An island with bright coral reefs and colourful exotic fish cherished by divers the world over. It is also a land still full of its original beauty.

Hikers appreciate its nature reserves and mangrove forests, sandy lagoons andcolourful salt beds of this varied landscape inhabited by beautiful and graceful flamingo's. Enduring colonial charm lingers over the capital, Kralendijk.

The most pristine of the ABC islands, Bonaire is synonymous with bright coral reefs and colourful exotic fish cherished by divers the world over. It is also a land still full of its original beauty.

The "White Gold" island, as Bonaire was known as, due to the miles of blinding white salt piles in the South, has kept its wild and harsh original beauty. Bonaire is home to around 200 bird species, including budgerigars, parrots and hummingbirds. It also has the largest flamingo colony in the Caribbean and the airport is named after these exotic birds.

Bonaire is surrounded by crystal clear emerald green water and one of the most pristine coral reefs on earth.

The people of Bonaire are very conscious of preserving their beautiful underwater environment and for the last 20 years have designated all surrounding waters as a protected National Marine Park. The largest region is the Washington Slagbaai Marine Park found north of the island.

Sparkling Undersea Colours

Divers worldwide flock to Bonaire's unique dive sites and their crystal clear water with visibility up to 30 meters. Around the coral reef schools of exotic and brightly coloured fish fearlessly swim all around divers-the ultimate in diving thrills and pure diving freedom!! The almost current-free west coast of Bonaire offers over 60 shore dive sites marked by yellow stones by the roadside and by yellow painted buoys in the water.

After an intial introduction, certified divers may pack their gear in a rented car and pick out one of the marvellous dive locations for themselves. You can dive when, where and as often as you like. The dive operators have air filled diving tanks available around the clock! So off you go!!

Home of the Flamingo

Even fanatical divers and snorkellers need moments of rest and relaxation and Bonaire has plenty of fantastic beaches for that:

  • Pink Beach, the longest beach on Bonaire with the pink sand at the water's edge
  • Cai Beach is a favourite spot for islanders and families at weekends
  • The wilder beaches on the north coast are only suitable for walks due to strong undercurrents.
  • Boka Slagbaai has a beautiful, hidden coral reef.
There are large colonies of pink flamingoes in the great saltwater lagoons behind Boka Slagbaai and at Lagoon Goto.

The most comfortable way to explore Bonaire is by jeep but horseback is also great fun.

Sporty visitors can try hiking or mountain biking.

The magic of the past

The capital city Kralendijk is charming, small and quaint and where youŽll find all the island's restaurants and bars, almost all of which have sea views. And of course the wonderful spicy traditional island cuisine and the refreshing thirst-quenching local beer is even more savoury when enjoyed during a brilliant Caribbean sunset. The local casinos are very laid back and casual and great for a little nightlife entertainment. In one you can even go barefoot!

The name Kralendijk comes from the Dutch word for coral dikes, which is exactly what was originally there before Fort Oranje was established in the 1600Žs on the banks of the natural harbour of Bonaire. The city centre is characterized by the 19th century Dutch architecture. The most beautiful of the yellow painted buildings are gathered around the Plaza Reina Willhelmina. The eye catcher on this square is the beautiful "Pasangrahan" which means guesthouse in Indonesian. The name comes from a former governor who named the building after his former post in the Dutch East Indies.

Rincon, the oldest region of the island, was first settled by native indians. This picturesque little town is located in the middle of the mountain range which gave it perfect protection against plunder by pirates. During colonial days Rincon was populated by slaves who could visit their wives and children here during their free days.

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