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As you might expect, great diving spots abound all around Bonaire. The early government on Bonaire actually had the foresight to realize that the natural wonders around the island could be jeopardized by curious treasure hunters, so they took steps to preserve many of the reefs around the island, the salt ponds, and some of the natural areas on the island by declaring them national parks or marine parks.
If you're a diver, you'll want to explore the reefs between Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. They are a national marine park and offer exciting glimpses of exotic fish, vegetation, and coral formations. A sunken freighter, the Hilma Hunter, sits on the sandy bottom just off Bonaire and offers divers the best in underwater exploration. While you can snorkel and dive from the beach in some locations, there are far more dive sites available by boat. Your hotel or resort staff (or if you're in a villa rental, your property manager) can help you make arrangements for a boat.
If you're not a diver, you might want to try wind surfing. Lessons are available for a nominal fee in many locations. If you travel inland a bit, you'll find miles of challenging bike and hiking trails.
The Aquaspace must probably be the fun and friendly sailing charter with the coolest and greatest underwater observation desk of the entire Caribbean. The ship designed and built by Jacques Rougerie, co-worker of world-known marine biologist Jacques Cousteau. After having served as a Center of Marine Biology Studies, it now offers great sailing charter in the waters around diver's paradise Bonaire.
This great sailing ship offers a fully airconditioned underwater observation deck, consisting 90 percent out of glass giving a panorama view of the underwater wonders. Also sundeck and plenty of shade. Lavatories available.
For the most part, the beaches are full of coral and feel gritty to bare feet. Those on the leeward side (the more tranquil side of the island) are often narrow strips. To compensate, some hotels have shipped in extra sand for their guests.
Pink Beach, south of Kralendijk, out past Salt Pier, is the best, despite its narrow strip of sand, shallow water, and lack of shade. The beach really is a deep pink color, from the corals that have been pulverized into sand by the waves.
Bonaire's offshore island, tiny, uninhabited Klein Bonaire, just 1 mile offshore, has some pristine beaches. Popular for snorkeling, scuba diving, and picnicking,
No Name Beach, on the north side of Klein Bonaire, features a white-sand beach. Snorkelers can see a rainbow of colorful fish darting through stunning formations of elkhorn coral. Accessible only by boat, Klein Bonaire is home to sea turtles and other indigenous wildlife. Ask at your hotel if arrangements can be made for a trip to the island.
Playa Funchi, within Washington Slagbaai National Park, is good for snorkeling. Also within the park, the more appealing Boca Slagbaai draws snorkelers and picnickers. You can spot flamingos nearby. Don't venture into the waters barefoot, as the coral beach can be quite rough.
A final beach at the national park is Boca Cocolishi, a black-sand strip on the northern coast. This is the windiest beach on Bonaire; you'll certainly stay cool as the trade winds whip the surf up. The waters are too rough for swimming, but it's a good picnic spot.
Many of Bonaire's beaches are along the east coast. The best spot for windsurfers is Lac Bay Beach, on the southern shore of Lac Bay. There are mangroves at the north end of the bay. One unusual spot is Nukove Beach, a minicave in a limestone cliff with a small white-sand channel, which cuts through the dense wall of elkhorn coral near the shore, giving divers and snorkelers easy access to the water. Farther north is 1,000 Steps Beach carved out of the limestone cliff lead to the white-sand beach. This beach offers good snorkeling and diving, a unique location and view, and nearly perfect solitude.
One of the biggest thrills a person who enjoys fishing can experience is to match wits with an elusive, feisty, bonefish. There are a number of "secret" spots the local guides have staked out on the island and are willing to share with visiting fishermen.
In addition to bone fishing, there are a number of charter boats that will take anglers sport fishing in the waters off the coast of Bonaire. Sailfish, marlin, tuna and tarpon are the most likely to be caught, however it is not uncommon to catch wahoo, dorado and other edible species.
Bonaire's pristine reefs and diverse marine life are unique to the Caribbean. Because the waters around Bonaire are designated as an official marine park, diving Bonaire is like diving the Caribbean the way it used to be - untouched and unspoiled. The island's location in the south Caribbean gives it an arid climate with little rainfall; consequently, the waters are exceptionally clear of silt, calm, and dive-able year round.
Fishing from shore is not permitted as the Bonaire Marine Park protects the waters surrounding the island, but Bonaire's offshore fishing grounds offer some of the best fishing in the Caribbean. A good day's catch might include mackerel, tuna, wahoo, dolphin (mahimahi), blue marlin, amberjack, grouper, sailfish, or snapper. Bonaire is also one of the best-kept secrets of bonefishing enthusiasts.
Chris Morkos of Piscatur Fishing Supplies, Kaya Herman 4, Playa Pabao (tel. 599/717-8774; ) is a native Bonairean, he has been fishing all his life, and can arrange for your fishing party.
Glassbottom boat tours Bonaire National Marinepark. Tours start directly @ Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino. Great glassbottom-, sunset & snorkeltours. Check out: www.glassbottombonaire.com