BONAIRE ISLAND

A fantastic vacation in the Caribbeans with my family. In February, when we went, it was high season in the area. Bonaire always has good weather with about 27 degrees Celsius, so high season is when it's winter in Europe and the USA and people are desperate for some sunshine. After all, when it's summer in Europe and the USA, there's no need to travel far to see some sun. You might as well stay close and it will be sunny either way. This means that in the Caribbean high season, there are cruise ships and people coming from everywhere. We went by plane and did not book a cruise, we got around the island by rental car. I must say that it was very quiet all over the place. Yes, there were cruise ships, but these travelers mostly walk around town and maybe do an excursion. This means that the island, at least Bonaire, is still pretty quiet. We had beaches and snorkeling spots all to ourselves.

It was the first time snorkeling and it was absolutely fantastic. There's a few rules when snorkeling in Bonaire. You need to buy a Stinapa permit to snorkel and dive. Experience is not needed. Rates are different for snorkelers and divers. They can be bought at all diving schools. There's diving schools all over Kralendijk, the capital of the island. Price includes entrance to the Washington Slagbaai National Park, which you should not miss. It has, in my opinion, the most beautiful beaches of the island. The absolute best was Waykaka 2. I saw tropical fish as well as turtles and the beach was sandy as opposed to rocky, the way most beaches are. In fact, most beaches on the island consist of old pieces of broken off coral, which then turned into stone, or fossils no matter how you call it.

Second rule is you don't feed fish. It interrupts the natural habitat. Third is you don't wear gloves. Doing so might tempt you to touch the coral, which is by all means strictly prohibited. Coral is very fragile and when touched, it directly loses its protective layer and will die off. The eco system is stunning and should be kept the way it is. The only reason to touch anything in the sea is when you find a piece of plastic floating around. Then pick it up and take it to the shore.

I strongly recommend wearing water shoes. You'll have a hard time without these and won't even be able to enter the water without getting hurt. Besides, order a full-face mask. I suggest buying both items from China with Aliexpress. They cost far more on Bonaire island, as expected. Beware of sunburn, you burn in a matter of minutes. At least I do. Don't underestimate the sun, even when it's cloudy it's quite dangerous. Wear sunscreen, which is sold everywhere. Buy the ones that protect against both UVA and UVB. By all means try an excursion to Klein Bonaire with Woodwind. It was above my highest expectations and the crew was fantastic. There are several points where you'll dive into the water. If your scared, such as one of my travel companions was, the crew will take special care of you. The way my companion was guided into the water, with a guide accompanying here and slowly helping her overcome her fear, was just incredibly good.

I loved the whole island. The people are friendly, the weather is perfect and it's just a fun place to hang out. Don't expect a night life, yes there are some bars but that's all. For partying, this is not the place to go. The carnival, however, was really fun. It's the place where people show their dance moves, and everyone sure can dance. For relaxing, snorkeling and family trips this place is just perfect. I felt perfectly safe, even while walking outside at night. Not a single negative experience, the place is just comfortable and laid-back. I highly recommend visiting!

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