When Bonaire becomes touristy again, it’ll be amazing. Shops and restaurants will re-open. Parking I guess, will be a mess but I won’t be here to see it. Lots of small streets. Oh boy.
Possible traffic jams aside, I do think this is about the perfect place to come for an independent-based holiday. Bonaire does have a few resorts from fancy, high-end Harbour Village to mid-range adventure-based Buddy Dive and Captain Don’s. Still, as a holiday destination, Bonaire really stands out for people who want to come for their own adventure.
There are loads of apartment units you can rent in Bonaire which are self-contained and convenient. It’s simple too to rent a scooter or car alongside your accommodation (in which case I’d vote for a pick-up truck), and do a run to the supermarket. Done. Sorted for food.
For me, the fringing coral reef encircling the whole island is where Bonaire comes into its own. It’s like a jungle gym underwater. On the surface, kitesurfing is also popular – and probably more die-hard-y. Most of the kite surfers meet in the south, past the salt pans. There are food trucks and other facilities which form a beach base for the kite surfers. A dinghy drives around, checking they’re all safe in the water. It is a sweet spot. Looks terrifying too. The jumps! The turns! Kite surfers speed past like horizontal lightning in this wind.
Once Bonaire returns to welcoming tourists, we can imagine how it’ll come back. We get a taste for it now by visiting the new dive facility at Wannadive. Wannadive may have one of the nicest dive centres, but many dive operators have multiple shops and drive-throughs on the island.
All are built in a similar model. You bring your vehicle, drop off empty dive tanks and pick up new dive tanks. You can wash your gear, take a shower, and hang out in the shade. You can book boat trips and dive courses too, and buy or rent dive gear.
Then there are the many dive sites, all mostly accessible from shore – and with parking. Unless you want to go to Klein Bonaire, the little nature island off the main island. You do need a boat for this. Still, Klein Bonaire has a stunning beach; but otherwise we haven’t personally seen a big difference in the diving quality off Klein.
You can always stay on the mainland, park at the painted yellow stones which announce each dive site, wade out and descend to the reefs. You will most likely see as much marine life.
I feel that’s the beauty of Bonaire – summed up right there. It has a egalitarian edge underwater, as well as above. The parking around town may need to be sorted out – but we won’t see it. Not this time around.