1000 Steps is probably just as famous for the fantastic view from the top of its limestone steps as it is for its marine life. Go down the steps (don’t be worried, it’s not 1000 steps, just 70), wear your mask, jump in the water and enjoy the show! In and around the reef, parrotfish, grunts, chub and sea turtles glide their way through healthy patches of staghorn coral, gorgonian and sea fans.

View of 1000 Steps beach, Bonaire

How to get there?

1000 Steps is located on the northern part of Bonaire, approximately 6km North of Kralendijk. The spot is marked with two yellow stones on the left side of the road. Park your car, enjoy the view from the top of the limestone steps, and go down to the beach.

Water entrance

1000 Steps shore is mostly rocky, but you will find several sandy splits between the beach and the reef to enter the water. Two of these splits are located on the left side of the beach, in front of the best snorkeling area (see map above).

1000 Steps snorkeling map, Bonaire

Exploration

The area to explore covers the approximately 80 meters-wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off. Starting from the beach, you will first cross a dozen meters of mostly sandy seabed (↕2-5ft/0,5-1.50m), where queen and stoplight parrotfish feed on the few rocks. After several meters, the seabed starts to be covered with coral (↕5-10ft/1.5-3m) and the reef becomes denser and livelier until the drop-off (↕10-20ft/3-6m).

Staghorn coral at 1000 Steps

On the eastern area of the spot (on your left when you are facing the sea), you will find two large patches of staghorn coral (acropora cervicornis, ↕5-10ft/1.5-3m), one of the most beautiful –but also endangered- coral of the Caribbean region. The grey chromis surround the coral with their schools, creating a beautiful, spectacular sight. The branches of this coral are particularly vulnerable to errant fin kicks, so be careful when snorkeling around.

1000 Steps coral reef snorkeling

This spot is also rich in other hard coral species and gorgonians, although they are particularly damaged in some shallow areas. The fish are concentrated around the coral formations, including trumpetfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, surgeonfish and tarpons. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, which are frequently spotted on the drop-off.

Restaurants and accommodation

1000 Steps is in a natural setting, with no restaurant or accommodation nearby. The closest commodities are in Rincon or Kralendijk. Bring at least water with you.

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaBonaire National Marine Park
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m on the reef flat, 20ft/6m on the reef drop-off
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.