Bonaire is a small island in the Leeward Antilles, Caribbean Sea. It covers only 112 square miles (290 square kilometers) and much of its land is uninhabited. Popular mostly among divers, the island isn’t receiving too much attention from other tourists, which can only mean an unspoiled haven awaits you.
Diver walking down the 1000 Steps in Bonaire. Photo by janderk
Bonaire is considered the Best Shore Diving Destination in the Caribbean. It enjoys over 60 dive sites, most of which are accessible by shore.
Scuba diving in Bonaire is possible all year round. The dry season starts in April and lasts until November. During this period, it’s all sunny and dry, and you can enjoy beach time as well.
December to March is when you can expect a bit of rain (about 22in/59cm of annual rainfall), but both air and water temperatures are only slightly lower. You may find better deals in terms of diving packages and accommodation, during these months.
The sea conditions are similar throughout the year. The water temperatures averages 84°F (29°C).
Many dive sites, especially those along the west coast of the island, barely have any current. The north and east coast, however, can have strong to very strong currents.
One of the best locations to enjoy outstanding visibility; on average, the visibility in Bonaire exceeds 100 feet/30 meters.
Bonaire is home to over 300 species of reef fish and dozens of other species of marine life. Hawksbill turtles, loggerhead turtles, green turtles, tangs, creole wrasse, sergeant majors, angelfish, butterflyfish, seahorses are some of the common sea creatures divers can encounter in Bonaire. The island is not known for big fish, but some wreck dive sites may have some barracudas, groupers, and large tarpons swimming around.
The reef around Bonaire is in perfect condition due to the conservation efforts in the area. Plus, it’s so close to the shore you can easily swim there. Great shore diving destination, remember?
Colorful hard corals, soft corals, table corals, and tube sponges provide a stunning sight and are home to a multitude of species of fish.
Rock Hind in a sponge in Bonaire. Photo by NOAA
The wreck dive sites in Bonaire can also be accessed by shore. Resting in the waters surrounding the island for dozens of years, the wrecks are coated with beautiful corals and sponges, and a plentitude of fish swim by them daily. Local dive operators have also worked to make some of the wrecks safe so divers can penetrate them.