that seem to entice a lot of divers. The site has notable star coral formations and a plethora of marine life. You can even spot turtles here.

Another one is the Double Reef, home to 5 different dive sets in itself. One of them is a shipwreck called the Hilma Hooker, famous for wreck diving that is surprisingly numerous around the Caribbean. Double Reef also has Punt Vierkant, The Lake, Alice in Wonderland, and Angel City.

Karapata is perfect for underwater photography, because of its notable visibility and wide-angle views. You can also spot plenty of massive elkhorn coral formation where it could serve as perfect backdrops for Instagram or professional photoshoots. You can even see old anchors embedded and are now covered in coral.

Bonaire isn’t only flooded by season travelers and tourists, in fact, a lot of its visitors are scuba divers or at least scuba diving enthusiasts. You can take dive tours from the many tour companies that are lined by the shows.

How Many Dive Sites Are in Bonaire?

Bonaire has so much respect and concern for preservation for its snorkeling and dive sites that you are not allowed to anchor there. However, the coasts have plenty of mooring buoys so that ships can just moor and not drop anchors.

This is used to protect the island remaining thriving corals and its 80+ dive sites that the country is naturally proud to have. Each of these sites has one or more mooring buoys around the. Dive sites are clearly marked to warn ships and other people.

When Can You Dive in Bonaire?

When it comes to proper temperatures for diving, the average yearly water temperature around Bonaire varies between 26 C or 79 F to 28 C or 82 F. These temperate conditions allow for an enjoyable experience scuba diving and snorkeling. You can easily dive at whatever time of the year with, February having the lowest average (26 C/79 F) and June to December having the highest (28 C/82 F).

However, what you need to keep in mind are the currents. Most of the currents around Aruba are consistent. The western side is said to have better conditions as most sites have relatively calmer waves. The north, east, and south can have rougher seas and stronger currents.

Are There Sharks in Bonaire?

If you know the Caribbean, you know that the waters around the Dutch Caribbean are home to many sharks. However, they’re not as dangerous as you might think. Bonaire has its fair share of sharks lurking around its waters since they were spotted in 2016.

There is a certain spot on the island where it’s kept secret so that sharks can roam freely and safely, to protect them from shark-killing fishermen. Resident sharks that can be found in this “secret” spot are the harmless Nurse Sharks.

Why Are There No Sharks in Bonaire?

Sharks can be mistaken to be non-existent in Bonaire as most of them can be found lurking further out to see in the greater Caribbean. For this reason, they are rarely encountered, even by divers.