Snorkeling In Bonaire March 2014

by Jack
(Santa Fe, NM, USA)

I just returned from spending the entire month of March snorkeling in Bonaire. It was windy, but still excellent. The local people are still gracious and friendly. Galen and Nicole's Bonaire Snorkeling Guide is a must-have, and served me well. I especially appreciated their tip to snorkel Red Beryl, where I saw five turtles one day -- including a huge one with barnacles and moss on its back -- as well as numerous squid and a very large Green Moray Eel.

However, in my month there, I noticed that, compared to when I first snorkeled Bonaire some 25 years ago, there seem to be far less barracuda, large jacks and large groupers. The reason, I suspect, is that there are many more restaurants on Bonaire serving fish -- including groupers, jacks and barracuda. A local fishing guide told me that he could easily sell 100 to 200 pounds of fish in a day to the restaurants. The guide told me that, contrary to reports, there are no restrictions, by either locals or visitors, to fish the Marine Park (the reefs). It has to have an impact. If you go to Bonaire, try not to eat reef fish in the restaurants.

I stayed at Harbour Village. It is expensive compared to some other hotels, but worth it, I think. Great rooms and great staff. And it has a couple of big advantages. For one thing, it has twice-daily trips to Klein Bonaire. Cost is $17.50 a person for snorkelers. With this convenience, you can cut back on, or even skip car rentals, which are expensive on Bonaire. Another plus at Harbour Village is the security. I have read and heard reports about increasing crime on Bonaire -- mostly theft, even from hotel rooms and rented villas, not just cars.

On this trip -- about my sixth or seventh to Bonaire -- I discovered that there is excellent flyfishing for bonefish there, besides the top-notch snorkeling. You actually fish in the big evaporative salt pans! Caught and released some nice bonefish.

Traffic is getting worse on Bonaire. We were tail-gated a couple of times by divers, anxious to get to their favorite spot and spend their 30 minutes spewing bubbles underwater.

All in all, Bonaire is still a great place to visit, and snorkel.

Comments for Snorkeling In Bonaire March 2014

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Apr 07, 2014
Thanks!
by: Nicole & Galen

Jack, thank you for your submission. We are happy to hear that our Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook was useful to you! Very interesting to hear your take on the changes since you have been going there and your accommodation suggestion. We think our readers will find it useful.

Jul 18, 2014
Thanks for Bonaire info!
by: Sally in Seattle

We are traveling to Bonaire this December so your trip report is very timely for us. Thanks! Are the trips to Klein Bonaire strictly for guests of that hotel or can anyone join in?

Jul 21, 2014
Klein Bonaire
by: Maria in Pittsburgh

Hi Sally -

Unless things have changed in the last several years, you can take the public water taxi (Kantika di Amor, I think it's called) to and from Klein Bonaire. It makes multiple trips every day.

If you go, make sure to take water and food with you as there are no services on the island (unless things have changed in the last several years).

If I recall correctly, you'll see Palometas in the area where the boat drops you off, but you should walk along the beach/ironstone to check out other spots - take reef shoes, flip flops, or some other footwear to walk along the shore. I like snorkeling at Near Point, the closest part of the island to Bonaire.

The last time I went to Klein Bonaire, we saw flying fish from the boat. Klein Bonaire really is a nice place to snorkel, and that's one of the places I plan to go to in September.

Jul 22, 2014
Klein Bonaire
by: Nicole & Galen

Sally and Maria, we have lots of info about snorkeling at Klein Bonaire via the water taxi on our Klein Bonaire page and in our Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook (linked to above).

In our experience, after the water taxi leaves the dock downtown, it picks up at the Harbour Village Resort, so it is the same trip.

Also, yes you can walk down the shore to snorkel, but we recommend paying the extra for the taxi to allow you to drop your stuff on the beach, then take you with your snorkel gear and drop you in the water so you can drift snorkel back to the beach. It is all described on the page linked to above.

Jul 28, 2014
Bonaire 2014
by: Jack

Sally, yes, my impression is that trips to Klein Bonaire from Harbour Village are for hotel guests. Not sure if non-guests could also sign up, but I think intended for guests.

There is also the water taxi, but if you stay at Harbour Village, it is probably easier to take their trips.

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