Bonaire Diving and Snorkeling#1 in Best Things To Do in Bonaire
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Thanks to Bonaire's marine conservation programs – some of which have been in place for almost 60 years – the island is one of the Caribbean's best diving destinations. With 63 official dive sites on the main island (and an additional 26 spots on the islet of Klein Bonaire), the island offers an abundance of options for divers' underwater explorations.
Remember that you must be certified before you can plunge into the deep blue sea. Though many resorts offer diving packages, training before your trip may cut down on overall costs and allow you to dive right in on day one. All divers are required to purchase the mandatory $45 nature tag, which you must attach to your scuba gear. The fee grants you one year of unlimited diving, and the proceeds help maintain the Bonaire National Marine Park.
However, you don't have to strap on an oxygen tank to see Bonaire's colorful reefs. Instead, try a snorkeling cruise to Klein Bonaire with a tour company like Compass Bonaire. In addition to providing the necessary equipment and instruction, these sailings include sodas and snacks prepared by an onboard chef. Half-day sailing and snorkeling cruises start at $60 per person. Snorkelers and swimmers are required to purchase a nature tag, but they will only pay $25.
If you want to venture out on your own, large yellow rocks on the roadside visibly mark dive sites. The beach at 1000 Steps is a popular diving and snorkeling spot with locals and travelers alike because of the abundance of staghorn corals and other marine life. Or, fall all the way down the rabbit hole at the popular Alice in Wonderland shore dive spot. Borrowing its name from Lewis Carroll's time-honored novel, Alice in Wonderland offers divers and snorkelers the chance to stumble into a fantasy world of gorgonian corals, turtles and colorful fish. To learn more about Bonaire's dive sites and to see a complete list of diving operators, check out the Bonaire Tourism website.
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Kralendijk – Bonaire's capital city – is a quaint hub of commercial and cultural activity comprising only a few blocks in size. While touring through the streets, you'll notice well-preserved Caribbean architecture, waterfront eateries and a small yet bustling market when cruise ships are docked at the pier from November through April.
Head to Plaza Wilhelmina, the center of town, for a pleasant stroll and benches to sit and people watch. Shop for authentic souvenirs along Kaya Grandi, the area's main street, or pop into the Bonaire Museum to see large collections of shells and learn about the island's history. Kralendijk sits about 2 miles north of Bonaire International Airport on the island's southwestern side. For more information about what to do in Kralendijk, visit the Bonaire Tourism website.
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