Bonaire Activities and Attractions
Believe it or not, there are as many things to do on land as there are in the water in this diver's paradise.
Want to get a sense of what Bonaire is really all about, or just need help deciding what to see and do on your vacation? Book an island tour to get the perfect insight. Guided tours and natural, preserved beauty are two things in abundance on Bonaire. Bonaire Dive and Adventure at 717-2229, www.bonairediveandadventure.com, or try Outdoor Bonaire at 791-6272, www.outdoorbonaire.com.
Get a unique perspective on Bonaire with full and half-day cruises or enjoy an unforgettable Caribbean sunset while sailing on the bay of Kralendijk or around Klein Bonaire. Several boats are available for charter and private cruises, call Aquaspace at 701 2782, www.aquaspacebonaire.nl/en/, BlueBay Rentals at 701-5500, www.bluebayrentals.com, and Bowalie at 786-7615, www.bowalie.com.
For a true thrill, explore both the wet and dry caves of Bonaire, and discover why caves are so vital to Bonaire's ecosystem.
Experience the flora and fauna of Bonaire with a local naturalist.
Gain some insight into Bonaire's history at the island's small museums.
Mangazina di Rei
Also called the King's Storehouse, this is the second-oldest stone building on Bonaire and part of the Cultural Park. It was originally used for storing yields from the annual harvest. A small museum and garden can be visited. Located on Kaya Rincon in Rincon, call 786-2101, www.mangazinadirei.org.
Bonaire's local museum showcases Bonairean artifacts, old photographs, archaeology exhibits, island mythology and much more. Located a 10-minute walk from the pier and town center at Kaya Julio v/dRee 7, call 717-
MARKETS, ART GALLERIES & CRAFTS
Meander through the art galleries and markets, and pick up a unique souvenir while supporting the island's local artists.
This store sells a nice collection of local crafts. They are located at the Bonaire District Shopping Center, Tel: 717-3020, more info online.
Jan Art Gallery
This gallery presents the work of Janice Huckaby. Located at Kaya Gloria 7, call 717-5246 or visit www.janartbonaire.com.
Littman's Anything Artistique
Original paintings, handicrafts and carvings can be found here. Located in Harborside Mall, call 717-8160 or visit www.bonairelittmanstores.com.
This lovely gallery promotes the work of local artists. Located at Kaya Statius van Eps 17 (the road to Sorobon). Call 717-4112 or visit www.richterart.com.
Also called Gotomeer, this lake offers one of the most striking inland views - you might also catch a glimpse of some shy flamingoes.
lust off the coast of Bonaire, this uninhabited island is popular for its scuba and snorkel sites. Enjoy a unique perspective of the eastern coast of Bonaire during the ride to and from Klein Bonaire. (Snorkeling equipment and beach chair rentals are available.)
Seru Largu (Long Hill)
Located in central Bonaire, the lookout at the top of this small hill offers panoramic views of Kralendijk, Klein Bonaire and the resort area.
Solar Salt Works
The huge salt pyramids located on the southern portion of the island are worth a visit. They tower beyond pools of water colored pink by the abundant algae and pink brine shrimp.
Washington Slagbaai National Park
Offering a plethora of activities and unique sights, the national park sustains 5,643 hectares (14,000 acres) of protected nature in the northwestern corner of the island. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but come early as there is no admission after 2:45 p.m. Admission $10. Call 788-9015 or visit www.washingtonparkbonaire.org.
You might lose count as you head down this steep limestone stairway that shares the name of the popular dive site nearby. The breathtaking vistas are worth the trip down and back up.
The Indian Inscriptions at Boca Onima are over 500 years old, and believed to be the work of the Caiquetio Indians, a branch of the Arawak Indians.
Experience the historic and cultural heritage of the authentic Bonairean kunuku (countryside). Rooi Lamoenchi means "lime river" and is also the name of a 200-year-old farmhouse that offers guided tours. Call 717-8489.
Visit Rincon, the oldest village on Bonaire. Each Saturday is market day, visit the
Marshe di Rincon with plenty of local color, from music to food. If you get really hungry try the local favorite, the Rose Inn Bar & Restaurant, call 785-9993.
Butterfly Farm Bonaire
Catch a glimpse of butterflies from around the world... the lush farm is home to over 20 species of butterflies. Located on Kaminda Lac, call 785-6450 or visit www.butterflyfarmbonaire.org.
The Donkey Sanctuary originally opened to care for the injured and abandoned donkeys on Bonaire, but it now also welcomes visits from the general public. Learn more about the animals you see grazing all over the island. Located south of Kralendijk and the airport, call 560-7607 or visit www.donkeysanctuary.org.
Observe flamingoes in their natural habitat: at the salt pans of Pekelmeer and near Willemstoren Lighthouse. Bring binoculars if possible, as visitors cannot directly access the sanctuary.
Explore Bonaire's countryside from an equestrian perspective, and end your ride with a swim on horseback in refreshing Lac Bay. Call Rancho Washikemba at 788 8668 for reservations or visit their website.
For those looking to be pampered, Bonaire has a handful of small day spas offering specialized treatments featuring aromatherapy, sea salt and customized massages. Call The Touch at 717-8285 ext. 484 or Beverly Bio Aesthetics at 717-8458.
Bonaire boasts close to 200 miles of unpaved roads, and hundreds of species of birds and flora to observe. Try a guided bike tour or simply grab a trail map and start pedaling! For bicycle rentals call The BikeShop at 560-7000.
Bonairean Golf Club Piedra So is an 18-hole "au-naturel" course. For tee-time reservations call 717-8684 and visit www.piedraso.com for directions.
Home to a wide array of cacti and unusual plant life, like the divi-divi tree, Bonaire's relatively flat landscape makes hiking an ideal way to explore the island.
Diving and Snorkeling
With accessible dive and snorkel sites on the leeward coast, outstanding dive operators, and a genuine commitment to the environment, it almost goes without saying that Bonaire has become a top diving and snorkeling destination in the Caribbean. Contact Seacow Snorkel Trips at 785-7727, www.seacow-bonaire.com.
Also called kitesurfing or simply kiting, this new sport, made possible by specially designed kites and boards, is all the rage along the island's southwestern coast, next to Margate Bay and beyond the slave huts. Call Kiteboarding Bonaire at 717-6183 or visit www.kiteboardingbonaire.com.
The Mangrove Info Center arranges naturalist-guided kayaking and snorkeling trips offering first-hand exploration of this unique ecosystem and a greater understanding of its significance. Call 780-5353 or visit www.mangrovecenter.com.
Enjoy Bonaire's open coastal waters and secluded beaches, which are suitable for all levels of kayakers.
Very popular with veterans and novices, Bonaire Windsurf Place and Jibe City Windsurfing are both in prime locations for windsurfing; lessons are available. Call Bonaire Windsurf Place at 717-2288, or visit www.bonairewindsurfplace.com. Call Jibe City Windsurfing at 717-5233, or visit www.jibecity.com.
Article courtesy of Bonaire Nights magazine.