Kayaking in Bonaire

A Paddle in the Marine Park

Protection pays off. Because the entire coastal waters of Bonaire are encompassed within a national park, paddlers can enjoy some of the most pristine marine environments in the Caribbean. Narrow channels lead through mangrove forests and into hidden clear water lagoons that serve as an inshore nursery for numerous reef species. Grass beds deliver a different cast of characters, and rays and turtles can often be seen gliding beneath the boat. The scene changes when the destination is a nearshore reef, where colorful coral formations rise to within a few feet of the surface and the underwater landscape unfolds below.

Highlights

  • Best for: Everyone with a love of water and nature
  • Best season to visit: Year-round, as it's below the hurricane belt
  • Weather: 70s, sunny and dry in the winter, 80s in the summer, with occasional afternoon or evening showers

Bonaire Information

Paddle Sports in Bonaire Overview

Padding activities take place in two primary areas. On Bonaire's eastern coast, the large sheltered body of water known as Lac Bay offers routes through mangrove forests and across shallow open-water flats. Calm leeward conditions on the island's western coast are ideal for explorations of the shore, or trips to the nearby island of Klein Bonaire.

Paddle Sports in Bonaire Tips

A kayak tour of Bonaire's mangrove lagoon is not to be missed, but in recent years, there is another equally memorable paddling experience offered on the island's west coast. Outfitters provide transparent-bottomed kayaks that deliver a spectacular view of the reefs and fish that are clearly visible in the clear waters.

Best Places for Paddle Sports in Bonaire

Lac Bay is home to one of the best-preserved mangrove forests in the Caribbean. The reef-protected grass flats offshore of Sorobon Beach are home to queen conch, juvenile rays, lobster, green turtles and baby seahorses. Reefs run close to shore on the calm waters of Bonaire's western shore, and it is a short paddle from waterfront resorts to the deserted island of Klein Bonaire.

What to Pack for Paddle Sports in Bonaire

Sports sandals or slip-on water shoes that will remain comfortable when wet. A wide-brimmed hat for sun protection. Polarized sunglasses for a better view into the water. A dry bag for cameras and personal items. An extra bottle of water.

Specials

Paddle Sports

Captain Dons Habitat

1 FREE NIGHT + AQUASAFARI includes 7 night deluxe oceanview accommodations, Aquasafari including off road excursion, local lunch, mangrove kayaking & snorkel, pickup/dropoff from hotel. Available Mo-Su, morning and afternoon schedules, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 12/2/17-12/5/17. Options to add on Kiteboarding lessons, Hiking, Biking and Windsurfing lessons and tours.
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From $581 per person double occupancy

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Packages

Paddle Sports

Caribbean Club Bonaire

EXPLORE PACKAGE includes 7 night 1 bedroom studio accomodations, breakfast buffet daily, explore package including 1 day mountain bike rental, 7 day snorkel equipment, 1 guided snorkel boat tour, 1 guided kayak mangrove tour and 1 guided cave exploration tour, 7 day truck rental including taxes, airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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Paddle Sports

Buddy Dive Resort

BONAIRE - ACTIVITY ADVENTURE PACKAGE includes 7 nights in your choice of Studio, 1, 2 or 3-bedroom accommodations, breakfast daily, snorkel equipment rental for 7 days, mountain bike rental for 1 day, 1 guided boat snorkel trip, 1 guided cave exploration tour, 1 guided mangrove kayak tour, 7 days vehicle rental including taxes, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Welcome drink and Manager's Rum Punch Party.
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From $1,712 per person double diver

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Resorts

Paddle Sports

Buddy Dive Resort

Experience Bonaire with Buddy Dive Resort, a resort where you can dive, take part in a multitude of activities, or just sit back and relax by one of the pools or in the comfort of your room or fully equipped apartment.
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From $1,035 per person based on double occupancy

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Paddle Sports

Captain Dons Habitat

Captain Don’s Habitat has been known as the “home of diving freedom” since 1976. From full 2-story 3 & 4 bedroom ocean front villas to 2 bedroom bungalows and ocean front deluxe junior suites, Captain Don's Habitat has an accommodation to fit everyone's needs.
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Paddle Sports

Caribbean Club Bonaire

Caribbean Club Bonaire features cottages, studios, ocean view penthouses, and ocean view cottages deluxe, together with an on-premises full-service dive shop and activity center, two swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, and meeting room.
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Paddle Sports

Courtyard Bonaire

The new state-of-the-art lobby at Courtyard provides greater flexibility and choices for our guests. You'll also enjoy inviting, flexible spaces where you can work or relax, free Wi-Fi throughout and easy access to the latest news, weather and airport conditions via our GoBoard technology. Plus, our well-equipped fitness center, the outdoor pool will help you stay refreshed and energized. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, your stay at Courtyard is sure to be more comfortable, more productive and more enjoyable than ever before!
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

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Entry Requirments: US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport, valid at least three months beyond the planned period of stay. No visa is required for stays shorter than 90 days.

Exit Requirments: The departure tax is USD $36.05 per person, which should be included in your international airline ticket taxes, so there should be nothing to pay at the airport. Domestic departure tax is $9.27 to Curacao, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius or Aruba and should also be included in your airline ticket taxes.

Immunizations

No vaccinations or preventative medications are required for travel to Bonaire. Check with the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov

Culture and Customs

Bonaire provides a low-key take on island life. Bonairean culture blends the traditions of Spain, Africa and the Netherlands. Locals who may initially display the discrete reserves of the Dutch quickly prove warm and accommodating of visitors. And despite decades of tourism, the service industry mentality does not dominate the cultural psyche. Cruise ships now call at the Kralendijk waterfront, but divers remain the main source of business for on-island resorts. Nightlife is more likely to mean a sunset dinner at the harbor followed by a stroll to an ice cream shop, or tall tales of underwater adventures shared at a waterfront tiki bar, with a reasonable bedtime in anticipation of tomorrow's adventures. And there are ample adventures to be found. Washington Slagbaai National Park covers the entire northern end of the island, creating an outdoor playground for hiking, mountain biking, birding and day trips to small surf-washed coves hidden within iron shore bluffs. The trade winds that cool the island also power kite boarders, and the sheltered waters of Lac Bay are home to Jibe City, one of the Caribbean's epicenters of windsurfing action. Blue water fishermen don't have to travel far to hook up with trophy catches, kayakers can find shelter in mangrove channels, and sailing charters provide a relaxing way to skim the coastline without venturing into open ocean. An experience unique to Bonaire are the cave snorkel trips that take swimmers into clear pools of fresh water hidden below the island's limestone substrate.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity is 127 volt, 50 cycle. Many dive shops offer stations for charging lights, strobes or delicate equipment.

Most hotels offer WiFi and some local restaurants and bars offer WiFi. Surf-it hotspots are available with a Surf-it prepaid card from Telbo. Calling Bonaire requires dialing 011-599-7 and 6 digit number. Be sure to check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer an international plan or you will be subject to roaming charges.

Water Quality

Bonaire offers desalinated sea water which is purified and safe to drink. Bottled water is also available for purchase.

Language & Currency

There are 4 main languages spoken in Bonaire, Dutch is the official one used in government and legal transactions, while Papiamentu is used in daily exchanges and spoken by the locals. English and Spanish are also widely spoken.

As of January 1, 2011, the U.S. Dollar became the official currency of Bonaire. Credit cards are normally accepted in most restaurants, bars and stores. It is recommended you contact your credit card company before travel to make sure they know you will be using the card out of the country. ATMs are available which Cirrus, NYCE and other networks.

Time

Bonaire is in the Atlantic Time Zone (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Bonaire is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).

Location, Size and Population

Bonaire is 24 miles long by 3-7 miles wide, approximately 111 square miles. The small island offshore, Klein Bonaire, which is uninhabited is 2.3 square miles. Bonaire is located just 30 miles from Curacao, 50 miles North of Venezuela and 80 miles East of Aruba. Bonaire is located in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and outside of the Hurricane Belt. The population of Bonaire is 18,900 (2016).