Bonaire Diving:
Northern Dive Sites

Bonaire diving is some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean. There are lots of dive sites to choose from and you most likely won't be disappointed by any of them.

Of course, you'll like some better than others but the worst dive in Bonaire is probably better than the best dive in alot of places.

You can dive in the north, in town, in the south or off of Klein Bonaire.

We tried diving in all the areas and we have reported our experiences in each (see links below).

Here you will find our take on the Bonaire dive sites we did which are located north of town.

Bonaire Dive Sites: Northern

We start this list with the most northern site we dove and will work our way south.

  • Karpata
  • This site is usually high on the list of dives to do when people come to dive Bonaire. And after doing this dive, I can see why.

    Steps leading down to Karpata dive site
    Bonaire diving - Karpata dive site

    This is the most northern site before you hit Washington Slagbaai National Park. As I said on our page of Bonaire shore diving tips (see below), this site is on the one-way road. Therefore, you might want to do a dive south of Karpata first and do Karpata as your second dive to avoid having to circle around to get to another dive site (about a 15-20 minute drive if you do another northern site).

    There is a snack bar at the top of the steps leading down to the water (closed during the week we were there). There are about 20 steps leading down to the water's edge.

    Platform at Karpata dive site
    bonaire diving - karpata platform

    You'll find a platform here and the easiest way to enter is to stand on the right of the platform and hold on while you are putting on your fins. It can be rough so the platform is great to have.

    This site has great formations and ridges. It actually reminded us of ski slopes.

    We saw lots of life on this dive including huge yellow snappers, sharppointed eel, cowfish, 3 squid, tarpon, lobster, jellyfish, porcupine fish and more.

    There are also 3 anchors at this site - and we didn't see one of them! We went north to start our dive since that was into the current (although the current wasn't very strong). Turns out the anchors are to the south of the buoy. Maybe next time.

    Our max depth on this dive was 80 feet (had to check something out), water temperature was 84F and we did a 60 minute dive. Visibility was around 80 feet.

  • 'Ol Blue
  • We did this prior to Karpata since someone pointed out the issue with the one way street. The parking area is elevated and you need to go down a stone pathway to the water's edge (located all the way on the left of the "first" parking area).

    'Ol Blue dive site marker
    Bonaire diving - 'ol blue dive site

    The surf was pretty rough when we were there but once we got under water it was nice and calm with minimal current. Made the entry and exit a bit more challenging but not too bad.

    We saw tarpon, lots of red banded shrimp, porcupine fish, cleaning station, trumpetfish hiding on a parrotfish, flounder, drumfish and more.

    A nice dive but if I had to choose, I would say Karpata was better.

    Max depth was 78 feet, 84F water temperature and Visibility was about 80 feet.

  • 1,000 Steps
  • The infamous 1,000 steps of Bonaire diving - so named because of all the steps leading down from the road to the beach.

    Beginning of 1,000 Steps
    Bonaire diving - 1,000 steps dive site

    However, there are only 72 steps (according to Susan Porter in BSDME) but they can feel like 1,000 when you are lugging all that scuba gear back up to the truck.

    Actually, it really wasn't that bad. Take your time and you will be there in no time.

    This spot has an absolutely gorgeous view so enjoy it on your way down. There are cutouts in the coral so it is an easy entry and exit.

    More steps - though less than 1,000!
    bonaire diving - 1,000 steps dive site

    This Bonaire dive site has great coral formations. Marine life we saw included barracudas, turtle, cleaning station, lots of sargeant majors, 2 big porcupine fish, black durgeons, tarpons, cowfish, French angel, rock beauty and more.

    Our max depthe on this dive was 73 feet, water temp was 84F and visibility was again around 80 feet.

  • Oil Slick Leap
  • This was the best entry yet - never saw this anywhere before. Another unique thing about Bonaire diving.

    You don your gear and stand on top of a ledge where there are 2 flat spots to stand on (to the right of the platform). Then you take a nice big giant stride and "leap" into the water about 10 feet below. It was alot of fun.

    Jumping off Oil Slick Leap after a dive
    bonaire diving - oil slick leap dive site

    If you are not up to it (or you are carrying a camera, etc.) there is a platform and very nice ladder there for easy entry and exit.

    They look fairly new and are in great shape - just be careful of the steps under the water as they are slick. Scuba Bonaire - they have it all covered here.

    On this Bonaire dive we saw scrawl filefish, drumfish, French angel, 2 turtles, flounder, sanddiver, eel, tarpon, brittle stars, queen angel, school of tangs, flamingo tongue snail and more.

    Nice ladder and platform at Oil Slick Leap - in case you don't want to leap
    bonaire diving - oil slick leap dive site

    It was a nice dive but what I remember most is that entry.

    After the dive and on our last day driving around the island, we took lots of leaps off the ledge. Give it a try, it's fun and different. A good break from some Bonaire diving.

    Our max depth here was 82 feet, water temperature was 84F and visibility was about 70 feet.

    • Andrea I

    This site is closer to town and below a new housing development. There is a big yellow boulder on the shore to mark the best entry point.

    When you are standing on shore you can see the fins and tails of fish coming out of the water since they are feeding on a really shallow reef area. It looks pretty cool.

    Bonaire dive site marker
    bonaire diving - Andreal I dive site marker

    This was a pretty good dive though not one of my favorites. Visibility wasn't that good on this dive - probably about 50 feet.

    On this dive we saw lots of parrotfish, turtle, tarpon, sea cucumbers, huge French Angel, barjack that had been hooked, scrawled filefish, jacks, red banded shrimp, a spotted moray which was out on reef, lots of little fish and more.

    Our maximum depth here was 60 feet and water temperature read 85F.

  • Bari Reef
  • This is the house reef for Sanddollar Condominiums and Den Laman Condominiums. Since it was right out front of our place, we dove this spot 3 times.

    Bonaire diving marker at Sanddollar Condos
    bonaire diving - bari reef dive site

    The first dive was our required checkout dive and we went north. Another day we went south and we also did a night dive here.

    The reef gets pretty beat up when you head south so if the current isn't an issue (it never was while we were there), I would recommend going north on this dive.

    It's a very nice reef with lots of fish life and the REEF project names this as the reef with the most species of fish in the Caribbean. Not too shabby for your house reef.

    Dock (being worked on) at Sanddollar and entrance to Bari Reef dive site
    bonaire diving - bari reef dive site

    On the reef we saw tarpon, flounder, lots of eels, baby French Angels, Queen Angel (my favorite), yellowtails, triggerfish, trumpetfish, sand diver, parrotfish and lots more (we didn't take the ID course offered).

    On the night dive here we also saw 3 octupus out in the open and change beautiful colors. Definitely a highlight.

    Water temperatures were again around 84F and our max depth during the day dives here was about 65 feet. Visibility was in the 75-80 foot range. During the night dive our max depth was 39 feet.

    These are just the dives we did to the north of town. Bonaire diving offers lots more northern sites but we only had so much time! Wherever you dive in Bonaire, I don't think you will be disappointed.

    Just strap that tank on and go! Have a great dive!

    Here is a list of our other pages on Bonaire scuba diving:

    Bonaire Island scuba diving overview

    Bonaire scuba diving trip report

    Bonaire shore diving tips

    Town Pier Dive

    Klein Bonaire Dive Sites

    Southern Dive Sites

    Bonaire maps

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