Bonaire is a small island in the Leeward Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela. It used to be the less known of the ABC Islands; Aruba and Curacao are the better known ones. But I think the secret is out. Every year we return, it seems more and more people are visiting. You can also tell by the new construction around the island.
Its landscape is mostly desert. But for divers and snorkelers, the beauty can be found under water. The Bonaire National Marine Park has miles of pristine coral reef that covers the entire coast of the island. A smaller island, Klein Bonaire, is accessible via a 20-minute boat ride from the west coast of Bonaire. Between both islands there are over 90 dive sites, with 60 or so, accessible from the shore. As you drive around the island, you will see the bright yellow rocks with the site names. Parking is plentiful on most sites. Since the island is more coral than sand, the first few steps into the water can be tricky, sometimes even challenging. But, with many sites to choose from, you can always find one less challenging.
If diving or snorkeling isn’t your thing, many other activities are available. Several hiking trails are accessible on the north side of the island. You get to appreciate the desert-like landscape as you hike through cactus and yucca plants. Parrots can be spotted at times and even flamingos.
The island has long been known as a great destination for windsurfing. If you head to Lac Bay, you have the opportunity to watch both experts and novices enjoying the steady trade winds perfect for the sport. Jibe City has equipment you can rent as well as experts ready to teach you the sport. Also happens to be our favorite afternoon hangout. Jibe City has a great bar, right on the edge of Lac Bay waters. You can sit back, enjoy great food and a cold Polar or three, while watching the windsurfers do their thing.
It’s hard to pick a favorite site to dive or snorkel in Bonaire. But, if I had to, here are my 3 favorites: The Lake, site# 42; Red Beryl, site# 56, and Karpata, site# 9. The coral formation at Karpata is amazing.
There are many dive shops and resorts available to those visiting. We continue to use Buddy Dive because we love the dive masters and the ease of their tank drive-thru. Shout-out to Flavia and Fons!! Just two of the many great staff at the resort.
Another wonderful dive vacation comes to an end. It never gets old and there are always new experiences, no matter how many dives you’ve done. The most memorable on this trip has to be the 6+ ft. hawksbill turtle just off of Capt. Don’s site at Klein Bonaire. The ostracods on our last night dive were pretty special too. Hard to beat Bonaire.
Bonaire is very special. A slow-pace island with great people, wonderful food and amazing water. Did I mention the french fries?! Best in the world.
Some of our favorite places on the island:
- Supermarket: Van Den Tweel
- Liquor Store: Best Cellars
- Food Truck: Cactus Blue (best lion fish burger)
- Great Lunch Spots: The Beach, Windsock (the view is wonderful and egg salad sandwich is great)
- Best French Fries & Coldest Beer: Blendies @ Buddy Dive
- Favorite Dinner: Cuba Compagnie
- Best Ice Cream: Gio’s Gelateria & Caffe
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Whether you are about to start diving or are an accomplished diver, Paradise Diving School will provide a personalised diving itinerary. Our school has easy access to Malta, Gozo and Comino with departures from our own private beach at the Paradise bay Resort Hotel, located at Cirkewwa the north of Malta. We offer unbeatable rates for your boat diving packages which run from May until the end of October and are available for individuals, groups and dive clubs.
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