Headed out on a Caribbean cruise and trying to decide what to do in Bonaire? I have the absolute perfect itinerary for a relaxing, breathtaking day – a little adventure, beautiful beaches, Caribbean cocktails, and unforgettable snorkeling! Here’s a little video blurb of our day. I just have to point out that all of the underwater video was shot using my new favorite toy – you can get the same GoPro here So fun playing around with this new camera!
Fun, huh? If you’d like to see more travel/cooking/design videos, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel here. Thanks! Now on with the details.
Prior to our trip, I had heard much about the other two “ABC islands” – Aruba and Curacao, but had very little idea of what to expect or do in Bonaire. We did a little research as we headed toward this cruise stop, but when our last minute plans to rent a Jeep were derailed, we wandered into plan B and I’m SO glad we did.
Here is THE MOST IMPORTANT action item for this adventure – You MUST hop off the cruise ship early (or just start early if you’ve stayed overnight in Bonaire) and be ready to board the FIRST water taxi from Karels Beach Bar. Look for a representative from Caribe Watersport Taxi – there was someone in a line of activity pop-up tents just after leaving the cruise ship. If you don’t see someone there, continue north along the shoreline into town and find Karels Beach Bar where you can purchase your water taxi pass and make it onto the FIRST taxi trip (I think it was at about 10:00 am, but do your research) over to Klein Bonaire. Get the multi-stop pass so that you can visit Klein (this is the small island just west of Bonaire main) and then use the beaches and facilities at Coca Beach and Eden Beach later in the day.
Once you’re aboard the water taxi, you’ll want to let them know that you’d like to do the snorkel drift tour. If I remember right, it was only $5-10 more to rent snorkeling gear to use for the day (you’ll return it to them on your ride back across to the main island). The water taxi will take you to the main drop off at No Name Beach on Klein and you’ll have about 30 seconds to strip down to your swimsuit, throw all your belongings onto the beach and climb back onto the water taxi so that they can drop you at the southern tip of Klein before they head on to their next stop. My understanding is that this Snorkel Drift Tour is only available with the very first water taxi trip of the day as they do not have time in the strict water taxi schedule to do this throughout the rest of the day. Do NOT forget to hang on to your GoPro so that you can capture the MOST AMAZING snorkeling you’re about to do….
So why make such a big fuss about catching that first water taxi and jumping off the boat to snorkel your way back up to No Name Beach? You guys – the Snorkeling is AH-MAZING. The coral reef is fully intact along this stretch of the beach and you are not legally allowed to enter or exit the water except all the way up at No Name Beach where the water taxis are bringing people in and out of the island all day. You float with the current and snorkel your way up the reef. If you just let the current gently drift you up to where you can get out of the water, the snorkeling will take you about 45 minutes. If you’re like us, you might fight the current a couple times to keep watching turtles and fish and eels and coral, in which case, it may take you a touch longer.
Nevertheless, this was some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever done. We saw a wide variety of tropical fish in all different shapes and sizes and colors. The coral was stunning and absolutely mesmerizing to see all the creatures swimming in and out of each different cluster of coral. We came across turtles and I felt like I was swimming in a snippet from Finding Nemo. LOL. It was incredible. And please note: once we drifted to the area that CAN be accessed by foot from the shore, the snorkeling spectacular factor dropped dramatically. Still pretty with a bit of fish to show – if it’s your only option – it’s still worth it to dip your mask under the water, but nowhere near as incredible as that first isolated stretch of untouched shoreline.
So once you get on shore, find a spot on No Name Beach to take in the sun. Grab some pictures in the gorgeous sparkling Caribbean blue waters. Swim a bit if you like and just relax.
When you’ve had enough of Klein, hop back on the next water taxi and head over to the Coca Beach/Eden Beach stop. On the ride over, you can buy a cold beer from the taxi driver for a couple bucks. It’s a quick trip back across to Bonaire main. At Eden Beach, you can rent a chair and lounge here for a while. There’s a pool and bathrooms available as well. We grabbed a table at the beachfront restaurant “Spice” and spent a couple hours over food and drinks. They poured more than generously here, so take your time and probably sip slowly.
When you’ve had your fill, grab the water taxi one final time to head back to port. There are some little shops and restaurants and what not you can browse on your way back to the cruise ship. Grab a souvenir or two to remember the BEST day of snorkeling and beach! I’d love to hear if you’ve visited Bonaire – what did YOU love about the island?