Bonaire is a desert island located 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, outside of the hurricane belt. In most areas, the fringing reefs on Bonaire are less than 100 yards off shore and are accessible using shore entry for diving. The climate is mild, the sea is calm on the leeward side of the island, and the water is clear. The prevailing weather conditions, with trade winds 90 percent of the year, result in comfortable air temperatures year-round. While small, Bonaire also offers a diverse topography with gentle green hills in the north and the flat saltpans in the south.
Recognized for its preservation of nature, Bonaire established one of the first marine parks in the Caribbean. The island offers excellent opportunities to observe a diverse range of tropical marine life. Bonaire’s arid climate & subsequent low rainfall keeps the calm waters free of silt and offers exceptional underwater visibility.
Bonaire is home to 15,000 residents of Amerindian, African, South American, and European descent and was first inhabited by the Caiquetios (an indigenous group related to the Arawaks) who sailed from the coast of Venezuela over 2,000 years ago. In 1499, the island was claimed for Spain but left
undeveloped as it was not ideal for large-scale agriculture. The Dutch took possession of Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba in 1633 and Bonaire became a plantation island belonging to the Dutch West Indies Company, which brought African slaves to the island. By 1837, salt production was the island’s most important industry. One hundred years after the abolition of slavery, the salt industry was revitalized again in 1963. Tourism and eco-tourism, in addition to the salt production and oil transshipment are currently the island’s primary economic industries.
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For more information, visit www.tourismbonaire.com