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Cruises to Bonaire

694 Reviews
4 Awards
Bonaire (Photo:byvalet/Shutterstock)

About Bonaire

Shy pink flamingos, gentle sad-eyed donkeys and elusive sea turtles all share something quite rare in today's world. They flourish on or around Bonaire, one of the ABC isles (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) deep in the Southern Caribbean. Each lives in sanctuaries set up by island residents who boast an awareness and level of conservation that few countries can match.

Though ecotourism is one of the latest buzzwords in the travel world, Bonaire, just 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, was a world leader in the field of ecology long before the term was even coined. The island's greatest claim to fame is proudly touted on its license plates -- "Divers Paradise." This is no tourist-bureau puffery, although many believe that the license plates should read "Nature Lovers Paradise." Beyond the diving and snorkeling, there's windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Many Caribbean islands brag about their underwater worlds, but Bonaire has set the standard by which everywhere else in the world is measured -- it led the way by protecting sea turtles back in 1961, banning spear-fishing in 1971, making it illegal to remove live coral in 1975 and establishing the first marine park in 1979. It also helps that the island is outside the traditional hurricane zone and is a desert island with no river runoff into the sea.

It has been called "Arizona by the Sea" for its climate and abundance of cacti. There is no rainy season and temperatures are consistently pleasant with lows in the 70s and highs in the 80s. Unlike its better-known neighbors, Aruba and Curacao, this isle of about 20,000 residents is quiet and laid-back. There are no flashy Las Vegas-type casinos as in Aruba or a showy pastel-colored capital city as in Curacao.

The first recorded Bonaire scuba diving began back in 1962 when Don Stewart, a would-be California actor, dropped anchor on this small, arid boomerang of an island. Considered the father of Bonaire diving, he was the first to use fixed moorings to prevent coral damage and helped set up the Caribbean's first island-wide underwater park. He has received numerous international awards for his conservation efforts. The park is a United Nations Environmental Program Model Marine Protected Area.

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  • Why go to Bonaire?

  • Bonaire Cruise Port Facilities?

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Regal Princess
Regal Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

8 Night
Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,713 Reviews
Leaving:Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Dec 26, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Dawn

14 Night
Southern Caribbean - TampaDetails

2,901 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

9 Night
Panama Canal-panama CityDetails

2,301 Reviews
Leaving:Colon
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

10 Night
Panama Canal-panama CityDetails

2,301 Reviews
Leaving:Panama City
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao CruiseDetails

2,210 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Jan 18, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Southern Caribbean - San JuanDetails

4,224 Reviews
Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao CruiseDetails

2,210 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Nov 21, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Caribbean - Southern CruiseDetails

65 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Southern Caribbean Wayfarer / SeafarerDetails

57 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao CruiseDetails

2,210 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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8 Night
Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao CruiseDetails

2,210 Reviews
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Boston To Miami CruiseDetails

2,396 Reviews
Leaving:Boston
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Southern Caribbean SeafarerDetails

57 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Southern Caribbean SeafarerDetails

57 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Southern Caribbean SeafarerDetails

57 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Bonaire

Why go to Bonaire?

Pros:

Nature lovers will rejoice in the peace and serenity found on Bonaire, which has some of the world's best diving

Cons:

You won't find the typical Caribbean touristy outposts here, which might be a drawback for some

Bottom Line:

Bonaire offers an authentically Caribbean experience for active and laid-back travelers

Bonaire Cruise Port Facilities?

You'll be docked in downtown Kralendijk, the capital of Bonaire, off Kaya C.E.B. Hellmund. Shopping, dining, bar hopping and even snorkeling and diving are within walking distance of the dock. You will pass through Harborside Mall, a small open-air shopping center, to get from the pier to the street. There are public restrooms here, but they cost $1 to use. Just outside of the center, you can find taxi and tour operator stands for independent exploration.

Good to Know?

Bonaire, like Curacao, is known for being a bit windy. Don't expect gale-force winds, but there are ample breezes for excellent windsurfing.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Across from the pier is Wilhelmina Plaza. On cruise days it becomes the Bonaire Arts and Crafts Cruise Market with local artisans offering native foods, handmade wares, original art and clothing for sale. Cultural dance shows, concerts and other entertainment are held here during the day.

It is an easy walk of just a few minutes to shops and restaurants along the Waterfront Promenade and Kaya Grandi, the main shopping street, one block inland.

By Taxi: Taxis are readily available. Rates are set to various destinations, and you can tour the entire island for $40 per person. Local beaches, the Plaza Resort and Harbourside Village are $20 round trip for up to four people. Popular Sorobon Beach (by Lac Bay) is $40 round trip for up to four people.

By Rental Car: There are a number of car rental companies in Bonaire, but roads are narrow and what used to be one-ways are now two. If you plan on leisurely driving, let other vehicles go around you and stay alert for passing cars and motorbikes. Roads are generally well paved and well-marked, but if you will be driving into Washington Slagbaai National Park, you will need a truck or a Jeep since conditions are rough on unpaved roads. Daily rentals are harder to come by, and more expensive, so arrange yours in advance. Motor scooters and motorcycles are also available for rent as well as bicycles.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The U.S. dollar is the island's official currency. ATMs are available at local banks downtown, the supermarket, Harborside Mall and several resorts.

Language?

The official language of Bonaire is Dutch, but Papiamento, the local dialect of the ABC islands, is widely spoken. "Masha danki" means thank you very much in the language. English is spoken by most locals.


Bonaire Cruise Reviews
Beautiful beach day, loved Bonaire!!Read More
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Sailer Duane
Would definitely go back to Bonaire. I liked that it wansn't built up and not very touristy. Read More
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MGFL
Bonaire was a beautiful island. We had never been to this port before. I booked through Bonaire Cruisers and rented a golf cart for the day. We toured all over the island. Stopped at a beach and had lunch. Read More
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granddutchess
We rented a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers. They were fantastic to work with and we were thrilled to see the land side of Bonaire.Read More
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Nashna

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