For nature lovers, a visit to Bonaire is a must. This island is such a marvel that is beautiful both on land and in water. It is rich with natural animal resource like; rare birds, donkeys, goats, iguanas and not to mention the rich flora which is a real feast to the eyes. The nature here is well preserved, life is quiet, there are no big buildings, lots of old government structures, and filled with pristine beaches. The ocean is a magical place where anyone can swim with the big turtles, barracudas, stingrays, dolphins and nursery sharks. Bonaire held by this park rangers (entrance fee), is a marvel. The underwater flora and fauna are amazing – certainly also due to the rules and care that is strictly enforced by the marine life authorities.
Explore Bonaire and don’t forget to check out these top ten not to be missed places.
Bonaire Marine Park
Bonaire Marine Park
is one of the best places to dive because it is loaded with beautiful corals, and thousands of fishes in all kinds. To swim out from the southern part of the beach is the easier entry while the northern beach side has the more difficult access. However, the barrier reef is still easy to locate because of its excellent visibility and exposure underwater and the number of divers going forward to its direction.
This place is a paradise for divers. Besides the beautiful ride along the trail, the landscapes, the color of the sea, the dives are very special, unforgettable and peaceful. The direct contact experience with its marine wildlife underwater is always a good show that only certified divers can truly delight seeing. If you visit this marine park you will also enjoy dozens of flamingos that gather here and wander along the coastal shore. Do not forget the sunscreen, water, snacks and Nitrox cylinders (for divers).
The island and its infrastructure are truly designed for deep sea exploration on its excellent dive spots while the sea is calm. It is just a little bad to walk on since the beach is usually composed of stone, but still its marine life is abundant and worth the dive. It is worth exploring thin longest circuit and stop at each point to photograph and create wonderful memories.
You should absolutely not miss out a day at the
. These are the most beautiful beaches of the island. Do not forget to bring flippers and snorkeling masks because the Barrier Reef is situated a few meters from the shore and it is superb. It is a white sandy beach with turquoise waters that is ideal to hang out, have BB-Q parties, or picnic for a day. Even the snorkeling activity here is a special experience. It is common to see a school of cuttlefish swimming along the shore and visible by the naked eye. It is easy to drift with the current and enjoy the great reef.
If you want to be all alone, you go a few meters from the jetty to the left and have the beach all to yourself. There is no mass tourism if you spend the weekdays here. You can snorkel up to the eastern end of this beach and still swim further offshore. It has no toilet and there is little shade. It is therefore essential to bring an umbrella or apply enough sunscreen. It is pure nature if you are going away a little from the landing point of the water taxis alone. At the port, there are regular trips provided by a tour company who has a small boat to bring guests to the island and comes back to the agreed time to fetch its guests again.
Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
The reserve or
is natural habitat where the donkeys are treated well, protected, and live in abundance on the island of Bonaire. There are hundreds of donkeys and the site is educational. It’s the best location to feed, interact, and pet these docile animals. The moment you enter, there is an organized Welcome Committee Burros to greet you. There is a great chance for you to get happy and eager to embrace the first colt that you see.
You also have the chance to meet its owner and see how he and his staff are too much involved in keeping the place a shelter for these tame and innocent lives from the inhumanity of some people or owners who have grown insensitive to their needs.
It is a nice experience to see how they live in the shelter and cared for properly. It is still a retreat for one of the animal symbol of the island. More than 500 of them live here in comfort. This huge big safari park-like terrain gives the visitor the opportunity to see these donkeys up close. There is a small gift shop with nice souvenirs (donkey theme). The tour of the site is necessary and made very funny by the donkeys that naturally come to you when you stop walking.
The ladies who take care of them have also earned their place in heaven with so noble and beautiful work. By paying your entrance fee and possibly other expenses inside the sanctuary you will contribute to the preservation and other needs of the donkeys. For that reason alone a visit here is indeed worthwhile.
The best way to enjoy the entire
is to arrange for an organized package tour on its port.
Everything is organized by the tour provider. Whether it’s picking up / returning to / from the hotel, iced drinks, kayak, snorkel, and lunch. This includes a briefing on the paddles and the peculiarities of the ecosystem of the mangrove. They explain everything very well.
You will get to know very much about the living conditions and understand the tame animals (e.g. .turtles) that are either not detected so easily around here. The water of the Lac Bay is very quiet and even beginners can go kayaking here in peace. In some places you have to duck in the mangroves and swing like Tarzan from branch to branch. So even the most experienced kayakers are required. In the tour, there is also a piece that you can explore the reef and snorkel. See more colorful fish in many colors and shapes, as well as the algae and sponges that make the corals more colorful when highlighted by the rays of sun under the water. This magical effect is best captured by an underwater camera.
There are shots provided by the assigned tour guide and sold after the tour for a fair price. Lac Bay is a wonderful and quiet beach with white sand and azure water ideal for a cruise and a good dip. There are locals who sell beer and a live band that plays every Saturday. Be sure to enjoy the rest of the island and its wonderful treats offered by every bar and dining places facing the beach front.
Hilma Hooker Shipwreck Site
Hilma Hooker Shipwreck Site
is a nice and easy wreck dive in the island of Bonaire. This wreck is not hard to miss as it is indicated by single yellow buoys. The deepest point is at about 28 meters. Select the first wreck dive and preferably under a clear sky, you get the best pictures taken of the sunken shipwreck. Expect some tarpon, barracuda, stingrays, and a reasonable vegetation of the wreck (rust and algae formations). It is one of the best diving sites in Bonaire and a fun and easy break from the normal shore dives. The best time to fully enjoy all of it is to go early in the morning when there are less crowds and boats are aplenty.
You just swim along with the many licensed divers and guides and then suddenly you see the big wreck looming. The many bubbles (communication signals) of the divers complete the party. Take your time and go to the yellow water between stones with signs that say entry / exit. It is less troublesome because of the stones and rocks. You can even see the toilet bowl still in the wreck. Even if it has been there for a long time the site there are lots of things that are still recognizable inside the ill fated ship. It is a nice underwater tour, but this is only recommended if you are very experienced and preferably with someone who knows the way. It is advisable for amateur divers to go swimming on the surface in order to obtain a ride or boat dives.
The Bachelor’s Beach
is accessible by taking the staircase. It is the easy entry to a beautiful sandy shore dive and well equipped beach where the locals come to eat and where the sun is splendid. You can easily switch from the short beach into the sea because there are no rocky cliffs to walk on like the other beaches here. For the disabled and small children this beach is ideal. The location is beautiful, super affordable, and the shaded tables are enough to accommodate more than a hundred visitors.
It has more coral than fish and great for snorkeling. Entry to the sea is not a difficult task to do because it has a ladder and no stones but just a long narrow strip of beach. Just walking around the shore assures you will see millions of small fish, and when you enter the depths, an underwater scene filled with multiple schools of reef. Its natural pool is amazing with its transparent and crystal clear waters. This beach is a good way to enjoy the cold warm blue shores of the Caribbean ocean part. Moist of all, it is an ideal place to enjoy a day in a relaxing and less touristy place.
Boca Slagbaai Beach
ent a car and go to the Washington-Slagbaai National Park to see small and wild
beaches and marvel at the coast of crashing waves and the original vegetation of the island. It’s beautiful and well organized. You need to arrive early to know everything, like 9:00 am because the park rangers drive away visitors from the middle of the afternoon. At the national park each part of it must be extensively visited because it is so worth it. You can see Flamingos and other birds that are even quite large, wild donkeys, lizards of all sizes and colors, interesting landscape, etc. But you should only pick-up in there as the roads are partly already quite sophisticated to drive but with a little peace and a sense of adventure you can create your own route. The entrance to the park and the beach are both free.
is a unique snorkeling spot in Bonaire. You can snorkel several times and see something different every day. When you step into the water, be ready to see hundreds of fish swimming between your legs and feet. The name Bari (Italian for vase) refers to the vase corals that you can find there, it is very nice. This place is very near the Laman Condominium which is the landmark for this reef. The coral reef lies 10 meters from the pier and there is much to see when you go to the northern part of it. At this point , there are more corals and young fish.
It is also rich with morays, turtles, tarpon, and countless tropical fish. At about 27 meters from this reef you can sight an interesting little wreck that is also worth looking. Keep an eye on the turtles near the surface, they are huge and suddenly appears from behind. The marine diversity boils down to a deck that exists on the site. Night diving is also offered by the resident professional divers here.
La Machaca Reef
The La Machaca Reef offers everything you need as a beginner and as an advanced diver. Access from the dive center can be done at the Don’s Habitat on a boardwalk bridge falls of coral sand bottom after about ten meters from six meters. Here the reef begins and placed in a southerly direction. The diving expedition can lead to a small wreck, which serves as the house for fish eggs.
To the north, another wreck lies at about 40m depth. Watch out! The most perfect condition comes to visibility and should not compromise the care with great depths in the background here. Even after the 50 meter depth of this place, there is always something new to find out.
It is a lake full of beautiful pink flamingos that abound in this part of the island. It is a nice pink beach in Bonaire that is located just south of Kralendijk. The color is due to the corals that have become sand due to the movements of the sea.
The flamingos are also pink colored which are the permanent residents of this area. The Lake Gotomeer is intended to preserve the Flemish or flamingo bird in the waters of the island. It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the friendly atmosphere and observe the exotic bird.