It is truly our pleasure to welcome you to Bonaire. An island blessed with an unsurpassed natural beauty.
From the depths of our pristine waters to the height of our tallest peak, Brandaris, you will feel Bonaire’s magic wash over you from the moment you arrive and throughout the days as you become attuned to Bonaire’s unhurried pace. You will find that, here on Bonaire, there is a peaceful ambiance for daily life, without the hassle of traffic lights, hustle and bustle, or normal, day-to-day worries. Your only concern will be how to spend each new day you have on Bonaire. Nowhere else is vacationing as easy as on Bonaire, as our warm, friendly people welcome visitors from around the world.
Next to other activities as, Freediving, kite surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling, Bonaire continues to be recognized as one of the top destinations worldwide for its sustainable tourism. For the 24th consecutive year Bonaire was recognized as the number one Shore Diving Destination in the Caribbean/Atlantic in Scuba Diving Magazine’s Annual Readers’ Choice Awards. This year, it received 12 awards. It was also voted number one for Macro Diving and Beginner Diving.
Bonaire has a long history of nature preservation, and always seeks to find the delicate balance between environmental protection and growth, while maintaining nature and culture. Bonaire was one of the first Caribbean islands to collaborate with the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) to conserve our reefs. By commencing a program for cultivating new corals, specifically the stag horn and Elkhorn corals, Bonaire will be able to preserve the reef’s genetic diversity. In this way residents, visitors and future generations will be able to enjoy an enriched marine environment.
But conservation and preservation is not limited to the marine environment. Bonaire continues to pursue initiatives that will reduce the CO2 effects on our planet as we work towards fulfilling our promise to remain an ‘Eco-Friendly’ destination. Bonaire will continue to lead by example and strengthen its commitment to sustainable tourism practices.
Bonaire Freediving School invite you to dive into the wonderful activities the island offers, both terrestrial and marine, which makes Bonaire a unique destination. We encourage you to explore, to enjoy, to become a part of Bonaire, absorbing our nature, our culture, and our cuisine. The warmth from the sunshine is here for all to enjoy while on Bonaire, but you will cherish the afterglow of the Bonairean people in your hearts forever. We assure you that “Once a Visitor Always a Friend”.
Just take a look at the slogan on a Bonaire license plate “Diver’s Paradise” and you have a pretty good idea what is all about store. Bonaire realized long ago that the majority of their tourist’s dollars were coming from divers. They have worked hard at protecting their reefs and were one of the pioneers to install permanent moorings. It is not just the healthy reefs that attract divers year after year. Bonaire offers diving freedom that can’t be found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Not only are there a number of excellent dive shops that offer boat trips out to the local sites but almost all of Bonaire’s main island dive sites can be done from shore. Allowing you the unique opportunity to dive the same spot as often as you like.
Bonaire is located 50 miles north of Venezuela. The main island is only 24 miles long and 3 to 7 miles wide. Klein Bonaire, meaning “Little Bonaire”, is a tiny uninhabited island off its west shores. The islands are very arid with the dominate plants being cactus. There are plenty of parrots, flamingoes, iguanas, donkeys and other attractions to keep you clicking away topside. Some of my favorite landmarks to shoot are the Williamstoren Lighthouse, the slave huts, the three remaining Obelisks or the salt mounds drying across from the salt pier.
Freediving in Bonaire
Access to the Bonaire National Marine Park for Freedivers requires a $14 marine park tag which can be purchased from us or from at any dive shop. The majority of dive sites off the west coast of the main island are accessible from the shore. Klein Bonaire and a few of the harder to reach sites are done only from the dive boats. Typical dive depths are 10 to 50+ M with a few deeper sites. Visibility averages 60-100 feet (18-30M) but ocaasanaly drops down less. Water temperatures range from 78 to 86 F (26 to 30 C).
Shore Freediving Bonaire
Bonaire is most famous for it’s shore diving. It’s easy and predictable, and not too deep (less than 70ft). There are not a lot of currents, nothing big in the water to bite you, and the dive sites are well marked.
The dive sites are easy to locate as they are all cleverly marked with a large yellow rock with the name of the site painted on it. Simply drive down the main road till you see a yellow rock, look up the discription of the site in your dive guide and if it sounds good, go diving! The sites in front of the hotels can be accessed from piers or stairs leading down into the ocean. The other shore dives range from easy access to extreme, but most feature pebbled, coral rubble beaches or rocky shorelines so it is best to use booties and open heeled fins. Do not leave valuables in your rental car unattended while shore diving. I have never encountered any problems personally but others have reported having items stolen out of their cars.
Boat Diving Bonaire
There are some great dives on Klein Bonaire that can only be accessed by boat. Some of the dives to the north such as Reppel and Oil Slick Leap are near impossible to do from shore. If this is your first time to Bonaire, at least a few boat dives are definitely worth doing. There is also just the added convenience of boat diving. Sometimes it is nice to just take it easy especially when you are there on vacation.
Typical Diving Day in Bonaire:
Typical dive day really depends on whether your doing boat dives, shore dives or a combination of both. Most shops run morning, afternoon and often evening boat trips. Shore diving can be done at any time and with most dive packages you can check out multiple tanks. If you are staying at one of the hotels with a house reef these are accessible at any time and convenient for night dives and in between boat dives. The number of dives you can do in one day is only dependent on your energy and bottom time.
Bonaire Marine Life
Bonaire is not typically known for its larger creatures but there is plenty to keep you occupied with your wide angle lens. Large sponges and sea-fans dominate the reef scape and the salt pier has excellent wide angle opportunities. There are a few shipwrecks and large tarpon are quite common as well as turtles, barracudas and few good size groupers. For macro and midrange subjects you’ll have plenty to choose from. Angel fish, butterfly fish, seahorses, crabs and shrimp are just a few of the many subjects that you can find.
Bonaire dive rules
All of the dive operators in Bonaire are very protective of Bonaire’s reefs. In general, wearing gloves in not allowed. If a divemaster sees you touching or destroying the reef, you are usually warned the 1st time, and removed from the water the 2nd time. You are not allowed to take anything from the water, including seashells.
Best Time to Visit Bonaire
Bonaire is usually good to dive year round, and actually has a reputation for having great weather all year round, but hurricane season is between June and November. Although technically below the hurricane belt, they have had their share of odd storms and received significant damage in 2008 from Hurrican Omar. Some divers have said that some shallow reefs sustained damage from the Hurricane, but not the deeper areas.
Bonaire receives very little rain and the average daytime temperatures range from 85 to 95 degrees farenheight (29-33 C).
There are a lot of international direct flights to Bonaire. If you are traveling from the U.S.A , Continental, American Airlines and Delta has direct flights from Houston, Miami and Atlanta every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Curacao is near Bonaire and Freedivers also enjoy Curacao.
Visit Bonaire Freediving School: +5994167672 Instagram @Bonairefreediving facebook @BonaireFreedivingSchool