Diving and Snorkeling#1 in Best Things To Do in Bonaire
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As part of Bonaire National Marine Park, the island's entire coastline has been protected for more than 30 years, making Bonaire one of the Caribbean's best diving destinations. With 53 easily accessible diving spots dotting the entire leeward side of the island, Bonaire offers divers an abundance of places to explore underwater splendors. As one TripAdvisor user says they "Love that you can pull over, put on your scuba gear and within 5 minutes be on top of the most beautiful reefs."
Remember that you must be certified before you can plunge into the deep blue sea. Though many island resorts offer diving packages—which include PADI certification—training before your trip may cut down the overall cost and allow you to start exploring from day one. All divers are required to purchase the mandatory $25 nature tag, which you must attach to your scuba gear. The fee grants you one year of unlimited diving, and the proceeds help maintain Bonaire Marine Park.
You don't necessarily have to strap on an oxygen tank in order to see Bonaire's colorful coral; instead, try a snorkeling cruise to Klein Bonaire with Compass Bonaire. In addition to providing the necessary equipment and instruction, the cruise also includes snacks and soda from an on-board chef. Half-day sail and snorkeling cruises start at $55 per person. Snorkelers and swimmers are also required to purchase the mandatory nature tag, but are only required to pay $10.
If you want to venture out on your own, large yellow rocks on the roadside visibly mark dive sites. 1,000 Steps Beach is a popular diving spot with locals and travelers alike because of the abundance of staghorn corals and other marine life.
Diving rates and packages vary by company on the island. Generally, one full oxygen tank rental costs about $20, one day of unlimited shore diving costs about $30, and one guided dive costs about $60. To learn more about Bonaire's dive sites and to see a complete list of diving operators, check out the Bonaire Tourism website.
More Best Things To Do in Bonaire
Kralendijk—Bonaire's capital city—is a quaint hub of commercial and cultural activity comprising only a few blocks in size. While strolling along the streets, you'll notice well-preserved architecture, waterfront eateries, and a small yet bustling market.
Head to Queen Wilhemina Park for Bonairean souvenirs, and when it's prime cruise ship season, catch a traditional music or dance performance while shopping. These performances offer a colorful glimpse into Bonaire's heritage, and liven up this normally quiet city.
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