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The islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, collectively known as the Caribbean’s ABC islands are part of Dutch Caribbean. The three islands are closer to Venezuela, than to the rest of the Caribbean islands. Bonaire with an arid and flat landscape, is a playground for numerous land and water-based activities. Packed with a wide range of budget accommodation options, it is a popular backpacker island in the Caribbean.
With an international airport, a cruise port, and colorful colonial architecture, capital Kralendijk can easily be explored on foot. There are plenty of great restaurants, shops and bars waiting to be discovered. It is also the best place to base yourself for exploring the rest of the island. Travelers visit Bonaire for diving and snorkeling and numerous service providers cater to varied needs, whether you’re a pro or a novice. With miles of pristine coral reef, Bonaire Marine National Park is the star attraction. Dotted with numerous diving sites and rich in marine life, this is the world’s oldest marine reserve, and covers the entire coast of the island. To experience world-class windsurfing and kayaking, visit Lac Bay – a large inland bay in the south-east, surrounded by mangrove forests.
If you are shy of the waters, do not worry – you can always opt for mountain biking and hiking in Washington Slagbaai National Park. Located in the northwestern region of the island, this huge desert wilderness covers approximately 20% of Bonaire’s land area, and the saltwater lagoon here attracts flocks of flamingos. At South End, in southern Bonaire, you will come across huge mounds of sparkling white salt and several small stone huts. Bonaire once had a slave-driven salt industry and these surviving ‘slave huts’ are a reminder of Bonaire’s dark history of slave-trading. Today, machines do most of the hard work.
With colorful corals, cactus-dotted desert, flamingo-filled lagoons and white-sand beaches, Bonaire is a fascinating little island on the Caribbean Sea, waiting to be explored.
Bonaire Marine National Park is the world’s oldest marine reserve.