I’ve been wanting to post a travelogue of our trip to Bonaire, but with my PC down down down, and all my Bonaire photos on that PC I have been waiting (and hoping) for its healthy return.
Good news! It’s back with all photos intact. Whew. So here goes. . .
Bonaire is an small island in the Dutch Caribbean, off the coast of Venezuela. It is one of a group of islands known as the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Well known as a scuba diver’s paradise, the island hosts 63 shore dives all around its perimeter.
We visited the 2nd and 3rd weeks in June and the weather was perfect! 80-90 degrees with a 10-15 mile an hour wind most of the time. Just enough to keep it comfortable. The water temperature was about 80 degrees. Usually in the mornings it was a bit cloudy, but by mid morning the clouds dispersed turning into glorious sunny days.
As scuba divers our first priority was to get set up at the dive shop. We stayed at the Eden Beach Resort in Kralendijk and the Wannadive shop was right there. STINAPA Bonaire is a non-profit foundation that manages the marine park and the Washington-Slagbaai National Park, and requires a mandatory dive orientation before diving. In addition there is a $25.00 Nature Fee for divers. WE arrived Saturday afternoon and Wannadive scheduled us for the orientation first thing Sunday morning. It lasted about an hour and Boy offered some great tips and suggestions for our diving experience.
Set up with a flat rate per week, we had access to all the air we wanted and a safe place to store our dive equipment at the end of the day. We did our first dive right at Eden Beach at the site known as “Front Porch” directly after the orientation. As it turns out, this was one of the best sites we experienced in two weeks.
While my husband could have dived all day, every day, there were a few other things I wanted to do while there. More about diving in another post!
On two occasions we explored the Washington Slagbaii National Park on the northern section of the island. There is a short loop and a longer loop you can drive. The roads are dry and rocky and the going is slow. I definitely recommend the longer loop as it brought you around the northernmost point along the beautiful shoreline. Pictures can express it better than words:
Turbines and Rock
Dry and Scrubby
Wind and Water
The most beautiful beach on the island at Playa Chikitu
Yellow Necked Parrot
Billy Goat, Billy Goat!
It took us most of a day to really enjoy the big loop of the park. We did stop and take a lot of pictures and did two dives while there. When you enter they give you instructions about when you should make a last dive, as the park closes at 5:00.
After leaving the park we drove south to Lac Bay, which is known for its Mangrove swamps and wind surfing on the lake. There are two dive sites outside of the lake, but it’s not recommended that you dive there without a guide.
Another day we drove to the town of Rincon, the first settlement on the island, to visit the Cadushy Distillery. We were intrigued by the idea of a drink made from the Cadushy cactus.
Cadushy is the base for all the liquors
Driving along the main route south from Kralendijk, are Bonaire’s salt flats, where sea water is pumped into smaller ‘pools’ so the water evaporates, eventually leaving nothing but salt. This salt is Bonaire’s only export. Once the water has entirely evaporated the salt is plowed up, reminding me of home.
At two places around the salt flats you can see these slave huts that are built in 1850. Originally the roofs of the huts were thatched, but have been replace with marine grade plywood to reduce the need for on-going maintenance. During the 19th century, slaves working the salt pans by day crawled into these huts to rest. When we stepped inside they were amazingly cool.
In my quest to find sandy beaches we came across many lovely sites.
Palm in the Breeze
One legged gull
Seven O’clock Sunsets
Our last day, when we couldn’t dive, we took a water taxi out to Klein Bonaire, a small, uninhabited island off the coast. The ‘taxi’ driver dropped us west of the beach so that we could snorkel with the current for about 45 minutes. That is the only place in Bonaire where we found significant sandy beaches.
It was a fantastic trip and we would definitely go again, if there weren’t so many other islands to explore! For a scuba diving vacation, however, it was amazing!