Bonaire, and its small sister island Klien Bonaire, is one of three islands in the Caribbean making up the Dutch Antilles or ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao) and is one of the least tourist-developed and visited of the islands, yet both on land and under the sea, one of the Caribbean's most striking. It is located just north of Venezuela, south of the hurricane belt offering a year round stable climate.
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I traveled to Bonaire a few years ago as part of an extended trip to Venezuela. I was amazed at how beautiful the reefs where around the island. Lac Bay in the North is a stunning windsurf lagoon. Bonaire is also good as it is does not have the high prices of some other Caribbean Islands.
The diving on Bonaire is a mixture of both boat dives to neighbouring Klien Bonaire (approx 20 minutes away) and shore diving. The Bonaire Marine Park has marked about 80 yellow stones around the shore line marking dive site entry points. All the dive centers offer drive through filling stations (car hire is a must) giving you complete freedom to dive the island with your buddy at your own pace - this is what attracts so many visitors to Bonaire, the freedom to dive where, when and how you want at your own pace. Of course guided dives are always available if you wish.
On our visit to the island we were quite amazed by the pristine condition of the reefs and must assume that this is due to the care that the Bonaire Marine Park pays to its reefs. Clear water provides visibility of 100 feet (30 metres) year-round, and the islanders and government are extremely sensitive to the fragility of the environment. The marine park completely surrounds the island and also encompasses the waters surrounding Klein Bonaire.
The tropical climate is enhanced by the north east trade winds. Annual averages temperature is 28º C with rainfall 22” and Water temperature 25-29º C. Bonaire diving season is year round. With visibility in excess of 30 metres.
Approximately 50% of the annual visitors to Bonaire are drawn by the scuba diving but there are also many attractions for the non-divers. A number of activities are available, from hiking and sightseeing in the enormous Washington-Slagbaai National Park at the north-western end of the island, to shopping, snorkeling and bird watching.
Bonaire is generally a very 'laid back' resort and so there is no major nightlife. There are some nice restaurants, a couple of good bars but no nightclubs. Evenings are best spent over a good meal and a few drinks.
All visitors must have a valid passport that does not expire for at least 6 month and return ticket. UK passport holder do not require a visa.
There are no compulsory inoculations if travelling from the UK but we recommend to check with your GP for the latest advice.