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Diving and snorkeling on Bonaire

There are very little places offering superb diving and snorkeling opportunities and even less spots that are as well maintained as Bonaire. For those who are beginners there are diving sites with easy entrance from a beach, for more adventurous and experienced divers there are plenty of difficult entries, boat dive spots and even a wreck to discover. In total 86 diving locations for all the tastes. Depending on luck you can spot various species of fish, turtles, cuttlefish, seahorses, moray eels and soooo much more.

Some think diving is superior to snorkeling but to be honest I think it’s just as good, just completely different. It offers more color, more light more visibility. But… it doesn’t make you a part of the marine environment like diving does. As a snorkeler you are always the observer, never the participant, never just another “big fish”. Still… you have a chance to spot pretty much the same variety snorkeling as diving. All depends on luck and chosen location purely… so…

Where are our favorite spots for diving and snorkeling?


Suitable both for snorkeling and diving…. if the weather is good. With a strong current, entrance to the water can be challenging as you have to slide from a rock and fire coral starts immediately.

Karpata offers the biggest variety of sea fans that come in all the sizes and colors out there. Except for those there is an incredible selection of all types of coral and a superb variety of residents from cuttlefish and pufferfish to eels.

Salt Pier

It’s one of the easiest and most rewarding sites on the island. Entrance is just a simple walk through sand with a great possibility of spotting turtles already at the very beginning. Later on it just gets better. Salt Pier is famous for its pillars encrusted with sponges and corals, surrounded by schools of fish. All that creates an extraordinary scenery. It’s suitable both for snorkel and diving. Make sure there is no boat picking up salt, otherwise it’s not allowed to enter the water there.

Little Bonaire

A heavenly spot great for snorkeling and diving. Easy entrance, beautiful reef and a great chance of spotting turtles since its where their nesting locations are.

Pink Beach

Jandirk’s favourite diving site. It’s certainly not worth a swim for a snorkel session since the reef starts far offshore and a bit deep. We discovered life when we practically lost hope and wanted to turn around and go diving somewhere else. Pink Beach was destroyed a couple of years ago in the tsunami and the reef is just recovering which offers an incredible sight that can’t be found anywhere else on the island. It’s a quite wild part of the underwater world with lots of fish and varieties of crustaceans.

18th Palm

Very easy entrance from a beach and 100% chance of spotting massive tarpons makes this our favorite relaxing dive.

Alice in Wonderland

Diving only spot offering a true underwater garden experience with a variety of reef and even a double reef formation.


It’s only possible to snorkel here with a Mangrove Center organized canoe tour but’s well worth the additional hassle and cost. After all that’s where so much of the marine life is born so you see plenty of small and big fish in great numbers as much as colorful coral attached to the roots of the trees.

Spots we haven’t visited but we wish we could

Some spots on Bonaire are possible to visit only with ideal weather conditions. Those are hard to achieve since it’s pretty windy very often there. So although we wanted to try to visit the White Hole of the other side of the island, we couldn’t. Currents there make it difficult to reach it even by boat. Nevertheless we will keep trying to get there when we are again on Bonaire. Proximity to the mangroves guarantees a lot of bigger marine life, sharks, eagle rays and every greater variety of turtles.

Another location with a great fame are diving spots around the Washington Slaagbai National Park in the North. They are really remote and so less popular among divers with great variety of marine life. We simply didn’t have enough time to visit those as well…. But if you do, don’t forget to let us know how it was!

Where to rent the equipment?

There are plenty of schools and resorts offering equipment rentals and organized dives but we always stick with only one. WannaDive is cheap, reliable and very leaned back. They rent all the gear or just parts, as you wish. They also organize boat dives to Little Bonaire and great night dives.

The fee

Water surrounding the island is a marine park up to 60 meters deep and so there is a fee involved for all the water activities. For diver it’s 25 USD for a year pass (nope, there is no such thing as a two week pass). On the bright side if you pay the fee, the entrance to the Washington Slaagbai National Park is free.

It’s possible to pay the fee in all dive shops, the tourist office in Kralendijk or at the STINAPA office.

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Goto Lake view point, Bonaire

12 spots you don’t want to miss on Bonaire

Bonaire is an unusual, tropical part of the Netherlands it's famous for its superb diving, wind sports and breathtaking views. There is so much to see and explore and yet the island is small enough to see the highlights in just a few days. The best way to do so is by car since public transport is practically non-existent. For more adventurous people there is also a possibility of renting a scooter and for pure masochists– bikes. Choose wisely, Bonaire is one of those places where it’s always hot and sunny…

And off we go 🙂

  1. The heart of the island- Kralendijk

A place where everyone’s journey starts. It’s where so many of the restaurants, cafes and night life is located. The city center is very small and concentrated around the waterfront. It’s worth looking at the local, colorful architecture and stop by for an ice-cream at Luciano (truly divine). Except for that I wouldn’t recommend spending too much time there, why let the nature wait, right?


  1. Salt Pans

The most (in) famous sight of the island. Driving by, it’s impossible to miss the pink basins or the white mountains of salt. Don’t forget to look around, you might spot flamingos!

Looking at this beauty makes it easy to forget that it used to be a place where the slaves used to work. Back in the day, it was a very labor intense job done in a scorching heat….

  1. Slave’s huts

Driving further south, you will come across white and then orange huts. They seem like the most charming, tiny houses with the best view on the sea…. In reality those were built for the slaves, so that they could rest after many hours of hard work. Incredibly those were constructed almost at the end of the slavery period around 1850. I don’t even dare to think in what conditions the workers slept before those appeared on the horizon.

  1. The wild southern end

I always enjoy looking at the roughness of the sea, splashing waves and the power of nature. Here is one of the best spots to just do that. Such a short drive from Kralendijk one might feel like the southern end couldn’t be further from the inhabited world. There are many bizarre-looking sculptures at the shore made from whatever the locals could find here. And you can find quite some treasures in here, drift wood beautifully shaped by the sea, shells, stones… We felt a bit sad we couldn’t take anything with us. Bonaire is a protected area so all of its natural bits and pieces have to stay on the island. Gossip has it, that they just finished building a local prison so we definitely didn’t want to risk exploring it.

  1. Lac Cai

This magical bay is a paradise with something for everyone. Those who love wind-sports will find perfect conditions to practice next to Sorobon resort. Those who travel with kids will enjoy shallow waters without waves perfect for swimming even for little ones on the other side of the bay. Those are surrounded by stunning mangrove trees and one of few sandy beaches on the island. On Sundays around noon this place comes to life with live music, fresh caught fish and a bit of beer 🙂

  1. Mangrove center

Mangroves are extremely important for the island’s ecosystem and most of the area is off limit. The small part open for tourists can only be visited with a certified guide. Thankfully mangrove center has quite a few of those and they have plenty of interesting stories about animals and plants living in this environment. They organize nice tours with quite small groups. We would especially recommend the 2-hour kayaking tour which not only takes you through spooky natural mangrove tunnels but also allows you to admire the underwater world in the snorkeling part. Have you ever seen an upside down jelly fish or colorful sponges and coral on the roots of mangrove trees? Those views are worth absolutely every dollar of the 46 we paid for the excursion (per person).

  1. The soul of the island- Rincon

Rincon has a local vibe, it’s where the Antillean part of the population lives. Part of it looks very run down and poor. Lately the worst looking houses got a bit of a make-over with lovely floral paintings. For those only it’s worth a drive (really!) and there is still a distillery to explore too. They are famous for their local cadushy liquor made from cacti. After driving for a while on the island you will realize, they will never run out of resources to make it…

They also had a brilliant idea of creating flavored liquors representing traditions of other Dutch islands. So there are plenty of interesting flavors to choose from.

If you’re more into heavier spirits they also produce delicious rum and not so delicious whisky, tequila and vodka i.m.o 🙂

TIP! Check the opening times before heading to the distillery. It only opens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

  1. Posada para Mira

Just like the name states it’s an oasis to watch the local landscape. Located on a mountain it offers a splendid 360 degree view. It’s also the best spot to try some of the local specialties like iguana or goat stew. It closes at 6pm so it’s not really a dinner type of place. Such a shame, sunset here would be truly magical.

  1. Goto Lake view point

We would highly recommend visiting it at sunrise to experience the beauty of this place in all its glory. You will see mountains coming to life, hear all the birds and see more and more pink dots emerging on the lake. Those are the little symbols of the island, flamingos. Being there at sunrise gives you a greater chance of spotting “pinkies” from close while driving down from the view point. The busier it gets the further on the lake they go.

  1. Washington Slagbaai National Park

This place is worth a day trip on its own. It has two car routes to choose from. Short one takes an estimated 1.5 hour and the longer one 2.5 hour. But if you want to snorkel, dive, enjoy the beaches or simply really spend time exploring, it easily becomes a day trip. The park offers the most beautiful beaches, view points of the ocean and a chance to spot a fair amount of iguanas, lizards, crabs, fish and obviously flamingos. The population of the last one is especially dense around the pond near the old port building (indicated on the map below). We were very happy to see that recently they also built open huts in some of the most spectacular spots. Those are idyllic and perfect for a picnic.

  1. Little Bonaire

No journey to Bonaire would be complete without visiting Little Bonaire. It’s a tiny, uninhibited island just off the coast facing Kralendijk. There are two water taxis which go there a few times a day. One leaves from a little port just downtown and the other one from nearby Eden resort.

The first thing we saw when reaching the island is a long, idyllic, sandy beach. It’s very peaceful and perfect to just relax and read a book. It’s a great place for snorkeling, diving and spotting turtles…. And that’s it… There is not really anything to see or do on the island. So if you don’t like the beach or underwater exploration, scrap it off your list 🙂 Remember to take all the food and necessities with you. There is literally no bar or toilet there.

  1. 1000 steps

Somehow this diving spot became very famous and started attracting tourists…. Maybe everyone wants to see those 1000 steps? I hate disappointing but I have to honestly say that the number refers more to a certain feeling than the exact number. If you are a diver and you get out of the water with your gear looking up to see the stairs (that you have to climb), they will seem endless…. As a tourist you will realize they are not nearly as many. Sorry I forgot to count them. Anyway it’s still a lovely spot to see:)

Cayo Boliviar

Colombian paradise- San Andres and Providencia

To prepare ourselves for Christmas we decided to start December with a vacation. As ridiculous as it sounds, as some people think we have been on vacation for 10 months already. But this time we wanted an oasis of peace, stuff booked, no searching, just chill, relax and diving. Miraculously (as December-January are super busy, summer months when everybody has vacation) we found cheap flights to Colombian islands just off the coast of Nicaragua...San Andres y Providencia.
San Andres was well... Busy, a bit too party style and definitely it did not look as anything even close to a paradise, well maybe after few piña coladas... Diving was also not really anything special, it was more a search for a reef then admiring it. But from there we took an organised trip to Cayo Boliviar which is a tiny island only reachable by those trips or a private boat.Cayo Boliviar We still haven't won any lottery so there was only one way to get there. To say adventurous is an understatement. Boat was jumping up and down, hitting the water so hard that I was sure it was our last trip. Even more dramatically, everyone was screaming possibly because some of the beauty queens were trembling for their make-up. But after an hour we arrived in paradise.... 50 shades of blue water, sandy beach, perfect place to snorkel and even the crowds when spreaded were not that bad. While snorkeling we even saw some nurse sharks, only because they were fed by the guides but still beautiful too see. But the best was yet to come... Providencia.
Providencia is a smaller island, close by San Andres. The only way to get there is by boat or by plane from San Andres. Many think it's too big of a hassle so there are not that many tourists and the island is more virgin in every way. Own language, Creole is omnipresent. It's a weird version of English. And the cuisine is just superb, only place in the world where we ate only lobsters, crabs and fish and all delicious, fresh and ridiculously cheap. The island has also an amazing architecture, traditional wooden houses painted as cheerful as possible. The sight immediately lifts the spirit if the views or diving doesn't do it.
To get there we decided to go by boat, we both love the sea, waves and cheaper options:) but on that catamaran we couldn't see anything as the waves were hitting all the windows constantly. But the worse was the puking party. P1140839-16There were bags with content flying everywhere. Even a special vomit master appeared to take care of the content and make sure new bags were ready so that no other passenger was endangered by the flying liquids. And like that for 4h. All worth it. The island was what I had in mind thinking about paradise. Unbelievable sea, shades of blue, food, architecture and polish vodka on the shelves of the shops (!). Thank god there is even one hostel on the island otherwise we would need to sleep on the beach which could be painful as there are sooooo many crabs walking at night. Actually the island closes their roads twice a year for a crab migration. Basically first they have to close the roads because of black crabs coming from the mountains to lay their eggs and later when the little crabs come out they have to close them again to make sure they can go safely to the mountains.

But going back to our the hostel it's worth saying that it was not a real hostel. I mean it was actually just one of the huts rented from a resort and I could easily see that concept of sharing space by 6 foreigners seemed absurd to them. White people who are not rich enough to rent a whole hut and need to share it? Weird:) But thanks to that little hut we met an amazing Swiss guy Nico and a one of a kind Canadian- Gabe. We immediately became friends and to my surprise soon our group was joined by another polish living in Amsterdam- Natalia. And so the days went on diving, eating crabs, lobsters and the evening went by with rum, polish singing and long discussions. It all felt like a true vacation, vacation in paradise. And the diving made it all really special... Sharks, sting rays, coral reefs, variety of fish... all there. And underneath a few pics from paradise to make you all guys feel jealous in the European winter.

How much does it all cost?

  1. To get to San Andres you can buy pretty cheap flights from all bigger Colombian cities- we went from Medellin and we paid around 100 euro per person (return ticket) with checked in baggage (flying with Viva Colombia)
  2.  To get to actual paradise, so to Providencia there are two options: catamaran (164 000 colombian pesos for return so around 47 euros), plane (162 000 colombian pesos one way so around 47 euros)
  3. For entering the islands you need to buy a tourist card at the airport which costs 49 000 pesos (around 14 euro)
  4. There is one hostel on Providencia which costs 45 000 colombian pesos (around 13 euro) per bed per night, there are actually plenty of other, affordable accommodations that can't be found online but the locals will make sure you find them as soon as you get off the catamaran/plane
  5. Diving is actually not that expensive- 160 000-180 000 pesos (around 45-51 euros) for a two tank dive (you go to the spot with a boat)
  6. Eating out: on San Andres we actually had a kitchen in the hostel so we cooked but on Providencia we had to eat out and there is something for every budget. Main meals are between 18 000 (around 5 euros) and 60 000 (around 17 euros) colombian pesos and 60 000 being a lobster with salad etc at the best restaurant. Actually the cheaper food was also pretty yummi and good quality.
  7. It's good to rent a Kawasaki Mule, or motocycle to drive around the whole island and to go to Santa Catalina which is a tiny island joined with Providencia by a colorful bridge. To rent a motorcycle or scooter is around 50 000- 70 000 pesos (around 14- 20 euros) per day and a mule is around 110 000 pesos per day (around 31 euros)

Best diving spots:

  1. Manta's Place- quite shallow dive (up to 12 m) but absolutely beautiful and we saw a few big sting rays over there, that I'm not going to mention the coral and the variety of fish
  2. Piedra Tortuga- an amazing place, full of sharks (but sharks are literally everywhere on deep dives around Providencia), beautiful coral, actually we went between two walls of coral which was stunning
  3. Felipe's Place- great canyon dive, again lots of sharks and fish
  4. Tete's Place- similar to Manta's Place, also a shallow dive with lots of coral and fish and some sting rays