Bonaire,  Caribbean

Why Bonaire Is Worth Visiting: The Hidden Gem Of The Caribbean

Are you asking yourself if Bonaire is worth visiting? Then I got the answer, and it is a big, fat YES!

Bonaire is one of the most underrated Caribbean islands. It has no insta-famous features, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth a visit.

If you are still doubting if Bonaire is the right place for your next vacation, then you are in the right spot.

I did not only spend a lot of time in Bonaire recently, but I also traveled to all the surrounding islands for a reference.

To make the choice a bit easier for you, I have created a full review of Bonaire and an in-depth pro and con list for you.

Let’s get to it!

A serene Bonaire beach with coral rubble, the clear waters blending into the horizon under a bright sky, inviting a sense of calm and solitude.

Table of Contents

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Bonaire Pros and Cons

Pros

🤍 Stunning marine life

🤍 Cute, colorful capital

🤍 Friendly locals

🤍 Small island

🤍 Clean and orderly

🤍 Amazing nature

🤍 Great excursions

🤍 Relatively cheap

🤍 Not too touristic

🤍 Relatively safe

🤍 Flamingos

Cons

💔 Water-sports oriented

💔 Not too many white-sandy beaches

💔 Little direct flights

💔 Lots of Dutch tourists

Is Bonaire Worth Visiting? My Take On It

As I mentioned before, Bonaire is definitely worth visiting. In my opinion, it is one of the most underrated places on this earth. Especially the nature is incredible.

As with any place, there are downsides to Bonaire. The island is mainly focused on sporty and adventurous travelers. Most places advertise for divers, windsurfers and explorers.

As a not so sporty person, this disappointed me a little. But not really, there is still a lot to do in Bonaire, also for non-divers.

All in all, Bonaire has it all. Stunning waters, a cute capital city, great hotels – and all that for an amazing price. It is not yet super touristic, so I suggest to get there fast while it is still such a hidden gem.

I can’t imagine any traveler that won’t love Bonaire. But especially sporty people won’t find a better place in the Caribbean for a vacation.

Image of the crystalline turquoise waters of Bonaire. The sea is calm with gentle waves lapping onto a pebbly shore. Clouds scatter across the bright blue sky, reflecting the sun's radiance.

1. Bonaires Beaches

My Rating: 7/10

The beaches in Bonaire are quite beautiful. The water is crystal clear, swimming from shore is easy and the currents are not too strong.

Sadly, many of Bonaire’s beaches are pebble-y or rocky. White sandy beaches are more the exception than the rule.

Klein Bonaire Beach (No Name Beach), Te Amo Beach and Bachelor’s Beach are some great examples of stunning, sandy beaches. Sorobon Beach is also beloved.

But the most interesting beaches are definitely the intense, volcanic beaches that you can find in the Slagbaai National Park.

To sum it up, Bonaire has a nice mix of sandy, rock-y and pebble beaches. There is something for everyone, and you can easily find a nice spot.

The author stands on a rocky Bonaire shore, the clear turquoise sea behind her. She's in summer attire, with sunglasses, against a backdrop of vivid blue sky and scattered clouds.

2. The Size of Bonaire

My Rating: 8/10

Bonaire is relatively small. The island only covers an area of about 288 square kilometers (about 111 square miles).

Driving around the island can be quite a quick journey. It takes roughly 1 to 1.5 hours to drive around the island.

The island’s compact size makes it easy to explore. We loved exploring Bonaire, because of the small size we didn’t even need Google Maps.

Of course, this means there is not as much to explore. I would suggest going for a week to Bonaire, to see all the spots. Going any longer would probably become boring, because the island is so small.

As you can see on the map below, Bonaire is a lot smaller than its sister island Curacao. If you want some more adventure, consider going there instead.

map showing curacao and bonaire in relation to each other

3. Snorkeling and Diving

My Rating: 10/10

Bonaire is a paradise for snorkeling and diving! It’s often ranked as one of the top diving destinations in the world. And I totally agree with this.

The clear waters around Bonaire offer amazing visibility. You can often see up to 30 meters (100 feet), which makes underwater exploration a dream.

The island is surrounded by a protected marine park. Bonaires government ensures, that the coral reefs and marine life are preserved and thriving. This protection means you’ll get to see a vibrant underwater world filled with colorful fish, turtles and corals.

Snorkeling is just as amazing. You can snorkel from shore in many spots and see amazing fish and corals. Just mind the current, it can be strong in certain points.

An endearing sea turtle swims in the clear waters of Bonaire, its head turned towards the camera as if posing, with a coral reef beneath.

4. Attractions and Sights

My Rating: 9/10

Bonaire has so many amazing things to offer, it is hard to get bored. From the bright pink salt lakes to cute flamingos and a stunning national park – Bonaire has it all.

The donkey sanctuary is my favorite place on the island – make sure to go by. But apart from that you can find museums, old slave huts and former plantations that are super historical. The flamingo sanctuary is also pretty unique.

Bonaire has less attractions than Aruba and Curacao, but it definitely wins landscape-wise.

There are a few cute shops in the capital city of Kralendijk, but apart from that the shopping is not great. Keep that in mind if you are a fashionista – go to Aruba in that case.

A unique view of a salt pan in Bonaire, where the water appears vivid pink against the white salt deposits, under a sky with wispy clouds.

5. Hotels and Accommodations

My Rating: 7/10

There are some great hotels and accommodations in Bonaire.

To my dismay, they were mostly advertised as dive-resorts. You can find great deals on hotels with diving packages for sure. But as non-divers, this left me with a bit of a challenge.

We found the cutest boutique hotel ever, the Ocean Breeze Marina Boutique Hotel. It is super cute and the rooms were so dreamy.

There are not as many fancy All Inclusive Resorts. This is just not what the island is all about. If that is your vibe, make sure to visit Aruba instead.

Hotels in Bonaire are relatively cheap and there is a lot on offer, so you won’t have any trouble finding something suitable.

The Divi Flamingo Resort is also among visitors’ favorites.

6. The Flamingos

My Rating: 7/10

You have probably heard by now that Bonaire has native flamingos roaming on the island. They are adorable, but you need to adjust your expectations.

The flamingos of Bonaire do not, like the flamingos of Aruba, roam free on a beach. They live in nature reserves, and you can see them from a distance.

It is not possible to hand-feed them or take close up Instagram pictures with them.

orange flamingos in bonaire in the water

7. The Capital City Kralendijk

My Rating: 8/10

Kralendijk is colorful and cute. The small capital city is located right by the ocean and has an amazing vibe to it. It is one of the things I love most about Bonaire, and make the trip there worth it.

There are a couple of waterfront restaurants, a cruise ship pier and some cute shops. There is surely not as much shopping going on as in Aruba, but you can get the basics.

I think the capital is lovely and great for Instagram shots, but it does not keep you busy long. These cute houses make Bonaire surely worth visiting for me.

8. The Infrastructure

My Rating: 9/10

Bonaire has a pretty good infrastructure. The roads are in good shape and you can find everything you might need.

There are doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. You won’t have to worry about bad standards, as most of the healthcare professionals are actually Dutch and work on a good level.

Bonaire has a great tourism office, car rentals and taxis. You won’t miss a thing on the island, despite its small size.

9. Safety

My Rating: 7/10

For a Caribbean island, Bonaire is pretty safe. It is not as safe as Aruba, but a lot safer than Curacao.

Crime rates are relatively low and you don’t need to be super alert or worried all the time. We didn’t get bad vibes, and we could explore the island nicely by ourselves.

The locals are friendly and helpful, and scams are not super common as far as I know. This really makes Bonaire worth visiting for me.

Of course, there are poorer parts of the island that should be avoided at night. But the touristic areas are super safe, so no need to worry.


Do you need travel insurance in Bonaire? Yes, travel insurance in Bonaire is highly recommended.
Unsafe roads, water sports accidents, and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy. EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.

10. Excursions

My Rating: 9/10

If you love guided tours and excursions, I have got good news for you.

Bonaire has an amazing offer of guided island tours, snorkel trips and much more. You can find pretty much any tour you desire, at a great price.

My favorite excursion is a tour of the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire. Since Bonaire is relatively cheap, you can also book private tours for more comfort. The Lac Bay, Bonaire National Marine Park or the Washington Slagbaai National Park are also worth visiting.

11. Price/Value

My Rating: 8/10

Bonaire is not expensive to visit. Most bars, hotels and restaurants on the island are not in the mindset of ripping off tourists.

This totally makes Bonaire worth visiting, also on a slightly smaller budget. Of all the three ABC islands in the Dutch Caribbean, Bonaire is the cheapest to visit.

You can buy almost anything for a fair price. Here is a bit of an overview of what things in Bonaire cost:

  • Dinner for 2: USD 75,00
  • 1 Week 4**** Hotel: USD 1.500,00
  • Rental Car for 1 Day: USD 60,00
  • Excursions: Between USD 50,00 and 100,00
An aerial view of a person floating peacefully in the clear, turquoise waters of Bonaire, offering a sense of freedom and tranquility.

12. The Crowd

My Rating: 4/10

The crowd is something I did not enjoy as much in Bonaire. But that is purely a personal preference.

Firstly, most tourists were Dutch. They felt loud, unfriendly, and rude. Compared to all the Americans in Aruba, it was hard to make friends.

Second, most people were pretty sporty and enjoyed diving or windsurfing. We are not as much into that, so we did not connect with anyone.

All in all, it was okay, but we prefer Americans over Dutchies any day. However, Bonaire is still worth visiting, since you don’t really depend on other people to make your vacation fun.

A simple, white, traditional stone hut stands alone on a Bonaire beach, with the Caribbean Sea stretching out behind it under a sky partially filled with cumulus clouds.

Is Bonaire Worth Visiting For a Day?

Bonaire is also worth visiting for a day with a cruise ship.

If you think about island hopping from Curacao or Aruba for a day, I think that is too little time. We once came over to Curacao for only a night, and I regretted not staying longer.

I think you should stay at least 5 nights in Bonaire to have a great experience.

Is Bonaire a Good Place To Vacation?

I’d say Bonaire is a great place to vacation. It has got everything: beaches, flamingos, colorful houses and interesting history.

Bonaire is especially great for sporty people, families, and younger couples.

Bonaire is not super expensive and they keep the island in great shape. It is a beautiful small island, that is safe and clean and the nature is well protected.

All of the reasons above definitely make Bonaire worth visiting – and a great place for your next vacation.

Conclusion: Is Bonaire Worth Visiting?

As you’ve heard in detail in this article: Bonaire is definitely worth visiting.

The small Dutch ABC-island is incredibly beautiful and has a lot to offer. Flamingos, stunning tropical fish and colorful houses make Bonaire such a great place for a vacation.

I don’t like the sporty crowd as much, and many things are optimized for divers. This is about the only downside I encountered on Bonaire – which is not a lot.

If you are not sure yet, why not read about Aruba?

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.