Envision your favourite Caribbean island. Is it filled with green rainforests and lush mountains? That is a quite frequent postcard from this aspect of the planet. But I want to let you in on a small secret. Not all Caribbean islands are developed equal.
Have you ever been to Bonaire?
If you haven’t, you are not alone. The island, a aspect of the Dutch Caribbean, only receives about 150,000 guests a year – paltry when compared to some of her extra created neighbors with enormous resorts and huge cruise ports. Bonaire is most effective recognized for spectacular scuba diving and an unparalleled commitment to marine conservation, resulting in thriving coral, hundreds of species of fish and extra turtles than you can count.
Up on dry land, you may well be shocked to come across sharp limestone topography dotted with acacia and kadushi cactus up to 30 feet tall across a mainly arid, scrubby landscape. There are beautiful beaches, also – it is the Caribbean right after all. But by and massive, Bonaire stands out visually from some of its greener, extra traditionally tropical neighbors.
Exactly where is Bonaire?
Bonaire is off the coast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean subsequent to well-liked neighbors Aruba and Curaçao, aspect of a handful of island nations that when comprised the Netherlands Antilles. They reorganized in 2010 into a colonial-but-independent method. Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire are particular municipalities inside the Dutch Kingdom and Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are constituent nations. Very good news for all – no matter whether you comprehend the complexities of the Dutch Caribbean government structure does not matter also considerably if you are just going to. It is like going to any new nation. You book a flight, pack your bags, go by means of immigration and get that coveted flamingo passport stamp!
Points to Know Ahead of You Go to Bonaire
Conservation is important
Bonaire and Curaçao are thought of accurate oceanic islands due to the fact of the deep water trench separating them from the South American continent. Healthful, thriving reefs fringe the coast and are protected by Bonaire National Marine Park. There are extra than 300 species of fish and virtually each species of really hard and soft coral you can come across in the Caribbean in these waters. The island cares for it is land-dwelling critters also, sheltering iguanas, donkeys and flamingos inside Washington Slagbaai National Park, which covers 20 % of the island. A single hundred % of the waters surrounding the island are protected, and 1/five of the land is. Anybody exploring the marine park is needed to spend a charge $25 for divers and $10 for all other customers.
Do not neglect to pack reef-protected sunscreen!
Study a bit of Papiamentu
Papiamentu is a Creole language that is only identified on Bonaire, Aruba and Curaçao. It is a bit of a mix of Romance languages with East African languages. Though Dutch is the official language for government, Papiamentu is the most extensively spoken. Aside from Papiamentu, the frequent, colloquial tongue, there are 3 other languages spoken on the island. Dutch is the official a single employed in government interactions, and English and Spanish are extensively employed as properly.
Some frequent phrases to get you began:
- Welcome – Bon bini
- Hello – Bon dia
- Very good Afternoon – Bon tardi
- Please – Porfabor
- Thank you – Danki
- Cheers – Bon Salud
- Enable! – Yudami!
How to Get to Bonaire
The key airport for Bonaire is Flamingo International Airport. It is pink and fabulous and almost certainly a single of my favourite airports in the planet as such. There are direct flights to Bonaire from the USA (Newark, Houston, Atlanta, Miami), from Canada (Toronto) and from Europe (Amsterdam). Quite a few travelers connect in Aruba as properly due to the fact they have extra direct flights from South America and North America. You can also cruise your way into Bonaire, as Kralendijk has grow to be an increasingly well-liked port in current years.
Points to Do in Bonaire
The feather in Bonaire’s cap is certainly scuba diving, and most resorts cater to divers. You can book dive packages and excursions correct out of most hotels and you do not even require to believe about gear if you do not want to. Bonaire has every thing a scuba diver could want.
And if you are not a diver? There’s a lot to do! Take a appear at some of my favourite factors to do in Bonaire below water and on dry land.
Scuba Diving at Salt Pier
Thanks to the Bonaire National Marine Park, a protected zone surrounding the whole island, 300 species of tropical fish and 120 various kinds of coral flourish, creating Bonaire a single of the best diving destinations anyplace. Seriously, Bonaire diving is correct up there with the Terrific Barrier Reef and the Red Sea.
There are hundreds of dive websites and dozens are accessible correct from shore. If you are comfy diving devoid of a guide (or at least a savvy diving most effective pal), Bonaire reigns supreme for self-service diving. If you’d rather go with a guide, dive operators are plentiful and a lot of of the nearby resorts cater particularly to divers.
For a super adventurous dive on Bonaire, book a day and meet a couple of dozen turtles with East Coast Diving. For a luxurious practical experience total with your personal dive butler, verify out VIP Diving.
My favourite dive of seven beautiful dives was at Salt Pier. Massive schools of fish and coral-crusted pilons have been mesmerizing, and to be truthful, I’m generally bored right after about 20 minutes unless there are sharks or rays or other huge sea life. This dive was cinematic and dreamlike, and I’d do it once more in a heartbeat. Place it at the best of your Bonaire dive web-site list!
Note: I only took a GoPro with me on this dive, and Salt Pier was completely suited for that photo setup.
Study extra about scuba diving with a GoPro
Go Cave Snorkeling
You have to meet Leo the adventure guide from Flow Bonaire! Leo knows so considerably about the island’s ecology and history, and gives activities like cave tours, biking, hiking, kayaking and kitesurfing. We did the cave snorkeling adventure – and if you are not claustrophobic or scared of the dark, I suggest it! With waterproof flashlights in hand, we created our way into ever smaller sized cave rooms till we have been plunged into total darkness. As soon as there, you can really snorkel in the clear, cold water. Absolutely a exclusive issue to do in Bonaire!
Take a Twizy car or truck tour
The most effective way to see the complete island? Hop in a lil Twizy car or truck and floor it!
Under no circumstances heard of Twizy? I hadn’t either till I jumped in. They’re itty bitty, electric and surprisingly speedy. You’ll start out gradually at Road Runner’s headquarters in the capital of Kralendijk, but take care when you are out of the city limits. You can zip about the sparsely populated, kadushy cactus-covered desert and components of Washington Slagbaai National Park. Do not neglect to cease in Rincon for colorful photographs and preserve an eye out for flamingoes!
Book a Sightseeing Tour and See All of Bonaire
Bonaire is a tiny island, so it is doable to catch lots of the highlights in just a couple of hours. A sightseeing tour is specifically easy for these coming to Kralendijk by way of cruise ship. Verify out this private, four-hour experience that’ll take you to all important sightseeing attractions, or this shorter three.five hour group practical experience featuring historic buildings such as the Government Home and the Old Fort, Rincon, 1000 Measures and Goto Lake.
Appreciate Bonaire’s adore of Flamingos
Speaking of flamingos (or flamingoes – each spellings are right)! There are so a lot of techniques to get your repair on Bonaire. Certainly you will get to discover hot pink Flamingo Airport on the way in, but do not neglect to verify out Divi Flamingo Beach Resort and of course, all the license plates on the island!
To see genuine flamingos in their all-natural habitats, verify out Gotomeer saltwater lagoon in Washington Slagbaai National Park, close to the mangroves of shallow Lac Bay or Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary in the close to saltpans Pink Beach. You can rent a car or truck, book a Twizy excursion or a guided tour to get oneself there.
Do some yoga at Sorobon Beach Resort
When you require a break from flamingoes, diving and Twizy car or truck racing by means of the national park, there’s no superior spot to come across “zen” than Sorobon Beach Resort. As considerably exciting as scuba diving is, it genuinely is taxing on the physique, so a beach yoga class at Sorobon is a good way to take care of oneself on a non-diving day. When you are accomplished, you can pop subsequent door to Jibe City subsequent door for a beach bar and windsurfing lessons.
Dine with Views at At Sea Restaurant Bonaire
Diving constantly tends to make me hungrier than something, so it is a excellent issue Bonaire has an superb cuisine scene. For dinner, we loved At Sea, a charming seafront restaurant in a 100-year-old constructing. It has beautiful views and an international menu with Caribbean flair.
If you are seeking for some thing a small extra low-important, grab the freshest fish ever at Kite City meals truck on Te Amo Beach. We sampled an epic choice of tuna, wahoo and mahi when vegging in beanbags on the beach. Paradise identified!
The colorful town of Rincon is a single of Bonaire’s most Instagrammable above-water spots, and property to the Cadushy Distillery. Cadushy is a vibrant green liqueur created from the plentiful kadushy cactus, recognized as the Spirit of Bonaire. The liqueur is tart, refreshing and neon green. Just about each drinking establishment on Bonaire gives their personal Cadushy-primarily based cocktail, but if you get the opportunity, it is a worth a take a look at to the distillery to invest in your personal bottle to take property and share with pals.
Study Much more About Bonaire’s Salty History
Bonaire is salty, and you can thank the Dutch for that. The Spanish showed up in 1499, but poor soil excellent and seemingly useless shallow pools close to the south shore convinced them to leave. Much more than 100 years later, the Dutch seized the island from the Spanish and started to create salt in the shore pools. As salt water sits in the ponds, the sun and wind evaporate the water, leaving behind crystallized sea salt, a considerably necessary preservative in the time just before refrigeration. Like sugar cane in St. Kitts, salt became the key export from Bonaire. Slaves have been brought from Africa to operate in the salt pans at evening, they slept in stone huts that you can take a look at right now. Slavery was abolished in 1863, but the salt pans are nonetheless employed to this day. You can see the slave huts on a guided tour or just cruising about on the south shore.
Have a Shark-Themed Bachelorette Celebration!
Okay, possibly just me! But this is nonetheless a single of my favourite memories, and I’m so delighted I got celebrate with my girls on Bonaire.
Exactly where to Remain in Bonaire
Though Bonaire does not have a lot of enormous branded resorts, there are a lot of possibilities no matter whether you like dive resorts, boutique hotels or private villas. Many come with Caribbean views, dive-focused amenities and restaurants. The majority of Bonaire’s accommodations are clustered in the capital and port of Kralendijk, but there are other individuals scattered right here and there really should you want to escape the key drag.
Sorobon Beach Resort
Appreciate extra than just yoga at Sorobon. Situated on the south finish of Bonaire, you can also love its private beach, windsurfing, snorkeling, and extra. Verify rates & availability right here
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort
Head to Divi Flamingo Beach Resort for the brightly decorated rooms and dive center that gives PADI courses. Verify rates & availability right here
Buddy Dive Resort
A further good spot for diving is at Buddy Dive Resort. Only a five-minute drive from Kralendijk, it also functions two pools, two raised sand beaches and extra. Verify rates & availability right here
Harbour Village Beach Club
To genuinely indulge in luxury, book a single of the oceanfront suites at Harbour Village Beach Club. Verify rates & availability right here
For extra hotel and accommodation possibilities on Bonaire, verify right here
Now that you have discovered all about Bonaire’s pink flamingo obsession, scuba diving websites, salty history, kadushy and cadushi, you are prepared to pack your dive gear and book a trip to Bonaire. Have you been to Bonaire or is it on your Caribbean bucket list?
Discover Much more of Bonaire
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