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Worth a visit
Rating 1.5 (239 votes)

Underwater Bonaire

Listed under Snorkelling in Netherlands Antilles.

  • Photo of Underwater Bonaire
  • Photo of Underwater Bonaire
  • Photo of Underwater Bonaire
Photo of Underwater Bonaire
Photo by flickr user tanstaafl5813
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For over 25 years, this small, arid Dutch island located only 50 miles north of Venezuela, has carefully guarded its primary resource---a lush band of fringing reef that encircles the entire island. The Bonaire Marine Park, which protects the marine environment from the high tide line to a depth of 200 feet, has allowed the marine life to thrive while infusing an unmatched environmental sensitivity throughout Bonaire’s water-oriented community. While other islands have continued traditional spear-fishing activities, on Bonaire it has been illegal since 1972, and the fish know it.

This island offers the snorkeler opportunities to see more species of fish, in greater numbers, more intimately, than any other Caribbean destination I know. Gold-specked angelfish will actually approach you. Schools of blue tangs, sergeant majors, brown and blue chromis, and French grunts are prolific. Trumpetfish, groupers, peacock flounders, butterflyfish, coneys, orange-spotted filefish, and more, all circulate without fear of human presence. There are more parrotfish in the waters surrounding Bonaire that I’ve ever seen (or heard!) anywhere else. Although I’m careful about the use of brochure superlatives, Bonaire is truly a fish lover’s paradise.

As part of the European Union, the island offers a friendly atmosphere where the desalinated water is good to drink, the food is well-prepared and safe, almost everyone speaks excellent English (as well as Dutch, Spanish and Papiamentu), and there is minimal risk of tropical disease.

Written by  Joel Simon.

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