General Information

Bellafonte

Woodwind Sail

1000 Steps

Andreas

Donkey Beach

Karpata

La Macha

Oil Slick

Tori's

ABC Island Hopping

 



Bonaire Trip Report General Information

Bonaire is the largest of the ABC islands off of Venezuela. The island is desert-like with nice year round weather. The main attraction to Bonaire is what is under the water. We rented our car from Netty's Car Rental. Netty provided a great price and great service but the mini-van we rented was not in that good of shape. Overall the vehicle was OK but it wasn't near as nice as the Toyota Corolla we had on Aruba.

Don't come to Bonaire if you want to spend your time shopping because there is very limited shopping on the island. There are a few nice stores, but mainly t-shirt and dive shops.  We really like the WannaDive dive shop located next door to City Cafe. Their prices were very good and they had quality merchandise. Carroll purchased a new Mares mask and it was only about $40 US. Carroll donated her old equipment to Photo Tour Divers. They have a program that donates old snorkel/dive equipment to the local children of Bonaire. 

Bonaire has some pretty nice restaurants but we were surprised at how the menu's all seem to look the same. We were also surprised at the amount of fresh fish on the menus. Instead of having a wide range of fresh fish, each place usually had a catch of the day as their fish offering. We ate lunch at "The Lion's Den" and really liked the food and location. It is perched over a cliff on the water.

Another one of our favorite restaurants was called "Casablanca". It is a relatively new place near downtown. The food was very good and very affordable. We had ribs, rib eye steak and a bottle of wine. Our total bill with generous tip was $75 NAF. (About $40 US) We highly recommend this place. Only negative is that it is not on the water.

We also had a great meal at "City Cafe" one evening. Carroll had the Barracuda which was awesome. I had the chicken sate. We each had a glass of wine. Total bill with tip was $60 NAF. (About $35 US). We also used the "City Cafe" as our Internet connection. They had a nice air conditioned Internet room that was reasonable and the connections fast. One night we ate at "It Rains Fishes". This was one of our least favorite meals. The menu was very "eclectic". We really didn't see anything that looked all that wonderful so we each had a chicken Caesar salad and a glass of wine. Total bill $66 NAF.

"The Rib Factory" had very good ribs at reasonable prices. We each had a salad and split a full order or ribs. Total bill with a glass of wine was only $40 NAF. They are upstairs from Karel's on the water.

We also had some "lighter" meals while on Bonaire. "Pasa Bon Pizza" is located just north of town. The pizza was good and pretty reasonable. We each had a salad and split a medium pizza. With wine and tip the bill was $32 US. One day for lunch we had a burger at "Zeezicht's" near Karel's. Two burgers and two Amstel Brights was $24 US. Nice thing about this place is that it is on the water and air conditioned!

On Tuesday we headed over to the Plaza and attended the "Coconut Crash Beach Bash". They had some live entertainment, good happy hour, and a barbeque. Total bill for the barbeque and a few Amstel Brights was $30 NAF.

Karel's was a nice enough looking bar. Located on a pier near downtown. We both had the WORST Margarita we have ever had here! It was happy hour so thankfully it wasn't all that expensive, but it was just tequila and cheap mix. Very disappointed in Karel's but it is a great place to sit and watch the sunset.

A few nights we actually prepared our own meal in our Bellafonte Condo. Grocery shopping in Bonaire is a REAL experience. The first thing that you notice is that every grocery store has a different selection. You will also notice that fresh foods are very scarce. I noticed right off the bat that beer was VERY expensive in Bonaire. All of the beer is sold in these tiny 8 oz bottles. Wine on the other hand was VERY inexpensive. Since we are both on diets and not supposed to drink beer anyway, the economics of Bonaire made it real easy to stick to our guns and not drink beer.

Our first grocery experience was at Cultimara. We load up our cart full of food and drinks. After checking out we notice that the checker didn't bag our groceries. Carroll went to put the groceries in some bags and we were informed that "those bags are for sale". "They cost $.75 a piece". The checker then proceeded to help the next person in line. So we had to walk out of the store with our arms full of groceries. We never went back to Cultimara! We really like the "More for Less" store located just east of town. They seemed to have the freshest produce and meat. Not quite the selection of Cultimara, but they gave us bags! The store is very Dutch. Almost everything in the store is Dutch so it made it a very interesting shopping experience. We also liked the "Flamingo Market". It is located just north of downtown behind the Napa Auto Parts store. They had good prices and a decent selection. The grocery stores have very limited hours. Most are closed early and they also close around lunch time for a few hours.

The scenery in Bonaire is very striking. Mainly cactus but it was pretty, much like the southwest of the United States.

Bonaire is full of wildlife. Donkeys are everywhere! If you go to the backside of the island you'll also see quite a few goats.

We also spotted a few Iguanas and Flamingos. 

The entire south portion of the island is salt pans. The pink colored water is caused by bacteria which is used in the salt farming process. 

These used to be the Slave Huts for the slaves that worked in the salt fields.

More slave huts.

At the far south end of the island is Willemstoren lighthouse.

At the far eastern tip of the island is a point called Lac Cai. Very scenic spot. Had mountains of Conch Shells!

We spent a lot of our time on the balcony of the Bellafonte.