The 110 sq. mi. island of Bonaire is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, about 50 miles north of Venezuela. Geographically, Bonaire is one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles and is thus outside the so-called hurricane belt. It is the second largest of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) on the north coast of South America. Politically, Bonaire is a special municipality of the Netherlands. The island's capital and economic center is Kralendijk, while the oldest settlement is Rincon. It is located in the mountainous part of the island near the Washington Slagbaai National Park.
The constant northeasterly trade winds along with the tropical maritime climate and temperatures of 82-88°F during the day and 73-77°F at night make Bonaire a perfect year-round destination. The water is about 82°F year-round.
Flights to Flamingo Airport Bonaire depart several times a week from Amsterdam on KLM and TUIfly, while Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Sunwing connect Bonaire to the U.S. and Canadian mainland. Short flights between the Caribbean islands or to mainland South America are offered several times a day by Divi Divi Air, EZ Air, Aruba Airlines and Winair. Citizens of the European Union and the United States do not require a visa for stays lasting up to 90 days; only a valid passport is required.
Since 1 January 2011, the U.S. dollar is the official currency. Shops, restaurants, hotels and car rental companies usually accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro). There are atms on Bonaire that dispense U.S. dollars with a credit or debit card.
The official language is Dutch, although English is spoken almost everywhere, and sometimes German. The supermarkets offer a blend of European and U.S. products. There are numerous bars and restaurants serving good to excellent international and local cuisine. The tap water on Bonaire is recovered from the sea and is potable.
Lush green rainforests and palm forests, however, won't be found on Bonaire. The island lost its original vegetation when it was deforested during the Spanish colonial period. Today, in addition to the typical Dividivi tree, tall cactus forests that are home to iguanas, donkeys and parrots are located across the island. Also impressive is the endless, almost deserted ease coast of the island, blown by the wind and the sea. Protected beaches are on the west side of the island.
- Dutch overseas territory
- Languages: Dutch, English, Papiamento
- 380 sq. mi.
- discovered by Spain in 1499
- a Dutch possession since 1636
- since 2010 a "special municipality" of the Netherlands
- 1969, Washington Slagbaai National Park (WSNP)
- 1979, Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP)
- nicknames "Flamingo Island" und "Diver’s Paradise"
- windward island (no hurricane season)
- highest point Brandaris 790 feet
- Currency: U.S. Dollar
- 17,000 inhabitants
- Capital Kralendijk