Bonaire is an amazing, low key island, known for its pioneering role in the preservation of nature, especially the marine environment. This beautiful island is located in the Dutch Caribbean, or possibly better known as the Southern Caribbean, and one of the ABC islands which include Aruba and Curaco.
Some of the main things that draw people to this small, desert like island are scuba diving, which is excellent, windsurfing, and my favorite, endless snorkeling. Over 55% of Bonaires visitors have been there before and they keep going back for more! The people of Bonaire are friendly, the climate is warm, and the underwater life is colorful, abundant and beautiful. I speak about this first hand for I’ve been there twice and plan to return. My passion for Bonaire is snorkeling, the warm climate, friendly people, and colorful architecture. Not to mention as soon as you step off the airplane everything slows down.
Snorkeling and diving in Bonaire is magical. There are countless areas with easy access for getting in and out of the water and parking is not a problem. The waters are not overly crowded with others so many times you may have a snorkeling or diving spot all to yourself, but for safety purposes never go alone. This beautiful underwater life is teaming with wonderful creatures and schools of fish. Having seen so many of these amazing underwater creatures one of my most memorable experiences has been ,when I spotted an octopus. A rare event indeed! I was not diving but snorkeling! Without bothering it too much I was able to get a few great photos.
Octopuses are shy creatures and not easy to find. I’ve snorkeled in many other tropical places and I’ve never seen one before. I was very excited to see this little guy. What’s amazing about octopuses is their ability to change colors so quickly as they move from place to place. Absolutely fascinating! The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order octopoda. Octopuses have four pairs of arms, two eyes, and like other cephalopods, they are bilaterally symmetric. Its mouth is at the center point of its arms and has a hard beak. Having no internal or external skeleton allows them to squeeze through tight places. Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates. Octopuses inhabit many diverse regions of the ocean from coral reefs, pelagic waters to the ocean floor. They have many strategies for self defense against predators, which include explosive ink, camouflage and their ability to jet quickly through the water. They are also very good at hiding. All octopuses are venomous but only one group, the Blue-Ringed Octopuses are known to be deadly to humans. Luckily, Bonaire is not blessed with these poisonous creatures to the best of my knowledge, after doing extensive research on this group to find out!
To sum things up, Bonaire is laid back, slow paced, and tranquil. The climate is wonderful and the water is teaming with life just waiting to be discovered. However, don’t let this slow paced atmosphere fool you into thinking there’s not much to do besides diving, snorkeling, and windsurfing, although, that would still be good enough for me to want to go back again and again. Bonaire also offers kayaking in mangroves, land cycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, etc. There is a donkey sanctuary, butterfly garden, flamingo and bird watching, dancing, shopping and the list goes on. There are also special events throughout the year. Bonaire also has great night life, world class restaurants, and fun shopping. There are fresh fruit and vegetable stands and lots of little markets and grocery stores. As funny as this may sound, just going to the grocery store is an adventure in cultural diversity. The official language of Bonaire is Dutch; however, the native language is Papiamentu. Papiamentu is spoken exclusively in the ABC islands. This language is a mixture of several different languages including Dutch, Portuguese, French, English, Caribbean Indian, Spanish, and various African languages! Phew, that’s incredible! The only problem I ever had in Bonaire with language was trying to buy salsa or hot sauce at the grocery store. The labels were in a language I couldn’t read. I couldn’t tell if the product was ketchup, salsa, or hot sauce! With the outdoor markets and several large and small grocery stores, eating a home cooked meal is not a problem. Personally I loved staying in a home on the island with a well equipped kitchen. It gave me the sensation of being a resident, not just a visitor. What a great feeling! I’m looking forward to going back to Bonaire and have nothing but good things to say about it.
Story and photos by Glenda
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