• BONAIRE

WELCOME TO BONAIRE

Just off the coast of Venezuela, this southern Caribbean gem welcomes visitors to its sunny shores. A municipality of the Netherlands, Bonaire has been under Dutch protection since 1636, after winning a war against the Spanish. However, Spanish was still the predominantly spoken language until the late 1800s. With a unique history and cultural tapestry, the island of Bonaire in the Leeward Antilles is a wonderful destination to see a different side of the Caribbean.

Attractions

The shores of Bonaire are graced with sandy and rocky beaches alike, however, none is quite so as unique as 1000 Step Beach. With white sands and bleached bits of coral, the semi-hidden beach is any beach-goers dream. There are 67 historic steps (not 1000!), that lead down to the sand and water. Once at the ground level, you can enjoy the pristine snorkeling conditions, admire the surrounding limestone cliffs, and delight in the wildlife.

Geologically, Bonaire is a unique island. Rather than being the remnants of a volcanic explosion, or the tops of underwater mountains, the entire island is made up of coral reefs. Surrounding the island are even more coral reefs, with Bari Reefs a popular destination for snorkelers and SCUBA divers.

For those who want to get a sense of the local history, explore The Settlements. These are the small villages and neighborhoods surrounding the larger towns. They are all filled with history, culture, restaurants, and plenty of stories to explore.

Entertainment

The shores of Bonaire are graced with sandy and rocky beaches alike, however, none is quite so as unique as 1000 Step Beach. With white sands and bleached bits of coral, the semi-hidden beach is any beach-goers dream. There are 67 historic steps (not 1000!), that lead down to the sand and water. Once at the ground level, you can enjoy the pristine snorkeling conditions, admire the surrounding limestone cliffs, and delight in the wildlife.

Geologically, Bonaire is a unique island. Rather than being the remnants of a volcanic explosion, or the tops of underwater mountains, the entire island is made up of coral reefs. Surrounding the island are even more coral reefs, with Bari Reefs a popular destination for snorkelers and SCUBA divers.

For those who want to get a sense of the local history, explore The Settlements. These are the small villages and neighborhoods surrounding the larger towns. They are all filled with history, culture, restaurants, and plenty of stories to explore.

Getting There

When you decide to make your travel arrangements to Bonaire, be prepared for a lengthy trip. While the Flamingo International Airport does accept international and regional flights, Bonaire is a relatively small island. Each major carrier, such as United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines, only offer one or two direct flights to Bonaire from key hub airports. Check out Bonaire’s tourism website for a full and updated list of these flight plans.

Several cruise lines offer itineraries that include Bonaire. However, one of the most popular is Royal Caribbean, which is featured on many of their Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries.

Wildlife/Nature

For those who love the national bird of Bonaire, the stunning pink flamingo, head to the south of Bonaire to The Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary. Here, you can see flamingos in one of only four breeding grounds in the world. As you observe the stunning pink birds, you will also be able to see the famed Salt Pyramids in the distance, courtesy of Bonaire’s salt industry.

Donkeys were brought to Bonaire to be beasts of burden during the colonial era. Now, with little need for them, they now run wild. Luckily enough, the Donkey Sanctuary does all they can to take care of sick, injured, and orphaned donkeys. You can take a tour of the sanctuary and even feed the donkeys with carrots the sanctuary offers – they’re very used to people!

National Heroes/Museums

History lovers should head to Bonaire Museum. With preserved tools from pre-colonial times, colonial artifacts, and some natural artifacts like coral and fossils. The building of the museum is also a historic site, dating back to 1885!

For those who want to learn more, the Terramar Museum showcases exhibits that focus on specific periods of Bonaire’s history, such as shipbuilding, colonial agriculture, or the native populations. The museums also hosts rotating exhibits, so who knows what you might learn!

Eco-Tourism in Bonaire

Bonaire is the diving capital of the Caribbean. If you have the certifications, plan to enjoy some wonderful SCUBA diving opportunities. Some popular options include the Bonaire National Marine Park and 1000 Steps Beach. If you don’t have the certifications, join a snorkeling expedition instead!

Donate

Those who want to help preserve the wildlife of Bonaire can donate to the Reef Renewal Bonaire. Their tireless work is to maintain and preserve the stunning natural reefs around the island, one of the area’s biggest attractions. Their work is felt across the reefs and waters to provide a healthy marine ecosystem for everyone.

Capital: Kralendijk
Population: 20,100
Language: Dutch, Papiamento
Currency: US Dollar
Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant
National Bird: Caribbean Flamingo
National Flower: Kibrahacha blossom
National Dish: Stoba kabritu, a goat stew
Motto: “A people of excellence, moulded by nature, nurtured by God.”
The National Flag: A large blue triangle in the lower right corner, taking up half of the flag. There is a small yellow triangle in the top left corner. A large white strip separates the two triangles. In the white section, a black compass with a red, six-pointed star, sits on the left side of the flag. The blue represents the sea, the white represents peace and freedom, the yellow represents the sun and the national flower. The compass reflects the native Bonairean’s strong seafaring ability while the red compass represents the six settlements on the island and the survival power of the Bonaireans.

ATTRACTIONS

Half Moon Bay, Antigua

Stingray City, Antigua

17 Mile Beach, Barbuda

Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, Antigua

Dickenson Bay, Antigua

St. John’s, Antigua

Devil’s Bridge: Indian Town National Park, Antigua

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

Fig Tree Drive

Frigate Bird Sanctuary, Barbuda

HOTELS & RESORTS