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The Dutch island where it’s always summer
Bonaire: sun, sea, beaches
The Dutch island where it’s always summer. Tropical temperatures, white beaches and a breathtaking underwater world and that typical Caribbean atmosphere. A pleasant year around 28 degrees, without the tropical humidity. The temperature of the sea water is on average a very pleasant 27 degrees. The island is not troubled by tropical storms. It falls outside the hurricane zone and the tornado area.
Bonaire is one of the least known Dutch municipalities and is part of the windward islands, the group Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao. Bonaire is globally listed as a top 3 diving and snorkeling destination because of the special reefs and underwater life. However, the island is more than a place for only snorkeling en diving. Bonaire is also a haven for fans of wind and kite surfing. An increasing number of holidaymakers are also coming to the island specifically for the pleasant climate and relaxed atmosphere.
Diving and Snorkeling
According to the American diving magazine Scuba Diving Magazine, Bonaire is the best diving destination in the Caribbean. For divers and snorkelers, the world around the island is a true Eldorado that can only be described by superlatives.
Underwater athletes from all parts of the world come to Bonaire especially for all this. The reefs are Bonaire’s gold and are in excellent condition thanks to protective measures and have a very versatile flora and fauna. Near the coast you will find more than 60 species of coral and 350 species of fish at a low depth. The most varied selection and the highest number in the Caribbean.
Plenty of choice from around 85 diving and snorkeling locations
Around the island itself and around the islet of Klein Bonaire are around 85 official diving and snorkeling locations. Most are accessible directly from the beach or the coast. This ensures that you can step into the water with your glasses, your flippers and the air bottles. Because the west coast is reasonably sheltered from the wind, there is little current and in some places the view is more than 90 meters.
No hotel towers, no tourist crowds
With 20,000 inhabitants, Bonaire is the least populated of the three ABC islands. It is the island where mass tourism has no foothold. No hotel towers and muddy beaches, but plenty of cozy and comfortable resorts, luxury (holiday) villas and excellent restaurants in the various places on the island. The rugged unspoilt coast with beautiful natural beaches and national parks is never far away.
Bonaire is according to the experts the most original of the ABC islands. From the moment you get off at Flamingo Airport you embrace the relaxed and casual Caribbean atmosphere. Bonaire is a tropical paradise with a stable Dutch-style governance.
The island has an excellent level of facilities and strives for sustainable growth of high-quality tourism. The island government pursues a progressive economic policy, with sustainability and nature conservation at the top; Bonaire’s gold.
Klein Bonaire, big paradise
Next to Bonaire, near the coast, lies the island of Klein Bonaire, which is not inhabited by people. It is a few minutes by boat. A special island full of nature and with a rich (marine) animal life and beautiful beaches for the relaxers and with excellent diving and snorkeling locations.
The wide white beaches of Klein Bonaire are also an ideal habitat for the sea turtles and are a nursery for their offspring. With a little luck and at the right time of the year you can see the little turtles hatch out of their eggs and shuffle to the sea.
Klein Bonaire is a nature reserve and has no facilities for swimmers, snorkelers and divers. Night stay is prohibited there. And of course leave trash in this paradise.
Top restaurants & pleasant beach clubs
Fans of good food will really enjoy themselves on Bonaire. A colorful, multicultural kitchen delivers the most diverse and exotic dishes. The island has a variety of cozy eateries, bars and beach clubs, but also houses several top restaurants up to and including the star level, with the most diverse cuisines, from traditional to Asian, French and Italian.
Good food and good drink are part of the culture on Bonaire. For example, as a visitor you can enjoy a memorable 5-course dinner in a chic restaurant at Michelin level one day and at another time you can enjoy a tasty plate of rice with chicken at a local restaurant or food truck along the road or on the beach.
Traveling to Bonaire from The Netherlands is very simple. There are daily flights to Bonaire (direct or via Curaçao and Aruba) from Amsterdam with KLM. TUI fly flies several times a week on the island.
The American airline companies Delta Airlines and United fly several times a week from Houston, Newark and Atlanta to Bonaire. Expansion of the network of overhead lines is in prospect.
The regional airlines Divi Divi and Insel Air fly several times daily from Bonaire on Curaçao and Aruba.
The flight time to Amsterdam is approximately 9-10 hours. The costs of return tickets Amsterdam-Bonaire range from around € 500 to € 900 depending on length of stay and timely booking. There are regularly cheap offers from KLM and TUI fly.
Also flying from the German airport Düsseldorf can be very attractive financially. The travel time is then longer, due to a stopover in .… Amsterdam.
A melting pot of colors and cultures
For many people surprising, but not strange: the original inhabitants of Bonaire are South American Indians. They lived there centuries before the region was discovered by Christopher Columbus. The explorer who set foot on the Bahamas in 1492 and then discovered America. It was a peaceful society that lived “of the day.”
It was 1499 when the Spaniards landed on Bonaire and the island was first recorded on the world map. The Spaniards were looking for gold. However, they soon discovered that there was no gold on Bonaire. Moreover, the soil proved unsuitable for planting plantations. In 1526 the Spaniards introduced cattle to the island. The wild goats and donkeys that are now there are their distant descendants.
When Europeans started “exploiting” the islands and colonies on the South American coast, the change began. The settlers had African slaves to do the heavy work on the sugar and cotton plantations that were established. The original inhabitants of the region mixed with the slaves from Africa. For example, there are few more descendants of the original inhabitants. What came in its place is an intriguing mixture of cultures that makes the Caribbean and therefore Bonaire so special and attractive and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Salt for the Dutch herring
In the beginning of the 17th century, in 1633 to be precise, the Spaniards of Bonaire were chased away by troops from the West India Company and it became a Dutch trading post.
As the herring fishery became more and more important in the motherland, the demand for salt for the conservation of this fish species increased. That salt was “extracted” on Bonaire. That happened by slaves. They lived in the slave houses by the salt pans.
The houses can still be seen as monumental witnesses in the salt extraction area in the south of Bonaire. Salt is still being extracted. But now with modern technology and by a Canadian company, Cargill. It is the most important export item of Bonaire.