Despite the fact that there is no dearth of snorkelling and scuba diving destinations in the Caribbean, some still inch past the others with a dash of additional beauty. Bonaire makes the list of special water sporting islands in the Caribbean. The feeling of playing around in the well guarded waters of Bonaire is unmatched in the rest of the Caribbean, and this is because of the fact that all of Bonaire’s coastal waters have been under legal protection since 1979. Even the wind patterns of the place contribute to the tag of the sportsperson’s paradise for Bonaire, as the conditions become ideal for windsurfing. The unique desert kind of a landscape of Bonaire lends a corresponding uniqueness to the wildlife. Iguanas, flamingos and divi-divi trees are a few of the ‘not so ordinary’ exponents of flora and fauna you are likely to come across in Bonaire. And of course, you can have a real sight of the gigantic cacti that might have been the wallpaper of your desktop some time back.
Apart from being ideally suited for snorkelling and diving, the waters of Bonaire are clear of silt and remain calm for most part of the year. And certainly, being a part of an official marine park helps. Underwater photographers have a whole world to explore in these waters. Protection of marine life was in full swing in as early as 1961, and a decade later spear fishing was banned as well. In 1975, breaking and taking away coral from the waters was also banned, and so were commercial activities that used corals.
And in 1979, the Bonaire Marine Park was into being, and the result has been the retention of an inimitable authentic charm about the island of Bonaire. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confidently declares the reefs of the island as he healthiest in the region, and that is some statement! Being the tip of a submerged mountain rather than an island in the true geographical sense, Bonaire hosts reefs sloping merely 30 odd feet from the shore. Klein Bonaire, a small island off the coast of Bonaire is the place to be at for snorkelers. Landsailing Bonaire is the ideal place for those not quite ready to take the hard-work route to water sports but want their fair share of the thrill anyways, as one gets to sailboard without the fear of drowning here.
The Soroban Beach in Bonaire is the hunting ground for windsurfers. Even beginners can be seen trying to align their movements according to the wind in order to be on the surf. The sight of the sheer excitement of these surfers, and of course the experience of windsurfing itself provide for great entertainment around the beach. Apart from the diving and other water related activities, there is a lot more to indulge into in Bonaire. Those intrigued by the fantastic history of the Caribbean islands have quite a few museums to look up to. And foodies can have their shot at mouth watering and fulfilling delicacies at the numerous restaurants and eateries in Bonaire.
Things to do & Attractions is Bonaire Island
Bonaire is a dose of Spanish charm laced with the Caribbean charisma, and that surely makes for a lethal combination. The weather gods have a special soft corner for this beautiful part of the Caribbean and endow the place with stunning weather for a good part of the year. Water activities are pure fun in Bonaire’s multiple dive sites. Even otherwise, there are too many good things to be done on this special island for you to ignore a visit to Bonaire. Any list of the excursions and engagements of Bonaire can go off bounds, yet, the next few paragraphs intend to give you a glimpse of the riveting hold that Bonaire and all its great attractions will have on you.
A day trip to this flat islet off Bonaire’s west coast is a welcome change of surroundings and a heavenly retreat for scuba diving lovers. Bonaire Marine Park’s conservational efforts mean that the diving conditions here are wonderful with clear visibility. Snorkelling is a pleasure here, and that again speaks well of the protected waters. The place is beautiful, and even if you do not plan to spend all day in water, there is reason to have a day dedicated to Klein Bonaire for relaxation.
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
Some time in the recent history, it was common for roads in Bonaire to be painted red with blood of wild donkeys who fell to vehicles driving in the night, and sometimes returned the favours as well. However, the Donkey Sanctuary, although a little crazy sounding, is a tribute to the hundreds of wild donkeys of Bonaire. Visit the sanctuary to know more about these strange and interesting species, and watch them in action. Animal lovers can also get the opportunity to do some volunteer service inside.
Lac Bay, Kralendijk
Winder surfers are appreciative of the fact that the feeling of the wind striking with full force against the face in the middle of a windsurfing expedition is an amazing experience. Lac Bay, with all its shallow waters and stable breezes is the ideal place to be at for windsurfers. Mangrove trees with fascinating root patterns go well with water and add to the beauty of the place. There is a special calm surfing location called Soroban Beach in the vicinity.
Dive Friends, Kralendijk
Eventually, you want a healthy share of water activities on your Bonaire trip, and your quest for the ultimate diving and snorkelling pleasure is bound to take you to Dive Friends. There is so much to do here for snorkelers, divers, and even those who don’t indulge in these. Dive Friends is among the noted dive schools of Bonaire, and it is sinful fo you not to take out time for this place. You might want to have a look at their website and programs before heading out.
Bari Reef, Kralendijk
Just offshore near Bonaire’s capital city of Kralendijk lies this easily accessible and extremely popular reef called the Bari Reef. The waters are open for you, but you can also consider a guided dive. Solo divers have to get into their gear and go to the dock near the Sand Dollar Condominium Hotel. Diving at Bari Reef is one of the special experiences that you can carry with yourself on the way back home. Seahorses, octopuses and other colourful creatures await you in Bari Reef.
Shopping in Bonaire Island
Shopping is a hard nut to crack on away tours, and you can almost sense a twinkle of naughtiness in the eyes of the seemingly friendly shopkeepers selling you all kinds of local handicrafts and fabrics. Bonaire, thankfully, is a little different. Thankfully, you will not be faced with lines after lines of shops that are hard to differentiate from the other. Thankfully, there are a few shops, but each sells a different cocktail of merchandise actually worth buying. And thankfully, the people selling these items are not waiting to rip you off. These are some of the renowned hang outs in Bonaire that you can visit and get different flavours of Bonaire.
Jewel of Bonaire
38 Kaya Grandi is a heart warming stop for shoppers in Bonaire. The owners realize that most of the shopping done is for your friends and family back at home, and this is evident in the vast number of gist assortments that are up for grabs in this shop. And this does not mean that you can’t go here if you intend to shop for yourself. Women folk have some good jewellery artfully crafted. The ones designed around the underwater theme are bound to make women go crazy, so be prepared if you plan to take your beloved to the Jewel Of Bonaire. The prices of the gift items as well as the jewellery are reasonable, and this means that you can have a considerable proportion of the shopping done here.
The Dive Inn, Kralendijk
Bonaire has to be about great diving and other water based activities, as you’d have learnt from all the pre-tour analysis and research. However, diving can easily degrade into an excursion if your diving trainers and support staff are not helpful and courteous enough. The Dive Inn’s staff realizes the essence of diving, and the workers do not mind going out of their way to ensure that your time with them is fulfilling and special. The underwater journey is studded with interactions with fascinating creatures like eels, coral crabs, tarpons and octopuses. Depend upon The Dive Inn to make you feel at home in their quarters, and this certainly makes the place a worthy recipient of your money and time.
Night Life in Bonaire Island
Nightlife does not always mean crazy partying with lots of high voltage music. Bonaire serves you its own versions of nightlife at its bars. Divers would know about the Habitat Bonaire Resort. Nocturnal thrill-seekers too need to red mark the place on their tourism maps as it houses the Deco Stop Bar, one of the special bars and great places to be at in the night time.
Locals and tourists converge to this place as the natural lights begin to go dim. The menu is pretty good, and you have many unexplored options to go for. Exotic drinks shall definitely interest and attract you, and so will the sight of the gradually diminishing sun on the horizon. Regular live entertainment programs are a staple diet at the Deco Stop, and this surely calls for any appointment from you.
Cities in Bonaire Island
Big bustling places have their pros and cons, but small heavens are perfect bets for a guaranteed dream vacation, and Bonaire is one such reliable getaway for all kinds of visitors. The former Dutch colony is a dreamland of peace and tranquillity, and relaxation is the buzz word in this laid back part of the world. The natural beauty of the island is stunning to say the least, and the water resources are ideal to endow the place with the credentials of being among the most popular diving destinations of the world, and not merely the Caribbean.
The two major tourism magnet cities of Bonaire are Kralendijk and Rincon, and this article attempts at telling readers as to what wonderful experiences await them in these cities.
Being the capital city and the largest one in Bonaire means that Kralendijk is host to some irresistible tourist attractions. The most striking aspect of vacations in Bonaire and especially Kralendijk is that there is no unnecessary noise and ruckus to irritate you and take the sheen of the desired peaceful vacation you actually come looking for. The clean streets and the serenity all around ensure that you remain in a cheerful state throughout your vacation. If beaches impress you, stay game to be overwhelmed in Kralendijk as the locality has many beautiful beaches to keep you busy and relaxed.
The Windsock Beach and the one at Bonaire Sunset Beach Hotel are the two public beaches in the capital, and both pack a fitting punch in terms of natural beauty and the overall experience. The walking tour of Kralendijk is ideal for those who like their history and culture, as the city is a wonderful place to travel on foot. The tourism brochure enlists 25 attractions of the city, most of which really deserve their place on the brochure. The airport localities have many hotels for easy accommodation, and there are some really special restaurants in the city to appeal to you taste buds.
If Kralendijk is the largest city in Bonaire, Rincon makes its presence felt in the tourist booklets by being the oldest town here, with its roots in the Spanish empires of the 1500’s. The characteristic sleepiness of Bonaire enshrouds the town for a good part of the year, and does so without losing its ability to attract. And then, there are times of festivals when the town with its 2000 odd residents goes into a frenzy of pleasure and excitement. Look out for the Harvest Festival and Rincon Day before you finalize your plans. History and architecture lovers have lots to look forward to in Rincon. Shopping in the markets is another enriching experience here, and you are likely to have a good time bargaining with the courteous shopkeepers.
A trip to Washington Slagbaai National Park is worth a thorough consideration in Rincon. Lake Goto is another great place to be at in Rincon. Walking and bus tours to Rincon are organized by tour operators, and might want to consider one of those to enjoy the town without much time to spare on self directed explorations.