With more than 400 fish species and 50 types of coral, it’s easy to see why Bonaire is rated the number one dive destination in the Caribbean. Experienced divers will marvel at the pristine reefs and marine life, but if you’re not PADI certified, there are plenty of other ways to explore the crystal clear waters of Bonaire National Marine Park. Jump in a glass bottom kayak, snorkel, or even relax and ride in a 32-foot glass bottom boat while you search for fish like blue tangs and wrasses, and both hawksbill and green sea turtles.
Looking for flamingos? Goto Lake, or Gotomeer, is a land-locked saltwater lagoon on the north side of the island that regularly attracts flocks of Bonaire’s national bird. Flamingos have also been known to hang out at the Pekelmeer Sanctuary, near the salt ponds on the southern tip of the island. Set between rows of harvested salt pyramids, the pink salt ponds get their color from a microorganism called halophilic bacteria, and they make for a unique photo op. Lac Bay National Park is another popular spot for wildlife watchers, with impressive mangrove forests, barrier reefs and unspoiled beaches.
The charming and colorful town of Rincon, which was settled by the Spanish in 1527, was Bonaire’s first village and the oldest settlement in the Dutch Caribbean. Located on the north end of the island, the area has several stunning vistas, especially if you drive along the Kaya Para Mira Road. An equally impressive assortment of colorful buildings can be found in the capital city of Kralendijk, including the lighthouse at Fort Oranje. The current lighthouse, which is painted a vibrant shade of orange, was built in 1932, but the original fort dates back to 1639, and it is the oldest structure on the island.