Bonaire is a small island off the coast of Venezuela in the southern area of the Caribbean region, a nine-hour flight from the Netherlands and approximately 4 hours from Atlanta and 5 hours from New York.
Bonaire is famous for its sunny climate, unspoilt nature, turquoise sea, pearl-white beaches, picturesque underwater world and its first-rate diving, snorkelling and windsurfing facilities. Bonaire has an area of 288 km2 (17,166 acres) (39 km long and 5 to 12 km wide) and has a population of 16,000 residents, of whom 10,000 live in the capital city of Kralendijk. Bonaire is one of the five island areas of the Netherlands Antilles, a country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire will soon become directly part of the Netherlands as a special municipality of the Netherlands that is to be constituted as a "public body" under the Constitution of the Netherlands.
Over the years, Bonaire has been given various labels, such as "the best kept secret", "place of absolute tranquillity", "diver's paradise", "still unspoilt", and on and on.
Bonaire enjoys a uniquely gentle climate. The sun shines practically all the time, but the prevailing trade winds keep it from becoming oppressive. During the Dutch winter months - October through February - there is a slightly greater chance of rain, but the average annual rainfall on the island is less than 60 cm, (23 inches) and rain comes mainly in short, intense showers. The average midday temperature is 30 degrees Celcius, 86 Farenheit and 26 degrees Celcius, 78 Farenheit at night. Ocean temperature is generally between 26 and 28 degrees Celcius.
During the winter, Bonaire is four hours earlier than GMT. When Europe enters daylight saving time, the difference becomes five hours.
Inhabitants and the language
Bonaire's original inhabitants were Caquetios Indians, but in 1527, the Spaniards landed on the island and turned it into a Spanish colony. Later, the island was captured by the Dutch who brought African slaves there to harvest salt. The population as a result became mixed, also referred to as Creole. The official language of Bonaire is Papiamentu, but everyone also speaks Dutch and English. The friendly local residents ensure that a vacation on Bonaire is given a lovely, peaceful atmosphere.
The capital of Bonaire is Kralendijk, which is a corruption of "Koralendijk" (or Coral Dike). Most of Bonaire's residents (approximately 10,000) live in Kralendijk.
No vaccinations are required for visiting Bonaire.
Bonaire enjoys high-quality drinking water and guests can therefore drink directly from the tap.
Bonaire is famous for its dazzling underwater world, but also features just as much unspoilt natural beauty above water: for more information, see Excursions.
For more information on Bonaire, visit the following website: www.tourismbonaire.com
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