Overview of Karpata


Bonaire North
ABC Islands


Karpata is just to the East of the No Dive Zone, and offers some of the more spectacular diving on the island.

Directions: On the stretch of road between Columbia and Karpata, 7 km North of Kralendijk.


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12/31/2017 G&J (Avg: 3.82 Review) - We returned to Karpata for the first time since Jan., 2016 and remembered why we loved it so much! The entry was actually easier than expected because of the concrete platform. Like others, we assembled our gear on the platform, sat on the end, but we actually put our gear on while standing in the water. It worked great, then we exited by walking around the left side of the platform. The topography was amazing, and we saw a giant green moray! It was pretty intimidating, actually, since it kept swimming from one hiding place to another. We dove late in the day and really appreciated the solitude we experienced. A great dive, for sure!

08/23/2017 Jim O (Avg: 3.13 Review) - I just returned from an August 2017 trip to Bonaire. We last dove Karpata in 2012 and my log book is full of praise for this site especially in the 25-35' depth as there is just an explosion of life in a healthy system. So imagine the shock when I saw these very same shallows with an approximate bleaching of around 30% of the hard corals. I'd estimate the mortality of coral here at around 10%. Don't get me wrong, there is still much to see and lots of life on this reef, but the degradation over this 5 year period is dramatic. Over the past 10-15 years I've been listening to the old timers say, 'Yeah? You liked the dive? You should have seen this reef 20 years ago'. Now I've seen the health of these Bonaire reefs decline in just 5 years. So my question is this, how long are those of us from the USA going to allow the powerful and wealthy to force us down this path of using hydrocarbons over renewable energy? Do we have to lose 95% of our Earth's reefs as is predicted by scientist and by 2050 before we act? The next much needed antibiotic or cure for a diseases is probably existing in these reefs right now. If you care about these reefs, NOW would be a great time to let your politicians here from you. The year 2050 is 32 years from now! We no longer have time to do nothing.

06/22/2016 Mark2 (Avg: 2.75 Review) - We did this on our first day. Some of the details are a little lost to me; but, We enjoyed it very much. The entry is difficult; but, worth it. There is a small concrete pier. Put your fins on, sit on the edge and wait for the waves to clear up a bit. Push off and swim to the right. On your way out, there is a crack about halfway up the pier that you can stash your fins in.

11/13/2014 Brad Stan (Avg: 4.62 Review) - My first trip Bonaire. Amazing. Did shore dives at 23 different sites. I had very high expectation for this dive and it more than delivered. One of my favorite dives. Yes, the entry looks intimidating, especially with very small waves surging in. But it really isn't that bad if you simply take you time, plan your entry AND exit, and then go slowly. I dove this site twice and for me, the easiest method was to (1) enter by walking to the end of the concrete platform, sit down with my feet in the water and hop off (2) exit by walking slowly along the left side of the platform, holding it with my right hand as I went. I dove both north and south and found the north side of this dive to be far superior. The structure is mind-blowing, with amazing long, sloping trenches. Saw several new species of fish, eels, and a turtle.

12/20/2012 Todd Reimer (Avg: 4.13 Review) - This was the best reef dive we did the entire trip. This was even better than the 2 spots on Klien Bonaire that we went to. It has a very healthy reef with lots of fish and coral formations everywhere. Almost no sand to be found, which keeps visibility clear. Entry consists of walking down a number of steps, and then making your way to the platform. The one in the picture was almost completely submerged, so it wasn't as easy of a walk as it appears. If you are carrying SLR camera gear, it can be a very tricky entry as you have the steep stairway, rocky walk, and wade through the surf past the platform before you can get in. But, if you just have a compact or no camera equipment, it's pretty simple. Parking is easy, but driving there from the south, the 2 way road turns into 1 way, and you end up driving for 20 minutes or so to get back to where you were coming from. Therefore make it your last dive before you head back to pick up more tanks, or break for lunch.

07/03/2012 Jim Olinger (Avg: 3.77 Review) - There is much previously written about this site, but all of it's true and it's a great dive site especially is the southern end gets blown out with poor viz and high winds. There is more hard coral here and not as much sand so the viz stays pretty clear most of the time. You can get very deep on this dive, but save some tank for the shallows. There is a wide variety of life at 25'-35' in the shallower areas...go slow, look close and ENJOY this dive.

12/21/2011 Bill K (Avg: 4.31 Review) - We finally worked out the family schedule to make this dive and it was definitely worth it. Remember that this site is pretty far north on the one-way road, so you have to make the 25-minute trip back through Rincon to return to town. The entry wasn't bad in 1 foot surf -- gently walk in to the platform, grab on and walk to the right side, then put on your fins and swim out. Reverse the steps on the return. Heavy surf conditions should make you carefully reconsider this dive. The reef drops off steeply and is cut by V-shaped coral canyons, not sand chutes as at most other sites. The comments about flying out from or above the reef should be followed! Corals and sponges were abundant and healthy, though we saw lots of brown algae below about 60 feet. There are plenty of fish, but the scenery makes this dive outstanding. Take time to snorkel after your dive, since the mooring is only in 18 feet of water. There are some sea fans south of the concrete entry slab.

11/13/2010 Ann Geiger (Avg: 4.32 Review) - Karpata was my favorite site of this trip, with the best visibility and reef. The topography is interesting and the fish and plant life together were excellent. The road to Karpata is narrow but quite passable. There is ample parking and the entry is accessible down a few stairs. At the bottom of the stairs there is a concrete platform where one can sit to don fins and masks. With snorkel or regulator in your mouth, roll on your belly with an outgoing wave and kick away from the entrance. Conditions were rough when we were there so we exited by kicking on to the platform with an incoming wave, then crawling a ways to remove fins. In better conditions, it likely would be possible to swim very close to the platform, remove your fins, and walk out.

07/22/2010 Robert D. Hunter (Avg: 4.87 Review) - Easier entry than expected. Beautiful location both topside and below. We headed south from the marker buoy and were amazed at the comparatively pristine condition of the reef. The reef itself provides a steep, yet not intimidating descent and it is punctuated by multiple 'streams' of sand chutes. Large communities of mushroom coral and a very active fish population. Our favorite site of the dozen or so we visited.

07/08/2010 Michelle Walker (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Great Dive. Easy Entry. Lots of coral, sea fans and fish. Overall one of my favorite shore dives.

12/21/2009 Bobby Mugs (Avg: 4.77 Review) - Best shore free diving site in Bonaire.

06/22/2009 Rlskill1 (Avg: 4.60 Review) - Excellent site and wall profile. Beautiful corals and lots of fishes. The walk out and up the stairs could be difficult for some.

06/02/2009 Sandy (Avg: 4.19 Review) - Karpata was the best dive we did!!! The best marine life, color, coral and visibility !!!

11/07/2008 Paul Vroon (Avg: 4.01 Review) - Very nice dive. Saw a sting ray and an octopus. It is easy to get into the water, with stairs and all. Great dive!

03/25/2008 Kayak Stern (Avg: 3.98 Review) - Our favorite site on Bonaire. Some people were around, but it was not over crowded. Lots of sights, and you can dive shallow, 30 or mid 60 or go to 110ft. Something for everyone. Entry is off of a cement platform at the bottom of the stairs. It may look questionable, but it is not.

03/23/2007 Colleen Haggart (Avg: 3.64 Review) - Reef is just feet from entry, with lots of fish, but not the best coral.

03/19/2007 Colleen Haggart (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Very nice site. Good chance for larger fish and eagle rays. Lots of the same for coral. Entry is not as bad as it looks.

03/07/2007 Amy at College Station (Avg: 4.60 Review) - My favorite dive on Bonaire! Beautiful…this is a "must" do dive if you are on the island! Entry looks bad, but it's really not-- just walk out next to the concrete slab and head out!

05/22/2006 Jason NYC (Avg: 4.45 Review) - As others have said the entry here looks intimidating but really isn't that bad once you take a minute to walk it and plan your route, usually to the right of the washed out dock, put your fins on, and in ya go. Sometimes the surf can pound you here but it is usually pretty calm. The reef starts almost instantly (great for snorkeling) without the sandy bottom you find in the southern sites on Bonaire. This site was always crowded and busy with divers and locals. I liked it a lot but really didn't think it to be better than the other sites, just a bit different bottom topography (more shallows and rolling walls) that made it stand out. Lots of life and great shallow areas to explore. Parking fills fast and you will have a long drive back to town so don't think you went the wrong way or are lost!

01/16/2006 Mike Struchen (Avg: 4.53 Review) - Karpata was my favorite site of the week! The entry is a little less easy than some of the southern sites but it makes up for it. It was spectacular with its "mountainous" underwater terrain and hugely abundant life. We found a sleeping 7 foot Nurse Shark in-between a couple coral heads. It was awesome to look down the slope and know it just keeps going, almost bottomless. I agree with the "must dive" analogy!

11/13/2005 Dave D (Avg: 4.39 Review) - Most pleasant dive. Don't let the entry scare you off. It was worth it. Almost a true wall dive. Massive sand chutes that run vertical hold amazing photo ops.

10/29/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 3.90 Review) - Best dive we did in Bonaire. Dramatic underwater canyon - almost wall like. Must do dive!

07/21/2005 Mary (Avg: 4.34 Review) - I was scared about going back to this site because the last time (the only other time I've been there) I found the entry/exit very difficult. However, this time we knew to walk out next to the concrete slab and then float out quickly. Boy, was it worth it. The formation and shape of the reefs are dramatic -- awesome. It was exhilarating. It deserves its reputation as a "must do" dive.

06/19/2005 Bjorn (Avg: 3.57 Review) - Plenty of reviews already on Karpata, which is becoming a "must-do" Bonaire dive. The reviewers speak true, Karpata is an excellent dive. We dove this site twice in June 2005, and like every other Bonaire site, including Southern dives like Red Slave, current was negligible for us this time of year. Perhaps current is seasonal, but the utter lack of current made our Bonaire dives really pleasant. Steep verticals, beautiful reef. Karpata can be a deep dive, use caution. May I suggest at about 40' depth backing WELL away from the wall for a time for an amazing, all-encompassing view. You will feel like you're flying as you cross the sand chutes! There's tons of life at 15', so the safety stop has plenty to offer. Navigation is easy due to the distinct sand chutes. Both N and S from the somewhat tricky entry are both excellent. Watch for the surf, you can get battered exiting.

02/06/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.51 Review) - Karpata is the best site I dove from shore on Bonaire. Even the reef top held surprises after a leisurely solo tour of the steep spur/grooves to the right. It would easy to spend three dives in the second groove alone, following it from 100 up through both branches, the diversity and density of species is so great. Loved the turtles wedged into small spaces. Don't know what species the yellow jacks were exactly, but they were abundant and inspirational! I only had time to lightly explore four grooves and really enjoyed the view in crystalline viz from the edge of one groove to another. Loved the filefish variety and squid in the shallows. Oddly, this is the only dive on Bonaire where I didn't see a tarpon or barracuda. It can be a bad place to leave your rental car unattended. Mine was broken into and the hose severed in my ensuing drift snorkel from nearby Weber's Joy to 1000 Steps.

09/01/2004 Der (Avg: 3.72 Review) - Great spot, but watch out for your valuables in the car. Ours was broken into while we were underwater.

07/25/2004 JoAn (Avg: 4.45 Review) - It was a bit challenging getting in and out. First there are some steps, then an entry from a concrete deck. Saw two Juvenile Spotted Drums. After this dive, we drove by the Flamingo Sanctuary which was worth the diversion.

04/08/2004 Jim Homan (Avg: 3.82 Review) - This was one of the few sites on the west side of the island that was devastated by the waves that hit the island a few years ago. The shallows still retain nice coral growth and the drop-off is among the best in Bonaire. The entry can be a little difficult, especially if you are carrying a camera. And when a sudden storm kicks up, a diver can be beat up pretty good getting in and out. But the quality of the dive is well worth the struggle.

01/03/2004 Deborah Norton (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Entry is from a concrete slab that is only inches above the water level and can be very diffuclt in even mild surf. It is well worth it, but don't try it in high surf. The reef is in excellant shape and marine life very abundant.

11/28/2002 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 4.50 Review) - This dive site - BOPEC - is north of Karpata, past the marine reserve "No Dive" area. Squid, eels, lots of soft and hard corals, but the entry was _SO_ difficult you really shouldn't go there.:-)

11/06/2002 Reza Gorji (Avg: 4.65 Review) - I think Karpata is one of the best sites in Bonaire. It is truly stunning. Be careful about your depth as it can easily go deeper than 130. The ultimate dive would be tri-mix here. For the rest of us, double EAN tank and you can spend many hours down at a reasonable depth.

10/25/2002 Lorraine Bayford (Avg: 3.40 Review) - Saw my first sea horse on this dive. Surf conditions were brutal and current strong. Lots of boat and shore divers here. Just an OK dive. The stairs down to the entry point not bad but the entry at the dock is poor.

09/23/2002 Daan (Avg: 4.03 Review) - Because of its high popularity (e.g. you will ALWAYS find turtles here), this site can be pretty crowded, even in off-season. Tip: dump your gear at the parking lot at La Dania's Leap, park the car at Karpata (300 m. down the road), carry your stuff across the rocks, gear up, jump in at La Dania's and drift-dive to Karpata.

08/21/2002 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 3.98 Review) - Gear up before you enter the water at the old pier. Wade out to the end of the pier, hanging on to it, and put on your fins. Then just time it so that you lie down on top of a wave and you'll float out nicely over the shallow rocky bits. Fantastic shallows at the end of the dive.

06/28/2002 Dan Benson (Avg: 3.88 Review) - There are no bad sites in Bonaire! This site is pristine, with lots of great stuff to see. The entry can be somewhat difficult when the surf is up. Also, the road is one way, and to drive back to town you have to go a long way back. A trick: look at the map, and take the dirt road back! Saves many kilometers

04/06/2002 Anonymous (Avg: 4.47 Review) - I think this was the most beautiful site on Bonaire and I've seen a lot. It had the most plant and animal life, real easy to enter. There's just one but: don't leave any valuable stuff in your car!

04/02/2002 Dave Rambo (Avg: 4.30 Review) - Great dive! The entry is pretty easy and the reef is very nice. You can see a lot in the shallows. When you get on the reef it is a little steeper than most dives in Bonaire. It has a lot of valleys and the fish are plentiful.

03/04/2002 Wanda S. Rodriguez (Avg: 4.37 Review) - A very easy entry and exit. We had two newly certified diver's in our group who greatly enjoyed this site. We saw several large lovely peacock flounders. A great place to see the three levels of coral formation since this site goes deep. A great place for photographers.

02/15/2002 Thomas Herlihy (Avg: 3.24 Review) - The parking area is situated on an elevated site that overlooks the entrance. When we arrived in the late morning, there was a couple whose car had been robbed while they were in the water. The parking area is deserted and a robber can see any cars driving up the road. If you park here, don't leave anything in the car. Great site, don't let a potential breaking and entering ruin your return.

08/02/2001 Anonymous (Avg: 4.19 Review) - We saw no less than four green turtles on this dive! Wonderful sea fans and gorgonians. Look out for octopus in the shallows.

07/19/2001 John Gnann (Avg: 4.19 Review) - Interesting "spur and groove" bottom topography, different from most other sites on Bonaire. Good place to see turtles.

06/28/2001 Tom Starkweather (Avg: 4.33 Review) - Very impressive dive site. The hard corals are spectacular. Saw good marine life including hawksbill turtles. A must dive!!! Entry can be a little difficult when the surf is up.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: NB0801


Parking at Karpata 

Parking is ample, and is just a short hike to the entry.




Sign at Karpata 

This is an historic site, so take some time to explore the buildings in the area.


 Map     Sat
GPS: NB0803


Entry at Karpata 

Entry is just to the right of the concrete platform.




Aerial at Karpata 
(click photo for details)

It's a short swim to a diver's paradise!

Last Verification: February, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Karpata  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.33
Bottom Conditions:  4.45
Reef Conditions:  4.64
Animal Life:  4.43
Plant Life:  4.10
Facilities:  2.98
Solitude 3.48
Roads:  3.95
*Site Average:  4.08

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.50
Beginner Scuba:  3.52
Intermediate Scuba:  4.33
Advanced Scuba:  4.43
Night diving Scuba:  3.26

Number of reviews for this site: 42


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