Stunning Bonaire is the epitome of paradise, with its gorgeous beaches, incredible snorkeling opportunities and friendly locals. Yet Bonaire doesn’t get the same attention that other Caribbean destinations receives, and is often ignored by holidaymakers who travel to this beautiful region of the world.
However this pretty island is well worth visiting, especially due to the great experiences – and unique attractions – it has to offer. Here’s our seven favourite things to do in Bonaire.
1: Go flamingo spotting!
It would be too cliché to have a beach-related activity at the top of our list of best things to do in Bonaire, so how about something more surprising – flamingo spotting!
Located in the island’s south is a very special place – one of only four places in the world where flamingos breed. Subsequently the vast salt pans here have been deemed a flamingo sanctuary, and 10,000 of the birds make it home.
The flamingos’ home is a real treat for the eyes too, with the pink salt pans, mountains of white salt, and turquoise hues from the sea, all contrasting to create an other-worldly look.
2: Drink cactus liqueur with hummingbirds
That sounds like a quirky combination, but a visit to The Cadushy Distillery gives you the chance to do just that!
This distillery had an aim – to make use of the plentiful cacti that are seen across Bonaire. The result is a delicious liqueur made from the prickly plant.
Do a tour at the distillery and you’ll get the chance to sample the different flavours, put questions to the master distiller, and enjoy the distillery’s beautiful gardens – which also happen to be visited by friendly lora parrots and hummingbirds!
3: Swim in one of the world’s best snorkeling areas
Not many tourists visit Bonaire, but those that do often fly to the island for one reason – to snorkel and scuba dive.
That’s because Bonaire has some of the best snorkeling sites in the world, with countless healthy reefs within easy access.
This coral reef ringed island even has many diving and snorkeling sites that are beach accessible. So there’s no need to hire an expensive boat, or be part of a tour company, to enjoy them. You just need to walk to the beach, get in the water and swim.
Bachelors Beach is one of our favorite shore-accessible diving sites. The water is crystal clear, the sealife teeming, and the beach is rarely busy. You can find a great diving and snorkeling resource for Bonaire here. A great underwater camera – such as this one – is a must as you could end up swimming alongside turtles and manta rays!
The waters around Bonaire are known for being shark free – except for the odd harmless nurse shark – so swimming is very safe here too.
4: Have a picnic on one of the nicest and quietest beaches in the Caribbean
Te amo beach – which means I love you in English – is a stunning little beach in Bonaire, and its name matches the romantic setting.
The soft white sand that merges into the ever-changing colors of turquoise at the water’s edge makes this spot perfect for a picnic with your loved one.
That perfection isn’t ruined by the noise of jet skis, or hawkers trying to sell you goods either. This is one of the few islands in the Caribbean where you can enjoy white sand beaches and turquoise waters without feeling like there’s a cruise ship-sized crowd also sunbathing and dipping their toes in the water at the same time. It’s bliss.
5. Kayak Bonaire’s calm waters
The shimmering calm water surrounding Bonaire makes it a great place to kayak – and you can rent one easily in many of the coastal towns on the island.
What makes Bonaire so special is that there’s so many different places to explore despite the island being so small. If you’re a confident kayaker then make your way out to the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire . There you’ll find vast stretches of pristine beach, and some incredible snorkeling.
If you want something a bit different, you can kayak between the mangroves at Lac Bay. Keep an eye out for the fish and birds that make this place home.
6: Go hiking in Washington Slagbaai National Park
If you’re bored of the beach, then grab your hiking boots and head north to Washington Slagbaai National Park. This nature sanctuary spans over 4200 hectares and has several trails to explore.
If you want the best views on the island, then climbing to Bonaire’s highest peak is a must. That’s Brandaris which stands at 241 meters. The Subí Brandaris Bonaire Trail is the most well known walk up the peak, and shouldn’t take more than an hour. Expect stunning panoramic views of the island and the Caribbean, and on very clear days, you can even see all the way to Venezuela!
7: Go cave exploring!
Little Bonaire is home to around 400 caves, some of which can be explored by adventurous tourists who want a real off-the-beaten-track experience.
These caves, complete with stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over thousands of years, also have their own mini ecosystems. Many are partially filled with water too, so you can go snorkeling and swimming in them!
Often glittering due to salt formations, you would never know such huge cave systems existed on Bonaire. We recommend a guided tour though, then you will be-able to visit some of the best caves in Bonaire while also knowing you’re in safe hands.