BONAIRE  |  Bonaire Travel Guide
Friday, July 3, 2020



Bonaire is part of the extensive Dutch territory in the Caribbean known as the Netherlands Antilles. The overseas kingdom is divided into two three-island clusters separated by more than 500 miles of tropical sea. The “S” islands (St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba) lie just east of the Virgin Islands, between Anguilla and St. Kitts. The “ABC” islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) are lined up along the northwestern coast of Venezuela.

Bonaire remains a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and its history, customs, language, and location link it inextricably with nearby Aruba and Curaçao.

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are tucked into a secure pocket of the Caribbean that is rarely invaded by hurricanes. Their shared Dutch heritage unites them culturally, but each island is in a different stage of development, and their topographies vary enough to be distinctive.

Of the three ABC islands, Bonaire is the second largest and an eco-traveler’s dream and a scuba diver’s wonderland. But savvy travelers often divide their vacation days among each of the ABC islands, and several tour operators run day trips and overnight excursions between the islands. Do-it-yourself planners may prefer to book transportation on one of the inter-island airlines or take the new high-speed ferry between Bonaire and Curaçao.

All three islands host large Carnivals that draw huge crowds and fill every hotel room. Colorful parades and all-night dances take over the streets. Carnival Queens represent the antique deities of Mother Earth and preside over the Gran Marcha held on the last Sunday of the Carnival season. Elections are held to select Princes and Jesters, who are responsible for the safekeeping of the city keys.

Perhaps the most important events on Bonaire (and Aruba and Curaçao) are the annual competitions held to select the original music that will be Carnival’s road-march theme song. The lead singer of the winning band becomes the island’s reigning Carnival King.

The celebrations end in a feverish flourish on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, with a Farewell March, fireworks, and the burning of Rei Momo, an effigy representing all that is evil.


Destinations in Bonaire (1)

  • Bonaire

    Bonaire, a quiet, sun-drenched island in the south Caribbean and one of the ABC Islands, is a huge draw for eco-tourists, divers and snorkelers, for it has dollops of offerings for all three. It is not the smallest nor the...

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