This Dutch Caribbean Island Is Notorious For Its Dive Spots

Travel east of Aruba and Curaçao and just north of Venezuela, and you’ll find the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire, the lesser-known (but equally beautiful) of the ABC islands.

BonairePhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Home to just 18,000 people, and only 38 kilometres long and eight kilometres wide, this tiny country boasts a rich history and year-round sunshine. Not to mention, it has some of the most spectacular diving and prettiest beaches in the world.

Best hotel 

A quick drive from Flamingo International Airport and you’ll find yourself at Van der Valk Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire, a seaside all-inclusive. Order a Caribbean Sunset (gin, crème de banane and blue curaçao) at the Coconut Crash Beach Bar before parking yourself poolside with a book. When you feel like getting some exercise, try one of the island’s popular sports, beach tennis, at one of the hotel’s two courts.

Best restaurant 

Grab lunch at the Brass Boer at Delfins Beach Resort Bonaire. Start with the tuna (it’s caught fresh daily), and then move on to the spicy melon, avocado, sesame and radish ceviche. Warning: this dish has a kick. Meat lovers are in luck, too. Try the lamb with cabbage, cucumber and curry yogurt. Finish with the cookie, coconut and ice cream dessert served in a coconut shell. Side note: you won’t have a problem deciphering their menu, since it includes emojis.

Best eco-adventure

If you’re craving a cave experience, look no further. There are over 400 caves to explore on the island and no shortage of tour operators either. However, Tourism Bonaire recommends choosing one of their four certified caving operators for your excursion. Head out for a guided tour and learn about the role these caverns play in Bonaire’s ecosystem. The coolest part: snorkelling in the small openings of crystal-clear water you come across. (Looking to stay fit on your vacay? Here are some more caribbean hotspots for active travel.)

Best dive site

There are 22 beaches on the island and there’s no wrong choice when it comes to picking one to visit. But Klein Bonaire (Dutch for “Little Bonaire”) is an uninhabited island less than a kilometre away and it’s worth the quick trip over. (You can take a water taxi, snorkelling tour boat or rent a kayak.) Snorkel or dive there and you’re guaranteed to see stunning marine life, including dozens of types of colourful fish, sea cucumber and coral. Oh, and swimming with sea turtles is all kinds of incredible.

Best island delicacy 

“Best” may be a matter of taste in this instance, but there is a local delicacy that residents certainly are crazy about. Go to Posada Para Mira (on the outskirts of Bonaire’s oldest town, Rincon) and you’ll be welcomed with a hearty bowl of iguana soup. Not surprisingly, it tastes a bit like chicken but more gamey. You can also try conch in Bonaire, just not local conch. What you’ll be dining on is imported from other islands to preserve Bonaire’s conch population. Next, read up on 6 Taiwan wellness secrets you need to know ASAP.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada