Scuba Dive Bonaire
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Scuba Dive Bonaire

Travel recommendations for scuba diving in Bonaire.

While no location can claim the title of “best scuba spot in the world”, Bonaire certainly comes as close as any. This tiny island, part of the Netherlands Antilles and the “B” in the ABC Islands (Aruba and Curaçao make up the other two), is rightly known as a diver’s paradise. Unlike neighboring Aruba, Bonaire has none of the high rise resorts and development sprawl typical of many Caribbean getaways. Instead, the island focuses on providing an ideal destination specifically for scuba divers.

After arriving at Flamingo Airport, you may find it convenient to rent a car, as that will provide you with maximum flexibility for getting from dive site to dive site. Numerous hotels catering to divers are located in the vicinity of Kralendijk where the airport is. Staying at one of these specialized dive hotels is convenient and not too pricey. The staff can lead you through the required Bonaire National Marine Park Orientation/Briefing and you can pick up your tanks and rental equipment for the day right at the hotel. Captain Don’s habitat is one excellent choice and guests can even dive right at the resort.

One of the main attractions of Bonaire is the shore diving. You can certainly take a boat out to little Bonaire, but you can just as easily wade 20 feet into the water and start your dive from there. A highway loops around about half the island and brightly painted yellow rocks on the roadside mark recommended diving locations. Currents and tides are generally mild, so Bonaire is a great place to try shore diving for the first time. Simply pile your gear into your car, get on the highway and stop wherever you feel like. Pack multiple tanks of air so you can get in your maximum number of dives, but remember to leave sufficient time in between. Boat divers may be used to built-in time on the boat as it sails to another location, but prime dive spots are so close together on Bonaire that you need to be aware of your surface interval. Be sure to check out http://www.infobonaire.com/scubadiving.html for more detailed information on diving regulations and conditions.

Now that you know all the main logistical issues, you may be wondering what you’ll actually get to see on your dives. Bonaire’s protected marine park boasts numerous species of tropical fish, sea horses, turtles, coral and huge bait balls. For a more complete list of what to expect, visit http://www.geographia.com/BONAIRE/bondiv01.htm.Overall good visibility will allow you see all the reef has to offer and will help first time shore divers easily negotiate their surroundings.

Bonaire regulations prohibit scuba diving on your planned departure date because most visitors access the island by air. Fortunately, there are also enjoyable above-water options to fill your downtime. Head south from Kralendijk to take a kayak tour of the mangroves (http://www.infobonaire.com/kayaking.html) or try your hand at windsurfing. If you decide to go for a drive or bike ride, keep your eye for the island’s famous feral donkeys. And if you just haven’t had enough time in the water, hop back in for some snorkeling and reminisce about your favorite dive of the trip.

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