Bonaire is an island in the Caribbean Sea. It is located 80 km or 49 miles North of Venezuela and 45 km or 27 miles East of Curaçao. Bonaire (228km² or 178 sq.miles) is shaped like a boomerang with in its apex the small uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire (6km² or 3 sq. miles). From North to South it measures 40 km or 24 miles and it is 5 to 12 km or 3 to 8 miles wide. It is larger than Aruba.
Highest elevation is Brandaris hill (238 mtr or 781 feet) which is located in the National Park Washington Slagbaai in the North part of the island. This park comprises almost 20% of the island. Bonaire holds various layers of limestone, volcanic material and ancient coral reefs that were pushed above sea level. The vegetation consists of low bushes, various cacti and trees.
Capital city is Kralendijk or Playa. It is the governmental & economic center of the island. The old fortress ‘Fort Oranje’ still holds canons from the centuries ago and city hall ‘Pasagrahan’ is building that catches the eye. Rincon, located in the North, is the oldest settlement on island. It was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and it worth a visit to sample one of the local dished or drinks
Bonaire has a very nice dry-tropical climate with the signature North-East trade winds providing a refreshing feeling. Year round the temperature ranges between 27-32 °C or 80-90 F. On Bonaire every day is a summer day. We don’t have four seasons but we have a wet season from October till January, with chances of an early morning shower. Annual rain fall is 535mm or 21 inches. The best news: Bonaire is located outside of the hurricane belt.
All waters surrounding Bonaire and Klein Bonaire are part of the world’s first underwater national park. These crystal clear waters hold a diversity of marine life and the calm West side of Bonaire and the entire coastline of Klein Bonaire, with more than 84 named and marked dive sites, offer perfect conditions for scuba divers and snorkelers. Water temperature ranges between 26-29°C or 77-84F and the visibility is almost perfect. On the South-East shore of Bonaire, a large bay (Lac Bai as we call it) provides world class conditions for wind surfing. Shallow flat water with mesmerizing blue colors in combination with steady Easterly wind offer a picture perfect location for any level of surfer. On the South-West shore, kite-boarders can be found at a site called Atlantis. Sailing, hiking, mountain biking and spelunking are other activities on Bonaire.
One of the signature land marks on Bonaire, are the salt pans with the former slave huts down South. They provide the picture book scenery to take the award winning photos.
Bonaire hosts a good mix of people; Bonairean, Antillean, American, Dutch, Canadian, Venezuelan, Colombian eg. In total 18,500 people divided in 26 nationalities live on this small jewel in the Caribbean. The local language is Papiamentu however English, Spanish and Dutch are widely spoken.
For a small island, Bonaire offers an outstanding variety of restaurants. There is always a menu or a dish of your preference to be found. The service is island-style laid back and the ambiance is informal.
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