The coral reef of Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism
The coral reef of Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

Bonaire: a diver’s paradise

The island of Bonaire is located in the southern Caribbean and is the easternmost of the islands called ABC, i.e. the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The island is located about 90 kilometers north of the coast of Venezuela. While it is about 40 km from the neighboring island of Curaçao. In the past it was part of the Netherlands Antilles, today it is a special municipality of the Netherlands.

On the island, which is inhabited by over twenty thousand people, in addition to Dutch, English and Spanish, Papiamento is spoken, a Creole language originating from the Netherlands Antilles. Bonaire occupies an area of almost 300 sq km. It also includes the small island of Klein Bonaire which is located less than a kilometer from the coast of the main island.

Salt evaporation pond, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism
Salt evaporation pond, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

The island is basically flat. Only the northern end of the island is relatively mountainous. But the highest peak on the island, Mount Brandaris, is only 240 meters high. In the southern part there are extensive and colorful salt pans. The capital of the island, the town of Kralendijk, is located along the east coast in the central southern part of the island.

The coast of Bonaire is dotted with lagoons and ponds. These wetlands provide excellent habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl. The interior landscape is arid and full of cacti. There are numerous trees and bushes including the Pau Brasil (Paubrasilia echinata), the Divi Divi (Libidibia coriaria) and the Calabash (Lagenaria siceraria).

Kralendijk, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism
Kralendijk, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

TOURISM

Tourism is the main source of income for the island’s economy. Cruise ships often stop on the island. To get around the island it is recommended to rent a car. There is a wide variety of accommodation types available for accommodation including hotels, resorts, small bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals.

THE BEACHES

The island has over 22 beaches, some with soft white sand, others with coral pebbles and pieces of shells. Bonaire is famous among divers for being one of the best destinations in the world for shore diving. The island attracts surfers from all over the world. The best known spot for surfers is Lac Bay, in the southeastern part. While the ideal beach for kitesurfing is that of Atlantis located along the southern coast.

Flamingos, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism
Flamingos, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

If you want to snorkel, an excellent beach is Te Amo Beach in Kralendijk, while further south are Bachelor’s Beach and Pink Beach. The Lac Cai area is also good for snorkeling. In the north of the island Playa Chikitu is a beautiful bay where turtles lay their eggs. Other beaches in the north are 1000 Steps, Playa Benge, Boka Slagbaai, Playa Frans, Playa Funchi and Wayaka.

If you have small children, an excellent beach is Sorbon, located on the south side of the island. Here a protected bay and shallow water allow children to bathe safely.

The coast of the island.
The coast of the island of Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

MUCH PART OF THE TERRITORY AND THE SEA OF THE ISLAND IS PROTECTED

Bonaire was the first Caribbean island to have a protected marine park. Currently, more than 20% of the total area on the island is a protected area (Washington Slagbaai National Park) and 100% of the waters that surround it are protected areas (National Marine Park).

Rincon.
Rincon. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

The island is the nesting place for flamingos. Here are the Flamingo Sanctuary in Pekelmeer and the Slagbaai lagoon. The island is one of the most important breeding grounds for the southern Caribbean flamingo population.

For divers the Marine Park offers a total of 86 dive sites. The dive sites are almost all located along the west coast and around Klein Bonaire. Some of the dive sites have access by boat while others are directly accessible from the shore.

Washington Park, Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism
Washington Park. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

KLEIN BONAIRE

The island of Klein Bonaire is surrounded by a large intact coral reef and there are some nesting areas for sea turtles. Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) live and nest in the waters in front of them. While common sea turtles (Caretta caretta) nest there. The main attraction for visitors is scuba diving and snorkeling in the pristine coral reef that surrounds it.

The coral reef.
The coral reef. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

THE CLIMATE

The island has a hot and dry climate. Bonaire is located outside the Caribbean area affected by cyclones. This makes an island getaway perfect for any season of the year. The average annual temperature is 27.8 ° C. While the average sea water temperature is 26.7 ° C. The rains are very scarce. The relatively rainiest months are those of October, November and December. The climate is sunny all year round. The climate.

The colors of the island of Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism
The colors of the island of Bonaire. Photo Credit Bonaire Tourism

HOW TO GET

The island is served by an international airport, Flamingo International Airport, which is located immediately south of the island’s capital, Kralendijk. Bonaire is well connected with direct flights to some of the other islands in the Caribbean, particularly Aruba and Curaçao, and the United States. While with Europe it is connected by direct KML flights departing from Amsterdam. The plane is the only way to reach the island, in fact there are no ferry services that connect Bonaire with the islands of Aruba and Curaçao.

Rules: It is forbidden to take away corals or shells. Finally, it should be noted that drones are not allowed on the island.

ACCOMMODATIONS, APARTMENTS, B&B AND HOTELS

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