Hi travelers! My name is Puck Kroonsberg. Welcome to my travel guide on the best things to do in Bonaire. In this guide, I would like to share with you my experiences in Bonaire and provide you with some tips and advice for your vacation to this beautiful Caribbean island paradise.
Before I do so, allow me to introduce myself. I’m a digital nomad and a wild child with a gyspy soul. Do you remember your younger self with hundreds of dreams and wanting to fulfil them? That has always been me ever since I was a little girl growing up in the Netherlands. I still live like that today.
My passion for travel and photography started when my grandparents told me about their adventures when they were traveling. Grandpa was a professional photographer and he traveled a lot. They would tell me how they traveled the world to amazing places like Africa to shoot campaigns.
Whenever they shared stories with me, I would get this feeling of excitement – like that was something I wanted to experience. My grandparents have moved around 23 times in their lives, including to Spain and France where I visited them when I was little. I got to see different lifestyles, cultures and how you make yourself at home in a foreign country.
My grandpa would photograph the moments we shared and we often did photoshoots together. As I loved travel and photography, I dreamed of becoming a model. So when I was 12, my grandparents sent pictures to model agencies in Amsterdam. My grandma would go with me to castings but I didn’t like the strict sizes you needed to have as a model.
As modeling was no longer the plan, I started working in hospitality. I loved the international side of it but last year I made a journey inwards to realize that I wanted to change course. My realization was that I wanted to create a free life. So earlier this year, I decided to quit my hotel job to become an online entrepreneur. I took a leap of faith and went to Bonaire!
Living the Caribbean Dream in Bonaire
I dreamed of going abroad for a long time (since I was 16). Now I finally had all the freedom in the world to do so. Last year November a friend told me about Bonaire and I was simply drawn to go there. Combined with the decisions I made to follow my dreams, I decided to go to Bonaire for three months all by myself.
From the moment I arrived, it was one big adventure. My dream came true and I made friends for life. But also I realized that I wanted to make this lifestyle permanent and so I started my online business. Today I am helping other people step into their full potential and create a fulfilled life on their own terms. While I was on Bonaire I met amazing people that helped me whilst we created everlasting memories together.
Those memories came from learning how to kitesurf, windsurf, play the guitar, sail a boat, etc. Then, as I found myself again, I started immersing with the locals and fell in love with island life. Locals took me off-roading in cars, quads and bikes, and we went to parties. I loved every second!
Why Bonaire Should be on your Bucket List
When I went to Bonaire, it was my first time and I had no expectations. I believe it’s best to go with little expectations – so you arrive with an open mind. Bonaire is a small island with around 20,000 inhabitants. Some say there is not much to do but I disagree as you can create your own adventures, if you surround yourself with likeminded people.
If you love surfing, snorkeling, diving and feel like you want to take time for yourself to grow – Bonaire is made for you. It’s truly a magical island if you are willing to see and create your own beautiful journey. I would say the most beautiful journey that you can make is the journey back to yourself. As whenever you are in the world, you will always have: yourself.
My favorite place in Bonaire is Playa Lechi because this is where I lived. I felt at home here even though I was 8,000 kilometres away from home and my loved ones. I learned that home is where the heart is and that I can carry my family and friends with me wherever I go. I saw the most magical sunsets every day at Playa Lechi and the atmosphere here was full of joy.
Best Things To Do in Bonaire
1. Kitesurf at the Awesome Atlantis Kite Beach
I wanted to learn surfing when I was younger but I prioritized field hockey at the time. When I went kitesurfing over the crystal-clear ocean in Bonaire, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I love the people I met at Kite Beach as they broadened my horizon in so many ways to travel to many other places for kitesurfing. I made new friends which was great!
2. Go Off-Roading with Locals in East Bonaire
It was so much fun to go off-roading with locals – whether in a car, quad or bike. I felt alive in these moments. The east side of Bonaire is definitely the best area for this adventure. If you stay in Bonaire long enough to meet locals and make friends, be sure to go off-roading together!
3. Learn Windsurfing at The Frans Paradise School
Windsurfing was another favorite activity of mine in Bonaire alongside kitesurfing. Once I got the hang of windsurfing, I felt totally free again and the rush was amazing! The guys at The Frans Paradise school (Taty and Tonky Frans) made me feel so welcomed and comfortable as I was learning.
4. Take Sailing and Boat Trips with Friends
This activity is a must-do because Bonaire is a Caribbean island after all! It’s important not to forget that. Being out on the water is such a joy. The nature is just marvelous, especially when you can experience it with your good friends (or new friends you meet on the island). There are plenty of companies in Bonaire where you can book a sailing/boat charter.
5. Watch the Sunset and Stargaze Everyday
Just being with friends and getting the chance to watch the sunset every afternoon by the beach, followed by stargazing at night, is such a simple yet wonderful pleasure. The bonding moments you create in the Caribbean can never be forgotten. You will appreciate the beauty of Bonaire.
6. Dance the Night Away at a Beach Party
Bonaire has a lively nightlife that is not to be underestimated! I have been to some crazy beach parties here and they were all so much fun. Just imagine villas by the beach with their own pools and people dancing the night away. That is what traveling in Bonaire is all about!
7. Cliff Jump near 1000 Steps in Bonaire
The beach of 1000 steps in Bonaire is only 67 steps when you count them but it can feel like more when you make your way down the limestone stairs on a hot day. This is an awesome place to relax at the beach, go swimming, snorkeling and of course cliff jump into the turquoise waters!
My Favorite Memory from Bonaire
I have one memory from Bonaire that I would love to share. I met a friend here named Maria Fernandez. She was my partner in crime while I was staying in Bonaire. We spent almost every day together for three months and became close friends. Together, we went on adventures and had the most fun and crazy experiences. We ended up becoming soul mates!
One special moment with her was on my last day in Bonaire. We were realizing that the time had come for me to go back to Holland. I drove her back to her house and we started singing Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here. I parked my car (the key was still in the ignition) and closed the door for a moment, but when I actually wanted to leave none of the doors opened.
Until this very day, I still don’t know how that happened. The doors were locked and it was 8:50pm. I had to be home by 9pm before the evening curfew (COVID-19 restrictions) and to get ready to catch my flight the next day. It was so hilarious and we had to call the police to ask if one of our local friends was allowed to help us open the door so I could drive home.
We waited for our friend and went to sit and play the guitar under the stars. It was the perfect ending. We enjoyed so many different adventures together on this island and it was fitting that our final moment together would be a story in itself. I look back on that moment with a warm heart.
People, Culture & Food of Bonaire
The locals I met in Bonaire were all free spirited. They respect and appreciate the island life, the ocean and each other. I feel very grateful to have met so many wonderful people. I immersed myself in a new culture, while at the same time living in the here and now as much as I could. Everyone lives in the moment in Bonaire and I fell in love with this lifestyle.
With this living for the moment attitude comes some fantastic bars and restaurants. Obviously, tourism is a big factor for the island and therefore there is a lot of variety to choose from for food. A few of my favorite places are listed below. Make sure you try a couple of them out on your vacation!
Another great experience to do with food on the island is to have barbecues with friends. You can easily buy cheap ‘throw-away barbecue sets’, purchase food at the supermarket and have a blast.
Need to Know Before you Go
For accommodation, I recommend areas such as Kralendijk (Playa, the boulevard), Belnem and Hato. There is a Facebook page called Bonaire 4Rent where you can find some fantastic apartments to rent. This is a great option if you are looking to stay for a few weeks or months like I did.
Apart from that, prepare yourself for mosquitos. I was stung 60 times on my legs and itched them so bad. Bug spray goes a long way here. Also, be sure to visit Bonaire with an open mind – be social and you will see how your journey unfolds naturally. So don’t dream your dream, live your dream!