Said to be one of the Caribbean's top dive diving destinations, Bonaire is formed by the top of a submerged mountain breaking water level providing impressive diving as little as 200 metres from the shore.
It is possible to access 53 dive sites without the use of a boat and Klein (Little) Bonaire island is less than a kilometre away, with world class dive sites accessible by boat.
The island itself, Bonaire is a twenty-four by five miles long island approximately 70 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Bonaire, a predominantly flat island is part of a vast reef chain, when diving you can often see coral skeletons around the island.
The marine life is truly impressive sporting more than 470 species of fish, commonly exhibiting angel fish, parrot fish, groupers grunts and blue tangs but don’t be surprised to see frog fish, sea turtles or eagle rays.
Bonaire’s visibility is generally between 18 and 30 meters.
It is said to be impossible to choose one site as the best or most famous but some spots are chosen by divers as their personal favourites such as 1000 Steps, Hilma Hooker wreck and Sampler at Klein Bonaire.
Often said to be “the best night dive in the Caribbean” is situated at the Town Pier. A macro-paradise populated by seahorses, octopi and moray eels, a Town Pier night dive is sure to rank on your list of all-time favourite dives.
Bonaire’s reefs are in such excellent condition because all divers who visit are required to attend a briefing, followed by a test dive to demonstrate their buoyancy control before being allowed on board a dive boat or dive from shore on their own.
Bonaire has shown impressive marine conservation since 1961, when it passed legislation to protect turtles. Spear fishing has been banned since 1971 and no anchoring on coral reefs is allowed. In 1979, the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) was established.
The temperature of Bonaire may vary from winter to summer:
Winter months (approx. December through March): 78-80 degrees F. / 25-26 degrees C.
Summer months (approx. April through November): 81- 84 degrees F. / 27-29 degrees C.
Bonaire gets most of its rain during the months of late October, November, and December but rainstorms are short (5 to 15 minutes long) interspersed with hours of sunshine.
Flamingo Airport on Bonaire is the main way to get to the island, unfortunately, there is no ferry to Bonaire so the tourists are limited to air tavel.
If you plan to tour the island it is recommended that you rent a pick-up truck to handle the rough terrain. If you are only planning to dive renting a car or other motor vehicle isn’t entirely necessary.
Every diver must attend a diver orientation dealing with Bonaire Marine Park regulations and information. You also must obtain a Marine Park tag, which you will need to legally dive in Bonaire's waters. The cost of the tag is $25, which goes to the support of park management and services.
Use the following links for more information about;
- Decompression Chambers in Bonaire
- Foreign Travel Advice for Bonaires (UK Government)
- More about the Bonaire (Wikipedia)