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Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire
Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire shows EVERYTHING there is to do in Bonaire, and includes descriptions and locations of all of the fabulous scuba diving and snorkeling sites all around Bonaire. Side One focuses on Bonaire’s scuba diving and snorkeling sites, and the many activities that Bonaire’s tourists will want to take part in. Side Two of Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire shows details of Bonaire’s two towns, Kralendijk and Rincon, information about Bonaire’s National Marine Park, information about Bonaire’s history, and a photo tour of Bonaire.
Side One of Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire has the following captions for things to see and do in and around Bonaire, and for some of the animals found in Bonaire:
Washington Slagbaai National Park - Established in 1969, this was the first nature sanctuary of the Netherlands Antilles. The mission of the park is: “To protect and manage its natural, cultural
and historical resources, while allowing ecologically sustainable use for the benefit of future generations.” The park is extremely diverse, with fabulous shoreline scenery and lovely dive and snorkel opportunities. Desolate volcanic hills have breathtaking views. Visitors and locals alike find tremendous rewards who explore Bonaire’s Washington Slagbaai National Park by driving around and through the park on either the "long route" or the "short route". The drives take you by flamingo-filled lakes,past cactus-forested hills, and along Bonaire's rugged northwest coast. The birdwatching is unbeatable, plus you will see no end to the numbers of lizards plus a few green iguanas along the rough dirt roads. Keep your eye out for Bonaire's beloved Lora parrot. A thorough visit takes more than one day.
Bonaire National Marine Park - Established in 1979, this underwater park extends from the mean high tide mark to a depth of 60 meters (200 feet) all the way around the island. What that means to divers is that Bonaire will continue to be one of the top dive destinations in the world. Bonaire's 63 marked dive spots, and Klein Bonaire's 26 dive buoys, give Bonaire National Marine Park visitors an endless source of world-class diving adventures, while maintaining one of the world's most interesting National Parks.
Green Iguana - The green iguana inhabits much of Bonaire by living on flowers, fruits, and leaves. It is able to digest the poisonous manzaliña fruit. In the past the green iguana was called the "Island Chicken", in reference to its favorable taste as food. There is much color variation in iguanas, depending on where they live. Iguanas are timid creatures, however a big specimen at Playa Funchi approaches visitors in hopes of a treat.
Yellow-Shouldered Parrot - Endemic to Bonaire, this bird, locally called the "Lora" is seen in pairs, and will flock to noisy roosts in sheltered valleys. Visitors see parrots near town because of the availability of berries, seeds, fruit and the pods of the divi divi tree. You can usually catch a glimpse on your scenic island drive as well. Even though this lovely bird lives to be fifty years old, loss of habitat and poaching for pets has caused this species to become endangered.
Sailing - The bay of Bonaire is the best sailing spot in the Southern Caribbean. Half-day and full-day sailing trips with snorkeling, and sunset cruises are available with Bowalie at Harbor Village Marina. Call 786-7615. Suave Sailing Bonaire offers similar trips, plus full moon sailing from the Plaza Resort Marina. Call 786-7757. You can be your own captain in a motorized boat. Call Jan Blonk Boatcompany at 786-6858.
Abseilen - If you want to do something different, call Outdoor Bonaire at 791-6272, or 785-6272 and try abseilen, also know as rapelling. You can also do dome rock climbing, caving, mangrove kayaking or mountain biking, birdwatching or National Park tours with this fun adventure company.
Landsailing - Strong tradewinds are perfect for sailing on wheels. Stop by or call Landsailing Bonaire at 786-8122.
Snorkeling - Bonaire National Marine Park boasts world-class snorkeling. If you can swim, you can put on a mask, snorkel and fins and see the beautiful coral reefs and fascinating sea creatures at many of the 63 noted dive sites around Bonaire and the 26 sites around Klein Bonaire. The best snorkel sites are shown on the map. Andrea II is an example of Bonaire's fantastic snorkeling, with easy access via shore or from a snorkel tour boat, with incredibly rich shallows, teaming with Caribbean coral reef creatures, including over 100 varieties of fish. Snorkeling at spots such as Witch's Hut or Oil Slick to the north or Pink Beach to the south all offer different experiences worth investigating. Visibility often exceeds 30m (100'), and the water temperature is moderate so that snorkelers typically do not need a wet suit. All Marine Park users pay a Nature Fee.
Scuba Diving - Pristine coral reefs and diverse marine life make Bonaire one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. The warm 26-29°C (78-84°F) waters are diveable all year round, and visibility is almost always at least 30m (100'). Many of Bonaire's dive resorts offer deals for unlimited shore diving, and boat dives are also convenient. Bonaire offers 63 notable dive sites, primarily on the leeward side of the island, and Klein Bonaire has 26 sites with moorings (lettered A through Z), which are accessible by boat. All levels of diving are available, and every single dive site has its own unique attraction. Wreck divers are also pleased with access to several sunken ships and boats, with the most noteworthy being the famous wreck of the Hilma Hooker. A diver could spend a month on Bonaire diving several times a day and would still be excited and ready for more. Divers in Bonaire's fabulous National Marine Park easily find over 100 species of fish, and every kind of colorful Caribbean corals, sponges and invertebrates. Divers on Bonaire must purchase and possess a Marine Park tag.
Bicycling - Mountain biking and road riding are favorite ways to explore Bonaire up close and personal. Bike rental companies conduct tours through Washington Slagbaai National Park, along the coast, through the village of Rincón, and past Gotomeer, a gorgeous salt lake, where flamingoes feed. A half-dozen color-coded ride loops are shown with dotted lines on this map.
Hiking -Hikers enjoy the Inland Trail at Washington Slagbaai National Park. It goes for 24 km one way, with a hike up Brandaris, the island high spot at 241m (760’). Many other short nature hikes are available at the National Park, plus almost anywhere along Bonaire's scenic northern coast. The leeward shoreline, from dive sites 9 to 17, has many short paved trails for walks or exploration of Bonaire's natural wonders.
Scenic Drives - Even for a small island, there is plenty of scenery. The route around the south end of the island is simply fabulous, but the hilly ancient volcanic north end is where the scenery really gets interesting. The narrow road along the coast and then inland past Gotomeer, and through the town of Rincon is wonderful. Although it is a long, slow, windy and bumpy trip, the dirt roads through Washington Slagbaai National Park are not to be missed. The scenic bays and mountain vistas are unique and sometimes breathtaking. Since there is little public transportation, you will want to rent a car, most likely a diver-friendly pickup truck that can handle dirt roads. However, there are a number of tour companies that will ferry you around in style while the driver gives you local information all along the way. You will be amazed by the number of cacti thriving in Bonaire's semi-arid climate. You will also be amazed by the number of lizards and iguanas you will see on all of Bonaire's back roads, and all of the colorful birds that are found everywhere.
Birdwatching - Everybody loves to see a pair of Bonaire's most colorful residents, the Lora, or Yellow-shouldered parrot, sitting atop a cactus. However, Bonaire is the destination of millions of migratory birds who rest or stop by in the winter. Perhaps Bonaire's most famous birds are pink Caribbean flamingoes, which are often seen near the southern tip of the island, at Gotomeer, and in lakes of Washington Slagbaai National Park. Ornithologists have spotted over 190 species of birds, including residents or migratory, ranging from the graceful magnificent frigatebird (pictured to the left), to the South American Yellow Oriole. The Tourist Office in Kralendijk hands out good info on the best sites for birdwatching.
Sport Fishing - Bonaire is a great place for bone fishing, as well as big game fishing for sailfish, marlin, tuna, tarpon, wahoo, and dorado. Bonaire hosts local and international fishing tournaments every year. Fishermen are subject to an annual Nature Fee. Visitors can find good fishing excursions from Harbor Village Marina. Contact Multifish Charters at 786-1228.
Donkey Safari - Donkeys on Bonaire worked as beasts of burden from 1700 until 1950, when they were released to roam freely on the island. In recent years many of them have been taken into the Donkey Paradise Safari Park, where they are kept safe from car accidents and abuse. You can take a bus tour of the sanctuary, and meet, feed, and pet the donkeys. Drive 2.4 km up the dirt road just south of the airport. Bring some bread and fruit along. Also, see www.donkeycam.com.
Butterfly Farm - Hundreds of colorful butterflies zig-zag amongst flowering plants and over a pond in a peaceful, beautiful greenhouse. If you are lucky, one might momentarily light on your hand. See www.butterflyfarmbonaire.org.
Horseback Riding - One of the best ways to see Bonaire is atop a horse. After touring, equestrians love to take a dip upon their steeds in Lac Bay. The steeds love to make a splash as well. Contact the Riding Academy Club at Kunuku Warahama, tel. 560-7949 or 786-2094.
Kayaking - Sit-on kayaks are super popular in Bonaire waters. They are stable and easy to use for leisurely trips. The Mangrove Info & Kayak Center, (780-5353) offers nature tours in the Lac Bay Mangrove Forest. Trips to Klein Bonaire are also available from Kralendijk. Kayakers will need to pay a Nature Fee for using Bonaire National Marine Park. Bonaire's kayak routes are labeled and indicated with a dashed line.
Lac Bay - Not only are the turquoise waters beautiful, but Lac Bay is a fantastic activity center, with swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing. Or you can sit in the tradewind with a nice drink or a tasty picnic while watching all of the gleeful action in the bay. Some folks consider Lac Bay to be one of best windsurfing spots in the world. Bonaire Windsurf Place at Sorobon Beach has rentals, plus the best spot in the world to be introduced to the excitement of windsurfing. 717-5091. Or see Jibe City, 717-5233.
Kiteboarding - Atlantis Beach is one of the greatest kiteboarding spots in the world. The tradewinds are strong, the sea is flat, and the water is warm. See Kitebuzz when you are there for rentals or lessons.
Cargill Salt Flamingo Sanctuary - Over 10,000 pink flamingos enjoy one of the Western Hemisphere’s biggest flamingo sanctuaries.
Side One of Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire also has captions for 53 scuba diving and snorkeling locations along Bonaire’s coast, and 26 scuba diving and snorkeling sites around Klein Bonaire. There are other dive sites in the Kralendijk area that are described on Side Two of Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire. The 79 captions from Side One are as follows:
For the sites along the coast of Bonaire:
BOCA BARTOL 20’-80' (6-24m) This is the best spur-and-groove reef in Bonaire, and is within the Washington Slagbaai National Park. Enter at the south end of the cove. Southern stingrays in the sand, sea fans, elkhorn corals, mountainous star corals and colorful sponges on the reef. Large pelagic species. Dive only when calm. Beware, this site is virtually in the open ocean - strong currents!
PLAYA BENGE 15’- 100' (3-30m) The entry is via a beautiful little rocky beach that leads to a fantastic spur-and-groove reef. Groupers, glassy sweepers, grunts, and snappers are common. Caution: The current here is often strong, therefore this spot is recommended for advanced divers only.
PLAYA FUNCHI 15’- 100' (3-30m) Enter through a break in the reef at the south side of a beautiful rocky beach. Staghorn, leafy fire corals, and mountainous star corals, and a number of little trunk fish. Big midnight parrotfish. Horse-eye jacks patrol the deep blue water. Advanced snorkeling. Beware of strong currents. Friendly iguanas greet you in the parking. Flamingoes and shore birds grace the playa.
BISÉ MORTO 20’- 100’ (6-30m) The words Bisé Morto mean "dead deer", which is thought to represent the numerous elkhorn and staghorn corals present. Pelagic species seen here have even included, on rare occasions, whale sharks and manta rays, but more likely you'll see horse-eye jacks. This is usually a boat dive.
WAYAKA 30’-100’ (9-30m) This Washington Slagbaai National Park boat dive site is seldom dived, and thus is pristine and beautiful. All sites along this northwest shoreline are liable to have big pelagics, so keep your eye toward the deep. Some divers enter from the shore.
BOCA SLAGBAAI 20’-80’ (6-24m) Enter south along the coast in shallow water. Make your way to the drop-off at 40' (12m) and follow the wall back to the beach. Tiger groupers, horse-eye jacks, and schoolmasters patrol. Observant divers may find hawksbill turtles, moray eels, and barracudas. Super snorkeling.
NUKOVE 15’-100’ (3-30m) Boat dive or shore dive, but you must drive the long, bumpy dirt road around the oil terminals to get there. Once there, you'll find some of the finest coral reef anywhere around Bonaire. The shallows have elkhorn coral, while the deep has large coral heads, where you might find a sleepy nurse shark.
CAREL’S VISION 20’-100’ (6-30m) This is Bonaire’s newest official dive site, and it is similar to Nukove, with extraordinary hard corals and tons of reef creatures. Bring your camera.
KARPATA 20’-100’ (6-30m) This is one of Bonaire's most popular dives. Like all Bonaire dive sites, the entry is marked by a large yellow stone with the dive site's name on it. Large sea fans, purple tube sponges, and many soft corals punctuate several large anchors that are embedded and encursted. Photogenic.
LA DANIA'S LEAP 15’-100’ (3-30m) One of the most vertical walls in Bonaire. Many wire corals, canyons and sand shoots, large orange sponges and tube sponges. Divers have been known to "leap" off the shore and then drift dive to Karpata. It is better to dive via boat than from the leap here.
RAPPEL 30’-100’ (9-30m) A fabulous boat dive with a wall with caverns and crevices. Divers used to rappel the beach cliff to get here. Huge sea fans, brain corals, and mountainous star corals host a diversity of colorful nudibranchs. Boat divers request this site as often as any around Bonaire.
BLOODLET 20’-80’ (6-24m) Immaculate reef is seldom visited. A slope starts at the mooring in 25' (8m) of water, and goes into the deep. Be careful not to go too deep. This is a good spot for turtles. Moderate currents can make this site a drift dive.
OL' BLUE (TOLO) 20’-80’ (6-24m) This site is famous for huge (10' across) purple linguini sponges. Be careful not to touch the sponges, as they are fragile. This can be either a boat or a shore dive. Divers see French angelfish. Snorkelers hear musical tinkling when the waves tumble coral pieces on the beach.
COUNTRY GARDEN (MUSHROOM CITY) 20’-80’ (6-25m) Three rock pillars, unique to Bonaire, have broken from the cliff and fallen into 30 feet (9m) of water. Corals, gorgonians and sponges grow from these pillars, giving them a mushroom appearance. The rocks make a hideout for grunts and schoolmasters
BON BINI NA CAS 30’-100’ (9-30m) The name means “Welcome to my home” in Papiamento, the native language of Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao. This is usually a boat dive, with some current. A variety of colorful tropical fishes abound, plus vase sponges, and tube sponges.
THOUSAND STEPS 30’-100’ (9-30m) There are actually 71 steps, but it can feel like 1,000 for a faint-hearted diver decked out in full scuba gear. You can avoid the steps by boating in, but it is a great shore dive. Elkhorn and staghorn coral, and gorgonians make the stair-stepping well worth it.
WEBER'S JOY/WITCHES HUT 20’-100' (6-30m) Boat or shore dive with staghorn, finger and brain corals. Colorful fishes include rock beauties, angelfish, butterflyfish and parrotfish. The "hut" is a defunct dive shack by the parking spot. Photogenic underwater. Nice snorkeling.
JEFF DAVIS MEMORIAL 20’-100' (6-30m) Shallows covered with gorgonians with turtles and sea horses. Big coral formations create chutes that lead to a sandy bottom.
KALLI'S REEF 30’-100’ (9-30m) Named after a Bonaire National Marine Park manager, this boat dive is great for scuba or snorkeling. Divers find turtles and seahorses.
OIL SLICK LEAP 20’-80’ (6-24m) Access is by ladder provided by the Caribbean Club Bonaire, just up the street. Here you will find morays, queen angelfish, and orange cup corals. The name derives from a former plan to build an oil terminal here.
BARCADERA 30’-100’ (9-30m) Located directly across from the Bonaire Marine Park Headquarters. Boat access only. Elkhorn corals in shallow waters. Huge plate corals are found beginning at 50' (15m).
ANDREA II 6’-100’ (2-30m) The shallows to the north of the entry comprise some of the most outstanding snorkeling in the Caribbean. Just south of the entry tour boats bring dozens of cruiseship pasengers on snorkeling excursions. Here you will find staghorn, finger, and fire corals, numerous anemones, and gorgonians, and easily 100 species of reef fishes.
ANDREA I 6’-100’ (26-30m) Boat or shore dive. Here you will find many staghorn, finger, and fire corals, numerous anemones, and gorgonians and soft corals, where seahorses may be found.
PETRIE'S PILLAR 30’-90’ (9-27m) If entering from shore, beware of elkhorn coral. Main attraction here is a large beautiful head of pillar coral. Captain Don named this spot for a friend as an unusual wedding present.
SMALL WALL 20’-60’ (6-18m) Boat dive or enter with permission via a private pier at the Black Durgon Inn. Interesting mini wall with a cave starts at 40' (12m) and goes to 70' (21m).
CLIFF 20’-70' (6-21m) Located in front of Hamlet Villas, this boat or shore entryfeatures Capt. Don's underwater Stone Memorial to the "divers who have gone beforeus," which is marked with a plaque and dive flag. A vertical wall, covered with blackcoral, wire coral, large orange sponges, tube sponges, and orange ball anemones.
LA MACHACA (HABITAT) 20’-70' (6-21m) Located in front of Captain Don's Habitat. There are two interesting wrecks at this site, the La Machaca, a 45-foot fishing boat, and the Hesper, a 50-foot Venezuelan fishing boat. The La Machaca is home to a green moray eel, who is used divers, but don't let him mistake your fingers for a bite to eat.
NORTH BELNEM 20’-100' (6-30m) Access is by boat or from shore to an easy dive site. Large schools of blue tang (which are yellow when they are juveniles) inhabit this area. The shallows feature elkhorn coral.
BACHELOR’S BEACH 30’-100’ (9-30m) A convenient stairway leads to the small beach here, which is a good spot for snorkeling and beginner scuba divers to see turtles and rays.
CHEZ HINES 30’-100’ (9-30m) Access is by boat to a wonderful scuba and snorkeling site. The slope features big orange elephant-ear sponges, with horse-eye jacks and tiger groupers.
LIGHTHOUSE POINT 30’-100’ (9-30m) Access is by boat or shore to a sandy-bottom scuba and snorkeling site featuring soft corals and southern stingrays.
PUNT VIERKANT 25’-100’ (8-30m) “Square Point” is the northern end of a double-reef, with the inner reef at 40' (12m) to 100' (30m), and the outer reef rising about 20' (6m). Amongst basket sponges, gorgonians, and large brain corals divers find a myriad of fishes.
THE LAKE 25’-100’ (8-30m) This is the southern part of a double-reef. The mooring is at 30' (9m) on a shelf loaded with sea fans, fire coral, parrotfish, damselfish, and trumpetfish. The outer reef is spectacular with mountainous star coral, and numerous colorful fishes.
HILMA HOOKER 25’-100’ (8-30m) This internationally famous wreck dive has two moorings, on the double-reef complex. The top of the 72m (236'), 1000-ton drug-smuggling cargo ship, which sank in 1984, lies at 60’ (18m), the mast at 99’ (30m). She lies on her starboard side. Although it is not recommended that novice divers penetrate this wreck, because there are many hazards, divers with wreck dive training and experiece find this a superb wreck to dive.
ANGEL CITY 30’-100’ (9-30m) The southern end of the double reef here is famous for very large purple tube sponges, a huge mountainous star coral head with a swim-through, and many angelfish. The sand channel has garden eels and stingrays. Access is via boat or shore.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND 30’-100’ (9-30m) A double-reef complex beginning at 30' (9m), with a covering of coral and sponges, sloping to 90' (27m) to a wide sand channel with garden eels. The outer reef is stupendous, where big fish abound.
AQUARIUS 30’-100’ (9-30m) An easy site with a mostly sandy bottom. Lots of fish, plus a few southern stingrays, turtles, and peacock flounders.
LARRY'S LAIR 30’-100’ (9-30m) An easy site with a rocky shore entry. Large groupers hang out at cleaning stations. Also good for seeing turtles and rays.
JEANNIE'S GLORY 30’-100’ (9-30m) Boat or shore dive. Amongst sandy coral rubble, this site also features large barrel sponges and fire coral.
SALT PIER To 50' (151m) Permission is required for this great afternoon or night dive. Pilings are covered with sponges and soft corals. Photogenic.
SALT CITY 30’-90’ (9-27m) Elkhorn and staghorn corals, plus gorgonians. Between the inner and outer reefs is a sand flat with garden eels. Eagle rays sometimes grace the sand flats and feed here.
INVISIBLES 20’-100’ (6-30m) Divers have an unusual chance to see garden eels in shallow water. Coral islands protrude from sandy channels.
TORI'S REEF 20’-100’ (6-30m) More species of fish have been identified at this single dive site than any other in the Caribbean, except Bari Reef in Kralendijk. Many hard to find fish hide in the fire coral.
PINK BEACH 20’-90' (6-27m) The famous beach is pink because of biological mineral collecting. This superb reef has purple and iridescent vase sponges.
WHITE SLAVE 20’-100’ (6-30m) Named for white pinnacle and old slave huts on shore, which are white in color. Sea turtles are almost guaranteed.
MARGATE BAY 20’-100’ (6-30m) Gorgonians make a nice resting place for black margates (a snapper) here. Turtles are usually here as well.
RED BERYL 20’-100’ (6-30m) Stingrays and turtles love this area. Divers encounter many schools of Caribbean reef fishes.
ATLANTIS 20’-100’ (6-30m) Turtles and a few large pelagic fishes are found in and around one of Bonaire's colorful southern coral gardens. Watch out for kiteboarders any time there is wind (which is usually).
VISTA BLUE 30’-100’ (9-30m) At the southern end of Bonaire the currents get stronger and more pelagics appear out of the deep blue.
SWEET DREAMS 30’-100’ (9-30m) Gorgonians thrive in the rich strong currents. Coral heads and sponges rise up from the “sugar sand” bottom.
RED SLAVE 20’-80' (6-24m) Located in front of the second set of slave huts (reddish in color) along the road south of Kralendijk. The remains of the HMS Barham attract groupers, turtles, and dolphins. Beware of strong currents which sweep around the island.
WILLEMSTOREN LIGHTHOUSE To 60' (18m) Advanced divers only. Dive only when calm. Wreck debris includes a few old anchors and chains. Large pelagic species including jacks are common. The upper part of the slope has wonderful coral and sponge coverage.
BLUE HOLE 15’-100’ (5-30m) Also called WHITE HOLE, this spot is a long walk in shallow water to a nice drop-off. Tarpon, southern stingrays, and a few sharks. Caution: Strong currents make this a difficult and advanced dive. Divers usually need a dive guide here.
CAI 30’-100’ (9-30m) Also called CONCH SHELLS, the strong currents and open ocean conditions make this dive on the "wild side" very advanced. Large pelagics and sharks are likely to be seen here. On shore at Cai there are piles of millions of conch shells left over from the days when these delicious snails were harvested from the bay. Larry's offers wildside diving - call 790-9156.
And here are the descriptions from Side One of Franko’s Map of Bonaire for the scuba diving and snorkeling sites around Klein Bonaire:
NO NAME BEACH To 100’ (30m) Water taxi passengers head here for a day of sunning and snorkeling. Coral is sparse, but the sand and coral rubble is home to quick yellow-headed jawfish.
EBO'S REEF 40’-100' (12-30m) The mooring is at 140' (42m), so there is a blue water swim to the reef. This is a great site to see black coral, giant orange elephant ear sponges, purple tube sponges, and wire corals. Large moray eels, groupers, and filefish are common too.
JERRY'S REEF 30’-100’ (9-30m) The mooring is in deep water. This site is known for turtles, stingrays, and white-spotted eagle rays. Watch out for black hydroids that sting if you touch.
JUST-A-NICE-DIVE 20’-100' (6-30m) The mooring is in 85 feet of water. Many large orange sponges, wire corals, club finger corals, cavernous star corals, leaf corals, and boulder corals. Hawksbill turtles are often seen here.
NEAREST POINT 20’-100' (6-30m) Deep mooring with very short swim over to the reef. Best to dive here, as on all the south side of Klein, in the morning when winds are at their minimum, especially for snorkelers. Divers will find the healthiest and must luxurious coral formations in the entire Caribbean starting here and continuing on around the south side of Klein.
BONAVENTURE 20’-100' (6-30m) The reef slope is terraced and nearly vertical in places. Starting at 100' there are large stacks of plate coral. Sea horses are found in the shallows!
MONTE'S DIVI 15’-100' (5-30m) A great place to snorkel. Lots of parrotfishes, chromis, trumpetfish, and seahorses amongst staghorn corals.
ROCK PILE/BONHEUR DE BETSY 20’-100' (6-30m) A great place to snorkel. Lots of parrotfishes and goatfishes. Many purple tube sponges and orange elephant ear sponges. A nice stand of staghorn coral makes a hideout for big schools of snappers and grunts.
JOANNE'S SUNCHI 20’-100' (6-30m) Sunchi means “kiss” in Papiamento. An excellent place to snorkel. Ridges covered with coral and sponges are perpendicular to shore. The sandy bottom between the ridges is a sand tilefish nesting area.
CAPTAIN DON'S REEF 20’-100' (6-30m) This is a MUST DIVE on your Bonaire trip. At the mooring is a plaque dedicted to Don Stewart, which thanks him for his dedication to the preservation of Bonaire's reefs. Ridges covered with coral and sponges are perpendicular to shore and are covered with large orange elephant ear sponges, mountainous and cavernous star coral, and plate corals. Below 70' there are many black corals and wire corals.
SOUTH BAY 30’-100’ (9-30m) Orange elephant ear sponges, purple tube sponges, plate coral, black coral, and long wire corals. Ocean triggerfish, scrawled filefish, and horse-eye jacks.
HANDS OFF 30’-100’ (9-30m) There is a V-shaped valley with ridges of coral on both sides. Many orange elephant ear sponges, and lots of black coral, plate corals, wire corals, and lots of huge brain corals in the deeper water. Currents are sometimes strong.
FOREST 25’-100’ (8-30m) Lots of black coral colonies below 50' (15m). Mountainous star coral and huge orange elephant ear sponges are found until about 80' (24m), and then are replaced by stacks of plate corals. A cave hosts a green moray, a loggerhead turtle and a nurse shark.
SOUTHWEST CORNER 15’-100' (5-30m) Soft corals stand taller than 6 feet, and mountainous star coral formations stand 10 feet tall. Also found are many iridescent vase sponges, orange sponges, green and purple tube sponges. Strong currents
MUNK'S HAVEN Closed
TWIXT 30’-100’ (9-30m) Many yellowtails, queen angelfish, and trumpetfish. The slope features very large orange sponges, sometimes more than six feet in diameter.
SHARON'S SERENITY 20’-100' (6-30m) The best snorkeling site on Klein Bonaire, with staghorn and elkhorn corals, and many parrotfishes, trumpetfishes, French and gray angelfishes, and damselfishes. Sometimes dolphins visit with snorkelers.
VALERIE'S HILL 20’-100' (6-30m) Named after Capt. Don's wife by local dive guides. An excellent snorkeling site. Below 80' (24m) there are lots of plate corals, purple tube sponges, and large orange elephant ear sponges.
MI DUSHI 20’-100' (6-30m) "My sweetheart" in Papiamentu is a great place to snorkel and it is THE PLACE FOR SEAHORSES. There is a forest of wire corals starting at 60' (18m), and huge purple tube sponges and many large plate corals.
CARL'S HILL ANNEX/YELLOW MAN'S REEF Closed
CARL'S HILL/PUNTA P'ABOU 20’-100' (6-30m) Photogenic site named after underwater photographer Carl Roessler. Some very large purple tube sponges. There is a small (35'/11m) vertical wall with black coral, wire coral, and orange cup corals.
EBO'S SPECIAL/JERRY'S JAM 25’-100’ (8-30m) Named for Bonaire's first certified diver, Ebo Domacassé. A great place for a shallow dive. Beautiful elkhorn and staghorn corals.
LEONORA'S REEF 25’-100’ (8-30m) Excellent snorkeling on the shelf. There is a big purple “linguini” sponge at about 70' (21m). Big tiger groupers are common.
KNIFE 20’-100' (6-30m) An outstanding snorkeling site, walking here from No Name Beach. The shelf has many damselfish and Spanish hogfish. The slope has large tube sponges, and mountainous and cavernous star coral. Spotted morays are common here as well.
SAMPLER 20’-100' (6-30m) Snorkelers will find many parrotfishes and goatfishes. The nooks and crannies of the slope have elusive green morays and frogfish.
Also on Side One of Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire is a picture of a colorful frogfish, with the following caption:
BONARIRE FROGFISH A yellow frogfish sits atop a bright orange sponge at Klein Bonaire's Twixt dive site. Bonaire reefs host a colorful variety of frogfish for the observant diver to photograph.
Side Two of Franko’s Guide Map of Bonaire has the scuba diving and snorkeling sites in the Kralendijk area. There are 15 sites, described as follows:
BARCADERA 30’-100’ (9-30m) Across from Bonaire Marine Park Headquarters, but accessible only by boat. Elkhorn corals adorn the shallows, and huge plate corals are found beginning at 50' (15m).
ANDREA I & II 6’-100’ (2-30m) The shallows at the north end of this area has outstanding snorkeling. Tour boats bring dozens of delighted cruiseship pasengers on snorkeling excursions. Here you will find staghorn, finger, and fire corals, numerous anemones, and gorgonians, and easily 100 species of reef fishes, including the camouflage peacock flounder.
PETRIE'S PILLAR 30’-90’ (9-27m) If entering from shore, beware of elkhorn coral. Main attraction here is a large beautiful head of pillar coral. Captain Don named this spot for a friend as an unusual wedding present.
SMALL WALL To 20’-60’ (6-18m) Boat dive or the pier entry at the Black Durgon Inn. Interesting mini wall starts at 40' (12m) and goes to 70' (21m), and has a mini cave.
CLIFF To 70' (21m) A vertical wall, covered with black coral, wire coral, large orange sponges, tube sponges, and orange ball anemones. Nearby is an underwater memorial with a dive flag at half-mast.
LA MACHACA 20’-70’ (6-21M) This site provides a good wreck dive for beginners. The 45-foot, locally-built boat sits less than 100’ (30m) from shore. A large green moray is accustomed to divers, but keep your fingers away from his teeth if he acts friendly. Approach with caution!
REEF SCIENTIFICO To 40’ (12m) This site was named for a grid system constructed to monitor the growth of algae on the reef. Night diving or night snorkeling are good. Free-swimming morays and hunting octopuses are seen after dark.
BUDDY’S REEF 20'-100’ (6-30m) Buddy Dive Resort's house reef is great for beginners. A big old tarpon enjoys visiting with night divers as they survey the shallow coral heads here.
BARI REEF (SAND DOLLAR) 30’-100’ (9-30m) Located in front of the Sand Dollar Beach Club, more species of fish have been identified at this dive site than ANY other in the entire Caribbean! That is over 300 speices. Great night dive.
FRONT PORCH (EDEN BEACH) 20'-80’ (6-24m) Located in front of the Sunset Beach Hotel. Snake eels, morays, garden eels, goatfishes, stingrays, parrotfishes, French angelfish, and yellowhead jawfishes are all common. At 80’ (24m) just beyond the old pier there is a tugboat wreck. Cardinal fish with big eyes look at you from within the wreck.
SOMETHING SPECIAL 20-80' (6-25m) The marina entrance attracts lots of fish. The coral rubble and sand also host southern stingrays. Night divers like this site as it is an easy entry. There are more sightings of rare or unusual fish here than anywhere else on Bonaire. Garden eels can be found at 55 feet (17m).
TOWN PIER To 30' (9m) Bonaire's famous pier dive is best done at night. This is the northernmost of the three large piers in Kralendijk. Many of the pilings are covered with orange cup corals, and all kinds and shapes of sponges, as well as many small invertebrates. This is one of the world’s most photographed dive sites. Harbourmaster permission is required, and divers must be with a local dive guide. When a ship is in port, there is no diving here. This is typially a boat dive.
CALABAS REEF (DIVE BONAIRE) 20’-100’ (6-30m) Divi Flamingo's house reef is a common check out dive, plus a good first night dive. This reef runs parallel to shore in front of the Carib Inn and the Flamingo Beach Resort. French angelfish, parrotfishes, and Spanish hogfish and others are looking for handouts.
EIGHTEENTH PALM 30-90’ (9-27m) The Lt. Governor’s house has palms, and this is in front of the 18th. Just above the Plaza Resort divers access this site to find southern stingrays and white-spotted eagle rays. To the south at 90’ (27m) there is a reef, and in the sandy channel nearer to shore is another reef, where sleeping tarpon can be found. This is an easy dive, good for beginners.
WINDSOCK 20’-80’ (6-24m) A shallow shelf adorned with elkhorn, staghorn and fire corals, and gorgonians, leads to a gentle reef slope starting at 25' (8m), descending to 110' (34m). The slope has beautiful corals and sponges. On shore there is a sandy beach with shade for a great picnic making this a great spot for snorkelers. Beginner scuba divers like the ease of Windsock.
Side Two of Franko’s Map of Bonaire includes the following information on the Bonaire National Marine Park:
BONAIRE NATIONAL MARINE PARK NATURE FEE: The sea around Bonaire and Klein Bonaire is protected and managed by STINAPA. Bonaire Marine National Park surrounds the islands of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire from the high water mark to the depth of 60 meters (200 feet). Users of the Marine Park, including snorkelers, kayakers, and scuba divers must pay an entrance fee called “The Nature Fee”. This fee provides funds to manage the park environment and guarantee Bonaire’s lasting success in nature protection and conservation. Your payment of $25 as a SCUBA diver, or $10 as a nonSCUBA diver, covers admission for one calendar year to the Bonaire National Marine Park as well as to the Washington Slagbaai National Park. SCUBA divers display the traditional round tag (see below) while non SCUBA divers will receive a diamond shaped tag. As a Nature Fee tag holder you may also enter the Washington Slagbaai National Park by simply showing the written receipt of purchase of your tag and a picture ID. This tag suffices as a diver’s C-card. Photocopies are also accepted. A one-day pass is also available; for SCUBA diving for $10. Non-SCUBA divers younger than 12 years and residents of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are exempt from this fee. Note: Your Marine Park tag is non-transferable.
Where to get your STINAPA BONAIRE TAG: You can purchase your tag at any water sports
operation, from the Bonaire National Marine Park rangers, at the entrance of the Washington
Slagbaai National Park, at the activity desk of your hotel or accommodation, or at the STINAPA BONAIRE headquarters at Barcadera in Kralendijk.
NATIONAL PARK RULES:
-A valid admission ticket is required and visitors are admitted only during open hours.
-Enter the park at your own risk
-Do not bring any animals or plants into the National Park.
-Use the trash receptacles for litter. Make sure that nothing harmful to the environment is left behind.
-Building fires, except at the BBQ pits, is not permitted.
-Do not discard matches or cigarettes.
-Do not play loud music or behave in a noisy manner, especially near the salt pans.
-Washington Slagbaai National Park roads are one-way and the speed limit is 25 km/hr.
-Defacing any natural or manmade property is not allowed.
-No weapons or animal traps (including fishing nets) are allowed in the park.
-Capturing, harassing, killing, and/or disturbing any of the animals or plants is prohibited. We also
discourage feeding any animals.
-Do not take flash photos inside caves. Flash photography is a hazard to wildlife.
-Use toilets at the Visitor Center and Saliña Slagbaai. The use of other areas is prohibited.
-Dives should commence by 2:30pm, allowing visitors time to leave the park by 5:00pm.
-Vehicles are not allowed off the roads or parking areas.
-Motorcycles, scooters, and quads are not allowed in the park.
- Netherlands Antilles residents are requred to show a local I.D. to obtain local rates.
-Swimming, fishing, or kayaking are not permitted in the salt pans.
Side Two of Franko’s Map of Bonaire has the following information on Bonaire’s history:
BONAIRE HISTORY: Bonaire was first inhabited by the Caiquetios, who sailed across from what is now Venezuela about 1,000 years ago. In 1499, Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci co-discovered Bonaire and claimed the island for Spain. The Spaniards then took the Caiquetios from Bonaire to Hispaniola and forced them to work as slaves. This left Bonaire virtually depopulated. In 1526 Juan de Ampues brought back some Caiquetios and some Venezuelan Indians to work as laborers, raising cows, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and donkeys on Bonaire. Also, convicts from the Spanish colonies in South America were brought to the island to work. In 1633 the island came under Dutch control. However, slavery wasn’t abolished until 1862. During World War II Bonaire was an internment camp for captured Germans and Dutch Nazis. Wooden shacks confined 461 inmates between 1940 and 1947. After the war Bonaireans sought greater autonomy, which was granted by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1954, although the island remains a Dutch protectorate. Independence brought a greater emphasis on tourism. The Nazi internment camps were converted into the Hotel Zeebad. A second hotel, the Bonaire Beach Hotel, was opened up in 1962 at Playa de Lechi. The Flamingo Airport, originally constructed in 1955, was expanded in 1972. In 1979 both Bonaire National Marine Park and Washington Slagbaai National Park were established, ensuring the future survival of Bonaire’s wonderful natural attractions. Today Bonaire is a world class dive destination and a world class cruiseship port.
Side Two of Franko’s Map of Bonaire has a description of Bonaire’s town of Rincon:
RINCÓN HISTORY: The town of Rincón was settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, chosen because of its protected location in a valley. The Dutch took over in the 17th century, using Rincón to house African slaves. Slave quarters, rising no higher than a man's waist and built entirely of stone, still stand in the area around Rincón. Today the town welcomes tourists to enjoy good food and merry drinks at several fine bars and restaurants.
Side Two of Franko’s Map of Bonaire also includes a Photo Tour of Bonaire, with the photos having the following captions:
LORA or YELLOW-SHOULDERED PARROT A pair of striking lora perch atop tall cactus
plants in Washington Slagbaai National Park.
BOKA KOKOLISHI This fossilized, eroded beach is beautiful, but hazardous for swimming.
SALIÑA MATIJS Flamingoes and migratory waterfowl by the hundreds flock to this beautiful lake during winter’s rainy season.
VISITORS CENTER Washington Slagbaai National Park entrance station also has a store, snacks, museum, and a gift shop.
SEA TURTLE HATCHLING A baby hawkbill turtle races for the sea under the cover of darkness on Bonaire's east side.
PLAYA GRANDI Changes in ocean level over the eons created this abrupt cliff. The upper terrace is 1,000,000 years old, the lower is only 200,000 years old.
BOKA CHIKITU The dunes and sandy beach are inviting, but strong currents make the waters very dangerous.
DONKEY PARADISE SAFARI PARK Donkeys roam wild in Bonaire, but here they are kept safe. You can meet, feed, and pet the donkeys.
LAC BAY FUN Windsurfing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, and kite boarding are all done in world-class fashion on Lac Bay’s turquoise waters.
CAI If you want to sit, relax, have a picnic, or kayak in a peaceful mangrove, this is the place. Located at the end of a long dirt road. Check out the huge mounds of conch shells while you're there. Note: No live conch collecting from Lac Bay is allowed.
PEKELMEER SALT FLATS Mounds of salt sparkle next to colorful salt pans. The sun evaporates the salt pans in environmentally friendly salt manufacturing.
WILLEMSTOREN LIGHTHOUSE This landmark was built in 1837, but is now automated. It marks the spot of one of Bonaire's most difficult dive sites.
CARIBBEAN FLAMINGO Of all the birds to watch in Bonaire, the favorite is the tall, graceful flamingo. At times there may be 10,000 flamingo's resting and feeding in and around Bonaire'sbrackish waters.
OLD SLAVE HUTS Thankfully, these huts, which once housed slaves, have been long in disuse. It is said that as many as 23 slaves had to sleep scrunched together with no place to lie down in each of these tiny huts.
SAN BERNARDO CHURCH This beautiful Roman Catholic church is a landmark and a reminder of what a religious community Bonareans are. Visitors are welcome.
GOTOMEER Scenic viewpoint at Gotomeer also gives a view of Brandaris, Bonaire's highest peak. The lake hosts numerous Caribbean flamingoes and many other birds, so it is a wonderful spot for birdwatchers.
SNORKEL TOUR Cruiseship passengers join a snorkel tour to explore Bonaire's underwater life. The visitors from this catamaran are snorkeling at the amazing Andrea II dive site, where they will see in excess of 100 species of fish.
GOTOMEER Scenic viewpoint at Gotomeer also gives a view of Brandaris, Bonaire's highest peak. The lake hosts numerous Caribbean flamingoes and many other birds, so it is a wonderful spot for birdwatchers.
BRANDARIS Ascend Bonaire’s highest peak in a 1 or 2-hour hike. This mountain is 241m (784') high and the route is clearly marked. The view from on top is amazing. Bring water.
WAYAKÁ The saliña adjacent to this dive site hosts flamingoes.
Put Bronswinkel & Pos Mangel -These green springs attract birds and iguanas to drink. But the water is not good for humans. Please enjoy the birdwatching quietly.
MALMOK Northernmost point on Bonaire. Lighthouse and research center ruins.
Kara Kora - From just the right spot you can see a huge face in a natural rock formation at this site.
Juwa Pass - Hexagonal basalt columns here erupted from the sea floor during the reign of the dinosaurs - about 90 million years ago.