The following partial introduction to Bonaire was written during our brief, 2-week, visit in Bonaire at the end of last season. I had not finished regaling the many wonders of Bonaire before we needed to depart for Aruba, where Ice Floe would spend the spring and summer months, and we would head for our home on land.
We have now returned to Aruba (November 14th, 2022) and are readying Ice Floe for extended visits throughout the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao).
We arrived to Bonaire on April 10th, 2022. Our stay was short as we were near the end of our season and would soon head to Aruba to store Ice Floe on land for Hurricane season. We were there for a short two weeks but it did not take long to fall in love.
The developed portion of the island has a European presence. Extremely little litter, bicycle paths on busy roads and wide pedestrian walkways, many made with stone pavers. Many personal residences and other buildings conform to lovely mustard yellow stucco walls and tiled orange roofs.
However, these colors are by no means exclusive – the color palette is very extensive.
Construction materials are almost exclusively concrete block (stuccoed and painted) with metal or tiled rooves.
Graffiti is very rare and beautiful murals are prominent on exterior walls of shops and restaurants.
Bonaire has is warm, and windy, with high humidity and little annual rain. The average year round temperature varies from the low to mid 80os F. Average annual rainfall is only 20 inches (520 mm), most of which occurs in October through January. The constant wind amply compensates for the humidity, but it is essential to drink large quantities of water every day.
Bonaire lies outside the hurricane belt, though its weather and oceanic conditions are occasionally affected by hurricanes and tropical storms. The ocean temperature hardly ever drops below 80oF or above the mid 80s.
There has been quite a bit of cloud cover and several significant welcome rainstorms during our stay which we understand is not characteristic for April. Wind has been persistently higher than normal throughout the ABC islands throughout our stay.
The southern part of the island is nearly flat and barely rises above sea level. A significant portion of this southern region is covered with sea water in process of evaporation for salt production.
The semi-arid climate is conducive to a variety of cacti and other desert plants.
Homeowners and some places of establishment have taken advantage of a pervasive cactus species to establish lovely, impenetrable fencing around their properties.
Bonaire is an extremely popular destination for snorkeling and diving
Much of the waters, reefs, and marine life surrounding Bonaire is carefully managed as a marine park. It has been five decades since I (Susan) have seen such healthy reefs teeming with the kind of gorgeous diversity of sea life I first witnessed during a marine biology course I took in Bimini. There is so much more to fully describe what a remarkable island Bonaire is, but short for time I will leave you with a sample of the beauty and diversity of the reef life.