Bonaire is the ”B” that makes up the ”ABC Islands”, and is the easternmost island just off the coast of Venezuela. The ABC Islands include Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao and is part of the Leeward Antilles (the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles).
For more on travel and flights between the ABC Islands, see “Island Hopper Flights” Page.
Bonaire is famous for its first-rate scuba diving. It is rated best diving locations in the Caribbean and in the world. There are very few sandy beaches and the surrounding reefs along the western and southern sides are easily accessible from the shore. There are several coral reefs where seahorses are common.
The government declared the entire coastline and especially including the coral reef around the Klein Bonaire as a marine sanctuary. The local fish life here draws divers, snorkelers and boaters from all around.
If you are planning a snorkeling excursion to Bonaire, please be aware that some heavy storms in the last decade or so, have damaged much of the coral in the shallow areas. (This doesn't affect SCUBA divers as much since, corals below 25 feet are still healthy all over the island.) In spite of these storms, it is still one of the top places for snorkeling.
Beautiful pink flamingos are drawn to the brackish water, which harbors the shrimp they feed on.Just like Aruba, the north side of Bonaire (facing the Caribbean Sea) has a constant trade wind that is perfect for wind-water sports such as windsurfing, and kite surfing.
The main Island Territory of Bonaire and its uninhabited islet of Klein Bonaire are governed under the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands Antilles (also known as known as the Netherlands West Indies or Dutch Antilles West Indies) was scheduled to be dissolved in December of 2008. From this, the 5 islands-Curaçao, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, and Sint Maarten- would attain new constitutional statuses within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This has been postponed until no later than October 2010
For a historical overview, see
"Bonaire History" page.
Bonaire is about 111 sq miles in area, and has a population of about 14,000 people.
As on Aruba, the official language is Dutch, but Papiamento, English and Spanish are also spoken.