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About Bonaire

Located at 68°28′W, 12°15′N, 80 kms off the coast of Venezuela, Bonaire also includes the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire (2.3m²/6km²). Bonaire itself covers 111m²/288km2. The island was originally a coral reef which was pushed up by tectonic activity and in fact there are a few areas still below sea level in the south, where evaporated salt is collected. Mount Brandaris at 790ft/240m is the highest point and offers advantageous views.

Bonaire is home to one of only four nesting grounds for the Caribbean flamingo. No human entry is permitted to this area but you can view this spectacular gathering from afar. The island is known as a diver’s paradise as well as for its unspoiled environment and is a leader in nature conservancy. The whole of the island’s coastline has been designated as a marine sanctuary. Bonaire is also a Mecca for mountain bikers, birdwatchers and eco tourists.

Local businesses

Going to Bonaire and wondering where to stay, what to do, where to eat and how to get around? We’ve got you covered with our list of hotels, restaurants, activities, car hire, shopping & more. Browse through for more details.

Services

Get information on the island, medical facilities & other services

Shopping

Shop for souvenirs, local crafts, art, jewellery, clothes & more

Transport

Hire a car, jeep, bicycle or scooter to travel around the island

Events

Annual events

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Events in January

1-Jan-18 to 2-Jan-18
MASKARADA (Bonaire)

Completely disguised, including speech, locals from each village dress and arrive early in groups at the Lt. Governor’s home to dance and play outside wishing the family a Happy New Year (“Bon Aña”). The Lt. Governor thanks them with a bottle of rum, held and dispensed by a designated member.

26-Jan-18 to 26-Jan-18
ANTILLEAN NEW YEAR'S CONCERT (Bonaire)

At the San Bernardo Catholic Church there will be a concert with european and Antillean music; vocals, flute, piano, organ, saxophones, kwarta, wiri and more.
More information

27-Jan-18 to 27-Jan-18
CULTURAL EVENT 'NOS ZJILEA' (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon
More information

27-Jan-18 to 27-Jan-18
DIVE FRIENDS CLEAN UP DIVE (Bonaire)

The quarterly clean up of the Island
More information

Events in Feburary

2-Feb-18 to 2-Feb-18
TASTE OF BONAIRE Carnival EDITION (Bonaire)

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience food, culture, local handcrafts and all things offered on Bonaire.
More information

3-Feb-18 to 3-Feb-18
CHILDREN CARNIVAL PARADE (RINCON) (Bonaire)

The district of Rincon demonstrates its Carnival spirit with the presentation of its own children parade.

4-Feb-18 to 4-Feb-18
CHILDREN CARNIVAL PARADE (KRALENDIJK) (Bonaire)

The district of Rincon demonstrates its Carnival spirit with the presentation of its own children parade.

10-Feb-18 to 10-Feb-18
GRAN CARNIVAL PARADE (RINCON) (Bonaire)

This is a prelude to the Grand Carnival Parade. Local musicians create an exceptional ambiance in Rincon by playing their latest carnival hits to the delight of hundreds of marchers dressed in resplendent costumes.

11-Feb-18 to 11-Feb-18
GRAN CARNIVAL PARADE (PLAYA) (Bonaire)

The largest carnival parade is the Grand Parade through Kralendijk held on Sunday before Ash Wednesday. This parade is filled with unforgettable music, spectacular floats and original costumes decorated with colorful stones, sequins and feathers, creating a unique display.

12-Feb-18 to 12-Feb-18
Carnival MONDAY 2018 (Bonaire)

The end of the Carnival season is marked with a Parade ending in Kralendijk followed by the symbolic burning of "King Momito" which takes place on the parking lot of the stadium.

Events in March

24-Feb-18 to 24-Feb-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

Events in April

31-Mar-18 to 31-Mar-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

8-Apr-17 to 9-Apr-17
DIVE FRIENDS CLEAN UP DIVE (Bonaire)

The quarterly clean up of the Island

30-Mar-18 to 30-Mar-18
Good Friday (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

1-Apr-18 to 1-Apr-18
EASTER SUNDAY (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

2-Apr-18 to 2-Apr-18
SIMADAN (HARVEST) FESTIVAL RINCON (Bonaire)

Public Holiday- Easter Monday - Simadan stems from Bonaire's slave days and celebrates the growing season's harvest (typically March/April). The festive harvest celebration in Bonaire varies from other places, perhaps, as a direct result of the way slaves on Bonaire were treated.

27-Apr-18 to 27-Apr-18
KING'S DAY (Bonaire)

Public Holiday in honor of King Willem Alexander.

28-Apr-18 to 28-Apr-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

30-Apr-18 to 30-Apr-18
Rincon Day (Bonaire)

Rincon Day is a special day on the island of Bonaire, where the focus is in the oldest town of Bonaire and the Dutch Caribbean. Visitors can enjoy an array of local cuisines and listen to local music and traditional dances.  All of these activities take place in the center of Rincon where locals and visitors meet and enjoy several cultural festivities. The ceremony starts at 11 am and the events will continue until 12am

Events in May

1-May-18 to 1-May-18
Labor Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

26-May-18 to 26-May-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

Events in July

30-Jun-18 to 30-Jun-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

7-Jul-18 to 7-Jul-18
Taste of Bonaire- Talent Edition (Bonaire)

At the Taste of Bonaire, visitors will have the opportunity to experience food, culture, local handicrafts and all things offered on Bonaire. 
More information

8-Jul-17 to 9-Jul-17
DIVE FRIENDS CLEAN UP DIVE (Bonaire)

The quarterly clean up of the Island

28-Jul-18 to 28-Jul-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

Events in August

4-Aug-18 to 4-Aug-18
Taste of Bonaire- Recycle Edition (Bonaire)

At the Taste of Bonaire, visitors will have the opportunity to experience food, culture, local handicrafts and all things offered on Bonaire. 
More information

Events in September

25-Aug-18 to 25-Aug-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

1-Sep-18 to 1-Sep-18
Taste of Bonaire- Bonaire & Dance Edition (Bonaire)

At the Taste of Bonaire, visitors will have the opportunity to experience food, culture, local handicrafts and all things offered on Bonaire. 
More information

6-Sep-18 to 6-Sep-18
Bonaire Flag Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

15-Sep-18 to 15-Sep-18
Bonaire Clean Up Day (Bonaire)

29-Sep-18 to 29-Sep-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

Events in October

10-Oct-18 to 13-Oct-18
Bonaire Sailing Regatta (Bonaire)

During this event the bay will be filled with sails from all kinds of sailing divisions, all competing for their class championship.
More information

27-Oct-18 to 27-Oct-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

Events in November

3-Nov-18 to 3-Nov-18
Taste of Bonaire- Wellness (Bonaire)

At the Taste of Bonaire Wellness, visitors will have the opportunity to experience Healthy Food, Local grown products and all things wellness related offered on Bonaire. On top of that, visitors will have the opportunity to participate interactive activities such as Zumba, 

Events in December

24-Nov-18 to 24-Nov-18
Nos Zjilea (Bonaire)

This event has a fusion of local arts & crafts, plants & vegetables and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at cultural park Mangazina di Rei located at the east-entrance of Rincon.
More information

15-Dec-18 to 15-Dec-18
Kingdom Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

22-Dec-18 to 22-Dec-18
Bonaire Christmas Shopping Night (Bonaire)

At the Bonaire Christmas Shopping Night, visitors will have the opportunity to experience amazing shopping with discount in most of the stores in Kaya Grandi and Kaya Grandi adjacent. On top of that, visitors will have the opportunity to see the elderly Christmas themed parade

25-Dec-18 to 25-Dec-18
Christmas Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

26-Dec-18 to 26-Dec-18
Boxing Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

History and Culture

The first known arrivals were the Caquetio tribe of Arawak Indians who reached Bonaire in their dugout canoes around 1375-1325 BC. Their traces remain in the form of many rock carvings. They called the island Bonay, meaning low country and this was modified by the early Spanish and Dutch to Bojnoj and Bonaire. The Arawaks lived as a peaceful, fishing-based culture until the arrival of Amerigo Vespucci on September 6th, 1499. He initially named Bonaire the Isla de Palo Brasil after the Brasilwood found there which was used as a dye. Vespucci put Bonaire on the new world map but inadvertently helped the Spanish to return there in 1527, and the Indians were forcibly deported to what is now the Dominican Republic to work in the copper mines. Bonaire’s first official settlement, Rincón, was established with successful exports in salt, meat, hides, and divi-divi pods (used for tanning in nearby Curaçao). The Dutch and Spanish fought over the island for eighty years, with the Dutch finally taking control in 1636. The British also had brief control over the island and it is they who established the capital Kralendijk. Slavery was abolished in 1862.

During World War II, when the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans, Bonaire became a protectorate of the US and Britain, and an internment camp was built, housing several hundred Dutch, German and British Nazi-sympathisers. This facility was later converted to an hotel!

A New Era

Since 2010, Bonaire became a special municipality of the Netherlands (although not part of the European Union) but the results of a referendum scheduled for 18 December 2015 might very well bring change. Bonaire is a leader in the Caribbean in ecological responsibility and there are many initiatives to preserve the fragile balance between human occupation and protecting nature. Bon Bini na Boneiru – Welcome to Bonaire! – is the greeting for visitors. African traditions are still alive today in the Maskarada (or masquerade), a costume parade festival with music and dancing; and Barí is another annual festival which allows everybody to catch up on all the gossip and the news.