Bonaire Travel Guide

From Bonaire’s pristine waters to their tallest peak, Brandaris, you will feel the magic of Bonaire wash over you. From the moment you arrive and throughout your visit, you will enjoy Bonaire’s unhurried pace. On Bonaire, there is a peaceful ambiance for daily life, without the hassle of traffic lights, hustle and bustle, or normal, day-to-day worries. Nowhere else is vacationing as easy as on Bonaire, as our warm, friendly people welcome visitors from around the world.  Bonaire has a reputation for being one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, however visitors should take normal precautions and keep personal properties secure.  Hotels have safes to store passports, tickets and other valuables.

A small island with a desert landscape, Bonaire is not for everyone, but it is definitely for divers and snorkelers. The beauty of Bonaire is that the coral reef, designated a national park, is just a few feet from the shoreline. Dozens of exceptional dive sites are easily accessible from the shore and teeming with life, making this island an independent diver’s (and snorkeler’s) paradise.

One of the most notable features that greet arriving visitors is the line of white salt pyramids at the southeastern end of the island. Each pyramid stands about 50 fee high, of 99.6% pure salt.  The solar salt facility, one of the largest in the Caribbean, is today owned by Cargill, a Minnesota based private company. The facility covers approximately 13 percent of the island.

In Bonaire you will find world-class windsurfing on Lac Bay and excellent kayaking among the mangroves. There are plenty of biking trails thru the hills, and driving routes to show off the island’s historical and natural sights. Classy but low-key resorts and restaurants complete the picture – perfect for travelers who prefer their adventure with some amenities.  To learn more about all the beautiful beaches on Bonaire, visit here.  Now view our Bonaire travel  guide to help plan your next Bonaire vacation!

Bonaire Weather – When to Visit

Bonaire is blessed with one of the gentlest climates in the Caribbean, with very little rainfall (less than 22 inches annually) and a prevailing easterly trade wind that provides a consistent 15 mph breeze.

The best time to visit Bonaire is from May to October when there are fewer crowds and bargain hotel rates. If you’re planning a winter getaway, keep in mind that December through April is Bonaire’s peak season, so there will be packed hotels and higher prices. Bonaire’s temperate climate and unique location, just north of the equator and safely outside the hurricane belt, poses little threat of tropical storms, no matter the season.  During January and February is the Karnaval which is Bonaire’s biggest celebration.  It includes music and costumes, parades and parties.

Bonaire Attractions

Bonaire National Marine Park

The Bonaire National Marine Park is the island’s star attraction, a unique and precious resource that attracts divers and snorkelers to explore miles of pristine coral reef. The protected area covers the entire coast of the island, including Klein Bonaire, to a depth of 200ft. Between the two islands, there are about 90 named dive sites, many of which are accessible from the shore. Look for the painted yellow rocks.  Conservation is taken seriously. Divers new to Bonaire must do an orientation and check-out dive at a local dive shop, to get comfortable with weights, conditions and park rules.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-donkey-sanctuary-bonaire-300x225.jpgDonkey Sanctuary Bonaire

Do you feel like you are surrounded by donkeys?  You will in Bonaire, because the animals live free and wild on the island. The vast Donkey Sanctuary offers safe haven for these gentle creatures. Visitors can meet the newborns and survivors in the special-care unit, observe the droves from the watchtower, and drive the circuit to meet all the resident jack and jennies. Bring some carrots and you’ll make some friends, for sure!

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Klein Bonaire

About 1km off the coast of Kralendijk, this little deserted island is where you’ll find the region’s most attractive beach, No Name Beach. There are no facilities, aside from the marked dive sites. But this is a popular spot for cruisers and other beach bums who come over to snorkel the turquoise waters and lounge on the white sands.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is echo-parrot-sanctuary-300x291.jpgEcho Parrot Sanctuary

Bonaire’s most beloved bird is the Yellow-throated Amazon Parrot, but the lora is endangered with threat of extinction and there’s less than a thousand birds living on Bonaire. Learn about Echo’s efforts to preserve the parrot’s habitat, rehabilitate injured birds and save the lora.

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1000 Steps Beach

Located just north of Kralendijk on the island’s west coast, 1,000 Steps Beach boasts pristine azure waters and an impressive, multihued display of coral, sponges, and fish. Though it’s a popular diving spot for locals and tourists, 1,000 Steps doesn’t cater to the landlubber set. The beach is rough with a narrow strip of sand, and cacti shrubs dot the shoreline—not ideal conditions for sunbathing. But even if you don’t plan on exploring the sea life, the view from the top of the limestone steps is worth the trip. Note: There are no diving schools located on 1,000 Steps, so you must bring your own scuba gear. And as long as you’re carrying a nature permit, you do not have to pay to dive here.

Bonaire Tours & Activities

SoloBon Private Sail & Snorkel Safari

Charter your own private yacht to sail across the turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean for a half-day snorkeling adventure. Set an itinerary with your captain depending on your interests and the weather conditions for the day. Then spend your time swimming, snorkeling, and soaking up the warm Caribbean sun and enjoy tasty snacks and an open bar on board the yacht.  Read more about SoloBon Private Sail & Snorkel Safari

North & South Tour on Bonaire

The journey begins at Kralendijk, the island’s capital, before heading towards the South side of the island where we will be stopping at the Salt Company and the Slaves huts. Our journey continues to the north side where you will see some of Bonaire’s most well-known landmarks. Your first stop is 1,000 Steps, an island beach reached by a long, steep staircase. The bleached coral and white sand beach is surrounded by limestone cliffs and is a famous diving spot, thanks to the frequent presence of sea turtles in the clear, shallow water. Continue to Goto Lake, a saltwater lagoon and popular hangout for the island’s flaming-pink flamingos. Stop to watch and photograph the flamingos in one of their very few nesting areas. You’ll also have views of the Washington Slagbaai National Park. In Rincon Village, learn about the settlement’s history as the island’s oldest village. Then, head for the Cadushy Distillery to see how cactus liqueur is made and sample some for yourself.   Read more about North and South Tour on Bonaire

Bonaire Island Tour

Explore the highlights and landmarks of Bonaire with this 3.5-hour tour. With your local guide, tour Kralendijk, the capital of Bonaire, visiting historical buildings such as the Government House and the Old Fort. Drive along the island’s rugged northern coastline, including Rincon, 1000 Steps and Goto Lake, home to an impressive population of flamingos. Learn about the island’s history and culture from through your guide’s engaging narration along the way. Round-trip transportation via air-conditioned coach from Bonaire hotels is included.  Read more about Bonaire Island Tour

National Marine Park Snorkel Sail Tour

The vibrant corals and exotic marine life of the Bonaire National Marine Park make it one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. On this shore excursion, make the most of your time in port and set sail aboard a small boat, stopping to swim and snorkel amid schools of tropical fish and dramatic coral reefs.  Read more about National Marine Park Sail and Snorkel

Washington Slagbaai National Park Tour in Bonaire

Spend your day in Bonaire exploring Washington Slagbaai National Park on a guided tour. You’ll go off the beaten track in a 4×4 to deserted beaches and blowholes located within the national park, a former plantation turned into an ecological reserve. You’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife, go snorkeling and take a hike for scenic views of the Caribbean. Snacks, lunch and round-trip hotel transport are provided.  Read more about Washington Slagbaai National Park Tour

Best Bonaire Restaurants

At Sea  $31 – 60

Not just the best restaurant in Bonaire — one of the best restaurants in the Caribbean — period. Every meal is a culinary adventure — and will challenge your notions of traditional food. No visit to Bonaire is complete without a meal here — if you can get a table.  The menu is best to describe as International cuisine with a Caribbean and creative twist.   Telephone:  599-701–0134  Web:  At Sea.

Capriccio Ristorante  $31 – 60

The pastas and breads are house-made. The wine cellar includes hundreds of labels and thousands of bottles. Ask for a pairing with your meal to fit your taste and your budget. You can opt for casual à la carte dining on the terrace or a romantic meal in the tonier, air-conditioned dining room. If your appetite is hearty, go for the five-course prix-fixe menu. Otherwise, choose from 50 regular offerings.  Telephone:  599-717-7230  Web:  Capriccio Ristorante.

La Balandra  $31 – 60

Its breathtaking location, creative specialties and nautical décor have made it a guest favorite for years and guarantees an unforgettable dining experience. La Balandra features Chef Johnny Statie, who delights guests with his original culinary creations. La Balandra offers a breakfast menu and an all-day Club Menu, as well as cocktails at the bar. Beach Service is also available. Candlelight dining on the beach is available upon prior request.  Telephone:  599-717-7500  Web:  La Balandra.

Bistro de Paris  $11 – 30

Serving the best French food on Bonaire, owner Patrice Rannou has transformed a marina venue into an intimate dining setting. There are two delightful dining experiences on-site–-Bistro de Paris with a traditional evening menu, and Zazu Bar, offering a casual light bite menu. Both offer a French-international cuisine from a lovely waterfront terrace location. Jazz nights, held every other Tuesday, are quite popular and reservations are recommended for this dining and music event. Wednesday is Divemaster Night featuring 8-ounce burgers and free house rum when purchasing a cola.  Telephone:  599-717-7070  Web:  Bistro de Paris.

Hang Out Bar  $11 – 30

Hang Out Bar offers libations and tasty delights including fresh house-made smoothies and healthy and delicious salads and sandwiches, and there’s always a daily special, usually fresh-caught fish. They also serve Dutch snack treats including bitterballen (meatballs) and frikkendel (hot dog). There’s a lively bar scene, with a great happy hour. Free beach loungers and plenty of tables and chairs in the shade, as well as free Wi-Fi are available. Select evenings feature local and international music acts. Telephone:  599-717-5064  Web:  Hang Out Bar.

Best Bonaire Bars & Nightlife

Hang Out Beach Bar

Is an Island-style living spot! The bar is covered in surfboards, license plates from all over the world, driftwood art and is full of Caribbean colors. The drinks are ice cold and the sandwiches and salads at lunch time are delicious. They are also famous for their table BBQ every Thursday night. Another Hang Out event is the monthly Full Moon party!  The Hang Out Beachbar is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, Sundays they stay open until the last person leaves.  Telephone:  599-717-5064  Web:  Hang Out Bar.

Karel’s Beach Bar

You can’t overlook it while strolling on the downtown boulevard. This famous bar on the pier is well known with all locals and visitors on the Island and you can enjoy  a coffee in the morning, a cocktail at Happy Hour, a beer at night and it has a great view of the Caribbean sea all day long. It has a vibrant nightlife with DJ’s and many events. Every Wednesday Karel’s Beach Bar has a Karaoke night.  Telephone:  599-717-8434  Web:  Karel’s Beach Bar.

The Beach Hut

Here you find the perfect laid-back atmosphere to enjoy a cool drink and a bite next to the blue waters of Lac. The boat shaped bar looks over the bay where windsurf freestylers will amaze you with their world famous tricks. The Beach Hut is specialized in locally fished tuna that comes in fresh almost every day. You can order healthy fruit shakes and cocktails and they also serve excellent coffee.  The Beach Hut is open daily from 10 AM to 6.30 PM, no shoes are required.  Telephone:  599-701-6500  Web:  The Beach Hut.

Spice Beach Club

Is a trendy beach bar and the perfect spot at any time of the day. Enjoy a lounge chair on the beach or your cold drink around the pool, grab a bite for lunch or dinner and watch the sun go down. Dance barefoot in the white sand after sunset with a DJ or live music.  Spice Beach Club offers special evenings and great events that are most often free to enter.  Telephone:  599-717-8060  Web:  Spice Beach Club.

Zazu Bar at The Bistro de Paris

Is located on the north entry of the Harbor Village Marina. This bar is a favorite by visitors and locals alike. The friendly and relaxed atmosphere make it possible to come in on flip-flops and shorts. Every Wednesday they have a “Dive master” nigh with a great hamburger deal. After your drink, you can have dinner in an air-conditioned room or on the terrace overlooking the marina. Telephone:  599-717-7070  Web:  Zazu Bar at the Bistro de Paris.

Best Bonaire Hotels

The Laughing Seahorse


Dreams do come true- An oceanfront villa with a world class dive site accessible straight from the garden. These beautiful guest rooms each come with stunning ocean views, divine king-sized beds, and private balconies to enjoy a leisurely coffee. With a flair for style, their rooms are dressed to impress and they’re certain there is a match for everyone’s taste.

One Ocean Boutique Apartments & Suites Bonaire


One Ocean Boutique Apartments & Suites Bonaire features ocean front accommodations with modern interior, a beach garden with a plunge pool with easy access to the Caribbean Sea and ocean views from all terraces.  Diving, snorkeling and kayaking can be done from the accommodations beach garden One Ocean Boutique Apartments and Suites Bonaire.

Penthouses on the Beach

The penthouse on the beach has a great Ocean View and over Bonaire.  Each penthouse has 2 bedrooms. It has been completely renovated and everything is brand new. Enjoy the relaxing sound of the waves while sitting on the balcony. See the pelicans dive for fish and the osprey catch its prey. What more do you want?

Goood Resort

From fully-furnished rooms to a great swimming pool. Goood resort on Bonaire has everything you could possibly hope for during your Caribbean vacation. Do you want to spend your time on the island relaxing in the sun? Grab a book and wind down in one of our hammocks, have enjoy a luxurious soak in our Jacuzzi or simply drift in the pool. We offer you cold drinks, great breakfast, and snacks at affordable prices throughout the day. When you stay at our Bonaire resort, you’ll quickly discover what it means to have a Goood time.

Windhoek Resort Bonaire

Windhoek Resort Bonaire is a luxury four-star Eco Resort in one of the best locations on Bonaire, the upscale area of Punt Vierkant. From the resort it’s just a couple of minutes to the beautiful southern diving spots, the windsurfing beach Sorobon and the kite boarding beach Atlantis. Windhoek Resort has comfortable and fully equipped one- and two-bedroom villas set in a tropical garden. There is a lovely swimming pool with sunbeds, a covered lounge area, and a communal BBQ that you are free to use.



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28 Comments

  1. Selenity Jade

    Oh my gosh!  I want to go here!  First, salt pyramids.  But mostly a marine park, parrot sanctuary, and a donkey haven! It’s like an animal lover’s dream vacation!  That said, I’d skip on the windsurfing.  Thanks so much for this exciting article.  I’m definitely putting this island on my bucket list!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jade, you will love a vacation to Bonaire!  Thanks for visiting my Bonaire Travel Guide.

      Reply
  2. Travis

    Sounds like An amazing place to visit! It’s kind of crazy how there are all of these amazing places that I would not even think of, or know enough about to want to travel too without stuff like this. 

    Love the extra in depth about all of the attractions as well: 🙂 now if you could just come be my travel guide as well that would be great. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I will be your travel guide Travis 🙂  I am glad you enjoyed my Bonaire Travel Guide.

      Reply
  3. Nicky33

    Great and very useful travel guide, I really enjoyed reading it. I have traveled in SouthEast Asia for some time and encountered amazing beaches for snorkeling, but I have never been to the Caribbean and I am making a travel list for that part of the world.

    I do prefer to mix lively destinations with quieter ones and Bonaire sounds like the perfect combination of a peaceful gateway plus some high quality diving in the always calm waters of the western side and kayaking.

    I didn’t know much about smaller Caribbean islands before reading your article, and the desert landscape of this specific one seems pretty unique! The salt pyramids and the donkey sanctuary look like something interesting to see as well. Thanks for bringing this place to my attention, I’m off exploring the rest of your articles for more ideas on my travel planning 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Nicky and I am glad you have enjoyed reading the Bonaire Travel Guide.  You will find lots of other amazing island getaways on BeachTravelDestinations.com, and I hope that when you start planning, you will let me help you put together a dream vacation!

      Reply
  4. Sean

    Wow…. this place looks amazing! Coming from the UK I new little – correction – nothing about Bonaire. Yet it looks so tranquil. And the safety thing is also a factor too. But it sounds like I’ve missed the best window of opportunity for this year, but will certainly be looking here for 2018. Thanks for the information and for sharing this. Much appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Sean!  I am glad you enjoyed reading and I do hope you can plan and make a visit to the beautiful island of Bonaire!

      Reply
  5. stefanie

    Oh wow, Bonaire sounds amazing, and how peculiar, the weather being totally different on each side. It especially appeals to me because of the water sports and restaurants (my two favorite things about a holiday). I have always wanted to go to the caribbean, but living way over here in Britain it is such a long way.How many flights do you think it would take from here? I’m sure it would be a few.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Actually you can fly directly into Amsterdam, and then on to Bonaire, making only 1 stop along the way.  It will be a fairly long flight though….13 hours.   I have made long flights for sure, so with this, I don’t think it would be too bad actually.  Anywhere in the Caribbean, should be similar, flying into Amsterdam and then on to the Caribbean island of choice.  Thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  6. jacob

    Before reading this article I had heard about bonaire but that didn’t really know anything about what things you can get up to there or anything about the place. After reading this article I now feel like I know everything I need to in order to get the most out of travelling to bonaire.

    I appreciate how you went over every detail from getting there, when to go and how to get the most out of the place once you’re there.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jacob!  I am glad you enjoyed reading the Bonaire Travel Guide.  I am glad you can now feel like you will get the most out of your vacation to the Caribbean Island of Bonaire.  You will have a blast!

      Reply
  7. W Tucker

    I love your reviews of the islands and especially Bonaire because I’m totally unfamiliar with it. It sounds like a gem. Every time I read one of your posts I end up adding another island to my bucket list.
    Bonaire sounds like it is a great place for someone, like me, who finds most of the Carribean too touristy and chock full of tacky tourists. Bonaire sounds like it’s just enough out of the way to be a different kind of experience.
    You never mentioned the tall white mountains? hills? dunes? in the main photo. What are those?
    Again, you do a thorough job of giving us all the details that we would need to plan a trip there. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh my gosh you are right!  Those are the salt pyramids, and each one is about 50 feet high of 99.6% pure salt.  There is a solar salt facility there, one of the largest in the Caribbean and the facility covers about 13% of the island.  Thanks for reminding me, I have to go back and add that 🙂  Glad you enjoyed reading the Bonaire Travel Guide!

      Reply
  8. Michelle

    I have another destination to put on my Tour the World list now. I’ve never heard of Bonaire before, but now that I have I really want to see it for myself.

    Thank you for writing this and letting everyone know when the peak tourist season is since I do not like crowds.

    The 1,000 step beach sounds like a lot of fun and I love swimming so thank you!

    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Michelle.  I am glad you found a new destination to put on your bucket list.  You will absolutely love it there, and any time of year, the crowds are a lot less then other Caribbean Islands.

      Reply
  9. Daniella

    My brother wants to travel to the Carribean, but he is not sure where to go. He loves snorkeling and quiet places. So I think the Bonaire would be a fantastic idea! I’ve read that travelers should take their precautions, is it possible to know why?

    However, my brother comes from Belgium, and I am pretty confident that he won’t want to go back home after spending some time there:)
    The video is beautiful. It makes me want to go the Bonaire right away!
    I’ll share this article with my brother. I am sure he will make up his mind very fast:) I am already jealous!
    Thank you for this excellent post!  

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Your brother will really enjoy Bonaire and yes, it is one of the more quieter Caribbean Islands where you can really unwind.  I think that travelers need to take their precautions in any foreign country.  You’ll find the safety here is about the same as most any Carribbean Island.  Just takes a little common sense to avoid something from happening. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com Daniella.

      Reply
  10. francis

    Your site is very comprehensive and very well organized.  I had not heard of Bonaire before, but have been looking for a unique Caribbean beach destination.  This looks like the place which would be perfect.  I like that it is not in the Hurricane belt making it easier to travel pretty much any time of the year.  Do you know how long the flight would be from Miami?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      This would be a great unique Caribbean getaway for sure.  If you were to get a non-stop flight from Miami, the flight duration is going to be about 20 hours.  A bit of a flight for sure.  But, yes, you pretty much have the flexibility to go any time and enjoy beautiful weather.  Thanks for visiting the Bonaire Travel Guide.

      Reply
  11. Eddie

    Another great article. There are so many hidden gems in the Caribbean. That Hangout Beach Bar seems pretty cool. Not sure if I’m ready for the 1000 step beach. lol. You present wonderful information about this beautiful location. Wonderfully done.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much! Yes, the Hangout Beach Bar is probably the coolest place and the 1000 steps beach actually doesn’t have 1000 steps, thank goodness! Glad you enjoyed reading the Bonaire Travel Guide.

      Reply
  12. Rodney

    Wow, that is an amazing place it makes me want to go and forget about life for a few days. I like very much the way you take us to a place through your writing and photos. Very nice job!!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Rodney 🙂 I try to help provide everything so you can visualize, be “there” and then plan it. Just a passion of mine for sure.

      Reply
  13. Gregory

    Great article! One of the things I want to mention is how fun it is to explore Bonaire (or many other Carribean islands) on a scooter. I always have a blast doing so and I recommend this to anyone with enough courage to spend the first 20 minutes getting the hang of riding one. It is, however, quite easy… you’ll see. The memories will last forever! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree completely. To feel the sun on your back, and the wind thru your hair. …. so much nicer than a car rental for sure. I think they are just like riding a bike….piece of cake. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply
  14. Moni

    WOW! Bonaire sounds like a perfect getaway place. Normally we go on our winter vaction for 3 months to Asia however this year we were thinking of South America however Bonaire sounds wonderful we just may come there for few days. Do you have any ideas of prices for car hire?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Not actually too bad for car rental. You will pay about $27 a day for a car rental on Bonaire. You will love it there. Please let me know if you need any other information. Thanks for visiting the Bonaire Travel Guide.

      Reply

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