View Full Version : Preferred Snorkels

08-12-2014, 07:18 PM
We have just returned from Bonaire after a 7 year absence. Before this trip we had been five times and each time the snorkeling was excellent at almost every single spot we tried. This trip we were saddened to see the damage from the two hurricanes that occurred in the intervening years. But we don't want to give up.

We would be most interested in the suggestions of others for good, shallow snorkeling from shore on the west side. This trip we tried 18 Palms, and the strip from Eden Beach up to past Don's. The coral has taken quite a hit and the sea life was, compared to 2007, very sparse.

Thank you for your thoughts.

08-13-2014, 06:13 AM
Its funny you mention the fish.... i just talked to someone on the island yesterday and asked "how is the fishing" ?
I was told that the currents have changed this year and that happens about every 5 years , not sure how that impacts the coral reef fish,
but it has affected the fisherman.

08-13-2014, 07:48 AM
Hi Chas, we were on Bonaire the end of April and early May. We found the snorkeling very enjoyable starting across from the airport and many points south...and there's always a water taxi to Klein.

Amy Johnson
08-13-2014, 02:05 PM
Chas, you might try hiring Renee from Renee Snorkel Tours. We always snorkel by ourselves, but once in a while we go with Renee and we ALWAYS see things that we missed. She is able to customize your trip to your needs/desires. The advantage of going with Renee over Woodwind (also good!), is that she takes out smaller groups of people.

Since Renee lives on the island and is in the water almost every day, she knows the current situation of the reef and the animals on it.


08-13-2014, 04:19 PM
Thank each of you for your responses.

I would be particularly interested in knowing if any/all of you had the opportunity to snorkel the west side 2007 or earlier. That is our gold standard, not just for Bonaire, but for anywhere.

Perhaps because of my Internet ignorance, I find it exceedingly difficult to find reliable snorkeling intel about any location from experienced snorkelers who know how really good snorkeling can be, i.e., Bonaire pre-hurricanes.

Amy Johnson
08-13-2014, 04:29 PM
My first two trips to Bonaire were in 2005 and 2006. I agree that hurricanes took a bite out of the shallows on Bonaire, but it is recovering, and there is still much to see. I have not snorkeled anywhere else in the Caribbean because I don't believe it will top Bonaire.

You asked specifically about the west side, but my favorite snorkel on the island is at Lac Bay. It is a long walk/swim to the reef from Jibe City, but IT IS WORTH EVERY STEP. Crystal clear waters, schools of fish, sleeping nurse sharks and turtles, supermale parrotfish and more. I highly recommend it.


08-13-2014, 06:05 PM
I am now a diver, but I understand what you mean about reliable itel, even though I myself was not fortunate to be a snorkeler in Bonaire that long ago. The best I have seen in the Caribbean for reef, Belize off Caye Caulker via boat. For general life via shore St. John. I think for me I want reef and I want it shallow and of course lots of life on top of it. People who say the reef starts at 15 or 20 feet is great snorkeling don't understand great snorkeling IMHO. I did think the Klein Bonaire snorkeling sites met this definition of great snorkeling depending on the site of course. One push to become a diver was reading online after I booked that the snorkeling off Bonaire isn't what it used to be that shallow and that you needed to get to 40 feet to see the pre-storm Bonaire (or as close as it gets). Of course I was already wanting to become a diver, just needed a little push!

Even with diving its hard and I look a lot at youtube....

08-13-2014, 06:30 PM
Try 1000 steps. It's not the shallowest, but there is a lot to see at reasonable snorkeling depth.

Also just north of Red Barrel is super thick with life and reef in the shallows, IIRC.

Amy Johnson
08-14-2014, 09:14 AM
Tom, I agree with you about Red Beryl. I didn't mention the southern sites because Chas was asking specifically about the west side.


Amy Johnson
09-05-2014, 02:07 PM
Just had another thought about shallow-water snorkeling: Have you gone on a night snorkel with either Renee or Dee from Woodwind? LOTS to see at night in the shallows!


11-06-2015, 08:54 AM
Woodwind is great! haven't gone a year without going on at least one trip with Dee. Can anyone recommend snorkel sites with easy entries. I'm very unstable going into the water. I do go to Eden Beach and Plaza since they have docks. Thanks! Sue

11-06-2015, 09:52 AM
My husband and I were in Bonaire in October for our annual snorkeling-only visit (I know, divers, you pity us!!) Here are a few thoughts about good sites with easy entries, a must for us old-timers:

1. Like some other posters, we go out with Dee on the Woodwind once each year. Turtle sightings on all three snorkel spots. It is just a feel-good experience for us and an opportunity to see lots of coral types.
2. The Klein Bonaire water taxi no longer will drop you off well south of the beach for a drift snorkel as in previous years. Apparently there have been incidents with lost swimmers and people trying to get to shore in the wrong places.
3. I agree that the sandy entry on the beach(es) opposite the airport and the plentiful fish along there make for a good snorkel. There is also a mini staghorn coral "forest" if you swim out a bit. We also always walk through the Plaza to get to the stairs at the south end (18th Palm) and always see plenty there.
4. The new Coco Beach project (between Eden Beach and Den Lamen) has not degraded the underwater experience as many people seemed to fear. Still an easy entry to go south all the way to the marina or north through the Bari Reef area.
5. We usually snorkel three or four times on each trip in the waterfront area in town. There are many places to walk down steps or walk off ledges or boat ramps. This year we saw squid, more than one octopus, several balloonfish, many scorpionfish, and just a lot of fish in general. We love to go on eel hunts and usually find many under the ledges along the edge. We think this is the most under-rated snorkel location on the island.

Let's hope we all live long enough to see the underwater environment return to the condition you were fortunate to experience in the past!

11-08-2015, 07:57 PM
Patsy, thank you so very much for your advice. I really appreciate it!! I've often thought of snorkeling in the waterfront area but never have done so.

10-08-2017, 08:19 PM
Since you guys snorkel and some dive, were looking for user friendly sites for both because we have a mixed group. Can any of you help?

10-09-2017, 09:23 AM
Virtually any dive site can be good for snorkeling and diving. My suggestions,

I would start at something special

salt pier,

an unmarked dive site across from the airport under the fuel tank dock( sandy entry right by the dock, go to the north, shallow water has lots of beautiful stag horn coral,

Andrea 1

calm day Karpata and Tolo.

10-10-2017, 07:21 PM
1000 steps as well!

10-11-2017, 06:20 PM
1000 steps as well!
Thanks for the replies!! So ready! Karen

11-18-2017, 04:54 PM
I really like snorkeling in the mangroves but canít remember where they are or how to get there. I love shallow snorkeling sites. I donít remember grassy, eel grass, snorkel areas on Bonaire, but if someone knows of any Iíd sure like to know where. Weíll be on a month dive trip but still enjoy snorkeling as well.

11-18-2017, 09:53 PM
https://www.google.com/maps/vt/data=q3jLCd7PqSAVEMdHCFdQ16oY-rEl5sjTLSi1bmRUUZK26AYKtuH6LJXbVaDulOhKZn2ONpI6ZflKWoHGAOwWRYAIV7b9evNH_JqsIQbwV44AEd7ydtOe-xtawCs6LW4nBWoAdrB4_7Y7wFxXkCoV75078gePPLe4O4Y7qGjFys07soLhZPtEn5BR_teftKOyM22ODBNGsz1RK3PGRFnrTwFind your way to the Mangrove Center on Lac Bay

11-19-2017, 09:55 AM
Drive to Jibe city.
Go past Jibe city, all the way to the end.
At the end of the road, you will find a small pier.
You can enter the water there and swim to the left.
I've seen 1 inch baracuda's there