Snorkeling Klein Bonaire should not be missed and is a highlight of what's available in Bonaire. It is a small, flat, uninhabited island just a half mile offshore from Bonaire and is protected by the national park. It has one of the only true sandy beaches in Bonaire, No Name Beach.
Note: This page is a sample from our popular Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.
The good snorkeling spots around the island have shallow reef areas and walls close to shore and fairly steep drop offs. Having both the shallows and the depths to explore, not to mention healthy corals and many fish, makes for an amazing snorkeling situation.
The only problem with snorkeling Klein Bonaire is getting there. There are four ways.
We rented a motor boat for several days and explored every single spot around the island. We found twelve snorkeling spots that we are happy to recommend. They are all described in our Bonaire Snorkeling Guide eBook linked to above. All around the island there are boat mooring buoys that mark places you are allowed to get in the water. These buoys are marked A through Z. We recorded GPS coordinates of every buoy where we recommend the snorkeling.
The easiest spot to reach for snorkeling Klein Bonaire is No Name Beach (Playa Neme), in front of buoy A. It is also one of the best spots on the island.
The water taxis travel back and forth several times a day, making access regular and uncomplicated. The boat ride for snorkeling Klein Bonaire takes about 25 minutes on the water and will drop you off at No Name Beach. You can stay on the island as long as you want, just make sure you don’t miss the last taxi back.
Note that there are no facilities on the island other than some trash cans and a couple of shade structures, so you need to bring plenty of water and some food.
This is a one way drift snorkel and if you snorkel the entire length of it, and spend a lot of time checking out the reef and fish, it will be about an hour and a half in the water. If you go quicker, plan on an hour.
This drift snorkel starts by getting in the water near buoy B - Ebo's Reef to the south, swimming with the current, then getting out at No Name Beach, buoy A. There are two ways to do this. The best is to tell the water taxi you want to do the drift snorkel, leave your non-snorkeling gear on the beach, and then the taxi will drop you off in the water at the beginning of the drift snorkel.
The other option is to get off the taxi, leave your non-snorkeling gear on the beach and walk down to the south, get in and drift back. To walk this safely you will need to have some protective footwear, because the beach changes from sandy to rock and coral rubble. Walk south until the reef structure close to shore starts to end. Look for the orange buoy, which is B, if the park has the buoy there. It is a good long ways down the shoreline, maybe a 20 minute walk. When you get toward the end near the buoy look for a good break in the reef to swim through. Be aware of any shallow corals when you are putting on your fins.
Once you are in the water, you can explore three different areas at this snorkeling Klein Bonaire spot.
First, there is some very shallow reef, less than 3 feet, right next to the beach with fantastic corals. We saw turtles and fish here too. Be very careful not to touch the corals. It is best to explore this area when the water is calm and the tide is high. If you are dropped off by the water taxi, you will need to find a break in the reef to safely pass through to the shallows. The visibility is variable in the shallows, depending on conditions.
Next, exit the shallows through a break in the shallow reef and there is an interesting wall of coral that almost reaches the surface, and you can follow it all along the shoreline. You can swim right next to it and get very close views of Fire and Orange Cup Corals, lots of fish moving in and out of the structure, and other creatures too. The depths go down to about 10 feet along the wall and the visibility is pretty good.
Finally, farther away from shore you swim over the steep drop off in the dark blue water. You can see a great distance down because of the excellent water clarity typical of snorkeling Klein Bonaire. There are healthy corals and many wonderful sponges, in a variety of types. You will also see larger varieties of fish, and schools in the deeper waters. Keep your eyes open for turtles, they are common here. The depths are from about 10 feet to deeper than you can see.
Once you are outside the shallow reef edge, you let the current pull you along to the north, back to No Name Beach.
The current we experienced was not very strong. We could pretty easily swim back against it. But it was definitely there. If you are not paying attention before you know it you will be twenty or thirty feet down the reef without swimming. But fortunately the current moves along the shore, the direction you want.
In some areas very warm water will be flowing out of the shallows. And in other areas you will feel cold drafts of water coming up from the depths. This thermocline situation reduces visibility a bit, kind of like when there is fresh water on the surface. But these areas are not big and you swim past them quickly.
This is a fantastic snorkeling Klein Bonaire reef full of corals, fish and other creatures.
On No Name Beach there are shade structures and trash cans.
Caribbean Fish, Creatures & Corals ID Books