View Full Version : First trip to Bonaire - where to snorkel?

02-06-2012, 02:18 PM
We’ll be in Bonaire next week, for our first time (and I don’t think the last, if snorkeling is as good as everybody here says).

I understand that snorkeling is good everywhere around the island, but…where is it great? It is hard to pick just a few from so many possibilities. I read recommendations for Yellow Submarine, Andreas 1&2, Karpata, Donkey Beach (Windsock), and in front of Captain Don’s habitat.

We also booked trips with both Renee and Windwood. Are we missing anything? Thanks

02-06-2012, 02:42 PM
Snorkeling is great everywhere around the island. It really comes down to where you can most easily get in and out of the water. The area in front of the Divi Flamingo resort is excellent as well as the area near downtown. The Woodwind will take you out to Klein Bonaire, where the water is deeper, the coral nicer, and there are always turtles to be seen. Rene will take you to an interesting spot (she's taken us to different places over the years), and if you tlk to her and tell her what you're most interested in seeing, she'll steer you to the best places. In the Slagbaai Park, Wakaya II is awesome, and you'll hopefully meet the friendly French Angelfish. I'd pick up a copy of the Bonaire Diving Book which will tell you the best sites for diving as well as snorkeling (my wife and I only snorkel). You'll be blown away by the amount and the diversity of life you'll see in the waters of Bonaire. If you'd like to see some purely snorkeling pictures check out my blog at http://kimfair.wordpress.com and on the side where the blog listings are, you can scroll down to our Bonaire adventures. Enjoy your trip, you'll be back!

george and judy
02-06-2012, 05:50 PM
You are doing it right by booking trips with Dee and Renee. I suggest you ask Renee to take you to Lac Bay so you can snorkel on the wild side. This can be somewhat dangerous if you do not have a guide the first time but it is really worth it.

02-06-2012, 06:13 PM
Ditto G & J's support for outing with Renee and on the Woodwind. (BTW -- years ago, Renee and her partner Stefan operated the Woodwind. When he died of cancer, she began doing driving trips to good snorkeling spots around the island. Also, if you have specific species you would like to see, she will take you to sites where they have been seen.)

At 63, my wife snorkels for hours right in front of our hotel. She also enjoys the Divi Pier and Windsock. My job is to drive, wait, and listen to her recount her adventures.

02-07-2012, 01:44 PM
Does that man that one does not need to stay at Divi to be allowed to snorkel in front of their hotel?
We'll try Wayaka II, and we'll say 'hi' to your friend :)

George and Judy,
That sounds like a great idea, thanks!

Specific species? We want to see them all, turtles, rays, octopus, eel, squid, and lots of fish. Is there any chance to see a sea horse snorkeling, or are they deep creatures?

02-07-2012, 02:46 PM
Seahorses in my experience are not in very deep water--30 ft max. i'd say. but they are well camouflaged. have seen several in less than 20 ft across from yellow submarine just north of town but that was several years ago.

02-07-2012, 05:03 PM
Good to know, I'll keep my eyes open. If not, maybe Renee or Dee can spot one for me...But if not, I will be happy with any other fish or creature :)

02-07-2012, 06:43 PM
My wife saw several sea horses just off Harbour Village. The dewds at the dive shop pointed the way. My guess is that between Dee and Renee, your chances are pretty good. BTW, my wife also found herself swimming with about 12-15 dolphins at Harbour Village as well.

To the best of my knowledge, the Divi pier is open to snorkelers. Unfortunately, Harbour Village is gated...

02-07-2012, 07:14 PM
Yeah, if you're not staying at Divi, you won't be able to use their chairs, umbrellas, etc, but snorkeling there should be fine.

02-08-2012, 02:09 PM
Thanks, Kim. Can we use their parking lot, though? If not, what are our parking options there?

02-08-2012, 05:54 PM
There are places to park that are outside the parking lot itself; you can then just walk in through the resort to the pier and get into the water. Another good place to snorkel is The Plaza. You park in the dirt lot outside the gate, walk through the pool/beach area all the way down to the end where the Tipsy Seagull restaurant is. There is a nice dock and steps down into the water, very easy in and out. Lots of fish, too. Renee saw a MANTA RAY there a couple of weeks ago!!!

02-09-2012, 09:06 AM
We often snorkel at the Divi. We use one of their parking spaces along the road, walk through the resort and go in and out from the dive shop dock. The other docks are used by people sunning on lounge chairs. We have also entered from the Plaza dock and parked at Hamlet Oasis to snorkel Cliff. As long as you don't use any of the resort's chairs, etc. you should be fine walking through and snorkeling off their docks. Those are some of the easiest entries.
The ebook snorkel guide gives directions, with pictures, for some of the entries. That's how we found out about Cliff. And Renee first took us through Plaza. Before that I won't have thought to enter at a resort.
However and where ever you get in the water, it's all good.

george and judy
02-09-2012, 04:20 PM
We have stayed at the Divi for 18 years and it is OK to enter through their gates. You can park on the road North of Divi and enter through Zee Bad gate. If there is a cruise ship in port they will charge you an entrance fee. Also, you can get in the water near the container pier. There is excellent snorkeling under the pier.

02-09-2012, 07:53 PM
My parents snorkeled while we dove and found that Buddy Dive's reef, as well as the shallows north of Red Slave (directly north of the Buddha house), as well as at the Hilma Hooker were really great. They also liked Karpata and Salt Pier.

02-10-2012, 01:14 PM
Thanks you all, I printed all your suggestions, we will try as many of them as we can (within reason). We are leaving in a few hours :)

Sarah Jane
02-26-2012, 06:27 PM
La Dania's Leap to Karpata. A drift snorkel I have done many times.. and on every occasion, had the most wonderful Turtle experience. Jump into the water at the Leap, then slowly drift to the exit at Karpata.