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Water Taxi to Klein Bonaire without taking Ship's Tour--it can be done


mcmarya

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I posted this as a reply below but thought I would add this thread. I read the messages on the board before going to Bonaire and was convinced there was no way to do Klein Bonaire on your own. When I got there, I was unsure where to snorkel, so I followed a group of passengers from my ship to see where they were going. It turns out they were headed to Karel's Beach bar where there is a water taxi.

 

Do a search for Karel's Beach Bar, Bonaire for specifics. We were in Bonaire on the Summit less than 2 weeks ago and took the water taxi from there for $20 each round trip (includes the $2 marine park fee). When you get off your ship, go left and walk for 3 or 4 blocks and you will come to a small pier with Karel's Beach Bar and water sports and a bunch of boats nearby. They have a website so you could probably e-mail to be sure you can take their water taxi. You do not have to take a ship's tour. The Karel's water taxi takes you to the same place all the ship's tours go.

 

The day we were there, only our ship was in Bonaire so it is possible things might be different if more than one ship is in port.

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Please tell me more about your day in Bonaire. We will be there on the Summit in a few weeks and I am hoping to do something similar - great snorkeling without a ship tour and a ton of people. Anything help you can offer would be great! I think we are the only ship in port too.

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We were on the Summit so it was a short day. We opted to go to Klein Bonaire because hurricane Omar wasted most of the coral in the shallows of Bonaire. A small boat takes you to the island where there are a couple of small shelters where vendors rent snorkel gear (I think--we brought our own) and sell some beverages. The woman running the water taxi suggested taking something to drink. There were no rest rooms that I could see. We opted to come back at around 4 but you can probably stay later than that.

 

To snorkel you walk around the island a ways and work your way back--to the left as you face the shore. To get in, you have to find a break in the coral as it comes nearly to the surface of the water. Once you get beyond the coral, you swim along the outside where it drops off into deep water. In most places, you can't really swim over the reef because it is too shallow. The day we were there it was quite windy and we had a brief rain shower so visibility was not the best. I did see a turtle and lots of French angelfish in addition to the usual parrotfish, etc. I actually enjoyed the snorkeling more in Aruba. According to the map I looked at after we got home, the majority of snorkeling spots are really around the island from where the water taxis drop you off. Not sure how easy it would be to get there, though.

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Thanks so much for the great info. Did you have to reserve the taxi in advance? I googled them http://www.bonairenauticomarina.com/ but it doesn't say how much it cost. I noticed that the ferry to get would, of course, be the 2pm as we don't get into Bonaire until 1pm. The last ferry back is at 4:30. Did you feel like that was enough time? Also- no restrooms? What map did you use when you got back? Did the island seem too small to get to the other side?

Thanks again for answering all these questions.

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We did not reserve--just came across the opportunity. As far as getting to the other side of the island, not sure about that. If it is low tide you can probably walk around. There are lots of maps on the internet, but you can also get one from a little shack on the left as you leave the pier area--it also shows snorkel and dive spots.

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Thanks for posting this because I would always rather do it on my own and you spelled out exactly how to do that. My question is this--I'm in port there from 7am - 2 pm. How can I get over to Klein Bonaire via this water taxi and snorkel for an hour or so and still have time to go see flamingo's & such? Hire a taxi when I get back?????? I've tried reading through the other threads and everyone asks this question but no definite answers on it.

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The amount of time you are in port would be sufficient, but the time frame would be the issue. Not sure how early the water taxi runs or how early you would want to get out there and snorkel. When we went, the whole trip to Klein Bonaire, including getting off the ship and walking to and from the water taxi dock took about 3 hours. You might have to have to do your tour first before hitting the water taxi, if the taxi doesn't open early, in order to do both. If I remember correctly, there were taxi vans at the pier advertising island tours for $25/hour--pretty sure that was Bonaire.

Good luck!

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Maybe if I just took the ship tour that would be the answer? It leaves at 7:30 and it gets back at 10:30 am. Then, I was thinking about renting a scooter as soon as we get back and then just touring for a few hours & then coming back to the ship.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would like to do the same as vegaboy (take the Princess tour to Klein 7:30-10:30). Our ship leaves at 2 pm. Does this give enough time to rent scooters and see some the island?

 

If so, where do you recommend we go given we don't have a lot of time. What is a good route to take to see the best of Bonaire.

 

Is there a place you recommend we rent from? Thanks for all your help.

 

Also, this is our first cruise. When exactly do you have to be back on the ship by if it departs at 2 pm. Thanks!!

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  • 7 months later...

Hello all - we are heading to Bonaire in November and looking to do some snorkeling from shore. We are advanced snorkelers and here that the snorkeling in Bonaire is amazing.

 

Can anyone tell me how long the ferry ride was over to Klein Bonaire.

 

mcmarya - you mentioned seeing a lot of reef but not great snorkeling, was it because of the water conditions that day? Was the reef alive? Usually reef means good snorkeling. Also, where did you snorkeling in Aruba that you mentioned being better.

 

Thanks in advance!

Jessie

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The ferry ride is 5-8 minutes at the most.

 

Thanks Scubababy - how is the snorkeling over there? (we are advanced snorkelers). Is it worth the trip over there? We are trying to decide between taking the ferry over there or just trying to hit some of the snorkel sites on the main island.

 

Thank you! :)

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From what I can see... the ship's tours take you to a site called "No Name Beach" On the North side of the island. Looks like a snorkel spot that has very little coral and lots of sand. This is great for a bunch of folks who don't have any experience. You don't want to take them to a place with a lot of coral, where they could break the coral by standing on it.

 

So my guess is, they drop the cruise ship people off at a dive site where no one can get hurt or do any harm :D. I'm sure this basic spot at Bonaire is better than most of the best spots in the rest of the Caribbean, so I am probably just thinking too much :p

 

But just for kicks, I want to know about private water taxi to Klein. Also looking at the South side of Klien just to see which side has the best reefs and visibility in the morning? And which if any spots got damaged the most by the recent hurricanes?

 

Anyone have any experience, beyond the basics from the ships brochure?

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  • 3 months later...
From what I can see... the ship's tours take you to a site called "No Name Beach" On the North side of the island. Looks like a snorkel spot that has very little coral and lots of sand. This is great for a bunch of folks who don't have any experience. You don't want to take them to a place with a lot of coral, where they could break the coral by standing on it.

 

So my guess is, they drop the cruise ship people off at a dive site where no one can get hurt or do any harm :D. I'm sure this basic spot at Bonaire is better than most of the best spots in the rest of the Caribbean, so I am probably just thinking too much :p

 

But just for kicks, I want to know about private water taxi to Klein. Also looking at the South side of Klien just to see which side has the best reefs and visibility in the morning? And which if any spots got damaged the most by the recent hurricanes?

 

Anyone have any experience, beyond the basics from the ships brochure?

 

On a different thread, this poster told of the wonderful snorkel (with plenty of coral!!!) he saw here. I mention this because I read this post and decided I was going to look for another place to snorkel. I'm glad markstudy posted elsewhere to say this is GOOD!

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Hello all -

Just wanted to report back from our November cruise. We ended up taking the water Taxi over to Klein Bonaire and had an amazing time. I read some not so great reviews before going but let me tell you the snorkeling was very good.... and I have snorkeled all over the Caribbean and have a pretty high standard when telling someone what good snorkeling is.

 

Yes, where the taxi drops you off there is not much to see (sand bottom) but if you walk a ways down the beach to the left or right as you face the water the snorkeling is great. We walked to the right quite a ways, got in the water and swam out past the coral heads that near the surface so that you are on the deep side of the drop off and then swam along the edge of the drop off back towards where the water taxi dropped us off. It was an amazing drift snorkel with abundant fish, coral, and even saw some turtles. We did this several times. You don't need to book an excursion here, just take the water taxi on your own.

 

By the way, we found out later there are at least 2 water taxi's - we took the first one we came to but if you walk past that one there is another and it's a little less expensive. Hope that helps!

 

Jessie

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  • 4 weeks later...
Hello all -

Just wanted to report back from our November cruise. We ended up taking the water Taxi over to Klein Bonaire and had an amazing time. I read some not so great reviews before going but let me tell you the snorkeling was very good.... and I have snorkeled all over the Caribbean and have a pretty high standard when telling someone what good snorkeling is.

 

Yes, where the taxi drops you off there is not much to see (sand bottom) but if you walk a ways down the beach to the left or right as you face the water the snorkeling is great. We walked to the right quite a ways, got in the water and swam out past the coral heads that near the surface so that you are on the deep side of the drop off and then swam along the edge of the drop off back towards where the water taxi dropped us off. It was an amazing drift snorkel with abundant fish, coral, and even saw some turtles. We did this several times. You don't need to book an excursion here, just take the water taxi on your own.

 

By the way, we found out later there are at least 2 water taxi's - we took the first one we came to but if you walk past that one there is another and it's a little less expensive. Hope that helps!

 

Jessie

:) When you mentioned the water taxi that is less expensive, the first taxi you walked past, was this the one that was at Carel's that someone else had mentioned? If not, can you give some more detailed instructions on how to find it? Did they seem reliable? And do you pay after you are returned to the mainland? Thanks for any info you can give.

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Ships tour was very good!

 

Two tips...

1) go early.. as winds and waves pick-up as day goes on

2) coral is bigger as you go futher down to the east end of the island.

 

RubyPrincess2010411small-1.jpg

 

RubyPrincess2010426small.jpg

I'm a bit confused. When you said ship tour was good, were you referring to Klein? Or No Name Beach? Is No Name Beach on mainland or Klein?

Thanks

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:) When you mentioned the water taxi that is less expensive, the first taxi you walked past, was this the one that was at Carel's that someone else had mentioned? If not, can you give some more detailed instructions on how to find it? Did they seem reliable? And do you pay after you are returned to the mainland? Thanks for any info you can give.

 

Once you get off the ship and walk to the left (towards the downtown area) the first water taxi I believe was Carel's. Its a little bar that sticks out into the water (built out on a pier). When we got back from Klein Bonaire we walked farther up that way (past Carels - just a short ways) and found there was another shuttle that was a little less expensive. We did not take this shuttle so I cannot comment on it's reliableness but I can tell you that I was a little disappointed in the one we took... the guy that runs it (an older guy with long gray hair) was less than friendly and he also made us wait a while until he filled up the boat. This annoyed us as we got off the ship early so we could spend as much time as possible at Klein Bonaire. I can see if it was a long run over there but it's not. Its a very short ride!!! He also tries give you a time to come back that is early (like only letting you stay there 2 hours). We were able to get him to change this to a later one so make sure you discuss this with him when you go - its not set times although I think he likes to make people think that. Some people that picked a later time were still able to get on an earlier shuttle back.

 

Hope that helps. I would be happy to answer any other questions you have. Here are some snorkel pics we took while there. The pictures are from the following ports:

 

St. Thomas,

Dominica,

Grenada,

Bonaire, and

Aruba

 

They should be in the order above (but if you are curious the port should be in the title of the jpeg) Bonaire are pics 64-101

 

So, here's the link for your viewing pleasure - http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...aNGzdw2bOGLF1g

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I'm a bit confused. When you said ship tour was good, were you referring to Klein? Or No Name Beach? Is No Name Beach on mainland or Klein?

Thanks

 

Yes the ship's water taxi takes you over to Klein which is a small empty island in the bay... you can see it from the ship. Klein is a State Marine Park, and the beach is called "No Name Beach"... it looks like all boats dump people off here since its on the protected side of the island (from wind and waves) and there is a tiny little straw hut. Still gets churned up by wind and waves if you go later in the day, so try and book early.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
BeachChica

Chris's pictures were awesome. How deep were you and what model camera did you use?

thanks

BRLRPH

 

Hi BRLRPH - I am almost embarrassed to say this but we are still using our Sony CyberShot DSC-W7 Camera that we bought in 2005 with the Sony underwater housing. We need to suck it up and buy a new one but it has been such a great camera and takes such great underwater videos and pics that we just keep using it. :)

Those pics were taken snorkeling so I would say no more than 30 feet depth.

 

Jessie

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Thanks for posting this because I would always rather do it on my own and you spelled out exactly how to do that. My question is this--I'm in port there from 7am - 2 pm. How can I get over to Klein Bonaire via this water taxi and snorkel for an hour or so and still have time to go see flamingo's & such? Hire a taxi when I get back?????? I've tried reading through the other threads and everyone asks this question but no definite answers on it.

 

Just a short walk off the ship (WAY before you get to the water taxi at the bar mentioned by a previous poster) you will see a stand offering a water taxi over to Klein at about 10:30 am. Good price, good service, and dependable. They will arrange a pick up back to the port from Klein. You may have to grab a mini taxi tour to see the flamingos early in the morning before Klein. Unfortunately, port time is terribly short at this great island.

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