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Bonaire is a Caribbean island east of Central America and north of Venezuela. The island is part of the ABC Islands together with Aruba and Curaçao. It is a flat, riverless island renowned for its dive spots. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius.
Politically, Bonaire is a "special municipality" fully integrated in the Netherlands proper.
Tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation. "Rainy" season lasts from the last week of October to the end of January, but it is still relatively dry. During rainy season, late night and early morning rains are common, usually clearing shortly after sunrise.
The island is flat especially the southern end with hills in the north. It is a dry island with little rainfall and the vegetation is typical of this climate. There are few natural resources other than beaches, beautiful offshore reefs and the solar salt works. The northern part of the island is a protected park. The southern tip of the island is a great field for sea salt production. Klein Bonaire is a small uninhabited island offshore.
Despite being part of European Netherlands, Bonaire exists outside the Schengen Area, therefore has its own entery laws seperate from the E.U.
Dutch Nationals and Citizens
Although Bonaire is part of the European Netherlands makeup, those living ouside the public bodies of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba have limited freedom to visit Bonaire. Dutch nationals and citizens living outside the public bodies can visit Bonaire visa-free for 6 months. The Dutch identity card is not valid in Bonaire, instead the Identity card BES is required to enter Bonaire.
KLM offers five weekly non-stop service from Amsterdam to Bonaire on the way to Quito. American Airlines also offers daily non-stop flights from San Juan to and from Bonaire and other major U.S cities. Flight schedules change frequently but United Airlines offers non-stop flights from Newark and Houston. Delta Airlines offers weekly flights between Bonaire and Atlanta on Saturdays. Several smaller airlines connect Bonaire with the neighbouring islands including Dutch Airlines Expressand Insel Air.
Other Airlines include Tiara Air and Canadian airline Westjet from Toronto, Canada.
If you fly Insel Air, give yourself at least 24 hours grace period between any connecting flights. Insel Air is notorious for their unreliability and poor customer service.
The Departure Fee for all international destinations is now included in the airfare.
There are not currently any passenger ferries operating to or from Curaçao or Venezuela. Cruise ships do occasionally and increasingly visit Bonaire, especially "in season". Some shops and restaurants may remain open extra hours to cater to their passengers.
You can also use different Bonaire Water Taxis including and the Seacow Watertaxi.
Private boat moorage is available. Dive operators operate boats to many dive sites including those located off the small uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire. Some boat operators also specialize in snorkel tours and their are regularly scheduled passenger boats to Klein Bonaire. Some include the Woodwind, Bonaire Pirate Cruising, Oscarina, Bowalie and more.
Given how small the island is, walking is often the perfect way to get around, especially if you are staying in Kralendijk where most tourist-centered activities are clustered together.
Automobiles can be shipped to Bonaire and Rental cars are available at the airport and at selected hotels. Reservations are strongly suggested as, especially during peak times, all vehicles may be rented. You can drive around the entire island in a couple of hours!
There is an informal bus system on the island that utilises vans. There are a small number of medium sized tour buses on the island as well.
The island has a growing fleet of cabs scaled to service cruise ships.
What to see
Disused Slave Shelters
Washington-Slagbaai National Park
Due to its proximity to the equator, the sun in Bonaire is intense! Sunscreen is an absolute must, even for people who claim to not burn. If walking around during the day, make sure to stay hydrated and keep drinking water to make up for all the sweating you will be doing.
Due to the arid climate, mosquitos (and the diseases they harbor) are not a big problem and you very well may go your whole visit without getting a single bite. Still, if venturing into the wilderness, insect repellent is a wise idea.