Bonaire

Copyright: Jannick Nijholt/Unsplash

Bonaire

With crystal clear waters and uniquely rich marine life, Bonaire is regarded as a premier diving destination. Yet, there is plenty to see and do even after your swim fins are off — salt pyramids, a cactus distillery, and historical monuments to name but a few.

Bonaire & Kralendijk

Bonaire is a Dutch Caribbean island of 288 square kilometres, which together with Aruba and Curaçao forms the ABC islands in the Leeward Antilles. The first European visitors to the island were the Spanish in the 16th century, seeking shelter among the hills that today surround the town of Rincón. They introduced several species of domesticated animals to the island, including cattle and donkeys. Today's capital, Kralendijk, is the only other settlement on Bonaire. Its significance expanded alongside the establishment of the Dutch West India Company, exemplified by the iconic Fort Oranje, built to protect the city's harbour. Besides plantation, the Dutch relied on the island for salt production, which also meant that Bonaire was not untouched by slavery, either. Bonaire has been a special municipality since 2010, similar to Sint Eustatius and Saba. Over the last decades, nature conservation has gained steady ground on the island: whether it's safeguarding endangered species, securing nesting sites, or becoming carbon neutral, there are numerous initiatives at work to protect nature's treasures, both on land and in the sea, for future generations.

Restaurants

Bonairean cuisine has an answer for everything. For a quick bite they have pastechi, for a refreshing soup there is cactus and fish to prepare it from — not to mention cactus-based drinks — and for a heartier meal, you cannot go wrong with Kabritu Stoba, the signature goat stew.

Do & See

Thanks to its extensive marine park, sanctuaries, and distinctive ecosystem, Bonaire offers whole new perspectives on the natural world. And from sports to cuisine to architecture, be sure to also explore man's take on this extraordinary world.

Shopping

Beyond the sea of common souvenirs, Bonaire is a great place for treasure hunts: at the top of the list are products made from salt and cactus, including aloe products of great purity. The island's beauty is a constant inspiration for fashion items and artworks, to be explored at vendor stalls and chic design stores.

Tourist Information