Bonaire Shore Dives (North End)

Bonaire's shore diving is what attracts legions of divers. This form of diving allows people to dive where they want and when they want without having to worry about boat schedules. The shore dives can be roughly grouped into those on the south end of the island and, the topic of this page, the north end.

Shore dives in the north have these characteristics compare to the south (generally speaking):

  • More people at most dive sites than you'll see in the south.
  • Better visibility. With the cliffs in the north and limited beach, there's less sand and debris getting washed into the water.
  • Fish schools seemed to like the northern reef. I found myself in the midst of schools which was quite cool.
  • The reef is closer to the shore which also means there's less to see in the shallows.
  • Interesting entries such as the 4-foot drop from a cliff — you enter using giant stride.
  • Slower and narrow road to dive sites. And the road becomes one-way after a certain point forcing you to take the long way back.
  • Reportedly more theft in the north.
  • In between dives, during the surface interval, you could find shade.
  • More buoys made it easier to establish a dive marker to help you determine that you've returned to your starting point without having to surface.
  • Greater distance between your vehicle where you don your gear and the water. Sometimes there were steps to negotiate to get to the shore.

Dive Sites

1000 Steps
Named after the 70 or so steps that lead down to the shore, this is one of the more popular dives in Bonaire. Despite the ease with which you can go deep, the best sea life was in the 45 foot range so I'd stick to that depth.

Bari's Reef
Although geographically north, this is more like a south dive.
This site is actually an exit off of a round-about. Despite it's unassuming location, the reef and fish are first grade. There's a metal pipe you can follow out to the reef and use as your dive marker to denote your starting point. A little south of the entry point and close to the shore is a big concrete structure that attracts a lot of fish. Be sure to check it out.

Karpata
Another of Bonaire's super-popular dives. Visibility was the best here compared to every other site I visited. The reef is also healthy and expansive here. Schools of fish, which will surround you, seem to like this area as much as us divers.

Oil Slick Leap
The entry to this site is via a 4 foot drop. Be sure to use one of the “platforms” to ensure you're in a spot where the water is deep enough for you to drop into. You exit the water via a ladder.

A good location to find sea horses according to a local. Not that “good” means guaranteed though. Far from it actually. I spent quite some time searching the Gorgonians here with no luck.

Something Special
Although geographically north, this is more like a south dive.
A good dive site for night dives. I did two here — one using UV lights and one using regular dive lights. Watch out for the hulls of boats when you're returning and in shallow water. They sneak up on you and there's a chance you'll bump into them with your tank.

There's also an underwater webcam here. If you can find it, your mug will show up on a website.

Weber's Joy (aka Witch's Hut)
Entry to for this dive site is a via a narrow stretch of coral beach. It's proximity to some of the other more popular sites makes it a good second dive although watch your depth as this one goes down to 125 feet.

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