Are you ready for a little island life? Let me introduce a very special spot in the Caribbean. Remember a TV commercial with a funky brand of rum in the leading role, palm trees swaying and a colourful hammock waving in the sun? We all long for such dreamy escapes from our busy lives. Is it nostalgia for those far-away days when the world was less crowded and travel was always an expedition? Or is it the romance of mixing urban vibes with the hippy lifestyle? Well, if you are not the glits-and-glam type and can live without a Hermes Boutique for a week, come enjoy unspoiled Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles.
Here there are no traffic lights, only one roundabout, and you can still drive your scooter without a helmet. You’ll find fresh fish every day at the cay, and smiling locals offering baskets of tropical fruits at their market stalls.
The main events here are found both above and below the waterline. First and foremost, Bonaire is a diver’s paradise. Day and night you’ll see funny ‘frogs’ in water. Lessons and gear rental are easy to find and there is something for every experience level. Choose oxygen tanks and diving gear or simply pick up a pair of flippers and mask, walk to the water’s edge and dive in. Within moments you’ll discover yourself in the most breath-taking blue-water seaquarium under the sun.
More skill is needed for surfing and kite-boarding. Try a kite class for a real thrill! An old bus parks every day on the kite-spot: Roan and his wife Carla are a charming combination of both Dutch and Chilenean hospitality. He is a terrific teacher and she takes care of your appetite, suntan advice and class reservations. Even if you don’t kite yourself, this sport is great to watch from your beach chair.
Surfing is another sport, which makes use of the famous Bonaire tradewinds. With over a kilometre of deep, warm-water shoreline, legendary waves and a protected reef, Sorobon Beach is the perfect spot. Beach babes will find the best hangout on the island here, too. If ever there was a quintessential location for the ultimate rum commercial, it would be Jibe City. Pull your wooden chair right down to the waterline, put your straw hat on, and order yourself a cold Polar Beer and crab salad. This is heaven!
Architecture contributes to the elegant simplicity here. Famous Dutch designer Piet Boon left his heart in Bonaire over 30 years ago while traveling the world as a young hippy. Although his busy schedule is filled today with building dreams for global clientele, a few years back he constructed his own private residence on the island. Nowadays, visitors see his signature throughout Bonaire. His timeless designs use local materials such as coral, palm leaves, concrete, and wood to create beach houses where cooling island breezes sweep right indoors.
The best articles tell the whole story of a destination and while Bonaire is a great choice for those who want to kick back, relax and rediscover the simple life, it also has its drawbacks. The Michelin guide never ever set foot on this island. Mainstreet Kralendijk is truly dull if you are looking for designer names; a museum of national history cannot be found here; locals have yet to discover the sport of golf; and the Havana bar only has one bartender (who plays lousy guitar songs). Still, it might be said that these are very things that give Bonaire it’s casual charm.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect venue for your best-friend’s wedding, a fresh location for your top clients’ next Board meeting, an awesome sports destination for an incentive sales team, or simply planning your own private holiday, consider Bonaire. a true pearl of the Caribbean.