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The vast majority of Bonaire may be a divers’ paradise, but there’s still one spot where other interests reign supreme: Lac Bay, the turquoise jewel of Bonaire’s East Coast. Most of the action is on the West side, but Lac Bay and Sorobon Beach are the heart of the island’s windsurfing scene, diving’s popular runner-up for reigning watersport of Bonaire.

It’s a quiet little area. Two windsurfing schools, a mangrove tour operator, an office-free dive operator, a few villas marketed to windsurf nuts, and a single resort centered on wellness.

Sorobon Beach Resort Bonaire

Sorobon Beach Resort Bonaire

We made our way to Sorobon, the area’s lone resort, in order to wake up with some early morning yoga. Yoga is not all they have on offer — we also saw signs for pilates, TRX training, stand up paddle yoga and tours, outdoor massages in an open-air spa, and even painting workshops.

They had me at SUP yoga and art class, but Sorobon really knocked it out of the park with their version of beach chic. We had a brief but serious discussion about just tossing in the towel on the rest of our lives and renting a cabana here until the end of time.

Sorobon Beach Resort Bonaire

Sorobon Beach Resort Bonaire

Sorobon Beach Resort Bonaire

Soon, it was time for class, and once again — it was my kind of studio. Kristin and I almost wept with envy when we realized that our yoga idol would be leading a retreat here later in the summer, and had left the island just days before we arrived (she lives on neighboring Aruba.)

Bonaire Yoga

Bonaire Yoga

Bonaire Yoga

After class, we hit the beach. You could wade for what felt like miles in these shallow waters, and we found ourselves wandering towards , Sorobon’s neighbor and one of the two windsurfing schools/restaurants/bars in Lac Bay (the other, , was closed for the season).

Lac Bay Bonaire

Lac Bay Bonaire

Lac Bay Bonaire

Jibe City BonairePhoto courtesy of 

Even if you’re not a windsurfer — I don’t think I can claim that title, despite my attempts to learn in Vietnam — Jibe City is a pretty darn cute place to hang out and grab lunch or a drink. We actually returned to the restaurant for lunch on a separate day (it’s a small island!) and so I can give it a personally endorsed two thumbs up.

Jibe City Bonaire

Jibe City Bonaire

Jibe City Bonaire

Our wanderings eventually brought us over to an abandoned lifeguard station that I’d seen earlier on Instagram. I was obsessed with this dilapidated turquoise photoshoot prop, and the rest of the crew humored me as I threw my bag on the ground and started scaling it. Kristin wasn’t far behind, while Angie and Steph volunteered for ground crew (and had emergency services on speed dial, I’m sure.)

It was a perfect goodbye to a morning spent exploring one of Bonaire’s most beautiful corners.

Lac Bay Bonaire

Lac Bay Bonaire

Lac Bay Bonaire

Bonaire Yoga

Lac Bay BonairePhoto on left courtesy of

But we weren’t done with Lac Bay yet — we had one more East Side adventure to go. And that was tackling the advanced dive sites of the island’s windward side with the one and only operator who can get you there, . They’re a fairly untraditional dive op, with no shop and no gear — you must bring all your own or rent from another facility, and they’ll meet you there with a pickup truck full of tanks and a Zodiac.

One of the things I loved about most of Bonaire’s dive sites were that they were both accessible to beginners and impressive to old hands. These, out of the dives I experienced, were the exception: I wouldn’t recommend them to new divers. But oh, were they worth the work to get there.

We arrived in the bay bright and early on our second attempt to get out on the boat — our first had been cancelled due to high winds. Thankfully, as it was our last available morning to dive before we entered the no-fly period (you can’t get on a plane within a certain number of hours of diving, depending on your dive depth and who you ask), we got the all clear. As we loaded our gear onto the Zodiac, we once again became giddy over heading out to what many claim is the best diving in Bonaire.

Lac Bay Bonaire

East Side Divers BonairePhoto courtesy of

The ride out to our first site was filled by an extremely thorough dive briefing from the divemaster, thorough to the point that I saw some of the more jittery divers onboard getting a little anxious. A reassuring pep talk and squeeze of the hand (from me, not the divemaster!) seemed to sort us out and soon everyone was smiles again as we got ready to go overboard.

Our first dive was a drift dive site along the cusp of the reef wall. Hans, our fearless leader, described it as “the morning commute” — we’d be swimming in one direction, with all the bay’s busy sea creatures flying right by us in the other direction. Sounded good to me!

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

Morning commute was right! Fish were flying at us fast. While it was an overcast day and we were diving deep — hence, not a lot of natural light to take beautiful photos — the amount of subjects were staggering. Turtles, bumphead parrotfish, moray eels the size of small children, and even an eagle ray in the distance.

(Pssst! Using a GoPro to shoot underwater? Check out to doing just that.)

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers BonaireSee me scrolling through my shots? Photo courtesy of

For the surface interval, we headed back to shore to change tanks and catch our collective breath before heading out again. While Lac Bay is almost glass-like, once you cross the cut and enter open ocean, the waves are intense. I admit that I do not love diving off a Zodiak. Apart from the slight benefit of making me feel like I’m an extra in a James Bond movie, it’s not the world’s most comfortable diving experience. I don’t often get seasick but this day pushed me to my limits. But sometimes in life, you’ve got to get a little uncomfortable to see the best stuff — right? That’s what I told myself while I closed my eyes and counted down the moment until I could descend below the surface swell.

When I opened them again, I was in one of Bonaire’s most magical places, a dive site called Turtle City. Don’t even bother trying to count the number of four-finned friends you’ll meet on this dive — you’ll quickly run out of both fingers and toes. While the turtles ranged from itty bitty to some of the biggest I’ve seen in my life (technical terms, clearly) they were pretty darn good at camouflaging. Hence, I was grateful to Hans for not just pointing them out but more or less stage managing the dive site by pushing each diver in the direction of their own turtle as we swam along, so everyone got the turtle time a shots they craved without overwhelming any one creature.

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

And nope, it wasn’t just turtles! I was overjoyed to snap a clear shot of an eagle ray that shot through, and to spend some time testing out my new camera functions with a patient lionfish and curious lobster.

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

East Side Divers Bonaire

As so much of a challenge as these dives were, they were absolutely worth it. Because so many of Bonaire’s dive sites are accessible from the shore and thus “free,” a two-tank dive with East Coast Divers is definitely a splurge. But a well spent one — if you’re going to do just one day of boat diving in Bonaire, this should be it.

East Side Divers BonairePhoto courtesy of

And don’t forget to factor in an afternoon afterwards at Lac Bay and Sorobon Beach! Whenever I make my way back to Bonaire, there’s a good chance this is where you’ll find me.

Lac Bay Bonaire

Would you be up for a day on Bonaire’s East Coast?

Many thanks to Bonaire Tourism for hosting me. As always, you receive my honest thoughts, full opinions and poorly written jokes regardless of who is footing the bill. 

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26 Comments...
  • Katie
    December 26 2015

    These have to be some of my absolute favorites of all your underwater photography — they’re magical! Especially love that shot of the turtle gliding over the reef. Will be definitely be checking out Angie’s GoPro guide, too!!
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2015

      Thanks Katie! This is my favorite post from Bonaire — all the colors in Lac Bay had me swooning.

  • Kirsten Forrest
    December 26 2015

    I’ve read all of your posts about Bonaire and I have to go! What time of year were you visiting?

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2015

      We were there the last week of July. It was pretty windy but all over fantastic!

  • Dominique
    December 26 2015

    Bonaire looks better and better by the minute – kudos that you climbed up that turquoise wooden structure. Knowing myself I might’ve climbed up, but I would’ve never managed to climb down again. Also, gorgeous underwater photos as ever, Meihoukai! Turtle City looks beautiful!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2015

      Thanks Dominique! Climbing down was definitely a lot harder than going up, ha ha. I was glad I had Kristin for moral support!

  • ahmed gusto
    December 26 2015

    Its absolutely fabulous, I like that hut on the beach with a thatched roof, absolute hide-away just on the beach with a nice shade, who knows, you might fall in love with the sound of the waves. a perfect place for an afternoon nap

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2015

      Afternoon naps — the best part of any vacation 🙂

  • Lisa Jordie @TheDriftingDesk
    December 26 2015

    Wow! THOSE VIBRANT COLORS! Looks like a beautiful spot to unwind. Thank you for posting.
    Lisa Jordie @TheDriftingDesk recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2015

      I know! It felt like the world was in technicolor over there. I couldn’t get enough.

  • Julia Nix
    December 27 2015

    Postcard perfect. One thing missing is a hot, good looking guy appearing somewhere and u girls drool. Haa..

    • Meihoukai
      January 2 2016

      Who needs guys when you’ve got your girls? 😉

  • Amy M
    December 27 2015

    Absolutely LOVE that shot of the lionfish!
    Must have been incredible to be surrounded by such an abundance of beautiful marine life xo
    Amy M recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 2 2016

      It was! Bonaire’s wild side delivered as promised…

  • Janice Stringer
    December 27 2015

    Looks lovely,
    Just what I need to see to create the sunshine on a grey english sunday! 🙂
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 2 2016

      I’ll be here all winter delivering virtual sunshine 😀

  • Diana
    December 28 2015

    I love love your diving posts! Would you recommend Bonaire for brand new divers completing check out dives or are there better options? Better yet, when can I hire you for that? 😉

    • Meihoukai
      January 2 2016

      Ha, unfortunately I’m just a divemaster, not an instructor! Bonaire would be a great spot for check out dives as the conditions are very calm and the water gorgeous. I’d highly recommend VIP Divers for that — check out my post about them!

  • Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine
    December 28 2015

    This looks like heaven and would make an incredible yoga retreat. LOVE Rachel, but I looked up the price of her retreat and about fell on the floor. 😉 I totally dig this mix of activities though. You’re really selling me on Bonaire!
    Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 2 2016

      Yeah, it is definitely a dream trip… one that might just have to stay in the dream 😀 But who knows, we could hit the lotto!

  • Eva Casey
    December 31 2015

    Yes!! Everything in this post sounds just perfect. How special to be amongst so many turtles at once! I got the opportunity to see a turtle laying eggs in Costa Rica, but I would love to see a turtle under less trying circumstances! (For the turtle that is..we were just standing around watching hahah) Gorgeous photos!
    Eva Casey recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 4 2016

      Yes, sea turtles are so awkward on land and so elegant underwater. It’s a blessing to see them on their turf, for sure!

  • Dre | DSLR Tripod
    January 4 2016

    Your Photos are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Meihoukai
      January 6 2016

      Thanks Dre! It wasn’t hard to take great ones in a place as beautiful as this!

  • Kristen
    January 10 2017

    Can’t believe I’m just now stumbling upon your blog! It’s incredible.
    So excited you posted about Bonaire, as I’ll be headed down there for a week long dive trip in a few months. What was your favorite site?
    Also,I’m curious about your underwater camera, there’s so many options out there and I’m overwhelmed at where to start. What kind of setup do you have?

    • Meihoukai
      January 14 2017

      Hey Kristen! Check out my obsessions page — there’s a whole big long list of my camera gear! I’d have to say my favorite dive site was Salt Pier. A classic! Wish I could have dove it over and over again.