The Netherlands Antilles is a former
Dutch colony. Also known as the ABC Islands of the Leeward Antilles (in turn part of the Lesser Antilles) the three islands of Aruba, Bonaire
and Curaçao, just north of Venezuela, together with Sint Eustatius, Saba and
Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands, are still part of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands as an autonomy (Aruba is actually an independent
South of the hurricane belt
Bonaire lies below the dreaded hurricane belt, and you can dive all year
round. It rains a good deal in November-December but air and water
temperatures lie at a steady 30 and 27 degrees, respectively, all year round.
You'll need a car
Although Bonaire is only 35 km long and between four and eight km wide
you’ll need a vehicle unless you want to spent all your dives at the house
reef of your chosen dive shop/resort. Driving is easy and uncomplicated.
Remember to be very careful at night due to donkeys on the road.
The price level is European since everything but salt and drinking water has
to be imported. It is still one of the cheaper places in the Caribbean as
American mass tourism hasn’t (yet) set its eye on Bonaire.
Washington-Slagbaai on the northern part – a bit greener than usual but it
had been raining cats and dogs for a couple of days.
Not all is bliss
We did observe that young people from Holland seemed first in line in bars,
shops, dive centres and restaurants – while locals were dishwashers,
servants, working in the back and the like.
According to a resident Dutch
guy we met, many locals were in some kind of misuse – mainly alcohol or
cocaine – but no-one seemed willing to discuss these issues openly.
Apparently an atmosphere of colonialism stills hangs above Bonaire.
The island of Bonaire has a very active tourist board and Bonaire has lots
of fans, so you’ll have no trouble finding ressources on the Internet. These
are some of the better ones.
Geographia.com’s pages on Bonaire
Bonaire for Dive Pros
Breathe Bonaire with underwater webcam
(2 seconds refresh rate)
Bonaire Talk is a forum discussing anything you could ever think of
asking. Keeps you up-to-date.