History

Bonaire's history From the first inhabitants, the Caiquetios (a branch of the
Arawak Indians) who sailed from the coast of Venezuela almost 1000 years ago, to the many cultures now living and working in Bonaire today, the island has a distinct character that is all its own.
The first Europeans came to Bonaire in 1499, when Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci arrived and claimed it for Spain. Finding little of commercial value and seeing no future for large-scale agriculture, the Spanish decided not to develop the island. Instead, they unceremoniously enslaved the Indians and moved them off to work in the plantations on the Island of Hispanolia, effectively leaving the island unpopulated.
The name Bonaire is thought to have originally come from the Caiquetio word 'Bonay', a name that meant low country. The early Spanish and Dutch modified its spelling to Bojnaj and also Bonaire. The French influence while present at various times never was strong enough to make the assumption that the name means 'good air'. Regardless of how the name came about, the island remained as a lonely outpost until 1526.
It was in that year, 1526, that cattle were brought to the island by then
governor Juan de Ampues. Some of the Caiquetios were returned to act as
laborers and in a few years, the island became a center for raising other
animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, horses and donkeys. Since they were being raised more for their skins and not their meat, they required little tending and were allowed to roam and fend for themselves.
The result was large herds of animals that far outnumbered the population.
Today, there are a number of wild donkeys that still inhabit the Kunuku
(outback) and many goats can also be seen foraging in less populated areas of the island.
Bonaire's early years were not ones of prosperity. Her inhabitants were mostly convicts from other Spanish Colonies in South America. The only permanent settlement was the village of Rincon, located far inland where it was thought to be safe from marauding pirates. In those years, development was discouraged in favor of the richer, more productive colonies.


In 1633, the Dutch took possession of Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. The largest island, Curacao, emerged as a center of the notorious slave trade. Bonaire then became a plantation island belonging to the Dutch West Indies Company. It was during those early years that the first African slaves were forced to work, cutting dyewood and cultivating maize and harvesting solar salt. Grim reminders of those days still remain in the form of slave huts and salt pans which were laboriously constructed by hand. They are an important part of the island'sheritage and have been left to stand mute testimony to Bonaire's repressive beginning. Tropicana Apartments hebben een roadmap beschikbaar waar de slavenhutten staan aangegeven
Until 1816, ownership of Bonaire changed hands a number of times, finallybeing returned that year to the Dutch as a result of the Treaty of Paris. A small fort, Fort Oranje, was built to protect the island's main resource, salt. Salt was one commodity that Bonaire had in endless supply, although it took back breaking slave labor to produce it. In the early days of the industry, the most important use for salt was in the preservation of food, since refrigeration was still centuries away.
By 1837, Bonaire was a thriving center of salt production. The government, who by then controlled the industry, built four obelisks, each painted a different color, red, white, blue and orange (the colors of the Dutch Flag and the Royal House of Orange). They were erected strategically near areas of the salt lake. The idea was to signal ships where to pick up their cargoes of salt. A flag of the corresponding color was raised atop a flagpole, thus signalling the ship's captain where to drop anchor. Three of the obelisks can still be seen today. The abolition of slavery in 1863 signaled an end to the era of exploitation of those first Bonaireans. It was almost a hundred years later that the salt industry was revitalized. Today it is a division of Cargill, Incorporated, one of the largest businesses in the world. It also was during this time that the island began to attract visitors.
Tourism was born when the island government constructed the first ship's pier in the harbor. It allowed cruise ships to tie up alongside the wharf and discharge passengers. It also made it easier to bring in goods and supplies for the island's residents. Hotels began to spring up and cater to the early visitors who enjoyed the tranquility of Bonaire. In 1943, the construction of a modernairport south of Kralendijk made it even easier for tourists to reach the island.
The history continues to be written. The people of Bonaire are part of the past and are proud of what they have accomplished on an island that was abandoned hundreds of years ago and deemed useless by the Spanish. As for the future, Bonaireans welcome progress but have made a conscious decision to take time out and step back and to look at how it will impact their island and their lives. They have learned to balance their growth with the environment.

Culture

The Bonairean culture is reflected in the faces of her people. Its origins are as varied as are the ethnic roots of the 15,000 plus residents. The real Bonairean culture is based on traditions that go back many generations and are chronicled in the songs and dances that are performed during holidays and festivals. It is also based on strong family ties and a general respect for nature and an understanding of an environment that originally was foreign to those first settlers and slaves that were forced to work the inhospitable, arid land. Those early days of slavery conditioned the people to be strong in the face of diversity. And, it was during this time that the spirit of the people began to develop and they made up songs, invented dances and began to sing in the old African Tradition. These songs and dances evolved into festivals and have survived to become an important part of life and culture on Bonaire. The dances of the Simidan and the Bari are the best known. The traditional Waltz, Mazurka and the Polka and the local "Baile di Sinta" (ribbon dance) were performed as well as the Rumba, the Carioca and Merengue which came from other islands. American Jazz also influenced the local traditions of song and dance. Along with an eclectic assortment of homemade musical instruments, those early performers set the stage for a rich, local tradition which continues on to this very day.
There are quite a few festivals that occur through out the year. The calender of events will alert visitors to those that are taking place during their particular vacation period. The period from January 1-6 is Maskarada, while the Spring Harvest Festival occurs from the end of February until the end of April, and the summer months celebrate Dia di San Juan and Dia di San Pedro. Bari runs from the end of October to the end of December.
Many of the festivals are regional. It may be strange that an island this small has regional differences, but the fact is that there are some subtle and not so subtle differences from neighborhood to neighborhood. The Village of Rincon is perhaps more apt to celebrate all the holidays in grand style, while the village of North Salina devotes a lot of energy to Maskarada. The best example of strong cultural ties is during Dia Di Rincon (Rincon Day). Thousands of participants come from all the Antilles and Aruba to celebrate. The cultural tradition continues to be influenced to this day. Visitors may just as well enjoy a Mariacci band or a local group perform on the same venue. Some of the most beautiful music you will hear may be a Mozart or Vivaldi piece
played with an Antillean beat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature at its Best

Arguably, Bonaire's main attraction is its natural beauty, both above water and below.
Below the water, colors and movement abound, dazzling the eye, while the
mysterious crunching and clicking one hears offers a soothing balm to the soul. Divers and non-divers alike are amazed by the life below the waves. Corals, fish, crustaceans, nudibranchs, and even the occasional aquatic mammal are among those giving live to Bonaire's fringing reef and marine environment.Don't miss a quick look at Bonaire's Underwater Web Cam, additional web cams show the shoreline as well.
Above the water line, Bonaire's hauntingly beautiful and serene landscape,
carved by millennia of wind, water, and earth movements, stimulates the senses. Cactus of numerous species, divi trees, and a variety of other flora dot the land, with patches of fossilized coral, natural caves, and volcanic rock fill the spaces. Fauna of the avian kind fill the air, including the rare flamingo, while Bonaire's own iguanas and other lizards can be found in the vegetation. Op de muur die Tropicana appartementen omringt liggen vaak leguanen te zonnenbaden.
While not native to Bonaire, donkeys and goats can also be found in and about that same vegetation.
And, above the land, the sky is decorated with amorphous, soft wisps clouds but rarely does rain touch Bonaire's arid land. Sun touches it all day long while the constant wind cools the land. Bonaire's weather is a key contributor to its nature, and to the island's popularity with its residents and visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Marine Environment

The ocean around Bonaire, whether above the water's surface or below, is
Bonaire's biggest attraction, by far. Snorkelers, scuba divers, windsurfers,
and sailors spend hours plumbing its depths or skimming its surface. Bonaire's fringing reef system is a national park protected to a depth of 200 feet all around the island and around Klein Bonaire, the small uninhabited island located in the lee, to the west, of Bonaire. STINAPA and the Bonaire Marine Park strive to inform residents and visitors how best to preserve and protect the resources of our oceans. No anchoring is allowed on the reef and special dive moorings have been installed to allow easy access to the reef without further damaging this fragile system. Additional moorings for visiting yachts are available on a first-come basis
off Kralendijk's harbor area. Some current research studies being done on island are: Mangroves in Lac Bay, preservation of Conch, and Fish and Reef checks.
Strictly underwater, we have an array of fun little critters to make you smile
like our frogfish. Frogfish are up to 4 or 5 inches long and come in an
assortment of colors including bright yellow, red, green, white, black, and
even pink. These little guys usually rest on sponges, move around by hopping along on finned feet. Ask your dive master where to look for one, and remember: Don't touch the marine life!
Klein Bonaire's small beaches offer nesting to Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles, while Green and Leatherback turtles are occasionally sighted in our waters as well (but have not been seen nesting here). If you sight a turtle small or large, use the forms available at local dive shops to report it. If you do visit the beaches on Klein Bonaire please don't walk through the dunes or any areas which may be marked off, turtle nests can easily be damaged by the weight of a human walking across it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Scuba Diving

Just about everyone knows that "SCUBA" is an acronym for Self Contained Under Water Breathing Apparatus. The sport has become extremely popular in the last two decades, due in part to places like Bonaire, which has taken great pains to preserve the underwater world by establishing one of the first marine parks in the Caribbean. The other reason Bonaire has become such a popular destination is the wide variety of fish life and the ease of diving that the island offers.Tropicana Apartments heeft een package deals met verschillende duikorganisaties.

Dive Conditions

Bonaire's pristine reefs and diverse marine life are unique to the Caribbean.
Because the waters around Bonaire are designated as an official marine park, diving Bonaire is like diving the Caribbean the way it used to be - untouched and unspoiled. The island's location in the south Caribbean gives it an arid climate with little rain fall; consequently, the waters are exceptionally clear of silt, calm, and diveable year round. It is an ideal destination for underwater photographers. Water temperatures average a warm 78-84°F (25.6-28.9°C), with visibility averaging over 100 feet (30m), and frequently reaching up to 150 feet (50m).
The dozen or so Dive Operators are all members of CURO, the Council of
Underwater Resort Operators. As members, they participate in establishing
standards and uniform practices that, along with the Bonaire Marine Park Rules, have worked to preserve our reefs and the fragile ecosystem of the reef. Bonaire Dive Orientation
If you are planning a trip to Bonaire and have a dive/hotel package you will be given a thorough dive orientation and briefing before your first dive on the island. One of the Bonaire Marine Park Regulations is for all visitors to do a check-out dive as part of the briefing process before taking off on their own to shore dive or going on a dive boat. The main reasons for this are to have each diver check buoyancy so that damage to the reef is minimized or eliminated and also to check out their dive equipment, whether it be rented or owned. Also, every diver on Bonaire must purchase a marine Park Tag valid for one calendar year. Orientation procedures vary from dive center to dive center, so it's a good idea to check in early.
Recompression Chamber In case of a diving accident or emergency, Bonaire has one of the Caribbean's best staffed recompression chamber. The chamber is located adjacent to the San Francisco Hospital Emergency Room, and people in need of treatment must go to
the hospital to gain access to the chamber.
The Bonaire Marine Park The fringing reef which surrounds Bonaire is a National Marine Park from the high water mark down to a depth of 200 feet/ 60m . Every diver who has not dived on Bonaire within the last calendar year must attend a diver orientation dealing with Bonaire Marine Park regulations and information. These orientation sessions are usually held at around 9AM the morning after you arrive on Bonaire, and you are required to attend and to obtain your Marine Park tag, which is necessary to legally dive in Bonaire's waters. The cost of the tag is US$25, and proceeds help support park management and services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Snorkeling

Did you know that world-wide, snorkelers outnumber divers by a wide margin? The fact that less than 50% Bonaire's visitors are scuba divers is also a statistic that proves that you don't have to go under the water to enjoy our beautiful marine park.
If you can swim, you can put on a mask and start enjoying the wonderful sea creatures and the coral formations. You will be able to float effortlessly and observe the feeding and courtship rituals of the reefs many residents. There is nothing in Bonaire's water that is dangerous, but be sure not to touch anything as you may harm it and disturb the delicate natural balance of the reef. Snorkeling is great entertainment for all member of the family no matter what the age. Be sure to protect yourself against the sun by using a waterproof sun block, especially on your shoulders and the backs of your legs.

Night Snorkeling is another experience that should not be missed Everything
changes at night. All that is needed is a flashlight and some protection for
exposed arms and legs. Night snorkeling can be done in any snorkeling area you are familiar with (snorkel it during daytime first). Enjoy the wonders of the ever changing ocean at night while some fish are sleeping and other critters are just starting their day. Most dive shops have flashlights for rent for the night snorkeling.

Snorkeling Tips
If you can float, you can snorkel. In the calm Caribbean Sea you will find it
easy to float due to the fact that salt water is more dense than fresh, so you will be able to "ride" higher on the surface than in lakes or swimming pools at home. If you have any doubt at all about your ability or comfort level while swimming, just find a beach with a sandy bottom, walk in to waist deep water and lay down on your back. 99.9% of the people will float comfortably. Of course, you are not going to snorkel on your back, so stand up, put on a mask, and insert the mouthpiece, put your face in the water and breathe. (Those that don't float naturally can avail themselves of a flotation device, such as a snorkeling vest.)
It's a bit difficult sometimes for first timers to get used to the different
breathing pattern, but with a bit of practice, you should be able to master the skill. The next thing to do, if you are still timid, is lie down on your
stomach and try breathing with your face in the water. Try to swim a few
strokes. If you were not using fins as yet, now would be a good time to try
them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Windsurfing

Windsurfers could not ask for a better spot than Lac Bay on the East Coast of Bonaire. What has made the area so popular is the 90% chance of favorable winds and the 100% assurance of a sheltered, shallow bay to challenge the experts to sail and entice the novice into learning this fast paced sport. While not all windsurfing activity takes place at Lac, that is where the surf shops are located and the most people tend to congregate.
Lac bay, protected by the Bonaire Marine Park rules and regulations, has the most beautiful turquoise water and balmy breezes. It is approximately 8 square kilometers and free from boat traffic. There is plenty of room to let loose and enjoy the feel of the board slicing through the calm waters at Lac.
Beginners can start to learn the sport in knee deep water allowing for easy
recovery from falls while the bay's protective barrier reef lets them gain
confidence on the calmest of waters. More experienced sailors can venture out into the more challenging blue-green swells where there is still some
protection from large waves. It is here that the wind kicks up a few clicks and the thrills of the sport are realized. The even more experienced and
adventurous can sail Lac Bay's outer edges where the mast high swells and
strong winds guarantee sailing conditions that are world class.
Lac Bay is one of the most beautiful spots on Bonaire and for that matter, in the Caribbean. Since it has come under the protection of the Bonaire Marine Park, it has been designated as a recreation area for Bonaireans and visitors to enjoy. There will be no building of additional hotels and Lac Bay Resort and Sorobon Beach Resort will remain the area's only developments.
The two windsurf shops, Jibe City, managed by Ernst van Vliet and The Place, managed by Elvis Martinus are located right on the edge of the bay itself. They rent top quality equipment and offer all levels of instruction. Some of the resorts also offer windsurfing to guests.
There are two distinct windsurfing seasons on Bonaire. The higher winds prevail generally from the middle of December through August. September until December 15th is light wind season, however it is during this period that the island celebrates Regatta Week every October during which there are sailboat and windsurfing races. Bonaire also hosts professional surf-sailing contests during the windy season. Tropicana Apartments offers you a package deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Kitesurfing

Welcome to kiteboarders paradise in the Caribbean: Bonaire. The yearround steady tradewinds, warm water and easygoing atmosphere make our island the perfect destination for kiteboarders of all levels. On this site you will find everything you need to know about kiteboarding on Bonaire and how to get the max out of your stay here. Hang loose and enjoy the ride!

www.kiteboardingbonaire.com

 

 

 

     
 

Kayaking

One of the fastest growing sports is kayaking. Bonaire, being blessed with lotsof calm waters and mild winds, has been quick to offer the sport to visitors. There are two kinds of kayaks that are available here on the island. The sit on and the sit in. The difference is that the sit on is really for taking pleasure trips and requires little more that a basic lesson, while the sit in model is for the pro. Eskimo rolls and open ocean adventure are the goal of the more advanced kayaker and there are certification courses available to prepare students who wish to learn the sport.
For the more leisurely inclined, there are nature tours in the mangroves aboard kayaks and trips to Klein Bonaire for the more industrious paddlers.

 
     
 

Cycling and Biking

Mountain biking and cycling have become a popular way to explore Bonaire, and 21-speed TREK or 21-speed Giant bikes, specially outfitted for off road exploring, are available for rental. Many of the local bike rental companies also conduct tours through the Kunuku (outback) following the hundreds of miles of paths (using orange painted stone markers) and also through Washington/Slagbaai National Park.
Many of the trips follow along the coastline and make stops allowing time for picnicking and a swim or snorkel. Some of the trails pass through the village of Rincon, the oldest settlement on Bonaire. You also will have a chance to pass by Gotomeer; the landlocked salt lake, where you are bound to run into a few of Bonaire's famous pink flamingoes.

 
     
  Travel tips

AIR FIELD Flamingo Airport has a runway of almost 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in length, long enough to accommodate 747 Jumbo Jets. The airport's designation is BON.

BANKS Bonaire has a number of banks, all of which have ATMs located conveniently around the island. Banking hours are Monday through Friday 8 or 8:30am until 3:30 or 4pm. Some are opened during the lunch hour.

CURRENCY The Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAF) is fixed at the exchange rate of 1.77 to the dollar for cash and 1.78 for traveler's cheques. Most stores and businesses exchange it at 1.75. You can spend dollars everywhere, but will likely receive your change in guilders. Traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted. Be sure to have your passport or positive ID when changing Traveler's cheques at banks.

CLIMATE The average air temperature is 82º Fahrenheit (30ºC) and 75% relative humidity. Average water temperature is 80ºF (29ºC). Rainfall averages 22" (52.8cm) per year. There is a constant trade wind that generally makes the evenings cool and comfortable. Average windspeed is 15 mph (25kph).

CUSTOMS Besides articles for personal use, visitors over 15 are allowed 400
cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco, 2 liters of distillated beverages, 2 liters of wine.

DEPARTURE TAX
International departure tax is US$35 per person, payable upon departure. This is usually not included in your airline ticket but some tour companies may include it. Domestic departure tax is Nafl 12,50.

DRESS CODE Casual (but no beach wear) downtown. Evening clothes are casual to casual nice. Topless sunbathing and nudity is prohibited on beaches except for Sorobon beach resort (a privately owned nudist resort). See our religion page for appropriate church attire.

DRINKING AGE, CASINO/GAMBLI NG AGE, AND DRUG LAWS
The legal drinking age on Bonaire is 18 for both beer and other alcohol.
The legal age for gambling in a casino is 21.
The Netherlands Antilles has its own drug laws which are not the same as
Holland. Our drug laws are not lenient.

DRINKING WATER The water is distilled from seawater and is perfectly safe to drink.

DRIVING LICENSE Foreign and international licenses are accepted.

Electricity 127 volt, 50 cycle. 220 volt is also available at some resorts. Most U.S. appliances will work, however a bit hotter. Dive shops and resorts have stations for guest use for charging camera batteries, etc. It is recommended that you use them to avoid damage to delicate equipment.

EMERGENCIES Bonaire has the 60-bed hospital, Hospitaal San Francisco (Kaya Soeur Bartola #2, Kralendijk), and a number of doctors. There is an ambulance plane on call for emergencies. A hyperbaric recompression chamber is located adjacent to the hospital and is run by a highly trained staff - admittance via the emergency room at the hospital. The emergency phone number for the ambulance is 114.

Entry Requirements US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport and a return or ongoing ticket. A Birth Certificate with a picture ID is also
acceptable.

FERRY SERVICES
Many people ask but unfortunately there is NO ferry services of any kind between Aruba, Curacao or Venezuela and Bonaire. Scheduled travel between these destinations are limited to air travel. It might be possible to charter a boat for your own personal tour.

INTERNET Wireless Internet access is available at your apartment. Bring your laptop. Alternatively Bonaire hosts several internetcafes like Michael's Chat&Browse and Harbourside Mall.

LANGUAGE: Papiamentu (local language), Dutch, English and Spanish.

LOCATION: 50 miles (80 Km) north of Venezuela and 86 miles (94 Km) east of Aruba, well outside of the hurricane belt. POPULATION +/- 15,000 people SIZE Bonaire is 24 miles long (38.6 km) and 3-5 miles (4.8 -8 km)wide, 112 sq. miles (180 sq. km) in area.
Klein Bonaire, an island off our west coast, is 1500 acres.

STORE HOURS Most stores are open Monday through Saturday from between 8 or 9 AM until 12 noon when they close for one to two hours, then remain open until 6 PM. Hours vary widely and some stay open during lunch hour. The larger supermarkets are open from 7:30 or 8 AM until 7 PM (may close during lunch) and some may be open on Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM.

TAXES. TIPPING, SERVICE CHARGES
There is a 5% tax on virtually all goods and services (NAOB tax). A room tax of US$ 5.50-$6.50 is also charged per person per day. A departure tax of US$35 is levied for international destinations via the airport, US$5.75 for other Antillean including Aruba. Car rental tax is US$3.50 per day.
Tipping is much the same as in the States. Some restaurants add a 10-15% service charge automatically, so if in doubt, ask.
Taxis - generally a 10% tip is greatly apppreciated. In dive shops, etc. 10% is also the norm.

TAXI
Taxis are available at the airport. From other locations you may call the taxi
stand at the airport at Tel. 8100

TELEPHONE
Direct dialing is possible from most resorts. AT&T, MCI, etc. can also be
accessed. The local telephone office, TELBO can also place calls to all
locations. For on island calls, dial just the last seven digits.
For cell phone users, you can rent a cellular phone for the length of your stay with CellularOne 717-8787. If you have a TDMA phone, CellularOne can also offer local service, contact them for details. Telbo, the local phone company also offers a similar service - 717-7000. GSM phones are not supported on Bonaire.

TELEVISION Hotels offer 22 cable channel viewing including premium movie
channels, ESPN. CNN, Disney, Spanish and German language channels as well as the local station TV 11. Bonaire uses the NTSC system

TIME ZONE Atlantic Standard Time. Same time as the United States East Coast during Daylight Savings Time (mid-Spring to mid-Fall). Bonaire does not change time for Daylight Savings, as is the custom in the US and Europe.

TOURISM SEASONS High Season Winter/Spring: Dec. 15 - Apr. 14
Low Season Summer/Fall: Apr. 15 - Dec. 14
Windy Season: May - Aug, moderate wind Jan-Apr
Rainy Season: Nov. - Jan.

VACCINATIONS
No vaccinations or preventative medications are recommended for travel to
Bonaire. Yellow fever and Malaria are not a problem here. The Center for
Disease Control in the the US offers updates and advisories for travellers.


Calender of events:

2010 August:
Bonaire Dive into Summer
28 Mr. Bonaire 2010

2010 September
Bonaire Dive into Summer
5 Local Fishing Tournament
6 Bonaire Flag Day (legal holiday)
6 2-4-5 km Estafette run Bonaire Day Run
18 Underwater Cleanup, meet at Dive Friends @ Dive inn at 1.00 PM
Sailing race "Dia di Bonaire" at Kas di Regatta

2010 October
2-4-5 km Web Run
3-9 43rd Bonaire International Sailing Regatta
Regatta 5 km runs ABN Amro Run
Bonaire Ecoswim
24 Bonaire Extreme Duio MTB Mountain Bike Race at 7.00 AM

2010 November
29 44 km walk FBW walk 2 day run

2010 December
1 Bari Festival Period
Road Race 54 km and 70 kam Rose Inn
4 Night of the Best 2010
5 Sinterklaar Birthday Celebration
25 Christmas Day (legal holdiay)
26 Boxing Day (legal holiday)
31 Firework shows in the streets of Bonaire

2011 January
1 New Year's Day (legal holiday)


Even for a small island, there is plenty to see. However it does require some
form of motorized transportation. If you do choose to rent a car, it will be
necessary to produce a valid driver's license, be at least 21 - 25 years of age depending on the rental agency and you may be restricted to the type of vehicle you can rent as well,) and pay a deposit or use a credit card for security.
Once you have secured a car, be sure to familiarize yourself with the traffic
signs (a copy will be given to you) and the rules of the road. We drive on the right, the same as in the States and most of Europe. Be aware that if you rent a bike or motor scooter, the same rules that apply to cars also apply to you. There is little public transportation, however, taxis are reasonable and will be happy to give tours at an hourly rate. The Tour Companies can also accommodate both large and small groups.

• Most cars are manual/standard transmission.
• The pickups and minivans tend to be the best option for shore divers.
• Your car insurance or Gold Credit Card may not cover your rental (CDW).
• Yes, we drive on the right side of the road. Most signs are in
Dutch/International symbols.
• Most rental policies prohibit you from entering Washington Slagbaai Park or
going off-road except for jeeps and pickups.
• Gas Stations: Phone Location
Lisa Gas and Car Wash 717-6006 Kaya Industria 10
Mentor 717-4330 Kaya Korona 107
Pauw / Gas Xpress 717-7171 Kaya Tribon 1
Rincon Station Rincon
• Government Tax: $4 per day, plus 5% on rental fee.
• Like anywhere, always lock up your vehicle and take care with your valuables.
However at dive sites, we recommend you leave your windows rolled down and the vehicle unlocked using the security device provided by the rental agency.
Never leave valuables in your car!
• Minimum age 21-26 (varies from companies and depends on type of car)
• International drivers license or any valid license held for at least two full
years.
• The deposit can be anywhere from $350 to $550.
No cash
deposit is needed when paying an accepted major credit card.
The same rules of the road apply to mopeds, scooters, and bicycles as well.

 

57things to do on Bonaire

1. Picnic & Snorkel on the deserted island of Klein Bonaire ("Little Bonaire"). Depending upon the water taxi ride, Klein Bonaire is located approximately 0.5 mile or 750m off Bonaire's western coast. Try Skiffy or the Bonairean built Kantika di Amor (which is also handicap accessible).
2. Windsurf at Lac Bay, situated on the windward side of the island. All
equipment is available for rent. Lessons for beginners and advanced wind
surfers also can be arranged.
3. Fishing is available from several boat charters to catch such fish as marlin, sailfish, wahoo, dorado or tuna. Most of this fishing is done within minutes from the shore of Bonaire.
4. Snorkel anywhere you can fall in the water on the West Coast and designated areas in the Washington/Slagbaai National Park. Guided snorkeling trips also available through most dive shops or sail charters.
5. Stroll through Kralendijk, the island's quaint capital. Shop for bargains and one of a kind souvenirs
6. Hike in Washington/Slagbaai National Park to check out the birds, lizards,
goats, iguanas and more. Don't miss the museum at the Park entrance.
7. Sunset Sailing is most enjoyable in the Bay of Kralendijk. All hotels or dive
shops have information on sailing times of the various charters who search for the Green Flash at sunset.
8. Horseback ride at Kunuku Warahama (tel. 560-7949) and other small ranches.
9. Flamingo Watch at the salt company or near Willemstoren lighthouse in the southern part of the island and also at Goto Meer. Bring binoculars as the Flamingo Sanctuary is not accessible to tourists and these pink, long legged creatures are very timid.
10. ENJOY a cold drink while sitting at one of our seaside bars, restaurants or cafes and watch the colorful fish swim by. Some establishments often features local bands at the weekends.
11. VISIT Lourdes Grotto for a quiet moment. This shrine is situated in the
village of Rincon.
12. CLIMB Brandaris in Washington/Slagbaai National Park. This hill is 784 feet or 241 meters high. The route is clearly marked both up and down.
13. FIND the best homemade ice cream in the Caribbean at Prisca's in Rincon. Just a few of the many flavors include mango, coconut, banana, rum raisin, sour
sap, chocolate and ponche crema. Also try some Colombo's at Harbourside Mall or Lover's Ice Cream at Sand Dollar Resort when in town.
14. TRY your luck and score a jackpot gambling at the only barefoot casino in the Caribbean located at the Divi Flamingo Beach Hotel. This casual atmosphere draws both the serious and not so serious gamblers.
15. HEAD out to Lac Bay Cai on Sunday afternoon for local food, music, dancing and conversation with the Bonaireans. The mountains of conch shells found at Cai stand witnesses to an industry no longer practiced on Bonaire.
16. Mountain Bike around Bonaire with or without a guide. Your hotel can arrange rentals and guided tours.
17. RENT a scooter or moped and explore the island going North and/or South to see flamingos, lighthouses, obelisks, land houses (landhuizen), slave huts, the tourist road, devils mouth, O'l blue and much more.
18. RELAX on beautiful Pink Beach. Early in the morning or at sunset sit on the beach and watch the Flamingos fly to/from their nesting areas.
19. ENJOY the breathtaking panoramic views from Seru
Largu overlooking the Southern part of the island. This is a scenic spot for photographers from
where, Klein Bonaire, Kralendijk, Lac Bay, the salt company and more can be
seen. Great spot for stargazing.
20. DRIVE through the 13,500 acre or 5,463 hectors of Washington/Slagbaai
National Park. Take the "green" short route or the more scenic "yellow" longer route. Bring along refreshments.
21. DANCE the night away at Karel's Beach Bar or City Cafe, located in the
center of Kralendijk.
22. JOIN the parades at Carnival time in February. Dress up in crazy costumes; enjoy the fun in Rincon then return to Kralendijk to continue the festivities.
23. FIND a comfortable seat on a dune by the salt flats and watch the salt being loaded by conveyer belt onto a freighter. The salt is loaded at a rate of 2,000 tons per hour. Fallen salt crystals can be found and kept as a souvenir.
24. EXPERIENCE Bonaire's Sailing Regatta held in October. It is truly a
spectator's sport with the action clearly visible from shore. The week long
festivities include nightly entertainment in the streets of Kralendijk.
25. CHECK out the Indian inscriptions at Onima. They are over 500 years old. Bring along some old bread to feed some of Bonaire's 16 different species of lizards, the blue tail is particularly beautiful.
26. MARVEL at the oasis of lush vegetation at Dos Pos. The name means two wells and is located on the road from Goto Lake to Rincon. Note the fruit plantation and how many fruit trees can be identified.
27. SEE Bonaire's outdoor market situated by the old pier in Kralendijk. This
quaint Roman style building is where fruits and vegetables are sold by
Venezuelans brought from their boats. Notice the historic government building around Wilhelmina Park, the Customs House and the Old Fort close to this market.
28. Bird Watch and head for Pos di Mangel in Washington/Slagbaai National Park.How many of the island's 190 species of birds can be identified?
29. FIND out about Bonaire's varied nature and culture by talking to George
"Cultura" (culture) Thode, the resident expert. George can usually be found at the entrance of Washington/Slagbaai National Park where he oversees the Park Rangers and makes sure all visitors are aware of the Park's rules and regulations. Ask him about the flora and fauna, especially the innumerable aloe and cacti.
30. EXPLORE the caves at Barcadera located north of Kralendijk across the street from the Bonaire Caribbean Club. These caves are some of the oldest on Bonaire.
31. VISIT THE DONKEY SANCTUARY where you can enjoy the beauty of this ecological park and observe the donkeys in their natural environment.
32. Gain some knowledge of Papiamentu, the native language of the Netherlands Antilles. Try saying a few words in one of the local shops or restaurants and listen to how many languages are spoken on Bonaire.
33. Shop in Kralendijk for souvenirs to take home.
34. Take a walk on the wild side! Visit a restored Kunuku (farm), Rooi Lamoenchi and take a walking tour of the flora and fauna of Bonaire. Ellen Herera will lead you through an historic and informative journey into our islands past. Or WALK the island's eastern shores for a refreshing saltwater shower. The rough surf pounds the shore shooting spray twenty to thirty feet in the air. Notice the artwork by Bonaire's mysterious natural artists.
35. STROLL along Playa Pabou's water front towards town early in the morning to watch the local fishermen heading out in their small hand made fishing boats to fish for the "catch of the day".
36. LOOKING for a "Kodak moment"? Drive to Goto Meer, Bonaire's land locked saltwater lake, where this beautiful viewing spot looks over the lake towards the National Park. This is also a good place to take pictures of the flamingos as they often feed or sleep close to the road.
37. Cruise around Klein Bonaire and the coast of Bonaire with one of the sailingcharters.
38. ADMIRE the rock formations around the island. Find out what the rock
formations resemble. Where is the Iguana Head or Devils Mouth? Find the Indian Head or the Piedra di Boneiru. At Boca Onima see the five "steps" of Bonaire and observe the wild donkey population.
39. ART GALLERIES are found in many locations. The galleries feature work of local and Caribbean artists.
40. GO to Captain Don's Habitat to see the slide show given by the legendary Captain Don himself. He has some amazing stories about Bonaire's scuba diving history and his 30 years of living on Bonaire. All resorts have weekly slide presentations check the weekly schedule "Update".
41. TENNIS anyone? There are tennis courts at the Plaza Resort Hotel, Harbour Village, and Sand Dollar and in the center of Kralendijk behind the Maduro & Curiels Bank.
42. CHECK out the shell collection at "Museo Boneriano" Bonaire's Museum. Other items to see here are antique artifacts, old photographs, archeology, island Mythology and much more.
43. COUNT the steps at 1000 Steps located on the tourist road going north. Are there 1000 steps? This is an excellent place for snorkeling, exploring and
picnicking. Imagine carrying dive gear plus a tank back up these steps!
44. PULL off the road at Para Mira, which coincidentally means "stop and look" and enjoy the view over Rincon, Bonaire's Spanish missionary village.
45. LEISURELY walk around Rincon, the oldest village on Bonaire, with the
highest goat population! The people are very friendly and some of the homes are very old. Stop at Rose Inn for a refreshing cold drink and see many birds feeding in the garden.
46. MOTOR or cycle to Lagoen for interesting beach combing. The ambitious can walk or drive to Spelonk Lighthouse, which is a delightful old building.
47. SEAKAYAK through the mangroves. Kayaks can be rented from the windsurfing places at Lac Bay and at a number of dive centers. Or snorkel in the mangroves for a truly unique experience.
48. FIND Playa Frans by going past the oil storage terminal at Goto Lake. On the return journey stop at popular Nucove beach for a picnic, snorkel or swim.
49. See what movies are playing at MovieLand Cinema Bonaire. (Kaya Prinses Marie, Tel: 717-2400) or try your hand at the video arcade at Gameland Cafe. Or maybe go bowling at Danilo tel: 785-7878.
50. STAR GAZE Wait until dark and turn your eyes towards the heavens for one of nature's most popular shows.
51. Get adventurous and parasail, waterski, wakeboard, or bananaride. Thrill
seekers and families alike can enjoy these topside water sports from your hotel or downtown at Karel's Beach Bar. Kiteboarders with their own equipment can try Kite Surfing off the shores of Witte Pan, Pink Beach or even Klein Bonaire.
Kitesurfing is prohibited in Lac Bay at this time.
52. Appear live on one of Bonaire's web cams. The underwater ReefCam near the Small Wall dive site and the StreetCam (on land) in Hato north of the resorts. (4 web cams total)
53. Take a Walking Tour of Downtown (pick up a map at the Tourism Information Office) and see some of Bonaire's history.
54. When in Rincon, be sure to stop at Fontein and bathe in the fresh water
pools. Also visit Mangazina de Rei Museum and Botanical Garden or take a walking tour with Soldatji Tours.
55. Test your fish IQ. How many can you identify? Pick up a check off list at your favorite dive center.
56. Learn how to freedive. Take snorkeling to a new depth - learn how to control your breathing with yoga respiration techniques with Big Blue Freedive Bonaire. 57. Picture Bonaire with you in island dress. Get your picture taken in front of a kunuku without getting your feet dirty. Located right in downtown
Kralendijk.
Or call Tropicana Apartments 701-0404 for more info.