Caribbean gem of diving: Bonaire

9 April 2023 by Sunwise Bonaire - Reading time: 6 minutes

Discover the stunning coral reefs of Diver’s Paradise Bonaire. With over 90 dive sites and crystal-clear waters, it’s perfect for both novice and experienced divers. Learn about the best dive sites, dive shops, and liveaboards. And, find out how Bonaire is leading the way in environmental conservation. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable diving Bonaire experience.

Picture this: you’re submerged in crystal clear waters, surrounded by vibrant coral reefs and an array of exotic marine life. You take a deep breath from your regulator and let yourself sink a little deeper, feeling weightless and free. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for an unforgettable diving experience, look no further than a Bonaire vacation. Located in the southern Caribbean, this Dutch island boasts protected marine resources and an abundance of marine life, making it one of the best dive destinations in the world. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about diving Bonaire, from the best dive sites to the best time to visit. So grab your fins and let’s dive in!

Dive sites on Bonaire

Are you ready to explore the stunning underwater world of Bonaire? As one of the top Caribbean dive destinations, Bonaire boasts more than 90 dive sites with an abundance of marine life. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned diver, Bonaire has something to offer. Here are some of the must-visit dive sites on the island:

  • Salt Pier – a great spot for underwater photography, home to colorful schools of fish and interesting macro life.
  • Karpata – a deep dive with a spectacular drop-off and the opportunity to see sea turtles, eagle rays, and occasionally even some reef sharks.
  • Hilma Hooker – a famous shipwreck dive, located in the marine park and home to schools of fish and coral formations.
  • Invisibles – a shallow dive with a variety of soft and hard corals, sea fans, and sea sponges, as well as the chance to see seahorses and frogfish.
  • No Name Beach – a shore dive on Klein Bonaire, with a beautiful reef and interesting macro life, such as nudibranchs and seahorses.

These are just a few examples of the incredible dive sites Bonaire has to offer. Whether you are a fan of wrecks, coral reefs, or macro life, there is something for everyone. So grab your gear and get ready for an unforgettable diving experience in Bonaire!

Diving Bonaire

Dive shops and liveaboards on Bonaire

When it comes to diving in Bonaire, there are plenty of dive shops and liveaboards to choose from, each offering their own unique experiences. Some popular options include:

Dive shops:

  • VIP Diving: For more than a decade now, VIP Diving has been the number one dive shop in Bonaire on TripAdvisor. They offer well-trained dive guides on Bonaire, very experienced PADI dive instructors, high-quality rental gear and a full-service retail shop and service center. For even more service they can arrange a private dive guide or a private dive course and even charter a private boat.
  • Dive Friends Bonaire: As a PADI 5 Star PADI IDC Dive Center, Dive Friends Bonaire cater to divers of every skill level, from Bubblemakers to Instructors and everything in between. With their eight locations and four retail stores on the island, it’s just a door-step away to an ultimate Bonaire diving adventure!
  • Beyond the Corals: a small but fully-equipped 5* PADI dive resort on Bonaire who are great in introducing people to the world of diving and showing them the breathtaking underwater world of Bonaire.
  • AB Dive: an independent dive center that stands out from other diving schools on Bonaire because they offer a drive-through service. Above that they specialize in shore diving and operate entirely on solar power.


  • Bonaire Liveaboard: a collaboration of enthusiastic skippers and entrepreneurs who have a passion for hospitality, sailing and scuba diving Bonaire. They have joined forces to offer a great private liveaboard experience on the Dutch Caribbean waters.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to do your research and book in advance to ensure availability.


Planning your dive trip to Bonaire

Now that you know all about dive sites and dive shops in Bonaire, it’s time to plan your trip. Here are some tips to make the most of your diving adventure:

  • Choose the best time to visit: Bonaire’s peak diving season is from April to September, but you can dive year-round. Consider the weather and water temperature when planning your trip.
  • Book your accommodation early: Since Bonaire is a popular diving destination, it’s best to book your accommodation well in advance. There are many places to stay in Bonaire and popular shore dive sites are always close-by.
  • Rent a car: To explore the island and its dive sites, it’s recommended to rent a car. This will also give you the flexibility to dive at your own pace and explore the island’s other attractions.
  • Pack the right gear: While most dive shops in Bonaire offer rental gear, it’s always best to bring your own if possible. Don’t forget to pack your certification card, dive logbook, and dive insurance.
  • Consider taking a refresher course: If it’s been a while since your last dive, consider taking a refresher course. It’s best to take it before your trip to ensure that you’re confident and comfortable in the water.

With these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy the beautiful diving experience that Bonaire has to offer.

Scuba cylinders on a dock, Caribbean Netherlands

Environmental conservation on Bonaire

Bonaire has become the first Blue Destination in the world. The ideal symbiosis between nature, culture, and the economy is something that Bonaire aspires to. Bonaire’s designation as a Blue Destination gives the island a distinctive identity and experience that sets it apart from other Caribbean islands. Bonaire is known for its pristine waters and thriving marine life, and the island is committed to preserving its natural resources. In fact, besides of becoming a Blue Destination, Bonaire was one of the first locations in the world to establish a marine park. As a diver, it’s important to be mindful of your impact on the environment and take steps to minimize it. Partly for this reason, it is mandatory for any user of the sea around the island, to pay a Nature Fee. Here are some ways Bonaire is working towards environmental conservation:

  • Coral restoration programs to help rebuild damaged reefs
  • Strict regulations on fishing and boating to protect marine life
  • Ban on single-use plastics to reduce pollution in the ocean
  • Education and awareness campaigns to promote eco-friendly practices for visitors and locals alike

By supporting these initiatives and practicing responsible diving habits, we can ensure that Bonaire’s stunning underwater world remains intact for generations to come.

Diver over coral reef on Bonaire

Tips and advice for novice divers

If you’re new to diving, Bonaire is a great place to start your underwater adventure. Here are some tips and advice to make your diving experience safe and enjoyable:

  1. Take a course: If you haven’t been certified, take a beginner’s course to learn the basics of diving. Many dive shops on Bonaire offer PADI or SSI courses.
  2. Practice snorkeling: If you’re not confident in the water, practice snorkeling first. It will help you get comfortable with breathing through a snorkel and being underwater.
  3. Choose a reputable dive operator: Make sure the dive shop you choose has experienced instructors. Look out for well-maintained equipment, and follows safety protocols.
  4. Start shallow: Begin your dives in shallow water to get used to the equipment and the underwater environment.
  5. Listen to your body: If you feel uncomfortable or have any pain while diving, end the dive.
  6. Follow the rules: Bonaire has strict rules and regulations for diving to protect the marine environment. Follow them to ensure you have a safe and sustainable diving experience.
Vacation accommodations on the water

Dive site map of Bonaire

Don’t miss out on the ultimate tool for your diving trip to Bonaire: the downloadable dive site map! This map will be your go-to guide for exploring the island’s incredible coral reefs. It contains the locations of more than 90 dive sites, including the best spots for both novice and experienced divers. Plus, with the map downloaded to your phone or tablet, you won’t have to worry about internet connection. Make sure to click on the image below to obtain the map for your trip. By doing so, you will be able to start planning your unforgettable diving adventure in Bonaire.

Dive Map Bonaire


Bonaire diving is a must-try experience for all diving enthusiasts. With its vast number of dive sites and dive shops, diving in Bonaire is a dream come true. Not only does it provide picturesque marine life, but it also adopts a sustainable approach to marine conservation. Therefore, it is an ideal destination for eco-conscious divers. For novice divers, there are various tips and advice to ensure their safety and enjoyment while diving. With proper planning, anyone can have a memorable and fulfilling diving experience in Bonaire. So, pack your bags, grab your gear, and explore the beauty of the underwater world in Bonaire!

2 responses to "Caribbean gem of diving: Bonaire"
  1. Ed says:

    Someone told me that unless you can prove that you dived in the last 2 years you will need to take a mandatory refresher course. Is this true?


    1. Hi Ed, to us that sounds completely logical, but we’re not sure. It might also differ between the dive operators, but safety first, we would say! Do you want us to ask the partners we work with, to contact you to talk about this?

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