Snorkeling Salt Pier – Big Schools of Fish

Bonaire

Snorkeling Salt Pier is good, with a large shallow terrace area that is a great depth for snorkelers. It is not dense with life, but has fish and a good mix of hard and soft corals over a rocky bottom. The other benefit to this site is that there are often schools of fish hanging out around the pier pilings near the drop-off.

Snorkeling Salt Pier Bonaire

The pier is used to transfer salt that is collected from the salt ponds that are across the road. It is a giant conveyor belt that delivers the salt to the ship.

Mountains of salt waiting to be loaded on ships at the Salt Pier on Bonaire

If there is a ship at the pier you are not allowed to snorkel here. You also may not be able to get in if they are performing maintenance on the pier. Heed all of the signs, including where to park.

Sign on the beach at Salt Pier - not snorkeling when vessels are tied up

Due to ships being at the pier and maintenance going on, we were not able to snorkel this spot on our recent trip, so underwater pictures and info may be out of date. If you have snorkeled this spot in the last two years please share your experience with some pictures here.

Water Entrance for Snorkeling Salt Pier

The easiest place to get in the water for snorkeling Salt Pier is on the right side of the pier, in the break in the iron-shore from the sand and coral rubble beach. Once in the water, you will need to walk over the hard rock bottom with tiny corals on it for a while until it becomes deep enough to float and change into fins. Watch your step so you don’t step on the corals. Footwear is a good idea.

The left side of the pier has an iron-shore beach, making entry much more difficult. There is another sandy zone a ways to the left, but from that entrance you will be swimming over a boring sandy bottom to get to the good snorkeling area.

Bonaire's Salt Pier with no ship tied up

Hey, if you are finding this helpful, you will love our free monthly snorkeling newsletter.

Where to Snorkel

After entering, swim under the pier to the left. The shallow terrace between shore and the part of the pier near the drop-off has some life to see. You will find many types of corals, including Elkhorn and Staghorn, fire, and brain. There are a variety of sponges and sea fans, sea rods, and sea plumes too. The reef is a bit spread out, but still fun to explore. There were quite a few fish in this area too.

Mixed corals on the terrace before the drop-off at Salt Pier

The terrace is about 10 feet deep and the visibility varies. It is a little low near shore, but better farther out. Also, the farther left you go it gets lower again.

Sea fan, fish and other corals at Salt Pier

Blurry Fish, Rotten Colors, Garbage Pictures

That does not look like what I saw! See our snorkeling camera pages for tips on selecting a good snorkeling camera, and how to use it for great pictures.

When snorkeling Salt Pier, be sure to check out the pilings under the pier near the drop-off. We saw large schools of fish hanging out under there and some interesting sponges and corals to see on the pilings. The bottom is a little deeper at 15 to 25 feet and the visibility is OK.

There can be wind, chop, and a bit of current here, so keep an eye out for that when snorkeling Salt Pier.

What We Saw

Bowl sponge at Salt Pier Bonaire

We saw a decent number of fish while snorkeling Salt Pier. We saw: angelfish, barracuda, butterflyfish, chromis, damselfish, Chub, cowfish, trunkfish, filefish, flounder, goatfish, grouper, grunts, snappers, hogfish, Bar Jacks, needlefish, parrotfish, wrasse, tangs and surgeonfish.

The corals we saw while snorkeling Salt Pier are listed in the Where to Snorkel section above.

Driving Directions

  1. Drive south out of Kralendijk on Kaya International toward the airport.
  2. Continue past the airport, past the intersection to Lac Bay and Sorobon Beach and through Belnem.
  3. 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.
  4. You will notice yellow painted boulders for other dive spots, but keep going until you come to the Salt Pier, which is also marked with a yellow painted boulder. Park on the north side of it, but pay attention to the signs about where not to park.

Facilities

None.

More Bonaire Snorkeling Tips