Last week Matt and I went to Bonaire, an island less than 100 miles north of Venezuela. It is part of the Netherlands Antilles, which means many people living on the island are from Holland and speak Dutch (and usually English). The most widely spoken language is the creole language of Papiamento, which those on all ABC islands speak (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). Other locals speak Spanish and often have a hard time with English. I forgot to brush up on my Spanish before visiting Bonaire – stupid me!
Bonaire is known for its scuba diving. That’s because there are a total of 86 dive sites around the island and most are accessible from the shore. Yellow rocks with the name of the site show you where to wade into the crystal clear water to reach the little yellow dive marker. The reefs are some of the most renown in the world. Klein Bonaire is a small island to the left of the main island where it’s common to dive or snorkel. It is uninhabited and you can get there by water taxi or dive boat.
Bonaire is also known for their saltpans. The country has been collecting salt since the 1600s. One of the largest industrial salt producers in the world, Cargill Salt, collects and ships the salt all over the world. The saltpans are pink from the algae. It makes for beautiful pictures that you may have already seen
There are two cities on Bonaire: Kralenjik, the capital, and Rincon. The airport and cruise port are in Kralenjik. That’s where you can shop and go to some restaurants. If you need a post office or ATM, you’ll find that in Kralenjik. Rincon is hidden farther north in between the small mountains, where it could be hidden from pirates. It is much more run down in Rincon, but the locals make really good fruit juice there. Also, there are only five gas stations on the whole entire island (four around Kralendijk and one in Rincon), so just be aware of that when going into the national park where you drive for hours in the middle of nowhere, for instance.
Bonaire’s currency is the United States Dollar (USD), which makes things pretty convenient. I would recommend bringing cash or be prepared to take out from an ATM. Some shops and excursions don’t take credit cards.
Matt and I found Bonaire beautiful with its cacti everywhere. Wild goats and donkeys, flamingos, caracaras, and iguanas are a joy to photograph. If you are looking for a Caribbean island to visit that is less touristy and offers so much beauty, we would highly recommend Bonaire. Not only does it offer some of the best scuba diving in the world, but it also offers history and beautiful landscapes. In our coming posts we will inform you how we afforded our flight (which usually costs around $1,000 round trip) and our awesome AirBnb. Then we will talk about scuba diving and other activities to do if you don’t dive like me!