Photo Credit: David Stahl

Bonaire is a perfect retreat for those looking to relax and soak up the natural wonders found on the island and surrounding coastline. The abundance of marine wildlife and spectacular coral reefs draw visitors from around the globe to the blue depths of the Caribbean. Onshore, flora, fauna and an endless array of birds make for some great walks, treks and bicycle rides and there are a number of tour operators on hand to help you get the most out of your stay on this beautiful island.

Many visitors base themselves in the capital city of Kralendijk, Bonaire’s main gateway from where a plethora of diving, snorkeling and boat tours depart. In addition to marine activities, there are an abundance of things to pursue inland, including hiking, horseback riding and cycling through the rugged backdrop and brilliant scenery.

Diving is by far the biggest pull to this charming Caribbean island, and with more than 50 dive sites and unspoiled coral reefs it’s obvious why. The calm and unique waters around Bonaire make it ideal for diving throughout the year and with an annual ‘nature tag’ it is possible to explore the marine park year-round. An endless number of dive operators are located throughout Bonaire, including Captain Don’s Habitat and Great Adventures Bonaire.

Bonaire is also renowned for it ideal windsurfing conditions, particularly around Lac Bay. The large, protected bay with its steady winds and year-round sunshine make it one of the world’s top destinations for novices and professionals alike. Bonaire Windsurf Place provides lessons and rents equipment.

One of the best ways to uncover the diverse wildlife and natural beauty is on a hiking tour. The dirt roads and goat trails scattered around Bonaire are ideal for scaling, especially in the Washington Slagbaai National Park, which also has the island’s highest peak, Brandaris Hill. Tours can be arranged through various operators, such as Rincon-based Soldachi Tours.

Another great way to check out Bonaire’s fascinating scenery is horseback riding. The island is home to two stables which offer a few scenic routes along the beach and the backroads, visiting small communities and getting a feel for life as an islander. Rancho-Washikemba, on Bonaire’s eastern coast, offers lessons and tours.

If you fancy trying your luck on the tables, gambling while the sun sets overhead is a great way to pass the time. Divi Flamingo Casino is an easy-going venue that has Blackjack, Roulette and slot machines, and is the Caribbean’s only barefoot casino open daily.

Bird watching is an extremely popular pastime on the island due to the wide range of species which call the area home. More than 190 different varieties are present, including the Amazon parrot, parakeets and Bonaire’s most famous resident, the pink flamingo. A flamingo sanctuary is located on the island, but it is not open to the public. It is possible to catch a glimpse of these timid creatures on tours organized by Bonaire Dive & Adventure.

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