Great 20th Anniversary Snorkeling in Bonaire!!

by Susan Sims

Favorite turtle

Favorite turtle

We just got back from a week snorkeling in Bonaire and it was great!! We stayed at the Sand Dollar which is right in front of Bari Reef and weren't sure how it would be since I didn't see it in Galen & Nicole's Bonaire guide but this time all the critters must have known we'd be there. I liked entering at the pier there because my equilibrium is not too good sometimes (a lot of times) and they have steps right down into the water.

I got our place through VRBO and I don't know about most places at Sand Dollar but we went through the owner and got a great place (and deal). That whole part of the experience was wonderful because we didn't have to pack up to go places all the time. There was a restaurant on either side of us (Sunset has great onion rings) and a little store and deli right behind us. Also the dive shop is the place to get your permit and orientation which is informative (already read the info in the TropicalSnorkeling E-guide) but did get the $10 permit (the law). Also rented from AB Rentals for truck which was great because they picked us up at the airport and delivered us back with no delays. Ok, I sound like an advertisement so I'll move along.

One more though. If you go to Bonaire which you're missing out if you don't and this is from someone who's been to Hawaii 6 times and loves it, is... that you need to get Galen & Nicole's Tropical Snorkeling e-guide (especially for Bonaire but the others too). It'll tell you everything you need to know about the place and how, when, where, what and who! No kidding!! Take their advice on the rash guard. A definite skin saver. My husband still got his legs sunburned and he had on sunscreen.

Ok, snorkeling Klein Bonaire was wonderful. The ferns and sponges were beautiful and fish galore. I saw 3 turtles also and a squid. We went with a tour (Woodwinds) and it was so fun and safe. For every 10 people there was a knowlegeable guide and they would point out things. I was happy because they pointed out 1 turtle but I found the other 2 on my own and an eel, but did call the others. There was another fish we thought was a juvenile nurse shark, not sure. The guide pointed it out (free diving) but by the time she came up I was gone.

We went to Lac Bay and enjoyed being there but didn't snorkel because it would have been too tough on me. (Getting old just stinks.)

The last day snorkeling at Bari topped everything (except Klein - I don't think that can be topped). I saw so many fish I'd never seen before and got to watch a spotted? (I think) eel catch a fish (I think). I didn't really like that though cause I had just gotten several pictures of the fish. The fish was a little ahead of the eel and they were going one way, then the eel turned around and I didn't see the fish, so...I don't really know if they eat fish but it figures. I missed the octopus that was spotted, but I guess that'll give me a reason to go back.

Comments for Great 20th Anniversary Snorkeling in Bonaire!!

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Aug 29, 2011
Great Bonaire Story & Pics
by: Nicole and Galen

Thank you Susan for sharing your story and pics. They are great! We appreciate the information about Bari Reef. We say in the Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook that you can get in anywhere in Bonaire and see fish, and you found that to be true. The easy entrance sounds like a nice benefit to snorkeling there too. Glad also to hear a good review of Woodwind. We took the water taxi out to snorkel Klein Bonaire.

While we were in Bonaire we watched a small eel eat a small crab and he was pretty quick at it. It wouldn't surprise me if they eat fish too.

Also, sounds like your husband might be a good candidate for a Full Body Lycra Skin.

How was the weather? Was it windy? Was it really hot and humid?

Sep 04, 2011
Weather in Bonaire
by: Susan

Thanks Nicole, I did forget to mention the weather before. It was on the hot side but considering it was in the high 90's and low 100's in SC when we left, 90-95 didn't seem so bad especially with the trade winds. However, it wasn't real windy at all. The mosquitos weren't that bad either. It rained one night after most peoples bed time, but that was it, then the mosquitos got a little worse. All in all, I thought the weather was great.

I did actually see more of a variety of fish and 3 eels at Bari which was more than any other place, even Hawaii (never thought I'd say that). Klein Bonaire, to me, was the real wonderland because I love hard and soft coral and it was like gardens galore. The turtles were great too, but I saw more turtles on the Big Island.

My husband agreed you are right about the full body lycra skin. Is that like a full body rash guard? He never thought his legs would burn (I think it was the glare from sitting on the boat) but also the water. We can pack that which is better than renting a wetsuit. I was glad I had the rash guard or I'd have been putting on sunscreen continuously.

Oh, and I think the eel was a sharp tailed eel not a spotted one, but I don't know. I'm just beginning to learn about the names of fish, etc. Our next trip is back to the Big Island if we have enough time, if not, thanks you guys for introducing us to Bonaire.

Sep 06, 2011
Thanks for the weather info
by: Nicole & Galen

Susan, thank you for telling us about the weather. That is hotter than when we were there. Definitely need accommodations with a/c!

Yes, the full body lycra suit is like a rash guard for your whole body. I would personally prefer one in a light color, but you should make sure that it protects from UV rays.

Jun 20, 2013
Updated Bonaire eBook & Bari Reef Info
by: Nicole & Galen

We have recently finished the Second Edition of the Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook and one of the new locations we have added to it is Bari Reef. We also decided to include Bari Reef on this website as an example of the snorkeling close to town where you can see fish but not much coral.

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