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Bonaire’s Magical Marine Environment

The marine environment is Bonaire’s biggest attraction.

Snorkelers, SCUBA divers, windsurfers, kiteboarders, and sailors spend hours in the depths of the marine environment or skimming its surface. Bonaire’s fringing reef system is a national park protected to a depth of 200 feet all around the island. Additionally, it is also around Klein Bonaire, the small uninhabited island located in the lee, to the west, of Bonaire.

The Bonaire National Marine Park.

STINAPA and the Bonaire National Marine Park strive to inform residents and visitors about how to preserve and protect our oceans. No anchoring is allowed on the reef. Special dive moorings have been installed to allow easy access to the reef without further damaging this fragile system. Additionally, moorings for visiting yachts are available on a first-come basis off Kralendijk’s harbor area.

Strictly underwater, we have an array of fun little critters to make you smile, like our famous frogfish. Frogfish are up to 4 or 5 inches long and come in various colors. These little guys usually rest on sponges and move around by hopping along on finned feet. Ask your divemaster where to look for one, and remember: Don’t touch the marine life!

The marine environment at Klein Bonaire.

Klein Bonaire’s small beaches offer nesting areas for Hawksbill, Loggerhead, and Green turtles. Also, Leatherback turtles are occasionally sighted in our waters as well. If you do visit the beaches on Klein Bonaire, please don’t walk through the dunes or any areas which may be marked off. Turtle nests can be easily damaged by the weight of a human walking across them. Visit the Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire to learn more.

The Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary.

Since 2015, Bonaire has been part of the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary, the eleventh such sanctuary in the world.  The government of The Netherlands continues to pass legislation to protect these apex predators, whose numbers are dwindling.

Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire.

The goal of the Reef Renewal Foundation is to restore the degraded portion of the reef. In particular, the focus is placed on the shallow water population of staghorn and elkhorn corals around Bonaire and the adjacent island Klein Bonaire. The main production coral nursery is situated on Klein Bonaire. This area is where the coral is disturbed as little as possible and additional nurseries are located around Bonaire.

The Bonaire Marine Park

 

 

The fringing reef surrounding Bonaire is a National Marine Park from the high water mark down to a depth of 200 feet/60m. Every diver who has not dived on Bonaire within the last calendar year must attend a diver orientation for the Bonaire Marine Park regulations and information. Additionally, you are required to pay a nature fee, which is necessary to enter Bonaire's waters legally. The nature fee cost is US$40.00 for all water activities, and proceeds help support park management and services. The nature fee can be purchased online.

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