Snorkeling In Bonaire March 2014
(Santa Fe, NM, USA)
I just returned from spending the entire month of March snorkeling in Bonaire. It was windy, but still excellent. The local people are still gracious and friendly. Galen and Nicole's Bonaire Snorkeling Guide is a must-have, and served me well. I especially appreciated their tip to snorkel Red Beryl, where I saw five turtles one day -- including a huge one with barnacles and moss on its back -- as well as numerous squid and a very large Green Moray Eel.
However, in my month there, I noticed that, compared to when I first snorkeled Bonaire some 25 years ago, there seem to be far less barracuda, large jacks and large groupers. The reason, I suspect, is that there are many more restaurants on Bonaire serving fish -- including groupers, jacks and barracuda. A local fishing guide told me that he could easily sell 100 to 200 pounds of fish in a day to the restaurants. The guide told me that, contrary to reports, there are no restrictions, by either locals or visitors, to fish the Marine Park (the reefs). It has to have an impact. If you go to Bonaire, try not to eat reef fish in the restaurants.
I stayed at Harbour Village. It is expensive compared to some other hotels, but worth it, I think. Great rooms and great staff. And it has a couple of big advantages. For one thing, it has twice-daily trips to Klein Bonaire. Cost is $17.50 a person for snorkelers. With this convenience, you can cut back on, or even skip car rentals, which are expensive on Bonaire. Another plus at Harbour Village is the security. I have read and heard reports about increasing crime on Bonaire -- mostly theft, even from hotel rooms and rented villas, not just cars.
On this trip -- about my sixth or seventh to Bonaire -- I discovered that there is excellent flyfishing for bonefish there, besides the top-notch snorkeling. You actually fish in the big evaporative salt pans! Caught and released some nice bonefish.
Traffic is getting worse on Bonaire. We were tail-gated a couple of times by divers, anxious to get to their favorite spot and spend their 30 minutes spewing bubbles underwater.
All in all, Bonaire is still a great place to visit, and snorkel.