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.

Accommodation

Choose from hotels, real estate, villas & cottages

Restaurants

Lime at the bars, dine in the restaurants, take in the entertainment

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-17 to 2-Jan-17
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.

10-Jan-17 to 11-Jan-17
STINAPA PUBLIC LECTURE (Bonaire)

A talk about Shark Surveys and Coral Bleaching Monitoring in the Bonaire Marine Park

14-Jan-17 to 15-Jan-17
THE BONAIRE MARITIME FILM FESTIVAL (Bonaire)

Films include Stormvogel Rising, a short about the boat’s rebirth and Vanishing Sail, an award-winning documentary that focuses on traditional boatbuilding on Carriacou.

26-Jan-17 to 27-Jan-17
BONAIRE INTERNATIONAL FISHING TOURNAMENT 2017 (Bonaire)

Bonaire International Fishing Tournament” taking place between January 26-28, 2017. Next to fishing there will be sufficient food and drinks and of course our fabulous atmosphere at the event.
More information

28-Jan-17 to 29-Jan-17
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

28-Jan-17 to 29-Jan-17
DIVE FRIENDS CLEAN UP DIVE (Bonaire)

The quarterly clean up of the Island
More information

Events in Feburary

4-Feb-17 to 5-Feb-17
TASTE OF BONAIRE Carnival EDITION (Bonaire)

The program will be filled with music and shows. There will be food stands selling local/international food and also arts & crafts.Also a presentation of the Queen of Carnival 2017 and Prins & Pancho which will be giving their Carnival show.
More information

14-Feb-17 to 15-Feb-17
GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT (Bonaire)

Every year, nature lovers all over the Caribbean count birds in their very own backyards during one weekend in February. This year's count is scheduled for February 17-20th.

18-Feb-17 to 19-Feb-17
BIRD WATCHING WITH STINAPA FEB (Bonaire)

Great Backyard Bird Count. Taking place on February 18th, 2017 from 4.30pm to 6pm

18-Feb-17 to 19-Feb-17
Carnival Youth Parade RINCON 2017 (Bonaire)

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

19-Feb-17 to 20-Feb-17
Carnival Youth Parade KRALENDIJK 2017 (Bonaire)

Youth Grand Parade in Kralendijk includes all of the island’s different Carnival groups. Hundreds of children enjoy the opportunity to show off their dancing skills and colorful costumes.

25-Feb-17 to 26-Feb-17
Carnival Grand Parade 2017 (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.

26-Feb-17 to 27-Feb-17
Carnival Grand Parade KRALENDIJK 2017 (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.

27-Feb-17 to 28-Feb-17
Carnival MONDAY 2017 (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.

28-Feb-17 to 1-Mar-17
Carnival FAREWELL 2017 (Bonaire)

The end of the Carnival season is marked with a Parade ending in Kralendijk

Events in March

4-Mar-17 to 5-Mar-17
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

6-Mar-17 to 7-Mar-17
FIRST 50 FISH (NOVICE LEVEL 2 (Bonaire)

Sessions are led by visiting REEF expert fish id'er Kim White, and are for anyone who wants to understand more about what they are seeing when diving and snorkeling, or anyone who just wants to look at some nice underwater pictures and video clips. Attend any or all sessions to learn what's really going on underwater; it will enrich your diving experience.

6-Mar-17 to 7-Mar-17
REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION (Bonaire)

Introduction to REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), basic fish id techniques, tools and terminology.

10-Mar-17 to 11-Mar-17
BON DOET 2017 DAY 1 (Bonaire)

BON DOET is the Bonairean version of the NL DOET organized annually in the Netherlands by Oranje Fonds to bring volunteers and organizations together to earn and benefit from each other, helping our community to grow.

10-Mar-17 to 11-Mar-17
CORAL REEF MONITORING RESEARCH PRESENTATION (Bonaire)

On Friday March 10th at 7pm Dr. Robert Steneck from the University of Maine will present some highlights from his 2017 coral reef monitoring research here in Bonaire. He has visited Bonaire every 2 years since 2003 to monitor the reef. Come listen to the latest findings about coral reef challenges and changes here in Bonaire

11-Mar-17 to 12-Mar-17
BON DOET 2017 DAY 2 (Bonaire)

BON DOET is the Bonairean version of the NL DOET organized annually in the Netherlands by Oranje Fonds to bring volunteers and organizations together to earn and benefit from each other, helping our community to grow.

11-Mar-17 to 12-Mar-17
TASTE OF BONAIRE MARCH 2017 (Bonaire)

Experience great food, music, handcrafts and much more! Join us and participate in our Tourism questionnaire with the chance to win different prizes. 
More information

13-Mar-17 to 14-Mar-17
REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION (Bonaire)

Introduction to REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), basic fish id techniques, tools and terminology.

13-Mar-17 to 14-Mar-17
SECOND 50 FISH (NOVICE LEVEL 3, PART 1) (Bonaire)

Sessions are led by visiting REEF expert fish id'er Kim White, and are for anyone who wants to understand more about what they are seeing when diving and snorkeling, or anyone who just wants to look at some nice underwater pictures and video clips. Attend any or all sessions to learn what's really going on underwater; it will enrich your diving experience. 

20-Mar-17 to 21-Mar-17
REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION (Bonaire)

Introduction to REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), basic fish id techniques, tools and terminology.

20-Mar-17 to 21-Mar-17
THIRD 50 FISH (NOVICE LEVEL 3, PART 2 (Bonaire)

Sessions are led by visiting REEF expert fish id'er Kim White, and are for anyone who wants to understand more about what they are seeing when diving and snorkeling, or anyone who just wants to look at some nice underwater pictures and video clips. Attend any or all sessions to learn what's really going on underwater; it will enrich your diving experience. 

25-Mar-17 to 26-Mar-17
EARTH HOUR 2017 (Bonaire)

Earth Hour 2017 will take place on Saturday, March 25th at 8:30pm (local time).
More information

25-Mar-17 to 26-Mar-17
BIRDWATCHING WITH STINAPA AT SOROBON (Bonaire)

March and April are exciting months for birders in Bonaire because many birds are stopping over during their seasonal migrations. Join STINAPA this Saturday, March 25th at the fishermen’s pier at Sorobon to learn more about Bonaire’s birds as part of our Connecting People With Nature series

27-Mar-17 to 28-Mar-17
SPECIAL BONAIRE FISH (Bonaire)

Sessions are led by visiting REEF expert fish id'er Kim White, and are for anyone who wants to understand more about what they are seeing when diving and snorkeling, or anyone who just wants to look at some nice underwater pictures and video clips. Attend any or all sessions to learn what's really going on underwater; it will enrich your diving experience. 

27-Mar-17 to 28-Mar-17
REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION (Bonaire)

Introduction to REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), basic fish id techniques, tools and terminology.

30-Mar-17 to 31-Mar-17
MAGNIFICENT SEA ANEMONE (Bonaire)

Maddie will speak about "Population Genetics of the 'Magnificent Sea Anemone'" based on her Master's research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. We hope you will be able to join us to learn more about this project.

Events in April

1-Apr-17 to 2-Apr-17
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

9-Apr-17 to 10-Apr-17
LIFESTYLE & FASHION BONAIRE (Bonaire)

Experience island living with the best in lifestyle and fashion Bonaire has to offer. With a catwalk show, delicious cuisine and artist performances by AEMy, Jeon Arvani, DJ Veloce & Dance Sensation. 

10-Apr-17 to 11-Apr-17
PUBLIC LECTURE: A VOICE OF THEIR OWN (Bonaire)

The Dutch Caribbean islands are unique for many things: their reefs, their landscape, their language, food and overall culture. However, the local music, like many other cultural aspects, is often overlooked. In this lecture Astrid will shed some light on the Danza, how it came to be and how the Dutch Antilles ended up with their own version of this swinging, Latin American music genre.

14-Apr-17 to 15-Apr-17
Good Friday (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

16-Apr-17 to 17-Apr-17
EASTER SUNDAY (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

17-Apr-17 to 18-Apr-17
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.

17-Apr-17 to 18-Apr-17
SIMADAN DI PASTOR (Bonaire)

Simadan di Pastor is an event in Rincon on the Easter Monday starting at 4pm in the yard of the Catholic Church.

18-Apr-17 to 19-Apr-17
PHOTOGRAPHING THE STRING OF PEARLS (Bonaire)

Upcoming public lecture at CIEE research station Bonaire

21-Apr-17 to 22-Apr-17
KANTO KRIOYO BASILON (Bonaire)

Kanto Krioyo Basilon is an event where people compete in a singing competition for the best song. This will take place on April 21st starting at 8pm in Sentro di Bario Rincon

22-Apr-17 to 23-Apr-17
ELEKSHON CHICHI KU BUBU DI SKOL KRESH JARDIN TIASUS (Bonaire)

Cultural election at a preschool starting at 5pm at Sentro di Bario Rincon.

26-Apr-17 to 27-Apr-17
PARADA DI HENDE GRANDI I DI MUCHA (Bonaire)

Elderly and kids cultural parade starting location is Sentro di Bario Rincon at 4pm

27-Apr-17 to 28-Apr-17
JUVEDAM (Bonaire)

Juvedam is a cultural event where music is played and people are dancing. This will start at 4am in Rincon.

27-Apr-17 to 28-Apr-17
KING'S DAY (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

29-Apr-17 to 30-Apr-17
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-17 to 1-May-17
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-17 to 2-May-17
Labor Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

1-May-17 to 7-May-17
Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week (Bonaire)

For only $25, you will enjoy a special 3-course menu. Bonaire Blond is the most local beer brand on Bonaire and want to support this event by helping the local restaurateurs and get that guests will get to know new companies on the island. During this week the people of Bonaire discover new restaurants that they formerly had never visited. Make sure you are there! Eat. Drink. Enjoy.
More information

3-May-17 to 4-May-17
Student Reserch Presentations (Bonaire)

Topics for these presentations include: progression of coral black band disease; changes in coral bleaching patterns; substrate preferences of sea urchins; sedimentation impacts on the bell pulsation rates of Cassiopeia jellies; foraging behaviors of bar jacks; prevalence of black spot-causing parasite in surgeonfish, blue tang and bar jacks; and time allocation and habitat preferences of fairy basslets.

9-May-17 to 10-May-17
Public Presentation (Bonaire)

As part of the STINAPA - Nature Series, they will be introducing us to "Global Big Day 2017" where your observations can help support conservation.

27-May-17 to 28-May-17
Kitemanera Bonaire (Bonaire)

The Kitemanera started in 2014 by a small group of friends from the Caribbean island of ” BONAIRE”  to gather Local and International Kitersurfers with their family and friends in one crazy & unforgettable weekend where everything is possible as long as you’re enjoying yourself responsibly. The event will take place on May 27th and May 28th. For more information visit the website.
More information

27-May-17 to 28-May-17
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-May-17 to 28-May-17
INTENSE FESTIVAL (Bonaire)

Coco Beach Bonaire will be hosting the Intense Festival. It will be hosted by MC Samil from Aruba. Live act by Rochelle winner X Factor Netherlands, Gregor Salto. From Bonaire Veloce and Chris Beat. Doors open at 10pm until 3am. Location Coco Beach Bonaire.

Events in June

3-Jun-17 to 4-Jun-17
TASTE OF BONAIRE (Bonaire)

Experience great food, music, handcrafts and much more! Join us and participate in our Tourism questionnaire with the chance to win different prizes. 
More information

4-Jun-17 to 5-Jun-17
Coralpalooza (Bonaire)

In celebration of World Oceans Day, Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire will once again be participating in Coralpalooza, an international event dedicated to raising awareness for ocean conservation through coral restoration. We will have dives all day, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Any certified diver is welcome to join!

11-Jun-17 to 12-Jun-17
Annual Open House @ Washington-Slagbaai National Park (Bonaire)

It's an annual tradition for STINAPA to hold an annual open house
More information

16-Jun-17 to 17-Jun-17
Sorobon Masters (Bonaire)

This Sorobon Masters 2017 (freestyle and slalom) taking place on June 16th to June 26th 2017.
More information

Events in July

1-Jul-17 to 2-Jul-17
Taste of Bonaire (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

1-Jul-17 to 2-Jul-17
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-Jul-17 to 9-Jul-17
DIVE FRIENDS CLEAN UP DIVE (Bonaire)

The quarterly clean up of the Island

29-Jul-17 to 30-Jul-17
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

5-Aug-17 to 6-Aug-17
Taste of Bonaire (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

10-Aug-17 to 11-Aug-17
Prokids Windsurfing (Bonaire)

Taking place at Sorobon Beach, the 12th edition of Prokids Windsurfing will be from August 10th to 13th. These three days revolve around windsurfing competitions for both professional and amateur children.
More information

Events in September

2-Sep-17 to 3-Sep-17
Taste of Bonaire (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

2-Sep-17 to 3-Sep-17
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

6-Sep-17 to 7-Sep-17
Bonaire Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

30-Sep-17 to 1-Oct-17
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

11-Oct-16 to 14-Oct-16
Bonaire 50th Annual Regatta (Bonaire)

The 50th edition of the Bonaire Regatta will take place from October 11th to October 14th 2017. During this event the bay will be filled with sails from all kinds of sailing divisions, all competing for their class championship. 
More information

28-Oct-17 to 29-Oct-17
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

4-Nov-17 to 5-Nov-17
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

2-Dec-17 to 3-Dec-17
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

5-Dec-17 to 6-Dec-17
SINTERKLAAS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (Bonaire)

Originated in Holland and celebrated only in the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands, Sinterklaas (or St. Nicholas) is a day children look forward to. Sinterklaas is a tall elderly man dressed in red that rides a white horse and is accompanied by zwarte pieten (servants)

15-Dec-17 to 16-Dec-17
Kingdom Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

16-Dec-17 to 17-Dec-17
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

2-Dec-17 to 3-Dec-17
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

25-Dec-17 to 26-Dec-17
Christmas Day (Bonaire)

Public Holiday

26-Dec-17 to 27-Dec-17
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.