Bonaire was ranked No. 4 in a prominent Islands.com list of the world’s best islands for snorkeling, in the company of outstanding islands such as Fiji, Dominica and Maui. The list points to Bonaire’s 200-plus caves, beautiful fossilized coral and crystal-clear water. You can see the entire list here.
About.com Travel recently named Bonaire’s National Marine Park one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the Caribbean. If you’ve been scuba diving or snorkeling with Divi Dive Bonaire, you’ve visited the Marine Park—it encompasses the entire island from its shoreline to a depth of 200 feet. From the vibrant diversity of underwater life that makes its home in the park, the healthiness of the area is clear. It’s considered to be the most well-protected reef system in the Caribbean.
Whether you’re looking for an indulgent getaway or a taste of authentic Caribbean culture, there’s no time like the present to visit the islands. The Caribbean Journal has compiled a list of nine islands that are ideal for spring travel—some well-established tourist destinations, some on the rise.
Barbados, Bonaire and St. Croix all receive shout-outs. Barbados makes the cut for its luxury reputation as “the English-speaking St. Barts;” Bonaire, for its friendly yet trendy culture; St. Croix, for its rising foodie scene. You can see the full list here.
InselAir, a small airline focused on short local flights among the Caribbean islands, has just rolled out a new schedule of inter-island arrivals and departures for Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maarten. In 2017, InselAir now offers four flights per day between Bonaire and Curacao, five flights per day between Curacao and Aruba and two flights per day between Curacao and St. Maarten.
If you’re interested in extending your vacation by a few days, why not hop a plane to a neighboring island before you head home? Each Caribbean island has its own distinct culture and way of life, which can be a pleasure to discover and explore. Each Divi Resort also has its own personality—if you’ve enjoyed one of them, you might consider learning the Divi way on a new island. Whether you choose Aruba, Bonaire, St. Maarten or one of our others, we can guarantee warm hospitality that’s authentically Caribbean. Bon bini!
Bonaire is world-famous for its stunning dive sites, but that doesn’t mean you’ll spend your entire vacation in your scuba gear. What is there to see and do above sea level on Bonaire? We have a few suggestions!
Kralendijk is the quaint capital city of Bonaire. We use the term “city” loosely—in fact, the town of Kralendijk is just a few blocks across. It’s an easy few minutes’ walk from Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino. Explore the dozens of small shops and cozy local restaurants here in a place that feels authentically Caribbean.
See the Breathtaking Salt Pans of Bonaire
The southern end of Bonaire is home to vast solar salt farms. Sea water is channeled into man-made ponds and sealed off, and as the water slowly evaporates, the high salt content naturally turns the remaining water a bright pink. At some points, you’ll see pinkish-purple water on one side of the road and Bonaire’s vivid turquoise ocean on the other. Rent a car and drive down to experience this otherworldly sight.
Visit Jibe City
Jibe City is a tiny outpost on Lac Bay on the southeastern side of the island. The bay stays shallow almost as far as the eye can see, making it possible to walk straight out to sea for as long as half an hour without ever getting in above your waist.
The more common activity at Jibe City, though, is windsurfing. The area counts among one of the top windsurfing locations in the world. Rent your windsurfing equipment from the small shack onsite, or take the lessons offered for all levels. You can also rent stand-up paddleboards if you want to explore the area on your own terms.
After a long day on the water at Jibe City, visit the nearby shop for Jibe City souvenirs and surfing equipment, stretch out on one of the chaise lounges or relax at the Hang-Out Bar with a cold drink and the sandwich special of the day.
Experience the White and Orange Slave Huts of Bonaire
Bonaire has been inhabited for almost 1000 years, when the Arawak tribe first migrated to the island. The origins of Bonaire as we know it today can be traced back to the 1500s, when it first became a Spanish colony. Ownership eventually transferred to the Dutch West India Company, and the island became a salt plantation where many people were enslaved.
In the 1850s, slaves built their own quarters near the salt pans, to the specifications of the company. The tiny huts served as their sleeping place during the week. On the weekends, they walked seven hours to the inland town of Rincon to visit their families.
The huts still stand today as a somber reminder of the island’s history.
Sample the Wares at Cadushy Distillery
Cadushy Distillery, located in Rincon, is the only distillery on the island of Bonaire. It’s created a different type of specialty liqueur for each of six islands in the Dutch Caribbean. Cadushy also makes its own varieties of rum, vodka and whiskey. Sign up for a tasting and learn first-hand how the spirits are produced.
Eric Gietman, a Dutch native, founded the distillery with his wife Jolande in 2009. They decided to move to Bonaire after more than 20 years of visiting the island, and soon realized that the local cadushy cactus could be used to develop a liqueur. This recipe became Cadushy of Bonaire, a cactus liqueur with a cooling lime taste and the first in the distillery’s Island Liqueurs line.
Itching to explore Bonaire both above and below the water? Stay at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino and take scuba diving classes with Divi Dive Bonaire, a five-star PADI dive center. Bon bini na Bonaire!
Carnival is hands-down one of the best perks of visiting the Caribbean. The vibrant colors and lively spirit of the event keep up for several weeks, with plenty of parades, music, costume contests and phenomenal food and drink. On Aruba and Bonaire, Carnival typically takes place just before Lent—one last hurrah before a traditional time of sacrifice, almost like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Here’s a brief tour through the festivities you can expect to see this January and February on Aruba and Bonaire.
The Lighting Parade in downtown Oranjestad is not to be missed. Held in the evening, this parade incorporates thousands of tiny lights into the costumes and floats of participating Carnival groups for a truly impressive display.
Grand Parades in Oranjestad and San Nicolas are the biggest parties of the season. They completely take over their respective cities as participants decked out in glitter, feathers, sequins and elaborate headdresses dance down the parade routes, joined by colorful floats playing music. Hundreds of spectators enjoy the show-stopping pageantry in this vibrant tradition now in its 63rd year.
Carnival—or Karnaval, as it’s often called—is also a major event on Bonaire. The celebrations begin early in the year with tumba music festivals, most of them taking place in either Kralendijk or Rincon. Tumba is an African-influenced type of music that originated on the ABC islands. It also carries hints of merengue and Latin jazz. Local tumba musicians compete for the opportunity to play in parades throughout the season.
“Jump ins,” similar to Aruba’s “jump ups,” also happen frequently. Jump ins often move spontaneously from place to place through the streets of Bonaire’s major towns, accompanied by an explosion of music, dancing, eating and drinking. Tourists and locals alike take part in jump ins, but remember to bring ear plugs if you’re sensitive to sound!
Grand Karnaval Parades are held in Kralendijk and Rincon shortly before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Participants in vibrant sequined costumes march and dance through the streets to the rhythm of tumba music. It’s a true spectacle and a dazzling centerpiece of Bonaire culture.