Earth : North America : Caribbean : Bonaire
Bonaire is a Caribbean island east of Central America and north of Venezuela. The island is part of the ABC Islands together with Aruba and Curaçao. It is a flat, riverless island renowned for its dive spots. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit).
Politically, Bonaire is a "special municipality" fully integrated in the Netherlands proper.
Tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation. "Rainy" season lasts from the last week of October to the end of January, but it is still relatively dry. During rainy season, late night and early morning rains are common, usually clearing shortly after sunrise.
The island is flat with a few hills, scant vegetation and neglible natural resources other than white sandy beaches and salt. The northern part of the island is a arid protected park. The southern tip of the island is a great field for sea salt production.
KLM offers five weekly non-stop service from Amsterdam to Bonaire on the way to Quito. American Eagle also offers daily non-stop flights from San Juan to and from Bonaire and other major U.S cities. In December 2005, Continental Airlines launched weekly non-stop flights from Newark and offer connections in Houston. Delta Airlines offers weekly flights between Bonaire and Atlanta on Saturdays. Several smaller airlines connect Bonaire with the neighbouring islands including Dutch Airlines Express and Arkefly.
Charter Airlines include Tiara Air.
Departure Fee for all international destinations is USD $33.40 per person, payable in cash or debit/credit card at the airport prior to check-in. MasterCard, Visa, Discover, Maestro, are all accepted, but American Express is not.
There are not currently any passenger ferries operating to or from Curaçao or Venezuela. Cruise ships do occasionally and increasingly visit Bonaire, epecially "in season". Some shops and restaurants may remain open extra hours to cater to their passengers.
You can also use different Bonaire Water Taxis including and the Seacow Watertaxi.
Private boat moorage is available. Dive operators operate boats to many dive sites including those located off the small uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire. Some boat operators also specialize in snorkel tours and their are regularly scheduled passenger boats to Klein Bonaire. Some include the Woodwind, Bonaire Pirate Cruising, Oscarina, Bowalie and more.
Automobiles can be shipped to Bonaire and Rental cars are available at the airport and at selected hotels. Reservations are strongly suggested as, especially during peak times, all vehicles may be rented. You can drive around the entire island in a couple of hours!
There is an informal bus system on the island that utilizes vans. There are a small number of medium sized tour buses on the island as well.
The island has a growing fleet of cabs scaled to service cruise ships.
There are a few shops on Bonaire:
Bonaire has many restaurants and quite varied cuisine given the overall island population. "Aki ta Bende Kuminda Krioyo" will inform a visitor that local-style food is available, generally heavy on soups, stews, fried foods and fish. Traditional foods that may be found on the menu include conch, cacti, wahoo and rock lobster. Much of the fish is caught locally by line fishermen in season. Though traditionally eaten, iguana is not generally served in restaurants.
Bonaire has no real fast food, though there is the "smallest KFC franchise outlet in the world" in a shopping plaza by the Kralendijk and a Subway sub shop. Check out "Swiss Chalet", a local favorite serving Fondu. Bobbejan's is an extremely popular weekend-only barbeque joint. Other cuisines common on the islands are Argentine, Italian, Indonesian, Suriname, and lots and lots of Chinese. Island-made ice cream is available in many places, with Lovers Ice Cream being a local favorite. Arrive before noon, as they often sell out.
Almost all eateries are open for limited hours during the day, and all close briefly during siesta time between 2-3pm. Call or check ahead to determine if a restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, both, or only open on weekends. Some are closed certain days of the week, such as Sunday.
Despite the small size of the island, Bonaire has a lot of possibilities when looking for places to stay, from large resorts to small privately owned houses which you can rent on a daily basis. Along the coast you have multiple places that combine a dive school with cabañas where you can sleep for a moderate price. Most of the accommodations on the island are relatively small, averaging 15 rooms or less.
Several mid-size apartment complex devoted to tourists exist. These tend to be a bit more upscale than the smaller accommodations. There a several larger, more resort like places as well. These are still somewhat small, with only the Plaza Resort Bonaire and Captain Don's Habitat having over 100 rooms.