Few travelers visit Bonaire, compared to the large crowds that flock to some of the more well-known islands of the Caribbean. Here’s what they’re missing…
Whether you’re looking for a new Caribbean destination to visit, or you just want to gaze on something other than the inside of your work cubicle, these photos from Bonaire will make your day a bit brighter.
Taken by some of the world’s most talented photographers, these pictures capture the magic of one of the Caribbean’s most secretive islands.
Located about 100 miles off the northern coast of Venezuela in South America, Bonaire is part of the ABC island group in the Leeward Islands. It lies just north of the equator, yet just below the Atlantic Hurricane belt. That means it is rarely hit by hurricanes!
Lush, green, and unspoiled, Bonaire is popular with adventure seekers. It is one of the best islands in the world for snorkeling and diving. Part of the reason for this is because the country is surrounded by a protected coral reef. Bonaire National Marine Park has over 6,700 acres of thriving coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves.
Photos of Bonaire
All photos are property of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. Photo Credits: Bonphoto, Clecio Mayrink, Alcides Falange, Abi Smigel Mullens, Lorenzo Mittiga, Javier del Campo, Anita Blackwelder
1. Under the Sea
Grab your snorkeling gear and head to Bonaire to behold amazing underwater scenes like the one captured in this photo. You’ll find more than 340 species of fish in Bonaire National Marine Park.
2. Where desert and ocean meet
Observe this photo carefully, and you’ll see what appears to be cacti on the rocky cliffs at the water’s edge. The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) are known for having a drier climate than some of the other Caribbean islands. This results in certain “desert-like” areas where cacti thrive.
3. Flamingos take flight
Besides fish and coral, Bonaire is replete with hundreds of species of birds. Brightly-colored flamingos are among them. They get their vibrant color from carotenoid pigments in the algae and crustaceans they eat. This not only gives them pink plumage, but pink skin and even pink blood. In addition, the crop milk that they secrete to feed their young is also pink.
4. White as snow
It’s sand so white, you’d think it’s snow. However, the bright green leaves juxtaposed with magenta flowers will clue you in to the fact that this picture was snapped at a Caribbean beach in Bonaire. The island has more than its fair share of stunning sandy shores.
5. Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue in Bonaire, year round. However, even if you’re caught in a brief shower, you’ll undoubtedly be rewarded with the sight of a gorgeous rainbow, like the one above.
6. Land’s End
Bonaire is blessed with magnificent rocky cliffs upon which the waves crash and splash. Many of these dramatic rock formations can be found at Washington Slagbaai National Park. The park is a hot spot for hidden coves, secluded beaches, and pure, unspoiled nature.
7. Pyramids of Salt
Now this is a sight you don’t see every day. Unless you live in Bonaire, of course. These salt pyramids are 50 feet tall! They are used for stacking up washed salt crystals before they are exported to countries all over the world.
The salt industry is immensely important to this island nation. The Cargill facility alone can produce 400,000 tonnes of salt a year!
In addition, the unique pink salt flats you see here take up about one-tenth of the country’s surface area. They get their color from the salinity of the brine.
8. Ocean friends
Turtles thrive in the coral reef surrounding Bonaire. You might have the opportunity to swim with them, if you’re lucky. The island is home to three of the world’s seven species of sea turtles: green, hawksbill, and loggerheads.
9. The Milky Way
This entry in the 2016 Bonaire Photo Contest is a great example of the excellent conditions for astrophotography on the island. The magnificent view of the Milky Way combined with the sharp peak of the obelisk in the foreground makes this photo particularly stunning. This peaceful spot was once home to hundreds of slaves who were forced to live in tiny concrete huts and harvest sea salt under brutal conditions.
10. Birds of Bonaire
This royal tern was captured flipping and flitting near the ocean waves by Bonaire. With over 210 species of sea birds, shore birds and land birds, the island is paradise for bird watchers and bird photographers. The most common bird on the island is the Frigatebird, named after warships of the 17th-19th centuries.
Other birds common to the country are the brown pelican, reddish egret, tricolored heron, and the snowy egret.
Bonaire has something of everything– beautiful beaches, butterfly gardens, quaint shops, Dutch architecture, and even a 16th-century Spanish town. Enjoy the Carnival festival in February or March, and sunny weather year round. Any time is a good time to visit Bonaire. In fact, you can catch a direct flight there from Miami or Toronto. It’s also possible to fly in from the nearby islands of Curacao or Aruba.
Activities in Bonaire
- Night diving with UV light
- Shopping in Kralendijk (the capital city)
- See parrots at Echo Conservation Centre
- Visit the Butterfly Garden
- See the slave huts near the Salt Lake on the southern tip
- Go bird watching
- Go to 1000 steps beach
Where to Stay in Bonaire
Most hotels and resorts in Bonaire are grouped together on the islands southwest side. However, the best place to stay on this island is your own private villa! You’ll love having enough space for your entire family or group of friends. In addition, there’s nothing like waking up to a breathtaking ocean view in the morning, something you won’t find at your average hotel. Browse through these incredible villas to find the perfect one for your needs!
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