Snorkeling Klein Bonaire takes some effort and a boat trip, but allows you to see some good sea life. 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 few true sandy beaches in Bonaire, No Name Beach.
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, makes for enjoyable snorkeling.
The only problem with snorkeling Klein Bonaire is getting there. We used to recommend renting your own boat, but it has become unreasonably expensive for two people, so we no longer do. There are two other ways.
- Take one of the water taxis. This is a great way to go, but it only allows you to access one spot, No Name Beach. We have been asked if you could take the taxi over and hike to other spots on the island to snorkel. We have not done it, but the park allows it, though they do not recommend it for safety reasons. Many of the other snorkel spots around the island have small, bluff-like shorelines that would be impossible to dangerous to enter at or exit after snorkeling.
- Take a snorkeling boat tour. This the best way to go for snorkeling the other good spots around Klein Bonaire.
Read our Bonaire boat snorkeling tour page for info about your water taxi and snorkel boat company options.
Snorkeling Klein Bonaire – Water Taxi to No Name Beach
The easiest spot to reach for snorkeling Klein Bonaire is No Name Beach (Playa Neme), in front of buoy A. 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 for your snorkeling Klein Bonaire trip.
Between Klein Bonaire and the main island, there is almost always a current running from south to north that can also wrap around the north side of the island in the east trade winds. This current is what makes a drift snorkel a good option here.
Water Entrances for Snorkeling No Name Beach
Most of the time the water taxis offer the service of a one-way drift snorkel. After arriving at No Name Beach, you drop off your non-snorkeling gear on the beach then get back on the boat. On its way back to Kralendijk, the water taxi will drop you off in the water and you drift snorkel back to the beach. It is variable where they drop you, but on our last trip it was a little ways north of buoy B.
The other water entrance option is to get off the taxi, leave your non-snorkeling gear on the beach, walk south down to the yellow marker that has been placed on shore (the water taxi staff should point this out to you from the boat), and get in and drift back.
Be aware that this walking version is a much shorter drift snorkel and the snorkeling area does not have very much sea life to enjoy.
The marked spot has a break in the reef so that you can swim to the outside of the reef to snorkel back to the beach. Be aware of any shallow corals when you are putting on your fins.
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Where to Snorkel
Be aware that the park has a rule that you cannot swim through to the shallow reef next to shore except at the yellow marked spot mentioned above. So, on your drift snorkel, stay outside the outer edge of the reef.
If you are dropped off a bit farther south, the shallows have a sparse variety of corals to see in decent health, Elkhorn, brain, Lobed Star, Yellow Pencil, sea plumes, and sea rods.
As you get closer to the beach you will be swimming along a 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 Blade Fire and Orange Cup Corals, some fish moving in and out of the structure, and other creatures too.
Also in this area, the corals in the shallows get noticeably less healthy, with evidence of damage from humans, previous bleaching events, or disease, and lots of Elkhorn skeletons.
Farther away from shore you are swimming over the sloping drop-off in the dark blue water. There are some areas with corals on the slope as it drops, though there are many areas with no sea life. You can see some star, brain, Yellow Pencil, and fire corals, sea plumes, and sea rods, but the health is noticeably low with evidence of bleaching events and disease. There are a number of sponges, but health is mixed in those too.
In some areas hot 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. But these areas are not big and you swim past them quickly.
Keep your eyes open for turtles, we saw a tiny Green Sea Turtle take off away from us in the shallows and a small Hawksbill in about 20 feet of water come up to the surface for a breath.
We have experienced different levels of current every time we have snorkeled here. At times it was not very strong. We could pretty easily swim back against it. But at other times it was stronger and harder to swim against. If you are not paying attention before you know it you will be 20 or 30 feet down the reef without swimming. But fortunately, most of the time the current moves you in the direction you want.
We have also snorkeled Klein Bonaire when the currents were non-existent. We believe this only happens when there is no wind. Because of this we were able to swim past No Name Beach to the left (looking from shore). We saw some patchy fire and brain corals with a few fish in this area.
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What We Saw While Snorkeling Klein Bonaire
The corals we saw while snorkeling Klein Bonaire are listed above in the Where to Snorkel section.
We saw a decent amount of fish here, but there was not much variety. In years past we saw quite a few large fish out in the blue water, but not on our most recent visit. We saw filefish, triggerfish, French Angelfish, chromis, damselfish, parrotfish, wrasse, trunkfish, cowfish, grunts, snappers, goatfish, Chubs, Bar Jacks, moray eels, grouper, and a Porcupinefish.
Foggy Masks, Fin Blisters and Angry Snorkels!
Poorly fitting, cheap gear, can ruin your trip. See our snorkeling equipment reviews and fitting suggestions to make sure your next trip is great.
Facilities for Snorkeling Klein Bonaire
On No Name Beach there are shade structures and trash cans.