conectando conciencia caribe


Part of Dutch Caribbean – ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao).  Capital is Kralendijk.  Only has two cities – Kralendijk and Rincon.  It is located in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, 50 miles (80 km) off the coast of Venezuela.  Its currency is the US dollar.  Bonaire does not have daylight savings time.  Main language is Dutch, though English & Spanish, and a dialect by locals called Papiamento, (which is a mix between Dutch and Spanish) are also spoken.  Its climate is sunny weather all year round. 


Natives were the Caiquetio Indians.  The first Europeans came to Bonaire in 1944, when Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci arrived and claimed it for Spain.  Spaniards did not see value of island so instead enslaved the native Indians and moved them to plantations on the island of Hispaniola, leaving the island unpopulated.  The name Bonaire is thought to have originated from the Caiquetio word “Bonay” meaning “good air”.  Bonaire remained a lonely outpost until 1526.  In 1526, cattle were brought to the island by then-governor Juan de Ampues.  Some of the Caiquetios were returned to the island to work as slaves and in a few years, island became center for raising animals…sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys which were mostly raised for their skins, not meat.  Her inhabitants were mostly convicts from other Spanish colonies.  The only permanent settlement was the village of Rincon, which was located far inland and safe from pirates.  In 1633, the Dutch took possession of Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba.  The largest island Curaçao, emerged as the center of the the notorious slave trade.  Bonaire then became a plantation island belonging to the Dutch West Indies Company.  It was during those early years that African slaves were brought in.  By 1837 Bonaire became a thriving center of salt production.  The abolition of slavery in 1863 signaled an end to the era of exploitation.  It was almost 100 years later that the salt industry was revitalized.  It was also during that time that the island started to attract visitors. Tourism was born.  Government built first ship pier in the harbor to allow cruise ships.  Hotels starting popping up.  In 1943, the construction of a modern airport made it easier to reach the island.  As for the future, Bonaireans welcome progress but have made a conscious decision to take time out and step back and to look at how it will impact their island and lives.  They have learned to balance their growth with the environment. 

What makes Bonaire UNIQUE

Bonaire is known as a diving paradise, but it is the SHORE diving that makes it special.  Bonaire is considered #1 shore diving destination in the Caribbean/Atlantic for 28 consecutive years according to Scuba Diving Magazine’s Annual Readers’ Choice Awards.!!!!! 

Yellow painted rocks on the side of the road or along the coast mark the dive sites on Bonaire.  These yellow rocks can also indicate “do not enter” because, for example, it is a marine reserve that does not allow snorkelers or divers.  Bonair has colorful, healthy coral reefs all around the island.  Bonaire has its own seawater filtering distilled system, so tap water is one of the purest drinking waters in the world for consumption.  Sea turtle conservation – confirmed 114 healthy turtle nests in 2016!!  The island has over 22 beaches, which some sometimes disappear and appear depending upon tides and other natural causes like wind and waves.  Donkeys and goats roam free and are frequently encountered.

Nature conservation is hight on Bonaire’s agenda.  More than 2-% of total land and 100% of waters surrounding Bonaire and Klein Bonaire are National Parks and are protected.  Lies outside of Hurricane Alley!