The diving here is among the best in the Caribbean, with pristine reefs and wonderful visibility as there is no run-off to muddy the waters and it is out of the hurricane belt. The climate is dry and the vegetation little more than scrub, slow-growing hardwood trees and cactus but it is prized by birdwatchers. Once important as a salt producer, this Dutch island now makes its living out of tourism. Bonaire is the least densely populated of the ABC islands and the inhabitants are mostly of mixed native South American, European and African descent. They are a very friendly and hospitable people. The island is clean, quiet, peaceful and very safe. As in Curaçao and Aruba, Dutch is the language of the government, but Papiamentu, the colloquial tongue, and English are also official languages. Spanish is widely spoken too.

Getting there

Long-distance regular direct flights come from Amsterdam, Houston and New York, while additional connecting flights from the USA and Europe come via Aruba, Curaçao, Montego Bay, Jamaica and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and there are charter flights from other destinations in season.

Getting around

There is no scheduled bus service, but so-called
(AB on the licence plate) pass at certain places in town and take you where want to go for a few guilders. There are taxis at the airport but they are difficult to find around the island. The best way of getting about is to hire a car, scooter or mountain bike. Distances are not great but the heat can be. Some hotels have a free shuttle service to town. Hitching is fairly easy and safe.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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