Snorkeling Chocogo – Best of the Southern Unmarked Spots
Snorkeling Chocogo is the best of four unmarked spots along the farthest southwestern coast of Bonaire. All four spots have shallow reef to explore, but waves and challenging entrances limit easy safe access to them. If you happen to have low winds and the waves are down Chocogo has some great snorkeling. Chocogo is the easiest of the four spots to find.
Snorkeling Chocogo and the other close spots is dependent on water conditions. Being very close to the south tip of the island this area is affected by waves and currents that wrap around because of the dominant easterly trade winds. Also, it is exposed to the wind that is unbroken over the salt ponds.
We recommend you don’t snorkel Chocogo if the winds are over 15 mph. If you try, you will find big waves, strong currents, and very low visibility. Also, the water entrance is over uneven ground and any waves will make entry dangerous. Even on a calm day there is often a current.
If you have the right conditions, you could check out the other three spots too, Soft Coral Garden, Hidden Beach, and Yellow Hut from north to south. Just scope out and use caution for the water entrances and exits.
Water Entrance for Snorkeling Chocogo
You will need footwear to walk from where you parked near the road to the coral rubble and iron-shore beach. When we were there it was marked with a stake and a yellow rock with an arrow. Your shoes will be useful in the water entrance too.
It is a gentle slope, without many shelves or holes, and not a lot of coral, but it may have some rocks and rubble to navigate too. Waves will make this entrance very difficult, so don’t try it when it’s wavy. Take your time to get your footing right on entry, walk out until you can float and put your fins on.
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Where to Snorkel
Once you are out in the water, be sure to find a landmark that shows where you entered. That will make for an easier exit. Also, check the current and make sure you can swim against it comfortably, if not, you will want to come back on a calmer day.
There are three layers of reef at different depths, separated by sandy zones. The first two of those layers are nice and shallow, 1-8 feet. The third is probably in 12-15 feet, and still enjoyable.
While snorkeling Chocogo you can see some healthy corals, including lots of soft corals, but there is some disease and previous bleaching evident, and some current bleaching was happening on our last visit.
The first layer can be explored either to the left or the right of the entrance. To the left in front of the house on shore is one of the best areas. It has nice corals, some fun topography of shelves, and many fish, in good varieties and schools. This area had fire, brain, Mustard Hill, and star corals, along with sea rods, sea fans, and sea plumes.
To the right of the entrance is also great shallow snorkeling, with similar corals as to the left with the addition of a few Elkhorn Corals next to shore and a nice patch of Staghorn Coral a little deeper.
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The second layer of reef has similar corals to the first with the exception of Elkhorn. There were a lot of fish at these depths too. There is a large patch of Staghorn Coral to the right of the entrance in this layer that has a lot going on.
That same patch of Staghorn keeps going deeper into the third layer of deeper reef. And these depths have nice corals of similar types to the first layer. We spotted a couple Green Sea Turtles and a Great Barracuda in these depths too.
When snorkeling Chocogo the drop-off is quite far out and gets too deep for snorkelers. We recommend you don’t bother going beyond the third layer of reef.
Visibility near shore is not great, even on a really calm day. Visibility was decent on the outer layers of reef though.
What We Saw While Snorkeling Chocogo
You can look forward to seeing lots of fish when snorkeling Chocogo. We saw hogfish, grouper, filefish, triggerfish, schools of grunts, snappers, French Angelfish, butterflyfish, Blue Tang, Ocean Surgeonfish, chromis, damselfish, Trumpetfish, parrotfish, wrasse, goatfish, soapfish, Bar Jack, moray eel, flounder, Harelquin Bass, and squirrelfish. There was also a nice variety of sponges on the reef.
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Driving Directions for the Four Unmarked Spots
- Drive south out of Kralendijk on Kaya International toward the airport.
- Continue past the airport, past the intersection to Lac Bay and Sorobon Beach and through Belnem.
- You are now on EEG Boulevard. Shortly after Belnem, the road will turn to the left, come back near the water and you will start seeing the salt ponds on the left.
- You will pass the Salt Pier, some yellow painted boulders and the White Slave Huts.
- After the road curves to the left, you will start seeing numerous yellow painted boulders marking different dive sites.
- Watch for Sweet Dreams; it is the last site with a painted yellow boulder before these four unmarked ones. Start counting paved pullouts there.
- The first road to the ocean past the first paved pullout is Soft Coral Garden.
- After the second paved pullout, the next road to the ocean is Hidden Beach.
- After the third paved pullout is Yellow Hut.
- Chocogo is the last paved pullout, just before the house. Park near the road and walk to the ocean.