Bonaire is an intimate destination of only 112 square miles and is located just 50 miles north of Venezuela. Although small, there are endless activities to keep visitors as active as they wish!
The amazing natural habitats found on land or sea are mirrored by the beauty of Bonaire of the faces of the 18,000 people that call the island home. Their different features and hues tell the story of dozens of ethnic and racial influences. Indian, African, Asian and European inhabitants have all contributed to the population of Bonaire today. Two unmistakable features are the smiles that break out when greetings are exchanged and the soft yet firm handshakes that pass between old and new friends.
Bonaire’s culture is rooted in religious and holiday celebrations. The origins of which lie in African homelands and European harvest and feast days. The music is a mix of tribal beats using modern instruments and makeshift farm tools. One important aspect of modern Bonairean culture is food. Local Krioyo, Dutch, Indonesian, and Indian; the list is endless with unmistakable flavors that visitors will remember forever.
Travel facts & tips for Bonaire
- Average air temperature 82’F/28’C
- Average rainfall 22″/56 cm per year
- Average water temperature 80’F/27’C
- Currency: United States Dollar (US$)
- Language: Dutch is the official language of Bonaire; Papiamentu is the local language, and English and Spanish are also widely spoken.
- Immigration: A visitor must have a valid passport and a valid or continuing ticket; some countries also require a visa.
- Electricity: 127 volts AC (50 cycles). 220V available in certain establishments.
- Water: The distilled and purified water is safe and excellent to drink. Buying bottled water is not necessary.
Short History of Bonaire
Look into the eyes of Bonairians and see a kaleidoscope of history. Bonaire’s first inhabitants were Caiquetios, a group of Arawak Indians from Venezuela, believed to have arrived about 1700 years ago. In 1499, Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Bonaire and claimed Bonaire for the Spaniards. This day is still celebrated each year on the 6th of September as the Bonaire Flag day. By 1636 the Dutch took back the possession of the Island. A plaque in Wilhelmina Park honors Mr. van Walbeeck the Island’s first Dutch Commander. In the late 1600s, African slaves were brought to work on the Island.
During the period of 1799 -1816, sometimes referred to as the “time of confusion,” the Island was occupied off and on by various countries and individuals. This was due to changing European politics, which in turn affected the Caribbean Islands. In 1816, Bonaire returned to the Dutch Kingdom and it has been eversince.