Tucked away toward the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and sitting off the coast of Venezuela is a small island known around the world for remarkable diving. Part of the Netherlands, the official language of Bonaire is Dutch. Most of the locals speak a creole language called Papiamentu and English is common. The weather is in the upper 70s and upper 80s all year.
If you’re interested in water recreation, Bonaire has you covered. There are 86 named dive spots in Bonaire and places to go snorkeling, wind surfing, kite boarding and charter fishing. The island is essentially a coral reef that Mother Nature pushed to the surface of the sea. Coral skeletons can be found on the shores and the interior of the island. Coral reefs are on the lee side of the island and the island has been encircled by a marine sanctuary since 1979. This has encouraged over 60 types of coral and 350 species of fish to call Bonaire home. The Hilma Hooker is a wreck dive and there are caves to explore too. It’s no surprise that Bonaire is a popular spot of diving enthusiasts, but the island offers more than that.
For people looking to get away from the diving crowds or just want to experience something on dry land will not want for fun things to do. Bonaire is home to one of four nesting areas for the Caribbean Flamingo. The nesting area itself is not open to the public, but the birds can be observed via binoculars from Pink Beach. You’ll likely see a variety of marine birds.
There are serval national parks, including Bonaire National Marine Park, and private parks like Bonaire Botanical Gardens. Both are great for people looking to recharge with nature.
If you’re aiming for a more subdued and less crowded vacation, you can check out the Salt Works (don’t miss near-by slave huts and Spelank Lighthouse). There’s also the Cadushy Distillery Tour and Archeology tours that carry you in air-conditioned buses, or the Snack Tour (pub crawl) where you can mingle with the locals. If you’re in shape for it, Mount Brandaris offers a lovely view if you’re able to hike, climb, and scramble up it. Be sure to visit Aletta’s Goat farm for an intimate look at goat farming and cheese-making.
From the insatiable diver to the quiet traveler, Bonaire has a little something for everyone. Book your vacation today, and check out our Vacation Planning Resource Center for information to guide you on your next trip!
- Karnaval (variable date occurs yearly in January, February, or March)
- Bonaire Maskarada (annually on New Year’s Day
- Wind Surfing
- Kite Boarding
- Flamingo International Airport (Built by the US Army in WWII and now a civilian airport)
- Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico