Bonaire is a premier diving destination, and is one of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), which lie off the north coast of Venuzuela. The island is part of the Netherlands Antilles, owned by the Dutch. The language is a mixture of English, Dutch, and Papiamentu. The island was sparsely settled until around 1526. Wild donkeys roam the island, and there is a Flamingo sanctuary near the southern portion of the island.
Bonaire's early inhabitants were mostly convicts from Spanish colonies in South America. It was thought to be a safe haven from pirates. In 1633, the Duth took possession of the ABC islands. Bonaire changed hands many times until 1816 when the island returned to the Dutch. It was a thriving center of salt production and slavery. The slaves lived near the salt flats, which is an area that is used to obtain salf from the sea in large, shallow salf beds. The slaves lived in the white and red slave huts shown in the pictures below.
The island is a premier diving area, with prisine reefs that are protected by the government. Captain Don Stewart helped bring the island into the main stream in the 1960's by getting the Netherlands to declare the island to be a marine preserve. The island is one of the best for shore diving.
Diving is king here - there are over 65 dive sites on the main island, and 26 dive sites on the offshore island called Klein Bonaire. The offshore island does not have any development on it, and it shows by the reefs being very abundant with coral and sea life.
To see where Bonaire is located, click here.
To see a detailed map of the island, click here.
To see island town maps, click here.
For additional information about Bonaire, click on one of these links: