In April and May 2016 I was diving the dutch carribean. Bonaire and Couracao call themselves “diver’s paradise” – and they truely are. What’s so special about the two islands is, that you don’t have to book a guided tour by boat (though you can), but instead you just pack all your diving gear and your tanks in your car and find yourself a good spot to jump into the water.
Well, you don’t have to jump most of the places. Diving on the ABC’s is quite easy. All along the shoreline you can find small yellow rocks that indicate a good dive site. Sometimes you find a yellow rock every 100 metres. And almost every dive site is something very unique. You can start dicing a double reef with lots of muranes and little fish, then go 100 metres further to dive at an industrial plant and 500 metres away you’ll find a wall dive with turtles.
If you like big fish, well, you should go somewhere else. Also when you are looking for palmtrees and the “postcard carribean”, because most of the island’s is dusty with small trees only – and except of the flamingo’s. But underwater life is brilliant. It is even better on Bonaire, on the other hand there is much more going on (culturally) on Curacao. Except the american casino tourists that you can find on Aruba. Curacao’s reefs are not as dense as on Bonaire, but if you start on Bonaire you can try to check out the little things.
Check out the photos in my Flickr stream. We did more than 30 dives, mainly from the shore. So here is my absolut Top 5:
“The Invisibles” (Diving the duouble reef with lots of small fish)
“Salt Pier” (Diving at an industrial pier)
“Playa Frans” (Absolutely remote, noone else around, therefore a lot of healthy corals)
“Karpata” and “1.000 Steps” (very popular, but great wall dives)
“Hilma Hooker” (THE Wreck on Bonaire – quite nice, not too special, but you have to see it)
“Playa Grandi” (On the northern edge of the island. You will definitely find turtles here. Nice bay and absolutely stunning)
“Superior Producer” (Wreck near Willemstad. When we went down there, we were welcomed by an army of more than 60 big tarpoon. Scary but absolutely worth it).
“The Valley / Porto Marie” (Well, I love hiking, so I love the underwater landscape a lot. It feels like flying and hiking through and over underwater mountains, both at the same time)
“Mushroom Forest” (Nice corals that look like mushrooms – and if you make it to the blue grotto, it is an amazing light)
“Tugboat” (A small wreck that lies right under the surface, so the light is great with a lot of small fish. Great for underwater photography and if you swim a little further, there is a nice wall).
And one last advice: I bought some books about diving the ABC’s in germany beforehand. You can skip that. On the islands you can buy detailed books with all the dive sites and good explanations. They are called “Dive Guide Bonaire / Curacao” and cost around 25 Euros. Publisher is “Carribean Diveguides”. Also the paper is very thick, so they can get wet.