Spot

Karpata


Located just north of Kralendijk on Bonaire’s west coast, at the limit of the no dive zone, Karpata boasts pristine azure waters and an fantastic display of coral, sponges, and reef fish. This popular scuba diving spot (one of the best on the island) is also suitable for advanced snorkelers, when sea condition permit.
How to get there?

Karpata is the northernmost snorkeling spot on Bonaire, located just before entering the no-diving area. From Kralendijk, head north for 7 kilometers on the coastal road. As most of the diving and snorkeling spots on Bonaire, Karpata is marked with a yellow-painted roadside stone. A parking is located in front of the spot. On your way to Karpata, you will pass by 1000 Steps, which is another excellent snorkeling spot on the north coast of Bonaire. If you plan to snorkel both 1000 Steps and Karpata, start with exploring 1000 Steps, because the road is then one-way only to Karpata.

Water entrance

There is a concrete platform in the middle of the little beach. Sit down on the platform, wear your snorkeling equipment and enter the water, taking care not to hurt yourself. This spot is open and subject to surf, and is recommended only for advanced snorkelers. You should postpone your snorkeling session if the sea conditions are not good.

Aerial view

Exploration

The area to explore covers the approximately 50 meters-wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off.

A few meter from the shore, you will spot elkhorn coral clusters, almost touching the surface of the water (↕2-4ft/0,5-1m). Some patches of this iconic building coral species, strictly protected, can also be observed on the drop-off. The shallow areas are the perfect place to observe the parrotfish, trunkfish and wrasse feeding on the seabed.

snorkeling-karpata-bonaire-coral
Coral and gorgonian at Karpata

Swimming away from the shore, you will soon reach the drop-off. On this section of the coast, the drop-off is very steep, but the first dozen meter of it, not that deep (↕6-12ft/2-4m), can be enjoyed by snorkelers. The slope is covered by healthy hard coral, gorgonian, sponges and sea fan, forming a fascinating underwater landscape. Among the most colorful fish you should come across in Karpata are, among dozens of other species, blue tang, bluehead wrasse, Spanish hogfish and the elegant French angelfish. 

Karpata is home to both hawksbill and green sea turtles, and you will have the best chance of spotting them when snorkeling the east side of the spot (on your left when you are facing the sea).

Restaurants and accommodation

Karpata is in a natural setting, with no restaurant or accommodation nearby. The closest amenities are in Rincon, a 10-minutes’ drive from the spot. Bring at least water with you.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Advanced
  • Maximum depth
    12ft/4m on the reef flat, 20ft/6m on the reef drop-off
  • Water entrance
    Tricky, from a concrete platform
  • Lifeguard
    No
  • Visitor numbers
    Low to medium
  • Access costs
    Free
  • Restaurants nearby
    No
  • Public toilets & showers
    No

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

footer-banner