Bonaire: Around the Island

Adventure in Bonaire wasn't limited to underwater. Between dives, we spent hours exploring the island ...

Happy Holiday Homes backdoorKralendijk from Windsock

In the afternoons, we returned to our apartment to rinse the saltwater off our gear and off ourselves. (While in Bonaire, we stayed at Happy Holiday Homes. If you are planning a trip, we highly recommend it for clean, spacious, modern accomodations with unbeatable hospitality from owners Louise and Mel.)

Downtown Bonaire
Downtown Bonaire

Kralendijk is the capital of Bonaire. However, with only 15,000 people on the entire island, Kralendijk is really just a friendly small town. Most restaurants, bars, clubs, gift shops, and grocery stores are located in and around the capital. (Tip: Be certain to pick up some fresh-baked whole grain bread at Cultimara grocery store. We ate two loaves in a week... yes, it was that good.)

Karpata shore diving site marker rockMegan and Chris in front of Karpata Plantation building

Yellow rocks like this one mark the 60+ recommended shore diving sites around the island. This one, Karpata, is named for an old plantation across the street.

Karpata dive site entry view

This is the entry point to Karpata. It was our last dive of the trip. Since we were carrying 60+ lbs of gear and weights, and there was some wicked surf and current, the old concrete pier you see here came in handy to hold on to. We still got a bit banged up, but it was worth it. We saw our first (and only) hawksbill turtle here!

Karpata, last dayKarpata smooch, last day
Chris on coral-paved walkway inside Karpata plantation

Chris was fascinated with how the walkways of this old plantation area were paved with coral. He wanted Megan to take this picture so he could show his Dad.

Inviting water near KarpataRoadside overhanging cliff, near Jeff Davis
Roadside coastlineInviting water near Karpata
North of KarpataChris in Toyota truck
North of Karpata
North of Karpata
Windmill OasisMountains

We both found the desert/beach dichotomy fascinating. While inland looked like the Dutch had settled Arizona, the coast looked like they'd taken Florida ... palm trees, iguanas, cacti, beaches ... windmills?!

Opposite Lac Bay
Megan at Lac Bay
Chris at Lac Bay

Lac Bay is located on the east side of Bonaire, a brief 30-minute drive across the island. What struck us the most about this area was how quickly the scene changed ... one minute, we're surrounded by other sunburned and mostly out-of-shape American/European divers and couples on holiday. When we crossed the island, we were suddenly in Baja, California surrounded by tan, muscled men and stunning young women ... Pink Floyd, VW buses, and surfboards everywhere. No kidding. It was like stepping into the vacation twilight zone. Drop by Bonaire Pros while you're in Bonaire if you're looking for the windsurfing or kayaking experience.

Lac Bay is also home to the mangrove bays of Bonaire. You can arrange a guided Kayak tour through the bay with Discover Bonaire. (We only drove through the area, and saw plenty of egrets, herons, pelicans, and flamingos.)


Although you just see pink dots here, when Megan looks through her binoculars she sees hundreds of flamingos.

There are thousands of them on the island. By some estimates, there are more flamingos on Bonaire than people. But it's not recommended that you get too close to them. They're so skiddish that they've been known to abandon their nests when frightened.

Chris on Bonaire's eastern shore
Chris on Bonaire's eastern shore

Chris is looking out over the relatively rough seas of the eastern shore. No diving here. At least not for divers of our level.

Megan at Boca Onima

One of the most beautiful areas on the eastern shore is a little bay called Boca Onima.

After frightening away a skiddish Dutch family we spent a couple hours here.

Megan at Boca Onima
Chris at Boca Onima
Boca Onima Bonaire
Megan and our truck
Megan at Boca Onima

After eight days we were heading home. A wonderful vacation!

By the way, in the last photo below note Megan's tan and Chris's still-pale skin. That's the result of SPF 50 slathered on liberally twice a day, for one of us. Megan refused to use the stuff. She got some color, but some of it was bright red.

From Kralendijk looking SouthFrom Kralendijk looking South
Bonaire sunset, last evening
Bonaire smooch, last night

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