Overview of Bari Reef

Bari Reef

Bonaire North
ABC Islands


Bari Reef is found off the shore of the Sand Dollar Condominiums. After the tragic loss of their superb dive facility, docks, and restaurant during the Storm of '99, they put in a temporary facility on the Southern side of their property. As of February 2001, the rebuilding is in progress.

Directions: 2.5 km North of Kralendijk, just North the intersection of Kaya Gobernador Nicolaas and Kaya Amsterdam.


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03/20/2015 Will Neff (Avg: 2.38 Review) - From the entry, there is some decent reef to the right, but in my opinion it is nowhere near the best diving on Bonaire - not even close. To the left from the entry is depressing desolation. Based on my experience, this is an urban dive site where beginners and photographers come to kick the reef. Sacrifice zones are a necessity, I suppose.

11/13/2014 Brad Stan (Avg: 3.61 Review) - My first trip Bonaire. Amazing. Did shore dives at 23 different sites. This was a pretty good dive but I ended up getting lucky and saw a huge green moray eel with 3/4 of its body out from underneath the wreck. He was very easily spooked and so I was unable to get video before he retreated underneath. I came back a few days later but it was not there so I don't know it he is a resident or just a visitor. Also saw lots of interesting fish.

01/03/2014 Lilli Nevanlinna (Avg: 3.45 Review) - The Bari reef was our house reef as we stayed at Eden Beach resort. The reef is badly broken due to the hurricane and a lot of diving pressure, but even so the animal life is magnificent! We have seen 3 hawksbill turtles at Bonaire, two of which at Bari reef. Night diving is excellent there, we saw a lot of big free swimming morays, hermit crabs, octopuses, lobsters... you name it. Don't let the ugly coral rubble fool you, the uglier the reef, the more interesting animals :) There is a small wreck 'New York' at around 25 meters / 80 feet, you find it by swimming straight down from the wooden mooring, there is a cable running at the bottom leading you there. There is a huge colony of garden eels next to the wreck, and a few very cute yellow head jawfish at the reef side of the wreck.

05/27/2013 Karen from Salt Lake City (Avg: 3.00 Review) - This is our 3rd trip to Bonaire. Bari reef has been beat up by divers and needs a rest to restore it to its beauty of just a few years ago. It has an abundance of sea life and has been a terrific dive site - but too many divers kicking the reef have taken its toll.

01/16/2012 Jim Haggart (Avg: 4.18 Review) - Nice dive with easy entry. Pick your spot as this site is about 100m long. There is a boat at 80 foot at the South end of the site. Saw free swimming eels and several colors of trumpet fish.

02/15/2011 Nig (Avg: 4.13 Review) - Great diving on a wonderful island

12/28/2009 Bill K (Avg: 4.24 Review) - This was our second year in a row at Sand Dollar, and we made two dives here. The shallows are still barren, but the top of the reef is in about 20 feet of water and can be seen from the surface. The coral and sponges are in good shape and the fish are everywhere -- we saw many parrotfish, damsels, trumpetfish, angels, trunkfish and honeycomb cowfish, filefish, and several morays. On our night dive we were accompanied by a 5' tarpon! You can't beat the house reefs in Bonaire -- grab a tank and roll into the water.

02/06/2009 Leo from Oak Park (Avg: 4.10 Review) - This was our 'house reef', as we stayed at Den Laman. It was our choice for a quick and lazy dive when we were too tired to drive. We dove Bari over 10 times and, of course, each time was different. Plenty of eels, a few turtles, squid, tiny shrimps at cleaning stations, friendly and curious angel fish, and a few barracudas that kept following us.

12/23/2008 Bill K (Avg: 4.10 Review) - We stayed at Sand Dollar Condos on this return trip to Bonaire, diving this reef four times during our week with Bonaire Dive & Adventure. Just grab a tank at the dock, jump in, and go. Shallows have been scoured pretty clean of branching corals, though there are a few isolated heads of brain coral. Reef of boulder and brain corals slopes off to sand at 125 ft, with lots of sea whips, green finger sponges, and purple tube sponges in the 30-60 foot range. Yes, there is some trash about, but the corals are in generally good condition to the right (north). Fish are everywhere -- parrotfish, damsels, French angels, tarpon, trumpet fish, multiple species of wrasse, trunkfish, and several types of moray. Look carefully and you can find cleaner shrimp and other inverts. Though we did not do a night dive, those who did found octopus and squid.

05/30/2008 Linda and Jim (Avg: 3.83 Review) - We were warned about fire corral when entering just north of the pier, and we managed to avoid it. Entry was a little difficult when you had to look out for footing as well as avoiding the corral. We went looking for the boats. One fiberglass sailboat was advertised as being at 40', but had managed to slip down the reef to about 60'. Not much left to look at.

01/24/2008 Carl Mintz (Avg: 4.38 Review) - We saw 4 different frog fish, 2 sea horses, an octopus that wanted to play, a tarpon named Charlie, lots of blenny's, shrimp, numerous eels, lobsters, and lots more. Getting into and out of the water at their pier is easy (well most of the time), and there are always plenty of tanks available on the pier.

01/10/2008 Yuri (Avg: 3.49 Review) - December 2007 was our 2nd trip to Bonaire (our 1st was in July 2005), and, since we dove with Sand $, we obviously dived Bari Reef numerous times. This time we did 2 daytime dives, one to the north and one to the south of the pier, and one night dive to the north. Though the fish are very abundant, the reef is deteriorating, especially to the south of the pier. There were some tires and other junk, to make things worse. Resident tarpons were the biggest attraction on this site, especially at night. On the night dives I saw couple of good size crabs, but not a single lobster. If you prefer corals in better shape, dive at the Cliff which is just half a mile to the north.

08/07/2007 Marge Lawson (Avg: 4.48 Review) - We came to Bonaire in 2003 and fell in love with the island, the people, and the diving. We returned the next year and bought a townhouse at Sand Dollar Condominium Resorts. One of the selling points was the fact that the number one reef in the Caribbean is right in front of Sand Dollar--Bari Reef. I've now done somewhere around 1000 hours of diving on Bari Reef and never get bored. It's not the prettiest dive on the island, but if you like lots of fish and enjoy fish ID, it doesn't get better than this. We presently (August 2007) have 11 frogfish on Front Porch/Bari Reef. There is a sponge straight out from the dock that is now named after me (Marge's sponge) which I've spent many hours studying. Last year I discovered a very rare Pipehorse living in the sponge along with several Harlequin Pipefish and two different varieties of "unidentified pipefish". There are Mantis Shrimp, Smootheye Blenny, Reef Scorpionfish, etc. also inhabiting that sponge. Other interesting and fairly rare creatures I've sighted on Bari Reef are Coral Scorpionfish, Mushroom Scorpionfish, Yellowhead Pikeblenny (which are near the reef balls), Armina nudibranchs, Flameback Angelfish, Shortnose Batfish, etc. I do occasional dives at other sites, but definitely find Bari Reef more interesting.

07/23/2007 Anonymous (Avg: 3.79 Review) - Great snorkeling! We left the cruise ship walking up the coast until we came upon Bonaire Dive. Rented snorkels and waded in to find fish at our feet. Moray eel, squid (32), and caught a glimpse of an octopus beneath one of the docks. Great area for beginners and intermediates.

03/23/2007 Colleen Haggart (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Easy entry off the dock at Den Laman condos located off the traffic circle. Just park and go directly to the dock, get a tank and dive. It is that easy.

05/31/2006 Hans (Avg: 3.46 Review) - To avoid having to turn back, a great way to dive is to go just one way. We started just south of Bari, at Bongo Beach and went all the way back to Buddy's in an hour. Starting at Edens Rubble with a tug-boat wreck at 22 meters, we saw lots of tarpon (we counted 17). If you tire earlier, you can get out at Lamann or at Sand Dollar.

05/22/2006 Jason NYC (Avg: 4.71 Review) - Yet another lovely dive in Bonaire! They were all great! A short swim over sandy bottom brings you to the drop off in about 25fsw with plenty of life and healthy coral. All the usual suspects and Octopus at night. I had fun with protective Damsel fish and Blenny in the shallows. I noticed lots of large rubble in this area.

04/05/2005 Gerald Wilgus (Avg: 3.94 Review) - Friends and I went the last week of March which is not ideal for avoiding crowds. Even then, while busy, Bari Reef was not overly crowded. I found that only the snorkelers and enthusiasts were investigating the flats where we observed a Shortnose Batfish, various Blennys living in chunks of rubble and Yellowhead Jawfish in the sand. At night the Tube Anemones were out and one of us photographed a nice Goldspotted Eel out hunting in the sand. I found this a great reef for shrimp; besides Banded Coral Shrimp and Pederson's Cleaner Shrimp in their usual habitats, there were Squat Anemone Shrimp living in flealike abundance on an anemone.

10/25/2002 Chris Tebbens (Avg: 3.61 Review) - As we stayed at Sand Dollar we did several dives on Bari reef. Marine life on the reef was varied and great. Swam with a spotted Eagle Ray for a couple of minutes. We did a 5:30am dive and watched the reef wake up. It was fantastic.

10/06/2002 Melissa and Stephen Lodwick (Avg: 4.26 Review) - Went on several dives with a REEF naturalist. Several hundred fish species can be found. Awesome dive site for beginner (no current, surge) but also has many things for intermediate/advanced divers (exploration, identification). Located Frogfish pair (one yellow, one green), beautiful fish. As previous reviewers have mentioned, there are lots of barrels and miscellaneous junk, but this junk provides great protection for many fish species and invertebrates.

08/21/2002 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 3.80 Review) - Saw octopus in the shallows, Sand dollar dock and facilities not yet completed.

08/25/2001 R Lowe (Avg: 3.73 Review) - Bari means "barrel" in Papeimento. This site used to be a dump, and the remains are evident. This is a good night dive.

08/09/2001 Mike Robbins (Avg: 3.65 Review) - Did several night dives at bari reef very easy entry with steps to shore and lights. this site is next to the sand dollar resort dive shop and has rinse tanks and shower available. Good visibility and no current. Much fish life the tarpon and snook will follow along and use your lights to hunt. There was also a large stingray hanging out. very enjoyable dive, relaxing and good for beginners.

07/24/2001 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 3.98 Review) - This trip was made before Hurricane Lenny...we did 5 dives here, three of them night dives, and enjoyed them all. Lots of fish life, and at night the lights from the former Green Parrot made it easy to do a "stealth dive" return to the dock without lights. A great place to begin shore diving!

05/22/2001 Robert Illanne (Avg: 4.05 Review) - We stayed at the Sand Dollar Resort. This is a very good dive with plenty of fish life. My son had his first night dive here and met Charlie (the 5-6 foot resident tarpon). The dive is excellent to start your day with. Some damage to the reef can be found from Hurricane Mitch. Overall the reef is healthy with color and life. Plenty of Mories.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: NB2001


Entrance at Bari Reef 

The signs are a little difficult to see, but entrance is still very recognizable.


 Map     Sat
GPS: NB2002


Parking at Bari Reef 

The parking is at the Southern edge of the Sand Dollar property. The temporary dive shop is the structure to the left.


 Map     Sat
GPS: NB2003


Entry at Bari Reef 

This is the temporary entry to Bari Reef. The foundation for the new facilities is in the background.




Aerial at Bari Reef 
(click photo for details)

Bari Reef is one of the finest on the island.

Last Verification: February, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Bari Reef  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.68
Bottom Conditions:  3.72
Reef Conditions:  3.40
Animal Life:  4.28
Plant Life:  3.36
Facilities:  3.76
Solitude 3.12
Roads:  4.40
*Site Average:  3.84

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.96
Beginner Scuba:  4.56
Intermediate Scuba:  4.16
Advanced Scuba:  3.80
Night diving Scuba:  4.12

Number of reviews for this site: 25


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