Bonaire

Environment:

Bonaire is a Caribbean island, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) off Venezuela. Geographically, Bonaire is forms part of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), often classified together with the Windward Islands. The ABC Islands enjoy the advantage of being located outside the Hurricane belt. Politically, as part of the BES Islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), the Dutch administration is working towards 100 percent renewable energy via wind generation, in concert with Ecopower Bonaire. The Florida-based Coral Restoration Foundation is assisting Bonaire in setting up coral nurseries for reef regeneration.

Notably, the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance is based on Bonaire. Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire) is a non-governmental, not for profit foundation commissioned by the island government to manage the two protected areas of Bonaire: the Bonaire National Marine Park and the Washington Slagbaai National Park. The highest point on Bonaire is Subi Brandaris at 241 meters (784 feet), in Washington-Slagbaai National Park. The offshore island and Ramsar wetland Klein Bonaire is now part of the Bonaire National Marine Park, thanks to Foundation Preservation Klein Bonaire. Bonaire Caves is dedicated to documenting the island’s underwater caves.

Echo Bonaire is dedicated to the protection of the yellow-shouldered parrot, Amazona barbadensis. Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire provides help for the island’s abandoned and abused donkeys. Bonaire Birding is Frank Bierings’ hobby site on local birds. Birds of Bonaire is Jeff and Allison Wells’ site dedicated to local birding. The Butterfly Garden Bonaire shows butterflies that live in the area. Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire has been protecting sea turtles since 1991. When in the sea around Bonaire, one should be aware of “fire coral“, which looks like coral but is related to jellyfish.

Bonaire’s trails is an innovative website that shows where to find the trails through Bonaire’s natural areas; apparently, the island offers over 300 kilometers (almost 200 miles) of marked trails. Bicycles can be rented from Caribbean Sports. Horseback riding is available from Riding Academy Club and Rancho Washikemba. Outdoor Bonaire is a local adventure travel company that operates Auriga Ecolodge Bonaire.

The Council on International Educational Exchange operates the CIEE Research Station Bonaire, offering courses in marine ecology and conservation. Kayaking tranquil Lac Bay is available at Bonaire’s Mangrove Information Center. Bonaire Boat Charter NV offers glass bottom boat tours in the Bonaire National Marine Park. Woodwind Cruises offers guided snorkel tours on their 11 meter (37 foot) trimaran. Board sports lessons and rentals are available from Jibe City and Bonaire Windsurf Place. Bonaire’s Council of Underwater Resort Operators includes a member listing of local dive shops and operators. The Yellow Submarine dive shop, Dive Friends Bonaire, organizes the quarterly Bonaire underwater clean up dive, Debris Free Bonaire.

Culture:

Following WWII the islands of the Dutch Caribbean, colonies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, became the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba separated in 1986, and the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010. There are two logical geographical groupings, the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and the SSS Islands (Saba, Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius). However, administratively Bonaire belongs to a third grouping, the BES Islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba) which intersects the geographical groupings. The autonomous islands all have their own Internet ccTLD (country code top-level domain); however, the BES Islands fall under .BQ for Bonaire, whereas .AN for Netherlands Antilles is being discontinued.

Unlike neighboring Aruba and Curaçao, Bonaire is not as packed with mass tourism; but, Statistics Netherlands does show Bonaire inflation going up in 2012. Also unlike Aruba and Curaçao, the BES Islands adopted the United States dollar as currency in 2011. BonaireArt highlights the island arts and culture. Popular events include Bonaire Kite Week. Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association includes a member listing for Small Accommodations; however, the family operated Oasis Guesthouse Bonaire is not listed. Don’t miss a visit to Aletta van Beeck’s Semper Kontentu Goatcheese Bonaire.

References:

  • The tourism value of nature on Bonaire by S Schep, P van Beukering, L Brander, E Wolfs, 2012
  • Tourism Policy Goals of Bonaire: Have They Been Achieved Over the Past 15 Years? by MC van Pallandt, 2007
  • An Example of Economic Valuation Using a Stated Preference Technique: An Application to Dive Tourism in Bonaire by GR Parsons, 2004
  • Admission fees: opportunities and challenges of using admission fees as a funding source at a small scale, tourism dependant MPA: case study of the Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire by DK Meyer & F Simal, 2003
  • Understanding complex human ecosystems: the case of ecotourism on Bonaire by T Abel, 2003
  • Social structure and ecotourism development on Bonaire by T Abel, 2002
  • Human ecosystems, self-organization, and emergent hierarchy: economic growth and the case of ecotourism on Bonaire by TA Kohler, JT McCabe, EF Moran & L Pritchard Jr, 2001
  • Ecosystems, sociocultural systems, and ecological economics for understanding development: the case of ecotourism on the island of Bonaire by T Abel, 2000
  • Collaboration on tourism policy making: Environmental and commercial sustainability on Bonaire, NA by S Parker, 1999
  • Making tourism work for the Bonaire Marine Park by K De Meyer, 1998
  • How tourism can help protect the environment: A case study of the Bonaire Marine Park by K De Meyer, 1997
  • The Economic Impact of International Tourism on the Economy of Bonaire by J Fletcher, 1997
  • A framework for tourism development of fragile island destinations: the case of Bonaire by R Pieters, D Gevers, MV Conlin & T Baum, 1995