Bonaire might be a small island, but this Southern Caribbean destination has much to offer for a peaceful and quiet vacation. Whether snorkeling or scuba diving, kitesurfing, sailing, windsurfing, or fishing, the island municipality of the Netherlands is perfect. Meanwhile, the island lies off the coast of Venezuela. Besides watersports, there are around 400 caves to explore, that form part of the local ecosystem. Moreover, kayaking is a pleasant activity, exploring Lac Bay Lagoon. Let’s take a look at the best things to do in quieter Bonaire.
Beaches of Bonaire
For those seeking sun and sand, Bonaire has more than 22 beaches, some with white sand and some with darker sand due to crushed shells and corals. When visiting, please make sure you take your plastic and other trash away with you, to keep the beaches pristine. Moreover, leave the shells on the beach as they may be home to hermit crabs.
The island runs annual beach cleanups and visitors are encouraged to join in, as everyone can help to keep the sand clean for future generations.
Scuba diving and snorkeling
When it comes to diving and snorkeling adventures, nowhere in the Caribbean compares to Bonaire. In fact, it offers 63 official dive sites where scuba divers or snorkelers can explore hundreds of fish species among the colorful coral. You might even come across a shipwreck or two (see above).
Meanwhile, all the waters surrounding the island form a protected marine park, Bonaire National Marine Park. This means no breaking the coral, no collecting turtle eggs, or spearfishing. However, because Bonaire receives little rain, the waters are always crystal clear. In fact, divers will find visibility is around 100 feet and, on some days, even as much as 150 feet. This makes the waters off Bonaire perfect for underwater photos.
Explore Washington Slagbaai National Park
First established in 1969, Washington Slagbaai National Park was the first nature sanctuary in the Netherlands Antilles. The park covers the northern one-third of the island and is a safe habitat for the native and endemic species of the island. Here, visitors can spot flamingos, parrots, parakeets, sea turtles and iguanas. Meanwhile, the beaches forming part of the park are an important nesting ground for all four sea turtle species.
Moreover, during the colonial days, the park had large plantations and now has a rich historical and cultural heritage. There is a museum at the park’s entrance as well as a number of walking trails that enjoy varying degrees of difficulty.
Visit Klein Bonaire
Klein Bonaire (Little Bonaire) is a small, uninhabited islet nestling off the western coast of the Caribbean island. While the islet is relatively flat, visitors can see the ruins of slave huts, which form the only buildings on the island. The small, single-room buildings date to the region’s period of slavery. While the islet has no running water or amenities, it makes for a fun boat ride from the coast and offers panoramic views of the main island.
Water sports in Bonaire
Besides scuba diving and snorkeling, this small island offers all the major water sports, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, fishing and boat trips.