In Partnership With
Almost as soon as you pull into the port of Kralendijk, you’ll realize it’s one of the most laid-back landings around. Though there are some colorful streets to stroll nearby—remnants (mostly) of Bonaire’s Dutch-colonial era—even the busiest lack the bustle of other Caribbean capitals. Which is a good thing. The comparative sleepiness helps maintain the island’s chief attributes: legendarily pristine wilderness, both above and below the surface; mangroves full of baby fish; and salt flats full of flamingos. And reefs full of . . . everything. Nature’s cup overfloweth here. And, by the way, so will yours (have the cactus liqueur even if you try no other local beverage). There’s also an embarrassment of cultural riches, thanks to the layers of Amerindian, Spanish, African, Dutch and British influences on the island. In fact, you’ll hear traces of the languages of all of the above (plus some French and Portuguese) during any given conversation in Papiamento, the creole language spoken throughout the Netherlands Antilles. You'll find you can get by just fine with a few key phrases: por fabor, danki and bon dia—all of which mean exactly what you think they do.