An Overview of Bonaire to Get You Started
General Description Geography
- 87 km (54 miles) from the coast of Venezuela; 52 km (32
miles) from the island of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, and
129 km (80 miles) east of Aruba. Also, 60 km (37 miles) east
of Islas Las Aves, which are uninhabited atolls.
- Between 12 degrees 02' and 12 degrees 19' North and 68 degrees
12' and 68 degrees 25' West
- Time zone: Atlantic
- Dutch (official)
- Papiamentu (local)
- Spanish (widely spoken, native language among many employees
of resort industry)
- English (widely spoken)
- Average annual temperature 81 degrees F/27 degrees C
- Almost constant tradewind breeze
- Well out of Caribbean hurricane zone
- Well known for its pristine coral reefs— Bonaire has gone
to great measures to preserve this precious natural resource.
The island is known worldwide for its excellent scuba diving
- Dry, semi-arid thorn-scrub habitat makes up the interior
of the island. Much of the scrubby, wooded hills and valleys
of the northwest part have been preserved as the Washington-Slagbaai
National Park , some 3800 hectares (9300 acres) in size and
managed by STINAPA, the Netherlands Antilles National Parks
Foundation. Within the park lie rocky coasts, sandy beaches,
inland bays, lagoons, and saliñas.
- Coral limestone plains are the norm along the north and
- The southern tip of the island consists of a large, salt
pan known as the Pekelmeer. It is here where flamingos gather
by thousands, and shorebirds flock for feeding in the nonbreeding
- Guilder (also, called the florin); exchange rate with U.S.
dollar typically 1.3 fl to $1
- U.S. dollar widely accepted in Krelendijk, the capital city,
and other more populated towns, but back-island shops will
likely not be able to break large bills or give change in
U.S. currency. Most major businesses can provide change in
U.S. currency, but you may have to request it.
- Travelers checks are readily accepted within the tourist
industry and around Kralendijk.
- 35 km long (22 miles)
- 272 square kilometers (67,000 acres), including the small
island of Klein Bonaire, located approximately 0.5 km (0.3
miles) off the southeastern coast.
- Washington-Slagbaii National Park
- Footpaths, walking and hiking trails, benches
- Geography inside park includes rocky coasts, sandy beaches,
inland bays, lagoons, and saliñas. Swimming allowed
on designated beaches only—get map at headquarters upon arrival
- Four-wheel drive vehicle recommended
Favorite Island Trivia
- Flamingos! Flamingos! Flamingos! Bonaire is one of the few
places in the world where you can get great looks at this
beautiful and unique bird.
- You can become an Unofficial Ambassador of Bonaire: the
tourism bureau bestows bronze (if you've visited 10 years),
silver (16 to 20), and gold (21 or more years of visits) to
long-time visitors to Bonaire .
- There are webcams for under-the-sea views of Bonaire . The
idea is a cool one, even if the images, from our experiences,
seldom are. Located at http://www.bonairewebcams.com/
- Airport: Flamingo Airport
- Unemployment is low and so is the crime rate
- Drive on the right-hand side of the road, like in the U.S.