I can’t believe I’m home again, it’s already been a month.. Bonaire stole my heart! I miss the sun, the bright blue see, the beautiful animals and relaxed and friendly people.. As you can hear, I had an amazing holiday in the Dutch Antilles at the island of Bonaire, which is located in the Caribbean. It’s probably one of the least familiar islands there and somewhat smaller, with few tourists. It’s mostly known to be a divers paradise, but I can certainly say, for non-divers – like me – it’s a perfect holiday destination as well! I’d like to share with you my experience, some pictures and most importantly, some tips for you when you are thinking of visiting Bonaire! Also, the pictures at the bottom of the blog probably say it all: Bonaire is incredibly beautiful!
In my previous blog, I shared the new items which I bought for my holiday, which I was all very happy to use! I also said to be questioning whether it was worth the whole long and far trip there, as I thought ‘How much more beautiful could it be than Southern Europe’? Well, it’s not necessarily way more beautiful (depends on taste as well), but sooo so different than I was used to in terms of nature, animals, culture (actually everything)! ;) So yes, I can say it was definitely worth the visit!!
Let me tell you about our planning and the sightseeing we’ve done, I think we almost hit all highlights of the island, so if you’re going to visit Bonaire and you tick off these tips, you’re sure you’ve seen it all! We made use of some inside information via a friend of ours, who lived in Bonaire for a couple of months. Also, we got in touch with a lot of friendly people over there, who recommended us the places for going out:)
As mentioned before, Bonaire is quite a small island, it really feels like a small town where you quite often spot the same people and feel really save and at home from day one. The capital is Kralendijk and I can recommend you to stay close to this city when visiting the island. It’s where it’s most lively, but definitely not too busy. There are so many nice restaurants to eat, we weren’t able to try them all! Our favourite places to eat where Bobbejan’s BBQ restaurant, a great place to eat ribs from the grill, the real caribbean way! It’s only open in the weekends, but we ate there twice and it’s very good! Also possible to take away food :) Another place where we had a really good meal was La Cantina, I had fresh fish and it was delicious!!
For going out at night, there is some kind of weekly routine where everyone goes on what day, as there aren’t that many people living in Bonaire, people don’t spread out much but get together at the same places every week. Wednesday night is Havana night, a nice place with live music the day we went there. Thursday night is when more people go out: it’s salsa night at Cuba Compagnie! We really enjoyed this, had a nice meal before the party started and everyone was dancing from 11-2 at night. Then, it was time for an afterparty at Luca’s Bar! A small place with more pop/dance songs you can party till late! Friday night it was Happy Hour time at Eden Beach, everyone was chilling with some beers and watch the sunset! We went there on our last evening so it was a perfect ending to a great holiday! Then again, everyone moved to Havana again, to party till late ;) Enough about the party, i sounds like we only did that, while Bonaire has so much more to offer! (Don’t worry it isn’t a party island at all, if you like big parties you should go to Curacao I’ve been told ;))
The first three days of visiting Bonaire, we rented a car to be able to explore the island. It’s highly recommended not to book the car beforehand, as you need a pick-up truck to be able to drive the many dirt roads Bonaire has. There is a rental place ‘AB Car rental’ which offer very reasonable prices :) So enough about the rental, where did we go!?
- Southern tour
The Island is quite small, so you don’t need a day to see the south, but if you want to have a relaxing time to look around, don’t do the whole island in one day. Definitely not when you also want to visit the ‘Washington Slagbaai National Park’, which I will tell about in the Northern tour below. When going south, you should drive along the coast, stop your car everyone once in a while to go for a dive and enjoy the beautiful beaches like Bachelor beach. Then drive further till you get to the Salt pans, the water turns pink at places because of the high salt concentration! It’s beautiful to see, having the bright blue see on your right and the pink waters on your left! You will also cross the slave huts there, where slaves used to sleep after working in the salt pans. Then around lunch time, it’s perfect to go to Lac Cai, for a lunch or some drinks. It’s a perfect spot for windsurfing (which we didn’t do), but also really amazing to see, as the water is bright blue as it’s very undeep. We did this tour on our first day and it was really great!
- Northern tour
After a day of relaxing after the first tour, we went for our second tour to the northern part of the Island. First we went to the highest point of Bonaire: Cruz Seru Largu, we were the only ones there and it gave a really nice view over the island. Then, we continued our journey upwards towards the Washington Slagbaai National Park. This is the place you definitely need your pick-up truck for, you can’t even enter with a normal car or else! For me, this park was a definite highlight. It’s so different then the nature I’m used to in Europe! It feels like you landed in a Western Movie, with cactuses everywhere! It was really cool to ride the dirt roads, completely in the wild with noone else around! The sea is very rough there, splashing to the rocks and the coolest things was our trip to a Lizzard/Iguana Langoon! We drove there, all alone, got out the car and walked towards the lagoon, where hundreds of lizzards run away from us and 4 huge iguanas walked curiously towards us. It was the first time we saw them (many more later that week) but it was a really cool experience! At the end of our park trip, we went for some snorkeling at Slagbaai beach, which is a really beautiful beach. When leaving the park, we visited the Goto meer as well, where we spotted hundreds of flamingos!
As you may notice, this post is getting pretty long. I can go on for days about how beatiful Bonaire is, but I’ll try to summarize the last days shortly for you. For the rest it was mostly relaxing, swimming and snorkeling time and exploring nearby beaches on our scooter (which we rented the other half of the week). 1000 steps was the most beautiful one along side the coast, as the name indicates: long stairs take you to the beach. Here we snorkeled and we spotted our first seaturtles!! It was so magical! We could swim alongside them and I brought my new underwatercamera so we could take pictures too!
Then, the final day trip I’d like to share is going to ‘Klein Bonaire’, a small island just before the coast of Bonaire. There is a watertaxi going there for a cheap price three times a day. We went there early in the morning and stayed for a couple of hours: It was pure paradise!! The real deal: a long white bounty beach, with turqoise sea and almost no people there! I couldn’t believe my eyes and couldn’t stop staring, it was so so beautiful! It was great for snorkeling there too and we spotted another seaturtle! Just thinking about it makes me really happy again, I really want to go back some day :)
Now, enough talking done ;) Time for some more pictures! Enjoy and once again: Visit Bonaire to see its beauty for yourself!