Top 6 Best Dive Sites Bonaire 2023
Our Top 6 Dive Sites Of Bonaire 2023
At last, here it is! Our Top 6 Best Dive Sites of Bonaire 2023 Bonaire has been in the top 5 of best dive destinations around the world for forever.
This is because of two very unique aspects. The first aspect is marine protection. The Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP) is managed by STINAPA. This means Bonaire is one of the worlds first protected marine parks and has been for over 50 years. Anyone using the STINAPA marine park – wether you’re swimming, snorkeling, diving or surfing. You are required to buy the STINAPA Nature Fee. This helps us take care of the reefs and finance scientific research. It’s like a ski-pass for tropical coral reefs!
Second of all, Bonaire is unique geographically speaking. Due to the limestone shoreline made out of ancient old coral reefs, we don’t have a lot of sandy beaches. This means coral can grow right next to shore! Whilst most places around the world have a barrier reef, our reefs are directly adjecent to shore. Ideal for shorediving!
In summary, These important elements make Bonaire one of the best dive destinations in the world. Explore all of our over 60 reefs after completing an orientation dive. After this, Rent unlimited tanks at Flamingo Diving. This diveshop is located just minutes away from the top 6 dive sites on Bonaire, perfect! So without further to do, here are the top 6 dive sites!
1. Flamingo Diving House reef
Enjoy a relaxing yet exciting orientation briefing with a cup of cappuccino whilst listening to the housebird, Jaja, chirp (he needs to give his briefing too). This reef is not an official dive site, meaning that it remains pristine to this day even in the shallows new coral polyps are growing and thriving. In general, the reefs on Bonaire’s south-western coastline are considered to host the most biodiversity of the entire island.
In conclusion, this makes Flamingo Diving the ideal place to start your diving vacation from. Start your PADI Open Water Diver course, have your first PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience or participate in amazing guided dives right from the Flamingo Diving house reef.
2. Angel City
Angel City remains true to its name.
As described earlier, Angel City, also has an adjacent reef like the other sites. Yet this reef slopes back up again further off shore, creating two reefs.
Continuing, this means that we can also enjoy a experience barrier reef on Bonaire! At Angel City the second ridge creates a unique element that you’re able to explore whilst diving here. This is not found on any other reef on Bonaire. We refer to this feature as the “botanical garden”. In between the two reefs you find an oasis of coral surrounded by reefs on both sides. Breathtaking.
This sand plate is located just 40 feet deep. This means its fun to explore for divers of every level. Zig-zag through the coral formations and grasp the shear magnitude of this dive site. It truly is magical to swim in between two reefs, both teeming with life.
During a guided dive you’ll find a plethora of species, amongst them of course the Queen and French Angel Fish. Also, you’ll find the biggest puffer you’ve ever seen on the second reef! Recently even shark sightings have increased. We’ve spotted two nurse sharks just last week alone. Yet others have also spotted Caribbean reef sharks. In summary, great news for sharks! (and divers)
3. Hilma Hooker
The world famous Hilma Hooker wreck. This dive is doable both for PADI Open Water divers up until 60 ft as well as for more experienced divers down to 100 ft. Due to its orientation the wrecks propellor is located at 60 ft, making it approachable for newer divers. Furthermore, the wreck rests at a maximum of 100 ft and has several possible penetration points for highly trained wreck divers. Be careful though, this wreck has never been officially prepered for cave diving, does not feature navigation line and lists a couple degrees more each year.
The Hilma went down in 1984, during a guided dive you will hear all about the amazing story revolving around its crazy history.
If you’re interested in acquiring the skills to become a wreckdiver, do the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty. During this intense course you will learn the basic principles of safely entering a wreck at recreational levels. Judging conditions and line laying skills will eventually prepare you for wreck penetration. Dive into history with this crowd favorite specialty.
4. Salt Pier
Often referred to as the Sagrada Familia of Bonaire This underwater cathedral is best visited in the afternoon. This is when the sun’s rays shimmer through the pillars and make the colors pop like lead-lights.
Furthermore, it is the best spot for spotting turtles on Bonaire. Even in the shallows, diving Salt Pier is great. The turtles graze in the shallows, right in front of your nose. They eat a type of calcium rich sea-grass that looks a little like saffron.
During a guided dive you will learn how to get up close without disturbing them.
Going out a little further again, between the pillars. This is a great place to search for camouflaged species like Frogfish or Seahorse.
5. Red Slave (advanced)
Warning: This is a dive for experienced divers with solo drift diving experience. Currents are extremely powerful and unpredictable. It can switch from completely calm to ripping in mere seconds. We recommend taking a local expert as guide to experience this dive. Because boy oh boy, its worth it!
You’ll find Red Slave next to the historic red slave huts. The most extreme dive of the west coast. An enormous sand plate is a great home for Southern Stingrays and Spotted Eagle Rays. Furthermore, seahorses and rare sightings like dolphins, hammerheads or even whale sharks happen more at Red Slave than anywhere else.A whale shark yes, we weren’t making it up .
High risk, high rewards. This dive carries more risk than most other dives on Bonaire We therefore discourage divers with only a tank package and no prior experience from diving there alone.
Concluding, you can never know what you will spot on the reefs. But if there is one dive site with unlimited potential, it’s Red Slave.
6. East Coast Diving On Bonaire
Last but not least, a honorable shout-out to all east coast dives.
High waves caused by the Trade winds batter the shoreline, sharpening it like a razor. They also cause strong, unpredictable currents. These dive sites look like they are straight from a Hollywood sci-fi movie.
Whoever is fit and experienced enough can book a day of east coast Extreme Diving. Flamingo Diving instructors have perfected their techniques in the past 15 years. We plan a conservative and safe dive on a challenging location. Using methods borrowed from technical and cave diving.
Once you conquered the harsh conditions, you’ll be greeted by a pristine reef only a couple dozen of people have seen before. Giant corals, unique species, dozens of large turtles, big rays and even sharks are on the regular menu. Thats why we do it!
The ideal experience is one of calmness, experience, precision and competence. It is not and will never be about adrenaline. We’re lovers of the ocean and its inhabitants, not dare devils. We can only dive here when the winds, currents and waves are within acceptable parameters.
Are you ready? Book your East Coast dive today.
Is that it?!
Of course not! Bonaire is known for over 60 dive sites from north till south. This was our 2023 list of best dive sites on Bonaire. Our favorites that will never ever disappoint! Want to check out other locations? Book your guided dive today and let us know where we may take you.