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Home > Destinations > Bonaire > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Bonaire - Trip Reports

Island of Bonaire

Bonaire is one of the most interesting destinations in the Caribbean. It is located close to the Venezuelan coast. Diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, fishing, bird-watching and plain old lazing about can be had as in few other places. The landscape is varied and pleasing, with rugged elevations to the north and salt-flats to the south. Mangroves line some of the bays. Inland flats are overgrown by thorny scrub and impressive cacti that reach the height of small pine trees. Roads are mostly small and winding. Traffic is sedate.

Local airlines and only one major carrier serve Bonaire. Be prepared for delays and island hopping. Once there, convenience can be had. Flamingo Airport is only a short cab ride from Kralendijk and from many of the major hotels. Car rental agencies are located conveniently nearby. Cab service is friendly and available until late into the night.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs. It sports clear waters, a marine park, a multitude of fish species and largely unspoiled coral growth. This writer counted some 14 diving operators, a measure of the popularity of the sport on the island. Instruction is on offer both in snorkeling and diving. Five operators offer deep-sea fishing. Klein Bonaire Island is one of the most popular diving destinations and in easy reach from the main town of Kralendijk. Many of the diving operators are located in the vicinity.

Two outfits cater to windsurfers. The Bonaire Windsurf Place and Jibe City are located in Sorobon at a large and shallow bay, protected by the reef. The wind is on-shore to side-shore, steady and reliable. Swells are minimal to absent. The water is no more than hip-deep in a third of the bay. Conditions are ideal for learning and upgrading skills, from uphauling to water-starting to carving jibes.

A Bonaire guide lists eight sailboat charters. Also available are kayaking, horse-back riding, tennis, photo tours, cycling and, of course shopping. If you must bare it all, Naturalist resorts cater to those so inclined.

For bird-watchers and lovers of scenery, the National Park at the mountainous north end of the island has flocks of pink flamingos to offer along an unspoiled and rugged coastline. Narrow roads wind through the Park, reminiscent of the lanes in the English South-West. The most common road hazards are goats and iguanas that sprint across at unexpected moments.

The south end of the Island towards the Pekelmeer is flat. It offers another Flamingo sanctuary and is sanctuary to some 600 donkeys. Pyramids of salt harvested from the sea-water are visible from a distance.

Weary travelers will find restaurants and small watering holes spread out along many routes. Eating out can be a satisfying sport along the Kralendijk waterfront. You will return home tanned, slimmed by sport or more rotund, just as you like it.

Thanks to Klaus for this trip report ...
March 1999

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