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Cruising the ABC Islands: Bonaire

The ABC Islands are made up of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao located in the Southern Caribbean, also known as the Dutch Caribbean.  Recently on Chasing the Sun, we featured “A Guide to Aruba” as part of a 3-part blog series on Cruising the ABC Islands of the Dutch Caribbean.  Now we will take a deeper look at Bonaire, which is located to the east of both Aruba and Curacao in the southern Caribbean Sea. 

Where is Bonaire located?

Bonaire is one of the most unique places to cruise to in The Caribbean.  The landscape varies from hilly to flat and the environment from lush to arid.  From its intriguing landscape to the natural wildlife, Bonaire is different from the other islands, and it provides such a rewarding experience to cruise there.

Your Norwegian cruise will dock in the city of Kralendijk, which means “Coral Reef” in Dutch.  Doesn’t the nautical name alone make you want to cruise there?  While it is known for having many coral reefs and for being one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations, Bonaire has so many other unexpected discoveries in store for you.

Things to Do in Bonaire

Bonaire Salt Pyramids

1. Sightseeing in Bonaire

Have you ever seen a pyramid?  How about one made out of salt?  Yes, on Bonaire you will see salt pyramids.  The islanders work hard in the production of salt, and as a cruiser, it is a spectacular sight to see.  Located in the National Park, salt ponds surround the salt pyramids, and the ponds have beautiful water.  But it isn’t blue, turquoise, or azure:  the water is tinted pink from the high concentration of salt.  On a guided tour of the island, you can see the deep blue ocean waters on one side of the road and the pink waters of the salt ponds on the other.  There is also a lighthouse on the opposite end of the island called the Willemstoren Lighthouse that was built in 1837, which is often included on most general sightseeing island tours.

See Pink Flamingos on the Beach in Bonaire

2. Wildlife Viewing in Bonaire

Flamingos are very easy to spot in the wild on Bonaire.  They are found walking all around in the salt ponds and can also be found on the south side of the island at Pekelmeer Sanctuary.  Other colorful, tropical birds that live on the island are the Caribbean Parakeet and the Yellow-Shouldered Parrot.  Another unexpected find on Bonaire is the Donkey Sanctuary, home to many of the native donkeys that live on the island.

Cruising the ABC Islands: Bonaire

3. Beaches and Snorkeling in Bonaire

Lively Caribbean music sets the tone on Eden Beach, which is one of the most popular beaches for cruisers.  Beach chairs are provided for renting.  You can lounge in the sun or catch a nap under the many beach-lined tropical palm trees.  Nearby Spice Beach Club has food and drinks for purchase.  Another popular beach is Lac Bay.  With shallow, live, healthy coral and tons of fish, Lac Bay is perfect for snorkeling.  Another popular snorkeling spot is 1000 Steps Beach.  While the descent is a little narrow and steep, it is actually less than 100 steps down to the beach and worth the trek.  It's a little gem for snorkeling in the surf of the coral covered beach.

Stunning Bonaire Sunset

View a list of Norwegian’s cruise itineraries to select the perfect cruise to Bonaire.  Have you cruised to the ABC islands?  Tell us your favorite thing to do in port in the comments below!  And be sure to check back soon for Part 3 of Cruising the ABC Islands: A Guide to Curacao.