Bonaire is a Caribbean island in the east of Central America and north of Venezuela. Part of the ABC island group with Aruba and Curaçao it may not have the perfect beaches or hedonistic parties of Curaçao but it does lack the crowds of Aruba. Bonaire is first and foremost a place that comes to life under its waters: it is renowned for its dive spots many of which are shore dives that will not need you to travel out on a boat to access. There arehowever some interesting sights above sea level such as the flamingos resting on one leg near the salt flats the rock art that can be explored around the island and the disused slave shelters that bear witness to the shocking history that the wealth of the Caribbean was built upon.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Bonaire
Kralendijk – Bonaire’s charming capital offers its best restaurants that line its long seafront interspersed with colonial-era buildings painted in evocative mustard yellows and pastel hues.
North of Kralendijk – Enjoy the stunning views of the rocky seashore as you travel to the many dive sites that can be reached along this rough stretch of road.
Rincon – Sleepy Rincon was established by Spaniards half a century ago to hide from the pirates. Today it offers the perfect base for divers who like the Spaniards want to hide away somewhere.
Lac Bay – One of the world’s premier windsurfing destinations. Beginners will be fine in the shallows all year round but the pros start to arrive in May and June to tackle the biggest waves of the year.
Washington-Slagbaai National Park – Occupying most of the northwest of the island this is a great place to explore and indulge in some wildlife spotting. The terrain is usually tropical desert with many cacti and birds.
South of Kralendijk – This flat and arid region is home to the multihued salt pans where ocean water evaporates to produce salt. It’s fascinating to see the pink-coloured water and tiny sea organisms that are left behind as the salt is formed.
Things to See in Bonaire
Most visitors to Bonaire are here for the sights that lie below rather than those that lie above the water. There is plenty to explore: the entire coastline of Bonaire is a marine sanctuary. The Bonaire National Marine Park contains colourful corals parrot fish angel fish butterfly fish electric blue striped file fish grunts gobies groupers tangs and jacks. Complementing these are sea turtles rays and the occasional dolphin pod or whale shark. Of course you have to come up for air at some point so you may as well take the opportunity to see the island’s flamingos intriguing salt flats its slave shelters ancient rock art and flora and fauna at the Washington-Slagbaai National Park.
Things to Do in Bonaire
Bonaire National Marine Park offers a total of 86 dive sites that are home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 fish species. With shore entry for many of the dives this is world-class diving at your doorstep! If you fancy a change you can see how you fare riding the waves rather than swimming beneath them as there are some excellent beaches for windsurfing on the island. Other watersports such as fishing kiteboarding sea kayaking and sailing are also widely available.