Our Experience Snorkeling In Bonaire

by Gord
(Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

My wife and I, and another couple were snorkeling in Bonaire this past March/April, 2010 and we wanted to share our experience. It was amazing and definitely lived up to my expectations. We were there for three weeks and snorkeled too many places to mention, but our favorites were Lac Bay, Wayaka II, Tori's Reef, Margate Bay, and Karpata. We went snorkeling almost every day, and often visited two sites a day, and on the odd occasion did three sites in one day. The only site we went back to a second time was Lac Bay. We had planned to go back to Wayaka II but we had bad weather on the day we were going to go, and then ran out of time.

We also did Klein Bonaire, but did not take the water taxi. We went on a tour with the Woodwind. While the Woodwind was a great tour, if I had it to do over I would take the water taxi. There were about 25 people on the Woodwind and while they broke us into two groups, I still found it too crowded.

During our stay we saw turtles, eagle rays, very large (at least 3 feet in length) parrot fish, barracuda (one at least 4 feet long), dinner plate size angel fish, eels, octopus, small squid, lobster (one about 4 feet long), and many, many, others. It was like swimming in an aquarium.

To sum up, Bonaire has fabulous snorkeling. If there is one thing I did not like, it is the fact they are having a problem on the island with theft. We were O.K., but were also very aware of the problem and made sure we left nothing in our rental vehicle while we were in the water. Also made sure all our doors and windows were locked tight in our rental accommodation while we were out. We just took the common sense approach and were fine, but it was troubling even so.

Comments for Our Experience Snorkeling In Bonaire

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May 21, 2010
Excellent Bonaire Snorkeling Review
by: Galen & Nicole

Hi Gord,

Great review. You were there just before us. Did you get the rains?

We really liked some of the same places as you. Can you tell me more about what you liked about Wayaka II and Tori's? When we went we found that most of the coral was dead at Wayaka II. But I would really like to hear about your experience with it. Where did you swim? Did you end up going outside the barrier wall to the right?

And at Tori's, did you find lots of fish?

Thanks again for your review. Did you take any pictures?

Here is our Bonaire Snorkeling information.

Jul 12, 2010
Wayaka II and Tori's
by: Gord

Hello Galen & Nicole,

I agree with you on the situation with the coral at Wayaka II, but we saw so many amazing fish. Dinner-plate size French Angelfish that were like puppy dogs, just following us wherever we went. Also saw a large (between three and four feet) midnight blue parrot. This is the only one we saw in Bonaire. Saw squid, and too many other fish to remember. So while the coral was in poor shape, the number and diversity of fish was just amazing. This was my second favourite spot to snorkel after Lac Bay, and it was a very close second.

As for Tori's Reef, we were there a couple of times and once again saw a lot of different fish, but the real highlight were the Eagle Rays we saw. A friend of ours and his wife had a large Eagle Ray come right up to them and circle them a few times. We didn't see that, but on different day we saw two rays come in from the deep. One took off pretty quickly, but the other one stayed and fed for at least an hour. I never did see him leave, as I left before he did.

We saw rays in other locations in Bonaire, but not for as long as at Tori's.

As for the weather, we only got one day of rain in a three week stay. I think we left just before the rains hit. Sorry to hear you ended up with the rain, but I know the island needed it.

On another note, a question for you. I noted in your comments on Bonaire that you did not believe it was the best snorkeling in the world. I know you have snorkeled quite a bit, so where would you say is the best snorkeling you have seen? Just curious as I am always looking for great places to go. Thanks.

Jul 12, 2010
Excellent Info!
by: Galen & Nicole

Gord. Thanks once again for the excellent details about what you liked at those locations.

Actually we did not get any rain. We got there just after it stopped. Got skeeters though:(

Now, about Bonaire being the best in the world, it is certainly near the top of our list. It is excellent snorkeling, and we really enjoyed Bonaire itself as a travel destination.

But why we don't consider it the best is for a couple of reasons. One, all the storm damage has reduced the amount of healthy shallow snorkeling available in many locations. And two, we have experienced snorkeling we like more.

Much to our surprise, we have experienced some of our best snorkeling in the middle areas of the Florida Keys. After snorkeling Sombrero Reef, we figured that was the best snorkeling experience we had ever had. And it still holds true. We have also experienced some pretty amazing snorkeling in Belize. But some of the best snorkeling in Belize we accessed by chartering a liveaboard catamaran for a week, and sailing the length of the country. This is not something that most people are going to be able to do, because of price and sailing experience.

But really, Bonaire is wonderful, both for it's snorkeling and culture. Belize is nowhere near as nice to visit, and frankly we don't enjoy the keys all that much either, topsides at least. So when you consider things beyond just the snorkeling, Bonaire was definitely one of the best experiences we have had.

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