Snorkeling Bari Reef – Calm Spot to Swim With the Fish

Bonaire

Schools of fish seen while snorkeling Bari Reef

Snorkeling Bari Reef is like many spots in front of Kralendijk town on Bonaire. There are fish to see, mostly using the docks for shelter, but the shallow reefs were storm damaged and are only showing the beginnings of recovery. Choose Bari Reef if it happens to be a very windy day and the waves are up at other spots around the island, because it is often quite calm and provides a place to snorkel on a day you can’t go other places.

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This spot is actually in front of the Den Laman and Sand Dollar Condominiums. Unless you are staying there, you are not welcome to use their dock to enter and exit the water for snorkeling Bari Reef. The public entrance is just south of the Den Laman Condominiums (see driving directions below).

Water Entrance for Snorkeling Bari Reef

There are the remains of a concrete pier running into the water in front of where you park your car. You want to enter the water in the sandy zone to the left of those for snorkeling Bari Reef. Footwear is recommended. There is a sandy patch, with a step down into some rocks. You need to navigate through these slabs of rock and coral, so be cautious if there are waves. Once you are in deep enough water to float, change into your fins.

Water entrance for snorkeling Bari Reef

Where to Snorkel

Old pier blocks with fish and corals at Bari Reef Bonaire

For snorkeling Bari Reef, swim to the right of the water entrance. The old concrete pier you walked into the water next to is the best spot along here for snorkeling. There are lots of fish and interesting corals and sponges on and around it. You will want to spend some time here. The visibility is decent and the depths are 3-7 feet. We have seen this spot called the aquarium.

Then, swim over to the dock at Den Laman. There is not too much in between, but you might see a few fish. Once you get to the dock though, there are a lot of fish to see hanging out in the shade under it, including some bigger species. Watch for boats coming to the dock when you are exploring this area. It gets up to 10 feet deep under the dock and the visibility is OK.

Spotted Drum seen while snorkeling Bari Reef

Past their dock, near shore in front of the Sand Dollar Condominiums, there is a rocky area that has some nice live Elkhorn Corals, and in the sandy zones in a little deeper water there are some patches of Fire Coral and sponges. The stuff to see here varies in depths from 3 to 10 feet and unfortunately suffers from low visibility because sand gets kicked up.

You could swim back to the entrance along the top of the drop-off of Bari Reef. You can see some live reef, but it starts at about 30 feet and is a little beat up at the top edge. You could skip it and go back by the dock instead.

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Tube Sponges and Corals at Bari Reef

Blurry Fish, Rotten Colors, Garbage Pictures

That does not look like what I saw! See our snorkeling camera pages for tips on selecting a good snorkeling camera, and how to use it for great pictures.

What We Saw While Snorkeling Bari Reef

We saw a lot of fish in good variety while snorkeling Bari Reef. We saw a turtle which is always fun. The shallow corals are very sparse.

School of Chromis at Bari Reef

Fish:

  • Barracuda, Great
  • Chromis, Brown – schools
  • Chub
  • Damselfish: Bicolor, Dusky, Longfin, Sergeant Major, Yellowtail
  • Drum, Spotted
  • Filefish: Scrawled, Whitespotted
  • Goatfish, Yellow
  • Grunt: Bluestriped, French – school, Smallmouth – school
  • Herring, Redear – large schools
  • Hogfish, Spanish
  • Jack, Bar
  • Needlefish, Houndfish
  • Parrotfish: Princess, Queen, Stoplight, Striped, Yellowtail
  • Snapper: Mahogany – schools, Schoolmaster
  • Soapfish, Greater
  • Surgeonfish, Ocean – school
  • Tang, Blue
  • Trumpetfish
  • Wrasse: Bluehead, Clown
Coral, sponges, and fish at Bari Reef

Coral:

  • Brain: Grooved, Maze, Symmetrical
  • Cup, Orange
  • Elkhorn
  • Fire, Blade
  • Mustard Hill
  • Pillar
  • Sea Rods: Black, Porous
  • Star: Lobed, Mountainous
  • Starlet: Lesser, Massive

Other Creatures:

  • Sea Cucumber, Three Rowed
  • Sponge: Black Ball, Branching Tube, Lumpy Overgrowing, Rope, Touch Me Not, Yellow Tube
  • Tube Worm, Christmas Tree
  • Turtle
  • Urchin, West Indian Sea Egg

Driving Directions for Snorkeling Bari Reef

1. Drive north out of Kralendijk on the main road, Kaya Grandi. The name of this road changes to Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot when it turns a little left at Kaya Neerlandia.

Turn off the traffic circle to Bari Reef

2. Take your third right from the traffic circle on the north end of town onto the dirt road. There is a yellow boulder for Bari Reef at the turn along with other signs.

Dirt road to shoreline and Bari Reef

3. Head straight between the rock walls and once you get to the water turn left and park near the remains of the old cement pier.

Parking besides ocean at Bari Reef

Facilities

There are some trees you can use for shade on the beach.

More Bonaire Snorkeling Tips