Overview of Salt Pier

Salt Pier

Bonaire South
ABC Islands


The Salt Pier is one of the most spectacular dives. The pilings harbor some interesting growth that you won't find easily elsewhere. Since you will need permission from the Cargill Salt Company, make plans early with your local dive shop to schedule this dive.

Directions: 5.9 km South of the Airport. If you miss this one, you're sleeping!

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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

08/31/2018 Davis (Avg: 3.83 Review) - Recent maintenance on the pilings required some sponge removal but volunteers have re-attached many of them. Still, a great dive with lots of marine activity within the pilings and on the reef below.

05/31/2017 Anonymous (Avg: 4.05 Review) - I visited this site twice in a week. As you enter the water the surf can be a little rough on some days. Come back on a calm day. We saw the normal critters, plus some squid which were very tolerant of us staying close to them. The piers in the water attract schools of fish. Follow the central piers out and then go north or south, it doesn't really matter. There seem to be some confusion on this site, before I left. It is most definitely open to divers. The entire week I was there, not a ship on the pier once, and lots of divers parked and out at the site. I would either go early or late - and avoid the crowd. I think it would make a good night dive as long as it was a calm day.

06/23/2016 Bill K (Avg: 2.88 Review) - On our sixth trip, we finally dove this site. It appears now that Cargill is OK with divers as long as no ship is in to get loaded. There were 18 trucks parked the afternoon we dove. As expected, the reef is pretty trashed, but the sponges on the pilings and the schools of fish are outstanding. Most folks were entering at the little sandy place just north of the pier. Visibility was good enough to barely see one set of pilings from the previous one, so no need for the compass. We saw a turtle and a huge midnight parrotfish feeding.

06/22/2016 Mark2 (Avg: 4.08 Review) - This was our favorite dive. We did it three times, Once as a boat and two shore dives. The shore dives were best as we saw a school of cuttlefish both times at about 10-12 feet of water under the pier. Great animal diversity. The reef is very robust all around the pier. Even after 3 dives we only saw a portion of what there was to see there.

05/01/2016 Jack from Roxbury (Avg: 4.23 Review) - Great dive, one of my favorite in Bonaire. I actually freedove it and it was fantastic, the vertical environment was great for freediving. The piers attracted a lot of larger life. Make sure you go when the pier is not in operation.

03/22/2015 Will Neff (Avg: 3.53 Review) - Salt Pier is a industrial dive site, but don't rule it because of that. Marine life has an odd affinity for human structures and the quality of the Salt Pier dive site is living testament. Be sure to take a quick look at the structure of the pier pilings before swimming out - it will make nav easier later on. The central cluster of piers seemed the most lightly decorated vs. the outer clusters, which are worth the short swims. It's a shallow dive so one tank should get most divers through the whole show.

11/13/2014 Brad Stan (Avg: 4.39 Review) - My first trip Bonaire. Amazing. Did shore dives at 23 different sites. Ditto to what Bill said below. I dove this site twice without a guide or permission. To be safe, I dove it on a Saturday and Sunday, when the Cargill operations seem to be closed. The aquatic life is outstanding here. I surface swam to the north most pier, descended, and weaved my way counter-clockwise around the entire structure. Many different specific of large fish and we say a turtle. The highlight for me was when my wife spotted a school of squid, passing slowly beside us.

11/11/2013 Bill from Calgary (Avg: 3.66 Review) - Just returned from Bonaire, dove Salt Pier twice, no special permission required. Can dive anytime if no ship moored. One of our favorite dives, spotted a black tip shark at approx 80 ft, several octopus dens, school of squid plus the ambience of the pilings and afternoon sun.

01/05/2013 Anonymous (Avg: 4.14 Review) - I went diving here with a summer camp through Broadreach. We weren't exactly sure if we were allowed to dive at the salt pier, but locals told us just to go after hours. I dove there twice; one in the day and one in the night and both times were spectacular. Over the two week camp I dove most dive sites along the southern shore, and I would highly recommend visiting this site, as it was and is my favorite.

12/18/2012 Todd Reimer (Avg: 3.96 Review) - There is a lot of conflicting information about whether or not you can dive salt pier. The brochures state that you cannot dive salt pier unless you have permission from Cargill, and that you need a permit. However, asking all of our local dive shops, no one was willing to mention how to obtain this permit, and they were not willing to assist. I was lucky enough to have dinner one night next to a local police officer who recommended that I dive there, and when I asked about the permit, he told me it was not needed. So, I decided to drive by, and sure enough there was a tour group suiting up, and even some workers at the salt mill walking around. When I asked how to arrange a tour, the guy basically said that so long as there was no ship in the dock, that it was ok to dive. With that, we suited up and jumped in the water. The dive is quite an easy shore dive, as the entry is a flat beach entry with minimal rocks (for Bonaire), and the dive itself is very shallow. The pier itself has approximately six sections with coral encrusted pylons and schools of fish hanging out underneath them. The depth was only about 40 feet, and visibility was great. Just make your way from one pylon to the next and then work your way back…. The dive plan is just that simple! This ended up being one of my favorite dives on the island because it's different than most of the other reef dives, and it's really easy to get in and out of by shore, which is a big deal if you are lugging a big camera rig with you. I would highly recommend this dive to anyone spending time on Bonaire. If worried about the permit thing, I would scout out the location and just go in at the same time as another organized group. Worst case scenario, you could just play the 'I didn't know' card. But like I said, we dove with employees on site, and they didn't seem to mind at all.

01/23/2010 Bill Burkett (Avg: 4.19 Review) - As of Dec 2009 there was diving was allowed at the Salt Pier, however, you must go through Buddy's Dive shop (that's the only shop we know of that has been granted permission to dive the site). My wife and I did a night dive at the Salt Pier with 6 others and a guide. The night dive was amazing! Lights from the pier shine down into the water giving a 'full moon' effect when you're diving. We saw squid, seahorses, frogfish, eel, and a huge sting ray sleeping on the sandy bottom. There's also construction equipment that has been at the bottom for a while that has some nice growth on it and is used by all sorts of aquatic critters as a home. The surface swim from shore to the descent point takes a while, but is well worth it. Easy entry and exit as well.

09/26/2009 Shore Diving Editor (Avg: 3.00 Review) - I have heard from a reliable source that there is no diving allowed on the Salt Pier at this time. Apparently, they are enlarging the pier, and construction conditions are very dangerous there. If you hear differently, please post a quick review saying that it is open again, and give the condition of the pier, if possible. Thanks!

11/16/2008 Pittsburgh Team (Avg: 3.83 Review) - This was our 5th visit to the island, and we had never done this dive before. Well, on our next visit we will be back. Best time for diving is mid -afternoon during this time of year because of the Sun's location. Tons of marine life, from small juveniles to large tarpon. So cool to look at the size of the structures in the water, with all the life just sitting there for you to experience. .A MUST while visiting our favorite island!

02/24/2008 Timmmy (Avg: 4.31 Review) - This was the third dive of the day. It was an easy kick out to first section far right, no current, lots of Tarpon, Cuda, Squid, and the biggest Midnight Parrot fish we have ever seen. Interesting stuff thrown off of salt freighters at center section. Lots of good photogenic juvies in the shallows on the back in.

12/17/2007 Clare from NJ (Avg: 3.96 Review) - This is a greatly overlooked dive site. Excellent life under the pier, with schooling fish, frogfish, squid and lots of coral encrusted on the pylons. Done in the late afternoon, the sun casts amazing silhouettes!!!

05/31/2006 Hans (Avg: 3.53 Review) - Salt Pier is no longer open for shorediving to the individual. You are obliged to obtain permission and a dive guide from a dive-facility. Then you have to pay $25, as well. How strictly the Stinapa rangers apply their control is unknown, you may be thrown off by the salt company, as well.

07/18/2004 Lee (Avg: 3.23 Review) - Dusk to night dive. This dive would have been more interesting in mid afternoon to see the odd angles of the pier in the daylight. Still saw lots of eels, squid, lizardfish. Ending the dive, I looked up and the stars in the night sky were dazzling.

01/03/2004 Deborah Norton (Avg: 4.26 Review) - Easy entry about 50 feet north of the pier. I don't normally like junkyard dives, but the debris and pilings here are heavily encrusted with coral, oysters, etc and so it is a good dive. Lots of small marine life and juvenile fish, as well as some large barracuda and tarpon. Saw a school of caribbean reef squid and an octopus curled up in a crevice in the middle of the day. Lots of morays, scorpionfish, spotted drum, parrotfish.

07/10/2003 Bob Mallin (Avg: 3.75 Review) - We did this dive at about 4 pm and the sun casts very cool shadows across the pilings of the pier. There is not as much encrusted coral etc as there is on Town pier, but there is also less junk on the bottom, and we saw more varieties of fish and other life.

10/04/2002 Huub Dingemans (Avg: 5.00 Review) - Vinkeveen

09/09/2002 Jim Haggart (Avg: 2.56 Review) - Just a lot of junk under a pier.

08/21/2002 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 4.33 Review) - This was a great dive! If the Pink Dive Bus is at the dive site, permission to dive it that day has been given, otherwise you need to get permission to dive this working pier (I was told you can get this through your dive shop). What a great, cathedral-like dive with the light coming through the pier pilings. There were about 20 Wahoo just hanging out to catch the larger-than-usual numbers of baitfish. Neat sponges, orange cup coral on the pilings. Great place to hit 100 dives! Had a cold beverage at the Dive Bus since they saved us the effort of getting the permit.

06/28/2002 Dan Benson (Avg: 4.85 Review) - One of our favorite dive sites. Information saying you need written permission to dive this site is false. The dive shop will give them a call. If a freighter isn't in or due, they will tell you, and off you go! The day after we dove it a snorkeler saw a whale shark right off the dock! There is lots of debris (this used to be a dump) so there are lots of places for critters to hide. While the corals might not be as plentiful as the town pier, the lack of crowds make this site a much better dive in my opinion!

09/16/2001 Jim Goodenough (Avg: 4.38 Review) - An extremely fun site. Enter in the area to the right of the parking lot. Do not back roll as I did off the cement near the conveyer. As I did, the water receded, and I landed in the sand on my back. Lots of fish, corals, and beauty. A much better night dive than the Town Pier (Town Dump). Since I've dived here, I understand you should have permission. I recommended checking with your dive shop regarding permission to dive here.

06/03/2001 Hans (Avg: 3.38 Review) - Ascension day 2001. Nobody around, no ships. The dive-bus was parked at the pier. Nobody mentioned limitations and we were the only visitors. A lot of rubbish under the pier destroyed the reef, but the abundant fish life compensated beautifully. No need to go deeper than 14 meters. We saw all the fish that we had seen during the previous two weeks of diving.

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Site Photos

(what is GPS?)
(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: SB1201


Parking at Salt Pier 

Ample parking 30 meters from the entry.




Sign at Salt Pier 

Your dive shop can help you to get permission.




Overview at Salt Pier 

The pier is not available for diving when ships are being loaded with salt, of course.


 Map     Sat
GPS: SB1204


Entry at Salt Pier 

You'll find a very easy and gentle entry.




Aerial at Salt Pier 
(click photo for details)

You'll find another aerial view of the pier at the next site, Salt City. Plan your dive to visit each of the pilings. This is a good opportunity to practice your compass navigation.

Last Verification: February, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Salt Pier  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.24
Bottom Conditions:  3.80
Reef Conditions:  3.60
Animal Life:  4.60
Plant Life:  3.64
Facilities:  3.04
Solitude 3.20
Roads:  4.40
*Site Average:  3.89

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.24
Beginner Scuba:  4.40
Intermediate Scuba:  4.60
Advanced Scuba:  4.24
Night diving Scuba:  4.04

Number of reviews for this site: 25


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