Bonaire is an island which is part of the Netherlands. It lies off Venezuela’s coast in the southern Caribbean and with its sister islands Aruba and Curaçao, they form the so-called “ABC islands”. Its capital city is Kralendijk and it has also an older town called Rincon.
How to get there ✈️
From Europe, there are daily flights from Amsterdam with KLM and four times a week with TUI. If you live outside of the Netherlands, you’ll have to add a short connecting flight from your city to Amsterdam.
The KLM flight has a funny route. From Amsterdam it lands first in Aruba. Some people get off, others get on and after an hour the plane continues to Bonaire (you need to leave the plane and stay “in transit” in Aruba before getting on the same plane again for the final bit).
Once in Bonaire the plane is emptied, cleaned and refueled and goes back to Amsterdam with a new crew. In summary, the inbound flight has a 1 hr stop in Aruba but the outbound flight is direct.
How to move around in the island 🗺️
To move around the island, you’ll need a car. I thought it was a small island and that the Dutch might have built bicycles lanes everywhere. Wrong. The distances are quite long and there aren’t any bicycle lanes. I recommend you rent a car at least for some of the days (scooters are also an option but you’ll want to have air-con under the midday sun).
We opted for a solution offered by our resort, the “people movers”. Cute electric cars similar to golf cars, very easy and fun to move around. We liked that we could choose to rent them for as little as 4 hours in case we wanted to only go places for dinner or drinks in the evening. It gave us the flexibility to plan our schedules on the go and pay for the days and times we actually used the cars.
Where we stayed 🛎️
We stayed at Delfins Beach Resort. I would totally recommend it! It was a 360 degrees resort. Of course, you can also rent houses and other types of accommodation but this resort is really amazing! It is newly built, in fact there is a phase 2 still under construction. It has a fine dining restaurant (not for every night but a nice thing to have), a beach bar (which offers a reasonably priced menu coming from the same restaurant kitchen 😉), a dive center with a dive through, air-con accommodation, the possibility to rent electric cars or scooters and booking service to all the main excursions.
Besides a beautiful pool, it also has direct access to the beach, showers, lounge areas, the whole shebang! The apartments have fully equipped kitchens and balconies/gardens for ‘al fresco’ dinners at home if you are too tired to go out after a whole day in the water.
Really, from the moment you check-in until you check-out, it is all taken care of.
Where we dined in Bonaire 🍴
Here is a list of places where we had food. From fine dining to food trucks.
Beach Bars and Food Trucks
- Club Tropicana, the beach bar at the resort. It was a good option when we wanted to stay local or for an afternoon snack poolside. After all, it offered a more casual version of the Brass Boer restaurant menu. Our favourite, definitely the Brass Boer burger. Best snack is the crispy chicken Andalause.
- The Hang Out Beachbar. Located on the east coast of Bonaire in an area known as Jibe City after a windsurfing centre. This beach bar has colourful lounge beds on the water shore and very young hip vibe. On Thursdays, we heard that they do bbq nights (we missed it). Instead we had the nachos with lots of melted cheese and they were the perfect match for our beer and gin&tonic.
- King Kong Burger. Less than 10 minutes drive away from our resort there was this truck that sells the best burgers in Bonaire (as many of the locals told us). We tried them… twice! They were meaty and really tasty. A perfect lunch. They also sell hot dogs but we liked the burgers too much to try anything else.
- Coco Beach. This one was my least favourite. The location was really nice on the beach, and it had a family vibe that changed into a younger crowd as it became later with a DJ and all. The food was good but the service could have been better. It felt somewhat chaotic as none of the waiters knew what was going on (for example, we’ve been told they ran out of drink menus but also they weren’t able to tell us what were the wines available 😕). Credit for having a happy hour on Fridays from 5pm to 7pm.
Dinner Places in Bonaire
- Brass Boer. With the same management of the Michelin-starred restaurant De Librije in Zwolle, which has been voted the best restaurant in the Netherlands many times. The restaurant is inside the Delfins Beach Resort and has a beautiful sea view terrace. As a main we had the dairy cow 6 weeks matured rib to share paired with their own ‘Kus van Thérèse’ (‘Kiss from Therese) red wine. It was delicious! My boyfriend’s favourite was the dessert, a deconstructed apple pie. A very original take on a classic dish.
- Sebastian’s. This restaurant has a beautiful sea view terrace and a table on a pier that you can book free of charge (when we went that table was already fully booked, tough luck). We had nice food under the stars and with the sound of the sea in the background. Well presented dishes and very polite staff.
- The Cuba Compagnie. A Cuban inspired bar and restaurant in Kralendijk. The background music is rigorously Latin and they serve all kinds of Caribbean cocktails, from mojitos to daiquiris. The food was also really nice, plenty of options and generous portions. However, the fun part starts after dinner. They dance salsa on Thursday evenings. For us the experience was a little bit ruined by the rain that fell during dinner time. Some people left and we didn’t get to see a lot of dancing. In hindsight, I think we should have stayed later than 10:30 PM. I believe people in the island start partying quite late.
What else did we do besides eating and chilling 🤿
Excursions of course! 😄
One day we took the rental electric car from the resort and went on our own explorative trip to the South of the island. We’ve seen the salt works with the surreal pink water. We picked a spot just before the turtle protected area to do some snorkeling and spotted a turtle swimming nearby. It was fantastic!
My boyfriend, who is PADI certified, went on some fun dives nearby Klein Bonaire with “Dive Friends”, he enjoyed it a lot. While the Caribbean corals aren’t super colorful, the fish are amazing!
We took a half day snorkeling trip to Klein Bonaire with the Sea Cow Snorkel Trips by Henk and Gea. The crew was so lovely and friendly, you could tell they love all the nature around the island and they are passionate about it! We went on a boat and had two snorkeling sessions of 45 minutes with snacks and drinks in the meantime. It was one of our favourite things to do! Totally recommended.
Explore The Mangroves
The water in the mangroves is very quiet so it was easy to row our way around it. Afterwards, we did some snorkeling around the mangrove. Not the clearest water as the bottom is very sandy. Anyhow, it felt adventurous, the nature was stunning and the guide was knowledgeable and fun which is the perfect combination!
Although all three islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, they remain outside the European Union. This is why the currency in Bonaire is not the Euro but the US Dollar.
In Bonaire you could find 2 types of plugs, the American one (with two flat teeth) and the European one (with two round teeth). The image below will help more than my explanation.
In our resort there was a mix of the two types of sockets, however, I can’t guarantee there is a mix of the two everywhere you stay so bring an adaptor, just in case.
We understood that November is part of the rainy season. However, rain is usually a 10 minute long super intense shower and then hot and sunny again. It happened only once in the week we spent there and it was during dinner. We stayed under the roof in the restaurant while eating and by the time we paid the bill and left, it was all over. Maybe we were lucky but I’d definitely book in November again with the “low season/rainy season” deals.
Everybody speaks Dutch and English. Locals speak Papiamento among themselves, but no one never addressed us in Papiamento not even once. Most of the people we met, mainly in the tourism industry, were Dutch people who moved to Bonaire. We didn’t get to interact much with Bonairians, unfortunately.
I hope this post will help you plan your next holiday to Bonaire. We totally fell in love and are already planning to go back another time with family and friends.
You can leave a comment or reach out to me directly if you have any specific questions. Lots of love!