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Home > Destinations > Bonaire

Bonaire

Long known as a paradise for scuba divers, Bonaire has much more to offer visitors.

Situated about 50 miles from the Venezuela northern coast, this sun-drenched island is part of the Netherlands Antilles - it's known as the "B" in the ABC islands that include Aruba and Curacao. At just 24 miles long, this island is easy to explore.

At the northern end of the island is the Washington-Slagbaai National Park. This 13,500-acre nature center has bird watching observation towers where you can spot many of the more than 180 species. Subi Brandaris, at 780 feet is the highest point on Bonaire and affords a great view of the island.

But it's the beneath the surface experience and that keep avid divers and snorkelers returning again and again. The Bonaire Marine Park, which encircles the entire coast of Bonaire and its offshore cay, Klein Bonaire is a highlight. The reef system begins just a few hundred feet from shore and it's possible to wade out a short distance to get to the reefs.

Divers expect to see mushroom-shaped coral heads, huge schools of fish like sergeant majors, sponges, the occasional reef shark and many other species. The park, established in 1979, has more than 80-marked dive sites many with permanent moorings.

The island's strands will delight beach lovers. On the south side, the clothing-optional Sorobon Beach is a great spot for swimming, snorkeling or windsurfing. Lac Bay, on the East side, offers two beaches. The most famous beach on Bonaire is Pink Beach, so called because of the pinkish hue it takes on when wet. The calm waters make this an idyllic spot for swimming, snorkeling and diving.

There are plenty of other diversions too. Sports lovers can enjoy sailing, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. Shoppers can head to the capital, Kralendijk. Here you'll find luxury imports such as Swiss watches, perfumes, silver and china. Nightlife is generally centered on the island's hotels.

 
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