Bonaire National Marine Park

Protected Area Overview

Managed by STINAPA Bonaire
Established 1979
Size 2,700 ha. (6,700 ac.)

The Bonaire National Marine Park, established in 1979, is world famous for its active management of the island’s marine resources and in 1992 was one of the first dive destinations to introduce admission fees for scuba divers. The park includes 2,700 hectares (6,700 acres) of fringing reefs, seagrasses and mangroves.

Bonaire’s coral reefs begin at the water’s edge and extend seaward for up to 300 meters (~984 feet). The park is home to an astonishing array of marine life, and Conservation International considers the waters around Bonaire to be a hotspot of Caribbean biodiversity.

Bonaire’s fringing coral reefs are home to virtually every species of hard and soft coral found in the Caribbean. More than 340 fish species live here, making it one of the healthiest and most bio-diverse reefs in the region.

Lac, the largest semi-enclosed bay in the Dutch Caribbean, is sheltered from pounding seas by a fringing barrier reef. Its inaccessible mangroves provide nesting sites and safe havens for frigate birds, herons, flamingos, pelicans and endangered ospreys. Its seagrass beds are a vital nursery for reef fish and a foraging ground for endangered queen conch and green turtles.

The Marine Park manages Klein Bonaire, the uninhabited satellite island off Bonaire’s western shore. It is an important stopover for migratory birds and includes the most important nesting grounds for endangered Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles on Bonaire.

Park Management Organisation: STINAPA Bonaire

Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire) is the non-governmental, nonprofit foundation commissioned by the island government to manage the two protected areas of Bonaire: the Bonaire National Marine Park and the Washington Slagbaai National Park. STINAPA Bonaire is responsible for the management of the island of Klein Bonaire and the cave systems at Onima and Barcadera.

STINAPA Bonaire is dedicated to the conservation of Bonaire ’s natural and historical heritage through the sustainable use of its resources. It aims to fulfil this mission by achieving the following goals:

  • Protect, conserve and restore all the natural resources, including, but not limited to, the native flora and fauna of Bonaire for future generations.
  • Ensure that the conservation of these natural resources is given the highest priority in all public decision-making processes.
  • Ensure that the residents of, and visitors to, Bonaire receive quality education and information about the protection of nature and the environment.
  • Ensure that the natural and historical resources of Bonaire are used in a sustainable manner.