Bonaire — Shopping and Leisure
While Bonaire is not particularly recognized as a great shopping destination, there are some great outlets with enticing and reasonably priced goods. Unlike many other Caribbean hotspots, the island is not littered with souvenir shops selling trinkets and the usual over-priced vacation gifts. There is one quirky shopping avenue in Kralendijk, featuring a variety of small, boutiques and unique merchants from Dutch cheese to Cuban cigars. Reasonably priced, high-quality china and gold jewelry can also be found on this stretch.
A number of shops within the resorts offer products and prices comparable to those back in the US and Europe. It is worth noting that Cuban cigars cannot be imported back to the US. A trip to the Bonaire arts and crafts market is also highly-recommended if you want to get a flavor of the local scene and purchase gifts to take home.
The original downtown buildings along Kaya Grandi date back to the late 1800’s, traditionally housing families upstairs and shops below. Some of these have been renovated and restored, providing an air of authenticity and a charming atmosphere. If you are lucky enough to be in Bonaire on the first Saturday of the month, head over to Rincon Street Market and practice your haggling skills amongst the ramshackle collection of stalls.
There are also a few malls on the island, which cater to the everyday requirements of most travelers and are useful places to pick up clothes, toiletries and food. A number of stores, particularly in the open-air Harborside Mall, focus on equipment for diving, windsurfing and other marine activities, in addition to beachwear. High-end cosmetics and perfumers are also found in abundance, in addition to a wide assortment of liquors and wines. Reductions on duty-free imports make these products fairly cheap, but it is always advised to check how much you can bring back. Bear in mind it is illegal to take sea fans, coral and conch shells off the island.