Bonaire, which means ‘Good Air’ is a beautiful island in the Dutch Caribbean. It is one of the three western most islands of the Lesser Antilles which comprises the ABC islands, the others being Aruba and Curacao.  These islands are all part of the Netherlands in the Caribbean.  Bonaire is located about 50 miles of the coast of Venezuela.  The smallest of the ABC islands, Bonaire is best known for its tourist attractions as it gets twice as much tourists per year than its sister island, Curacao.  

With a population of just over 19,000 people Bonaire is a diver’s paradise because of the abundance of diving options available to divers and the beautifully protected reefs that lie within.  Unlike some of the other islands, Bonaire lies outside of the hurricane belt which means it is protected from the storms that affect other Caribbean islands.  The island boasts of beautiful, warm sunny weather all year round.  Bonaire is a flat island with plenty of sunshine which keeps the sea warm and breezy all day long. Because of its proximity to the equator the island enjoys about 12 hours of sunshine each day of the year.  Because of the dry climate the island has a rare and unique collection of flora and vegetation made up of cacti, aloe vera plants and acacia trees. There are also plenty of mangroves and salt marshes. 

Due to its rich ancestry of Dutch, African and European cultures, the island’s social heritage is particularly strong when coming to food, music, religion, language and architecture.  Dutch is the official language on the island but English and Spanish are also widely spoken.  The island’s traditional songs and dances are reminiscent of the early years of its first European settlers and the arrival of African slaves that are chronicled in the lavish festivals on the island.  

Bonaire N.A., Sea Salt production (Charles W Guthrie)

The island’s economy depends heavily on tourism, oil transference, salt production and small rice and manufacturing industries.   Whereas, salt production was once a thriving industry on the island in the early 16th Century, it became redundant after the abolishment of slavery.  The island’s economy is now mainly based on Tourism. Also, in order to increase more sustainable production and lower the import food bill measures are being taken to improve agricultural production on the island.  

The island is a very safe place for tourists and comes highly recommended by the US Department of State.  Anytime is a good time to go to Bonaire.  Because it is a very small island there are not lots of crowds or attractions outside of the beautiful reefs and beaches that are famous to the island.  The beautiful weather and friendly people help make a visit to the island a memorable occasion to remember.  You will be surprised how easy it is to totally relax and enjoy the few amenities that Bonaire has to offer. The island has always been regarded as one of the best snorkeling and diving destinations in the Caribbean. 

So, the next time you are thinking of a vacation with sunny and refreshing breeze with ideal conditions for kiteboarding and windsurfing,  Bonaire should definitely come to mind.  

To learn more about the island, click the links in the Table of Contents:

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