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Bonaire is a Caribbean island off the coast of South America. Along with Aruba and Curaçao, it forms the ABC Islands. Bonaire is a special municipality of the Netherlands and has many good facilities, such as shops and Dutch-managed care facilities.
Papiamentu and Dutch are the most widely spoken languages on Bonaire, but English and Spanish are also common. Around 18,000 people live in an area of 294m2 (Bonaire is 39km long and 12km wide at its broadest point). Bonaire has a jovial atmosphere. There are no highways or traffic lights.
Currency: US Dollar
Time zone: UTC-4 or UTC-5 (during Dutch summer time it’s six hours earlier on Bonaire, while during Dutch winter time it’s five hours earlier).
Eating, drinking and going out on Bonaire
Bonaire has an excellent and varied choice of restaurants. There are many lovely places where you can enjoy delicious drinks and snacks with your feet in the sand, and in the evening there are several fun bars to visit. Don’t expect a party island, however, because Bonaire stays Bonaire ;-).
Bonaire has a beautiful, rugged landscape. The whole of the Noordpunt is a protected area, the Washington Slagbaai National Park. Not only are there beautiful beaches and good snorkelling opportunities in the park, it also boasts the highest peak on Bonaire, the Brandaris (241m), which you can climb. The park is also full of birds, iguanas and flamingos. Definitely worth a day trip!
Off the coast of Bonaire is an uninhabited island called Klein Bonaire. The island is 700 hectares in size, completely flat and covered only with small shrubs and cactuses. It is surrounded by a coral reef. No Name Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on Bonaire, is found here. Like a number of others on Bonaire, this beach is an important nesting site for sea turtles.
Lac is a gorgeous shallow lagoon surrounded by mangroves in the south-east of Bonaire. Pekelmeer and the flamingo reserve (800 hectares) are located in the south-west, and are the main breeding ground for flamingos in the southern Caribbean. Depending on the season, between 2000 and 7000 flamingos can be found here.
For many years, Bonaire has topped a number of lists of the best diving destinations in the world. Bonaire’s National Marine Park is a protected underwater park with coral reefs, many kinds of fish, and sea turtles. The Marine Park surrounds the entire island and Klein Bonaire. At 60 places on the west and south coast, you can dive independently right off the beach. Of course, there are also plenty of diving organisations that will take you to other diving spots on a boat. Many spots also have fantastic snorkelling.
Atlantis, the kiteboarding spot on Bonaire, is one of the best kite spots in the world. Bonaire’s kite conditions include an average temperature of 30°C, a sea temperature of 28°C and a good offshore wind (on average about 17-22 knots) almost all year round. When kiteboarding on the blue-green Caribbean Sea, you regularly come across sea turtles, and if you’re lucky, dolphins too. The water is fairly flat with small waves.
Not only is Bonaire a kiteboarder’s and diver’s paradise, it’s also a paradise for windsurfers. At Sorobon, you can sail on a bay of shallow water protected by coral. Bonaire is the home spot for a number of world class freestyle windsurfers, which shows that the conditions are perfect here! It’s perfect for both beginners and advanced windsurfers, and you can hire equipment and take lessons too.