Bonaire was first inhabited over 2,000 years ago by Caquito indians. In 1499, the island was claimed by Spain but left undeveloped. The Dutch took possession in 1633 and Bonaire became a plantation island belonging to the Dutch West Indies Company and host to the first African slaves. By 1837, salt production was the island’s main industry, which was revitalized again in 1963.
Tourism, scuba diving, salt production, and oil trans shipment facilities are currently the island’s primary economic industries. Bonaire’s population is a mix of many cultures with over half of its residents having foreign nationalities.
Bonaire is known for it’s conservation practices and is home to one of the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean. It’s entire shoreline is under the management of the Bonaire National Marine Park. Five RAMSAR (critically important wetlands) sites have been designated in Bonaire and the island may soon be included in a World Heritage Site.
Click on the blue markers below to discover some interesting facts about Bonaire.
(Thanks to class of Fall 2011)
Bonaire & Klein Bonaire map
(click on map to enlarge)
Main city Kralendijk map
Things To Do
Bonaire is one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations in the Caribbean and is best known for its healthy reefs, calm waters, and diversity of reef organisms.
Bonaire’s night life is confined to the small town of Kralendijk. Bands come from all over the Caribbean as well as Venezuela, but be ready for late nights, as they don’t get started until well after ten in the evening. There are many cultural festivities throughout the year, but the most popular are Regatta and Carnival.
For more information, visit www.tourismbonaire.com