General Information about Bonaire
Bonaire is a special municipality (officially public body) of the Netherlands, consisting of the Caribbean island of Bonaire and, nestled in its western crescent, the uninhabited islet of Klein Bonaire. Together with Aruba and Curaçao it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles. The name Bonaire is thought to have originally come from the Caiquetio word ‘Bonay’.
The early Spanish and Dutch modified its spelling to Bojnaj and also Bonaire, which means “Good Air”.
Bonaire was part of the Netherlands Antilles until the country’s dissolution on 10 October 2010, when the island (including Klein Bonaire) became a special municipality within the country of the Netherlands.
Tourism on Bonaire
Bonaire’s economy is mainly based on tourism. The island caters mainly to scuba divers and snorkelers, as there are few sandy beaches, while the surrounding reefs are easily accessible from the shore. Bonaire is world renowned for its excellent scuba diving and is consistently rated among the best diving locations in the world. Bonaire’s license plates carry the logo Divers Paradise (in English). Bonaire is also consistently recognized as one of the best destinations for snorkeling. Wind surfers also make a strong group of island tourists, as the east side of the island (facing the Caribbean Sea) has the large waves and wind gusts needed for windsurfing. Lac Bay, in the south east, is shallow, yet windy, and hence is considered an excellent place for intermediate sailors to improve their skills. Tourism infrastructure is contemporary and based on time-share resorts. There are a few small bed and breakfasts. Most resorts have an on-site dive shop. The rest are affiliated with a dive operation.
Dutch is the official language, since it is part of the Netherlands. Nevertheless, Papiamentu is recognised as another language on the island.