Wading through knee-deep water the colour of a sparkling sapphire and aquamarine jewel, I decide to order a beer from the beach bar and take a seat on the ocean floor. Covered shoulder-high in seawater the temperature of a hot tub, I sip my beer and spot a pink streak in the sky. It's not a bird or a plane; it's a flock of 30 flamingos!
Seriously? The bartender then offers “yep, it happens like clockwork almost every night at 6pm.” Welcome to Bonaire, a diver’s and windsurfer’s paradise where those seeking an active & adventure and low-key trip style go for it in the day and relax at night.
Over wahoo fish with roasted vegetables and polenta, people linger at dinner recounting the day’s wind intensity, turtle sightings and beach breaks. At the end of the evening you don’t hear thumping and bumping beats like other islands---it’s not the time nor the place. It never is on Bonaire.
The island's main visitors are blond, tanned and sleek-bodied Dutch arriving in daily droves by way of a KLM wide-body jet. Yet Bonaire is a place where locals---Arubans and Curacaoans---go to get away from it all as well. My taxi driver in Aruba mentioned she'd just returned. “It’s quiet, less busy,” she recounted with a smile.
I guess the secret’s out; locals and internationals must have heard about the flocks of flamingos, jewel-toned water and schools of fish in the water below.
Eat The island's sport enthusiasts make dinner a big event in Kralendijk, the island's oceanfront capital. Order nachos at City Cafe and experience the local tradition of pouring sweet chili sauce on top of the cheese! For an all-appy menu, eat in a historic, open-air enclave at Appetite! Under the shade of a tree and a cool beach breeze, fuel up with a traditional brunch at Sorobon Beach Resort's restaurant. A bronzed gentleman sporting a terrycloth sweatband around his head serenades guests on his electronic keyboard with classical favorites.
Do Swim through schools of fish while diving just off the shore at one of 87 official dive spots. Learn to windsurf and ride like the wind at The Windsurf Place, located in Lac Bay, a 1.8-mile salt water lagoon with knee- to waist-deep warm water!
Stay Stay at Sorobon Beach Resort. Clustered around the only natural white sand beach on the island, Sorobon is a casual, tropical hideaway with 30 clay-roofed and whitewashed cottages. We just featured Sorobon in our weekly Roam+Board feature---see pictures and details here!
[Windsurfing photo by Kontiki Beach Resort and all remaining photos by @tripstyler, taken in Bonaire two weeks ago]