Snorkeling Cliff – Close to Shore Fish and Fire Coral


This is a good spot when the water is calm. When snorkeling Cliff you will find a decent amount of fish to enjoy in shallow areas of fire corals and a few Elkhorn Corals.

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It is accessed from the Hamlet Oasis Resort on the north end of town and a Dive Friends Dive Shop is in the parking area. The gate to access the area is open from 8am to 5pm.

Parrotfish and corals seen while snorkeling Cliff on Bonaire

Water Entrance for Snorkeling Cliff

The water access for snorkeling Cliff is behind the dive shop, which is on the right side of the parking area close to shore.

You head down the path behind the dive shop, and right into the water. There is an old concrete wall that you can use to help support yourself as you carefully walk into the water over large chunks of old corals. Shoes are necessary for this entrance. It is unsteady footing, so if the waves are up, and you are unsteady, it is not advisable to try. Once you are in deep enough water to float, put on your fins.

Water entrance to Cliff.
View to the left at Cliff.

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Where to Snorkel

After entering the water for snorkeling Cliff, swim out a short distance and then swim to the left along the shallow reef. In this area the terrain and topography are a bit more interesting than other rocky locations, allowing you to swim in and out of little spurs and grooves. The stony coral formations are mostly dead, but there are patches that are alive. There are areas of live fire corals and that is where the fish hang out. There are a few live Elkhorn, brain, and star corals in the shallows but they are generally not in great shape.

Elkhorn coral at Cliff.

As long as the water is calm the visibility can be good, but can be low in the sandier areas. The depths range from 3 to 6 feet. You will notice the reefs die off almost completely once you get near the dock at Captain Don’s Habitat.

When snorkeling Cliff keep your eyes out for a big old anchor partially buried, with some corals growing on it. It is in about 10 feet of water a bit farther from shore than the fire corals near shore. There are a few sparse corals on the bottom in this area between shore and the drop-off, including a few sea rods.

Old anchor at Cliff.
Old anchor you can see while snorkeling Cliff

Once you swim as far left as is interesting, you could swim out to the drop-off, then swim back to the right. The drop-off starts in about 25 feet of water and dives just about straight down into the blue. It is basically a vertical wall, giving the location its name. There is not a lot to see in the depths for snorkelers at the reef’s edge, but there is a large cement mooring pin with some life on and around it to see. Overall the drop-off is not very healthy.

Trumpetfish in fire corals at Cliff.

The area to the right of the entrance is fenced off, preventing you from swimming there because this is where the Bonaire water plant takes in water.

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What We Saw

Purple Tube Sponge at Cliff.

We saw a decent number of fish while snorkeling Cliff. We saw wrasse, parrotfish, Blue Tang, damselfish, chromis, grouper, schools of grunts, snappers, Trumpetfish, Bar Jack, Redlip Blenny, Sharptail Eel, squirrelfish, filefish, and goatfish. We also saw a number of sponges, but many look unhealthy.

The corals we saw are listed above in the Where to Snorkel section of snorkeling Cliff.

Sharptail Eel at Cliff.

Driving Directions

Entrance gate to Cliff.
  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.
  2. Take your second right in the traffic circle on the north end of town and keep heading north.
  3. You will pass some shops on the left, then Buddy Dive Resort, then Captain Don’s Habitat.
  4. The next resort is the Hamlet Oasis. They have a cement and steel fence all along the road. At the north end of that fence is a gate. There is also a yellow painted boulder for Cliff here. Turn left into the gate. The gate is open from 8am to 5pm.
  5. Follow this road to near the water and park by the Dive Friends Dive Shop.
Parking lot and dive center at Cliff.


There is a dive shop.

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