Fun things to do in Bonaire

  • Things to Do
    by briantravelman
  • Things to Do
    by briantravelman
  • Things to Do
    by briantravelman

Most Viewed Things to Do in Bonaire

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    1000 Steps

    by Donna_in_India Updated Apr 16, 2012

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    The 1000 Steps staircase leads from your car to the beach below. The 1000 Steps beach is one of the island's most famous dive sites and offers world-class diving. Once you climb down the stairs, the reef starts below the buoy where you'll find stag horn and gorgonian corals. Out in the open water you'll encounter turtles, devil-rays and various species of fish. Depth averages about 50-60 feet but can range from 15 to 100+ feet.

    The 1000 Steps staircase doesn't really have 1000 steps. It actually has only 67 (or 72 depending on your source - I didn't count). So why the name? It refers to the climb back UP because after diving carrying your equipment back up the 67 steps will feel like 1000!

    You can also snorkel here.

    Entrance to 1000 Steps Staircase 1000 Steps Beach 1000 Steps Beach
    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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    Flamingos at Goto/Gotomeer Lake

    by Donna_in_India Written Apr 16, 2012

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    Goto Lake is located in the northwest part of Bonaire. The landscape is quite interesting - a little boggy-ish. The fact that we didn't see any other people the whole time we were there only added to the atmosphere. The lake itself is very pretty and we saw several types of birds (there are over 200 species of birds on Bonaire). We were fortunate to see the famous flamingos as well. (The only other place that you can see the flamingos on Bonaire is at the Flamingo Sanctuary in the southern part of the island - but only from a distance since it's closed to tourists.)

    The lake is so serene and quiet. I imagine it would be a wonderul place for a picnic.

    The roads up to the lake are excellent and you can visit as part of a northern route tour. From here, head to Rincon, Bonaire's oldest city.

    See my travelogue below for additional photos.

    Goto Lake Flamingos at Goto Lake
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Downtown Kralendijk - Bonaire's Capital

    by Donna_in_India Written Apr 16, 2012

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    Kralendijk, pronounced KROLL-en-dike, is the capital of Bonaire. The name translates literally to "dyke made from coral". It's a calm, sleepy kind of town. The circa late 1800 to early 1900's buildings along the main street, Kaya Grandi, traditionally housed families upstairs and shops were on the ground floor. Many of these buildings have been renovated and restored and you will find a variety of quality shops in them.

    The shops are generally open from 8:00am – 6:00pm and close for lunch from 12:00 noon – 2:00pm. There are shops for everything you'd want to buy as well as several places to stop for a drink or a meal.

    If you'd like to do something aside from shopping, I'd suggest stopping by the Tourism Office (located at the entrance to Kaya Grandi as you approach from the cruise terminal) and pick up an Historical Walking Tour map. The map lists 25 different sites of interest in Kralendijk including a World War II monument, Government Office Buildings, and Wilhelmina Park.

    Downtown Kralendijk
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

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    Salt Pans

    by Donna_in_India Written Apr 16, 2012

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    If you tour the southern part of the island you will no doubt see the white cone-shaped mounds of salt although they are visible from other points on the island. Salt production on Bonaire is historic. It was the first and is the most important income of the island.

    Salt has been harvested on Bonaire for over 350 years. The laborious task was first done by slaves. You can still see the slave huts not far away. Once slavery was abolished, laborers from surrounding villagers harvested the salt until the industry was modernized some centuries later.

    Salt is still produced on Bonaire. The salt is a natural product of sea water, sunshine and wind and the salt produced on Bonaire is sold world-wide.

    Salt Pans

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    Fort Oranje

    by Donna_in_India Written Apr 16, 2012

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    The fort was likely built at the end of the 1700s. It was the home of the commander of the island until 1837 when his new home was built next door.

    The fort never saw action. The old English cannons date between 1808 and 1812. A wooden lightouse was built in 1868 and replaced by a stone structure in 1932.

    Over the years, the buildind has been used as a warehouse for government goods, as a prison, as a fire station, and as a police station. In 1999 the fort building was restored and is now the courthouse.

    Fort Oranje
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

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    Customs House

    by Donna_in_India Written Apr 16, 2012

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    The Customs House is located on Kaya J.N.E. Craane, on the waterfront in Kralendijk. It was built in 1925 and was originally the Island Office. Over the years it served as the customs office, the tax collector's office, and the post office. It was vacated in 1995 for restoration. Once the renovation was complete it became the Customs House again.

    The Customs House is the 2 storey yellow building in the front-center of photo.

    Customs House (yellow, center)

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    Jibe City Water Sports

    by dustmon Written Nov 11, 2011

    Next door to the ex-naturist resort of Sorobon, you can rent sailboards, kitesurfing equipment and get lessons in all kinds of crazy water sports----gorgeous location on the east coast---just wish that Sorobon was still naturist!

    Jibe City at Lac Bay
    Related to:
    • Surfing
    • Water Sports
    • Family Travel

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    Snorkel on Klein Bonaire

    by flynboxes Written Sep 12, 2010

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    Or you can dive. I forgot my card..well didn't bring it since Kim is not certified so we went snorkeling. Klein Bonaire is a 15 min water taxi ride from town. The boat will drop you off on the East side where there is some visitors imformation posted. Most of the snorkeling site are supposed to be on the other side of the island which is a bit of a hike. Do not go thru the middle of the island in the early morning or near sunset when the mosquitos are out as I found..walked into a swarm of them and the followed me out to the beach.

    There is a great little reef to snorkel if you walk to the left of where the boat drops you off. Hike down 100 yards or so (you will see the reef as you walk) and jump in. The current helped move us along it and it was great to see at 5-10' of water depth...after that most of the good reef spotting is be seen with a scuba tank at 30-40 feet.

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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    See the island by scooter

    by flynboxes Written Sep 7, 2010

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    Should also be a transportation tip also but anyway. For about $20 a day -less gas (24 hour period from time of rental or close to it) you can rent a single seat moped. In hindsight I would do it for two as it is an great and easy way to see the island. the "mopeds" come with milk crates strapped to the back which is enough room for your snorkel gear, towels, lunch and drinks..and they come with heavy chain locks. They say you can see the island in about 6 hours....that does not include much time for stops or a meal. Take the coastal road up to the Gotomeer and see the Pink Flamingos..great fun and the road North to get there is great with dive/snorkel spots marked with yellow painted stones along the road.

    Me after Kim led me thru a rain storm
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Bonaire's Desert

    by ainsleigh Updated Sep 4, 2010

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    Because of its location in the Caribbean, exposure to trade winds and its topography Bonaire has a desert climate and environment. It's definitely worth taking a walk through some of the open desert areas to see the unique plants and wildlife. There are huge patches of cacti and divi divi trees bent over from the constant winds, different species of lizards, and horses from nearby ranches. We had never been anywhere like it.

    Candle cacti at the edge of the desert Horse at the edge of the desert Desert on the South of the island Divi divi tree bent over from the wind Variety of cacti in the desert
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Desert

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    The Slave Huts

    by ainsleigh Updated Aug 22, 2010

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    The white slave huts are on the Southwestern coast of Bonaire, South of Pink Beach. Keep going South along the coast towards Willemstoren Lighthouse to see the yellow slave huts. The huts were built to house slaves working at the nearby saltworks. Conditions were obviously terrible, with 6 slaves sharing each tiny hut.

    The huts have corresponding dive sites. White Slave is apparently an excellent spot to see turtles but currents can be pretty rough. Red Slave, next to the yellow huts, has groupers and other larger reef fish. Currents here can be very strong.

    Slave huts on Bonaire's Southwestern coast White slave hut Yellow slave huts Yellow slave huts Inside one of the slave huts
    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Archeology

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    Washington Slagbaai National Park Visitor Center

    by ainsleigh Updated Aug 22, 2010

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    The Visitor Center at the entrance to the park includes a museum, guide to the hiking trails, library and gift shop where you can get cold drinks. The Kasikunda Climbing Trail and Lagadishi Walking Trail start here and are both supposed to be nice hikes but were closed when we visited because of too much rain.

    The museum is worth visiting. It's got some very basic but interesting exhibits about the history of Bonaire, it's geology, and different species of plants and animals and how they evolved or arrived on the island. We thought the display on the history of music and festivals was good too.

    Simple but interesting displays Museum at Washington Slagbaai National Park
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Museum Visits

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    Snorkeling trip with the best!

    by dustmon Written Jun 3, 2010

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    Ulf and Dedrie Pedersen captain the Woodwind sailing vessel and know all about the hundreds of different places to dive or snorkel around the Island. I went on a nude sail while staying at the Sorobon Resort (which is going non-nudist soon) and both Ulf and Dedrie were naked with us, having a blast! While Dedrie led us around on our snorkeling tour, Ulf came up with some delicious snacks for us when we returned to the ship. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon snorkel trip and either swimsuits or not, Woodwind should be considered for your trip!

    Captain Ulf!
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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    Washington Slagbaai National Park

    by dustmon Written May 27, 2010

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    If you want to check anything in the Park, you really need a pickup truck or 4-wheel drive vehicle, because the road is unlevel and very rocky, but it is REALLY worth it! There are a ton of dive sites all along the road, and places to pull over and watch the Pink Flamingoes feeding in the shallow ponds. This was one of my goals, to see these magnificent birds in one of only 4-5 breeding sites in the world! There are 2 routes one can take through the 13,500 acre park---one is 17 miles long and one is 28 miles----the longer one took me about 3 1/2 hours to drive slowly through, stopping at 4-5 places for photos and rest....I met a nice couple from Finland, just fixing to get in for their first dive on Bonaire. At the very end of the drive is a shallow lake filled with Flamingoes feeding...Did you know that the reason they are pink is because of the pink algae they eat? The very young are sort of grey.....

    beautiful birds! a ruined lighthouse in Slagbaai
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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    Snorkel trip with Woodwind

    by Dabs Updated Feb 21, 2010

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    Woodwind came highly recommended on the Cruise Critic forum, the 1st place I check when planning independent shore excursions. I booked my cruise much later than most folks and waited even longer to book my shore excursions, by the time I got around to it, Woodwind was booked solid for the afternoon tour but they said they were organizing an earlier, slightly shorter tour for the morning so we signed up. Payment was not required to make a reservation which is nice in case the boat doesn't dock that day in port which has happened to us on a different cruise. You pay on board with either a credit card or cash.

    The afternoon tour on the trimaran is from 2-5pm and costs $50, the morning tour that was organized was from 11:30am-2pm and cost $45, they said the snorkeling time was more or less the same and that the sailing time was cut. The snorkel spot Woodwind's cruise tour goes to is the reef off Klein Bonaire, a small uninhabited island off the coast of Bonaire that has been incorporated into the Bonaire National Marine Park. Although you can go off on your own, I thought it was fine following the guide as he pointed out a lot of different fish and at least 10 turtles, both green turtles and hawksbill turtles, I don't believe we saw and loggerhead turtles but that is the third kind you might see.

    The snorkeling here is a drift snorkel which means you drift with the current and then the boat picks you up at the end, I think we were in the water for well over an hour, maybe 1 1/2 hours. The crew is friendly and knowledgable, we had Robert as our guide as the more experienced group, the others went with Dedrie (Dee). Of all the snorkeling tours we've ever done, I thought this one was the best run with a great crew. I would highly recommend it if you find yourself on Bonaire.

    Snorkeling equipment is provided and they also provide beverages-soft drinks, beer, wine and rum punch. Plus a few local snacks were passed around.

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Bonaire Hotels

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Latest Bonaire Hotel Reviews

Plaza Resort Bonaire
Terrible (1.0 out of 5.0) 4 Reviews
Sorobon Beach Resort
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Divi Flamingo Beach Resort and Casino Bonaire
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Eden Beach Resort
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Sand Dollar Condominium Resort
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Lions Dive & Beach Resort Bonaire
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Captain Don's Habitat Bonaire
Very Good (3.5 out of 5.0) 3 Reviews
The Lizard Inn
Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Black Durgon Inn and Scuba Center
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