top of page

A brief history and what to see on


There's more to tell of course, but here's an introduction to our little island paradise...

Location, Location, Location

Bonaire is fifty miles north of Venezuela and is part of the Dutch ABC Islands - Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.  It's located below the hurricane belt and is blessed with cooling trade winds across its warm, arid lands. Bonaire is only 112 square miles in size, surrounded by a bountiful Caribbean Sea. 

Bonaire Island.png


Beginning with sea turtle conservation in 1961, the prohibition of spearfishing in 1971, the protection of coral in 1975, a Marine Protected Area since 1979 and named the first Blue Destination in 2017, Bonaire has been at the forefront of protecting its marine environment. 


The first known inhabitants of Bonaire were the Caiquetios and you can still see cave drawings in several places.  The Spanish first came to Bonaire in 1499 and in 1633 the Dutch took possession of the ABC's and Bonaire became a plantation island belonging to the Dutch East India Company.  You can still see old Landhuis (manor houses) at Karpata, Slagbaai and on the southern end of the island.



In 1850, 13 years before slavery was abolished on Bonaire, the Dutch East India Company built the slave huts to house the slaves working the salt pans.  They serve as a reminder of a darker period in the island's past. Today both the White Slave and Red Slave sites mark excellent diving.


The northern end of the island, which used to be two private plantations is now (since 1969) a national park covering 14,000 acres. It was the first nature sanctuary in the Netherlands Antilles.  From here you see a more rugged side of Bonaire. You can also hike up Mount Branderis, the highest point on the island at 791 feet above sea level.  On a clear day, you can see Curacao.

Road to Rincon.jpeg


We've always joked that all roads lead to Rincon because when you're diving the north end, you frequently end up there on a one way trip.  Nevertheless it's a beautiful town, originally settled in the 1500's. Because it has views to the east and west side of the island, and is in a valley to be less noticeable, it was considered a haven from pirates.


Lac Bay is a 700 hectacre lagoon, a RAMSAR site since 1980. It's an important bird sanctuary as well as a fish nursery, the largest mangrove forest in the Dutch Caribbean. And with shallow warm water and constant Tradewinds, it's the best windsurfing in the Caribbean.

Klein Bonaire_edited.jpg


Little Bonaire, a small coral island of 1500 acres. Uninhabited except for 54 species of turtles, reptiles, birds, etc.  Klein Bonaire used to be forested with many different trees and in 2013 a project was begun to restore Klein to its past, with an initial planting of 100 trees.


The salt flats have been mined since the early days of Bonaire. Today they are run by Cargill and each salt pyramid is about 50 feet tall, containing 10,000 metric tons of almost pure salt. They are also home to the Flamingo Sanctuary.

Salt Flats.jpeg


Sunsets, Gotomeer lake, the lighthouse, Indian inscriptions, too many to name!

bottom of page