Best Dive Sites in the Island of Bonaire


The Caribbean Island of Bonaire is the Diver’s Paradise, and that’s a fact. The best time to dive in Bonaire is whenever it suits you, really. Officially, diving season falls during the peak season which is December through April. The windy season is May through August, and the rainy season comes from November through January bringing light showers every day.

Before heading to the Caribbean island, note that as of 2022 the government of Bonaire installed BonaireTax – a single paid visitor tax to fund local businesses, education, and artisans

Known as the shore diving capital of the world, it is a must-experience dive offering shallow reefs, steep walls, and historical wrecks to explore. The island is such that divers can pretty much experience the different types of dive sites all in one day.

The location and shape of the island lends itself to shore diving, so it’s no surprise that this type of diving prevails in Bonaire. Just find the yellow rocks with the name of the diving site painted on them, to get diving. More than 60 dive sites are easily accessible by shore.

For those who would rather dive from a boat or want to mix it up and take advantage of all the island has to offer, there is no shortage of opportunities. The dives off of Klein Bonaire, an uninhabited island across from Bonaire, can only be reached by boat.

Off the coast of Bonaire is the wreck of Hilma Hooker, resting between two coral reef systems in 100 feet of water since 1984. Historical wreckage diving awaits, even for the unseasoned divers.

Divers are certainly spoilt for choice with Bonaire’s variety of reefs and dive sites for beginners as well as the more experienced. The west coast allows divers to walk into the gradually deepening water with the reef just 16 feet or 5 meters offshore.

The east coast is not as calm as the west and diving here is very much weather-dependent. The exciting shore dive sites on the east coast should only be attempted by experienced divers. Boat diving is the best way to dive on the east coast.

Dive courses come in many shapes and sizes, depending on what the diver wants to learn and the individual’s level of experience coming in. Dive operators offer beginner courses that incorporate snorkeling, one-day introductory courses and open water SCUBA certification.

For the diver who already knows the ropes, there are intermediate and advanced specialties which include NITROX, navigation, wreck, and night diving. Also on offer for the adventurous are Technical Diving courses that include Extended Range, Decompression Procedures and Tri-mix.

Dive leader training includes courses like dive master, dive control specialist, assistant instructor and full instructor training. The disabled can look forward to taking to diving like a fish to water with the involvement of the International Association for Handicapped Divers (IAHD).

With so much range and variety, where should you consider dipping your toes in Bonaire’s diving scene?

Some of Bonaire’s diving sites



Visibility and stunning panoramas are the attraction at Karpata with its abundance of pretty fish, marine life including turtles, and a pristine coral reef boasting incredible shapes and forms. Photographers love this site which is home to many of the island’s 350 species of fish and approximately 50 different corals.

Hilma Hooker

Lying on her side on the sandy bottom of the sea in the South is the wreck of the Hilma, clearly marked by three moorings: on the bow, on the stern, and on the reef.

Explore her ample 236-foot or 72 meters length, resplendent with the wheelhouse, masts, cargo holds, and the airshafts. Tarpons and barracudas have taken to the wreck, and divers have plenty to see, with the shallow reef an added bonus. Dive the wreck during the day or night.

Divers will need a trained local guide if they want to penetrate the wreck but keeping to the outside of the wreck is also a great experience in itself.

White Slave

White Slave dive spot starts off rocky, necessitating a swim to the reef. This is where divers are sure to get the best experience of getting a gander at a spotted eagle ray or stingray in their natural habitat. The inspiring underwater life calls the range of corals home, among them turtles and surgeon fish.

Salt Pier

Photographers love this dive site which gives up of the best underwater photo opportunities to be found!  New divers love it too because it is easy to reach from the shore.

This is where the local fish life congregate underwater, around the pillars and under the pier. Beautiful sponges and corals attached to the pillars create a natural art form using manmade structures that offer a picturesque vision. But marine art is not all there is to see.

Among the shoals of beautiful fish, it is common to spot a juvenile drum fish, frogfish, eels, and with any luck even a seahorse or two floating by around the pillars. Turtles often join divers closer to the shore. While exploring, do not get too mesmerized to take care around the pillars which have sharp edges. If there is a boat about, divers may not enter the water, so be aware of that.

1,000 Steps

1,000 Steps does have a limestone staircase leading to the shoreline, hence the name of the dive site. No fear, though, that is nowhere near the number of steps to traverse, and the site is also accessible by boat dive. Snorkelers, divers, and sun lovers enjoy the white sand and turquoise waters of this site which is unhindered by wind thanks to the protection of the cliffside.

The staggering cliffside along the shore offers an impressive view before entering the crystal-clear water to behold the visual treasure beneath the surface. Corals in purple, yellow, and orange and gardens of sponges and sea fans offer a visual backdrop to the angelfish, tiny blenny, teensy fairy basslets, great schools of blue tangs, squirrelfish with their huge comic character eyes, and revelations of colorful parrotfish.

Vista Blue

This shallow plateau drops to 30-foot or 9 meters and is alive with its densely overgrown steep coral wall a playground for turtles, angel fish, butterfly fish, mackerels, shrimp, groupers, barracudas, triggerfish, and stingrays.

Margate Bay

Margate Reef gets its name from the abundance of Black Margates it is home to. A reef of gorgonians, hard and soft corals, and fire coral provides the living canvas for moray eels and the occasional turtle. Enjoying the fields of fire corals is a perfect way to either start or end the dive, depending on the chosen points of entry and exit.

Something Special

With its central location, this dive site rests on a plateau in the shallow waters and is home to Yellowhead Jawfish, Secretary Blennies and Sailfin Blennies.

Angel City

Angel City gets its name from the emperor fish that are plentiful around the site. A shallow plateau extends to a double reef with a relatively shallow second reef that is ideal for beginners as far as accessibility goes. This dive site is also a perfect spot for snorkeling.

Lac Cai

This is the most accessible of the famous dive sites the East side of Bonaire has to offer, with options of diving from either a boat or from the shore. Enjoy diving Cai with a local guide to see all the beauty of this large diving spot. Guides safely navigate the surprises that adverse weather may bring about. The lovely reef is alive with turtles, eagle rays and moray eels while out of the bay the canal gives divers access to schools of fish.

Diving Services in Bonaire



Buddy Dive has something for everyone when it comes to diving Bonaire. Located on one of the island’s best shore dives, the personable staff, casual atmosphere, and roomy accommodation assure a home away from home with adventure thrown in. Divers, snorkelers, and adventurers benefit from comfortable boats, complete rental and retail center, and a unique air/nitrox fill station. Leisure travelers get to bask around any one of the three pools and the sun is there for everyone to enjoy.

Dive Friends Bonaire is a PADI 5-Star IDC Dive Center that accommodates every skill level of divers of any age. Divers have the pick of 8 locations and 4 retail stores and since Dive Friends is not associated with any one resort, they are welcoming to anyone and everyone.

VIP Diving tailor makes a Bonaire experience for its clients, from showcasing all the island has to offer to packaging the perfect dive trip. Committed to making every dive safe, convenient, and fun, dive groups are kept small with a maximum of four divers. First-time divers and beginners are assured the best experience possible of all the wonders the ocean has to offer.

Wannadive is a five-star PADI IDC dive center and the place to try no matter the dive service on your mind. Diver education, drive-in stations, retail shopping, rentals, and equipment repair are just some of the services available to those wanting guided diving or a boat dive. The amenities are top class with everything a diver needs. The two full-service dive shops ensure accessibility and convenience no matter where on the island divers find themselves.

Great Adventures Bonaire offers boat dives daily, all levels of dive instruction as well as Assistant Instructor and Divemaster courses, advanced certification and specialties, and equipment rental. Located at Harbour Village this PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Resort even offers SASY for kids. Guests can expect professional staff who are friendly and multilingual as well as trips on boats that are never crowded, and convenient access to the dive shop and beach from the suites and rooms. The resort has a dive pier, lounge chairs, and a beach gazebo so guests get an all-around rest and relaxation experience.

Divi Dive Bonaire offer daily boat rides to the best local dive sites from their 5* PADI Dive Center located at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino. Instructors carry out the training and certifications in a range of languages, English, Spanish and Dutch among them. Accessible with the greatest of ease from the private pier beyond the beachfront dive center is a fantastic house reef. The resort offers free Wi-Fi, rental equipment, a well-stocked gear and accessory shop, a classroom, and storage space.

Xprodiver Bonaire promises passion, quality, and personalized attention. Their motto: few divers, more dives! Guided tours on their boat “Chelonia Mydas” (green turtle) assure comfortable, exclusive, safe, and fast access and exploration of the island. Dive either from shore or offshore from the boat. Professional diving instructors offer courses ranging between beginner and professional and technical levels, which also incorporate advanced technology underwater, handling and diving of Rebreather equipment.

Toucan Diving Bonaire offers guests of their all-inclusive Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire occasion to discover the underwater world of this Caribbean Island. The five-star PADI diving center caters to all skill levels and every age. Services offered include boat dive packages, shore diving packages, snorkel tours, courses, and shopping.

Beyond The Corals is a 5-star PADI Dive Resort with an onsite training pool and a lovely house reef on the doorstep. They have a passion for ocean conservation that is evident in the way each guest gets to delight in a personal experience.

We can thank Captain Don Stewart for the healthy reefs that are a must for ensuring a healthy Caribbean. In 1962, it was this man who envisaged a way to save the reefs, had a hand in establishing Bonaire’s Marine Park, and established Bonaire’s first dive operation. And look at it now! More than 85 dive sites, 54 easily accessible from the shore.

Bonaire allows year-round diving, thanks to the tropical climate. Divers get to enjoy the thriving reefs that are teeming with its impressively diverse marine life and corals 24 hours of every day of the available 365 days a year. Bonaire’s underwater scenery and visibility all year round are unrivaled in the world of diving.

Bonaire and its as-yet untainted and often untouched dive sites have what divers want. Whether experienced divers or adventurous spirits keen to be taught all the pleasures of scuba diving, Bonaire is the ideal and perfect place to take a breath and submerge oneself in the last of the indubitably unspoiled locations on the planet.