Bonaire is the “B” in the southern Caribbean’s ABC island trio — Aruba and Curacao are the other, more well-known sisters. This tiny island enjoys its rep as a diver's paradise and a place where visitors can truly relax. Don’t expect tons of bustling bars or clanging casinos at the Kralendijk port. Instead, get out and enjoy nature, from the thousands of flamingos at the Gotomeer saltwater lagoon to the gentle waters at Chachacha Beach.
What We Love
Snorkeling: The water surrounding Bonaire is a heavily protected national marine sanctuary. Find the yellow rocks that indicate a snorkel spot, grab your mask, and gawk at the scads of angel, parrot, and butterfly fish just feet from the shore.
Pink Beach: It’s a 15-minute drive from port to petite Pink Beach, whose name comes from the crushed shells of foraminifera — amoebas. It’s a nice swimming and snorkeling spot, too, so expect to see families.
Best Known For
Diving: There are 86 official dive sites on Bonaire, where you can watch eagle rays and sea turtles gently glide by, as well as multicolor schools of fish.
Slow Pace: Unlike other islands, where the vibe is “party all the time,” Bonaire is for folks who seriously want to decompress.
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Who It's Best For
Water Lovers: It’s near impossible to resist the turquoise sea — even non-swimmers have been tempted into the shallow waters. Once you get in, you won’t want to get out.
Immersive Foodies: Those looking for more authentic eats like funchi (polenta), plantains, and curry should follow locals to spots like Maiky Snack, Eddy’s, or Rincón’s Rose Inn.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Nightlife Is Lacking: Most visitors are here to dive, so bedtime comes early. Stores, restaurants, etc., reflect the atmosphere.
Pay Up: There is a fee to enter the Bonaire National Marine Park (the cost is based on your activity). Be prepared to show your tag, which you must wear at all times.
Chanize Thorpe is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides and Uptown.