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Diving On Bonaire


The Bonaire island motto is . . . "Diver's Paradise" . . . because it is !

Diving Bonaire is like diving the Caribbean the way it used to be - untouched and unspoiled. 


             
                                      Fantastic reef   -   warm clear water   -    calm, easy ocean conditions  - 
                           51 excellent shore diving sites  -  fabulous weather   -   relaxed island atmosphere . . . . . .
                                 It is NO surprise Bonaire is consistently chosen  -  by divers around the world - 
                                                          as the best diving destination in the world.  


   



Bonaire is a small island, just 22 miles long, with over 80 high quality dive sites. For almost the entire length of the south-west coast, there are no serious currents - and there are an amazing 51 shore diving sites along this 15 mile section of coast. The reef is just 25 metres from shore - and access to the ocean is quick and easy – which is why almost all diving on Bonaire is shore diving. Each shore entry is also an excellent snorkelling site, of course.  The exceptionally easy ocean conditions make Bonaire a perfect place for all divers and snorkellers - in fact anyone who wants to enjoy the ocean.

Divers regularly vote for Bonaire as the world's number one "beginners" dive destination.
Most accommodation is along this south west coast and you are never far from any of the dive sites.
The reef is 25 metres out – often your bed will be less than 200 metres from the reef. Be careful when you roll out of bed !


Bonaire's weather is almost always 29c - with a cooling breeze – perfect weather.  The island is outside the hurricane belt. Diving on Bonaire is almost 365 days of the year. Bonaire has a dry climate, no rivers and just a few beaches so the ocean is clear of silt. Visibility is an amazing 30 - 40 metres !  Ocean water temperature is a wonderful 28ēc - all year. Divers will be comfortable in a 3mm shortie - most instructors on the island wear shorts and T shirts. Danielle was diving there, in November, in a bikini.

Bonaire has a parallel fringing reef – easy to navigate - dark blue or turquoise blue. The shallow sandy shelf extends from shore to a depth of around 8 metres, to the drop off, around 25 metres from shore.
The reef is the length of a swimming pool from shore – and the ocean a lot calmer than the average swimming pool !



Bonaire Marine Park

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In 1979 – in a referendum - islanders voted to resist commercial over development and the entire coast around Bonaire, from high water mark to a depth of 60m, was designated the Bonaire Marine Park. The coast and ocean around Bonaire are legally protected. The island of Klein Bonaire, close to the west coast, is a nature reserve.  In addition this referendum also protected the way of life on the island. No high-rise hotels, no theme parks etc.  A wonderfully relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy the spectacular diving. No surprise Bonaire's motto is -  Divers Paradise  !
Divers are asked for a $25 - snorkellers $10 - once-only contribution to the Bonaire Marine Park for the protection of the reef and the ocean around Bonaire. Payable at your dive school. Wear your tag with pride !
 
Easy access to a warm, clear, calm ocean sounds like paradise. But easy diving is not the whole story. The protection of the reef and ocean for more than 30 years – and subsequent superb condition of the reef – makes diving on Bonaire rewarding and exciting – for divers of all capabilities. Bonaire's pristine reefs and huge diversity of marine life are considered unique. A staggering 355 species of fish have been counted by researchers - Bonaire has the largest number of fish and the greatest variety of species in the Western Atlantic. When you book with us we will send you a specially commissioned fish card showing the huge diversity of marine life you can expect to see. 
Bonaire is consistently voted - by divers around the world - as the best scuba diving and snorkelling destination in the world.


Diving Freedom

There are 51 shore diving sites, each one marked with a yellow "milestone" marker on the side of the road. You will find most sites deserted, there are no crowds on land or sea on Bonaire.  Air/nitrox is sold in unlimited packages - tanks are available 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. With a huge number of shore diving sites, and "unlimited air" package and a vehicle to come and go as you please,  you can dive when and where you like, for as long as it is safe to do so. Which is why we recommend hiring a vehicle. You can concentrate on having fun.
"Diving Freedom" is not just a catchy phrase.

Drive along the coast road, armed with our dive guide, and spot the yellow markers, with the dive site name and number on them. Often you can drive onto the beach, park within a few metres of the ocean, sit on the tailgate to get kitted up and walk into the ocean. It is as easy as that !  Although boat dives can be useful to access some secluded coves – there is no need for a regime of boat dive timetables. For divers and snorkellers we recommend pick-ups, for getting to all those shore dive (snorkelling) sites. These have air-conditioned, double cabs which seat 5 people comfortably.  They are comfortable - and great fun. Your kit, tanks etc., can ride in the pick-up section. These are ideal for getting around the island. Their high wheel base make them perfect for parking on coral/sand beaches. Theses are the only vehicles allowed in Slagbaai National Park.
Wherever you are on Bonaire, you are never more than 15 minutes from your resort or 5 minutes from the ocean.  

Watch out for travel companies - who do not know Bonaire -  that automatically add boat dives to your itinerary - and forget the vehicle. Boats can be useful - but they are not essential for diving on Bonaire. We work with all the major dive centres on Bonaire. All have, guides, dive boats and the latest equipment for sale or hire. Nitrox is widely available. They all have a full range of instruction courses.  Bonaire a great place to learn or take a referral or refresher course. Shore diving means you don't get thrown over the side with 20 other people ! 


Although Diving Freedom is the culture on Bonaire - that only means that you have that freedom - it does not mean you are "left on your own".  Bonaire is dependant on people who appreciate the environment - divers and snorkellers certainly fit that category - and the people on Bonaire will do all they can to help and assist you. No one will follow you around, or tell you what to do, but if you need help and advice - it is there for the asking.  Guides are available and boat dives are not expensive - and very easy way to go with a small group and have a guide along. There are dive maps/guides - and everyone is keen to talk about their wonderful island. If you need help or advice . . . . .just ask !

Liveaboards - the proximity and easy access to the reef means there are no liveaboards on Bonaire. Dive – day or night – and in a short while you will be back in your own room or apartment - and in the evening enjoy the restaurants and night life on the island.


Don't Take Our Word For It

In the About.com  reader's poll -  Bonaire was voted the favourite dive destination in the Caribbean. In the final round, Bonaire, against seven other dive destinations from around the world including The Philippines, Galapagos Islands and Cozumel, and won with an overwhelming 51% of the total votes! About.com, is part of the New York Times, a Top 10 web property used by one out of every five people on the Internet, reaching nearly 21 million unique visitors per month.

Readers of Scuba Diving Magazine rated Bonaire:

*    Best Caribbean Dive Destination  *    Best Beginner Diving  *    Best Destination for Underwater Photography 
*    Best Marine Life  *    Best Shore Diving (19th consecutive year)  *    Best Macro  *    Best Snorkelling  *    Best Value for money

      
"Scuba Diving" readers also vote for a Top 100 "Gold List".   In 2012 the top 100 list included

                   Best Dive Site ?                               "Anywhere on Bonaire"     
                   Best Shore Dive ?                            1,000 Steps, Bonaire
                   Best 24/7 Dive Destination ?             Bonaire     
                   Best Marine Park ?                          STINAPA, Bonaire



Families - Bonaire is good for families trying to juggle diving and non-diving family members. There is a lot to do, including beaches for doing nothing much. The weather and relaxed atmosphere are ideal for children. Dive sites are close to shore, so you are not away for long, and you decide how long you will dive for. Good for families looking for something special - away from the commercialised tourist traps.

Photography - Photographers love the macro life on Bonaire - the sunshine provides excellent light in the clear shallow water. There are many photographic specialists – who also run courses – on the island. Cameras are available for hire.


Safety

Bonaire has been statistically proven to be one of the safest places on the planet. Some concerns have been caused by thoughtless advice from hire companies to leave vehicles unlocked. Some people have taken this to mean that you are likely to be a victim of crime. This is not true - based on our customers' experience over the last 10 years.  We have had two reported cases of thefts from a vehicle - 4 cases of petty theft in total - out of thousands of visitors to Bonaire. The advice on Bonaire is the same as everywhere else in the world - don't leave valuables on show. There is far less crime on Bonaire than in the average UK village.

Bonaire's San Francisco hospital, a fully staffed, 60 bed hospital, in the centre of Kralendijk, the capital, has a hyperbaric chamber, operated by highly trained professionals.


We know the island very well. We are an ATOL bonded tour operator - a diving specialist travel company and the only UK specialist for Bonaire.  We are uniquely able to tailor make a holiday itinerary for you which can include not just flights and accommodation – but a full diving package – tailored to suit your wishes – as well as vehicle hire, useful for exploring the island.