Top Things to Do in Bonaire in a Day

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Are you planning a Bonaire vacation? Is Bonaire port-of-call part of your Southern Caribbean cruise itinerary? See the top things to do in Bonaire in a day. You’ll be calling this Dutch Caribbean island paradise shortly after arriving.

There is nothing not to love about Bonaire. The island is just the right size to spend a day or a week. Ideally, a week would be perfect to relax and do all the things there is to do in Bonaire.

Please note: this trip and post was written pre-Covid.

Cruises to Bonaire

We are so thankful that we had the opportunity to visit Bonaire for the first time on our Celebrity Equinox cruise. If it weren’t for the cruise, I don’t think Bonaire would have ever landed anywhere on my radar. Had I heard of the island? Yeah, but only in the same conversations that had Southern Caribbean and Aruba in the same conversation.

Cruising is a great way to discover new destinations and get a taste of what they are like, so you can then return for a longer stay. If you’re not sure about planning a whole Bonaire vacation, consider looking at cruises to Bonaire.

Celebrity Equinox docked in Bonaire Cruise port

You can also just trust me when I tell you that Bonaire is worth some vacation time. Bonaire takes pride in their island and preserving what mother nature has blessed them with. The moment you step onto the island, you will instantly feel relax and curious to see what it has to offer.

It’s on the top of one of my favorite Caribbean islands thus far. The water there is glorious.

There are a number of things to do in Bonaire, including diving and snorkeling. They call it “divers paradise” for a reason.

Bonaire Cruise Port

What to expect? This is the easiest and best cruise port I’ve ever experienced. The best part, no tendering.

Once you step out of the gangway, bypass the mascots outside for pictures and walk off the short pier, you are on the island. There are a few booths set up for local tour companies, like Bonaire cruisers. Some stores nearby. That’s about it

I should disclose that the Celebrity Equinox was the only ship docked that day.

Things to do in Bonaire | featured image

Things to Do in Bonaire

Golf Cart Rental: Rent One & Tour the Island

When I was researching ‘things to do in Bonaire on a cruise day’, driving the island in golf carts continued coming up. Then I found out that the rentals are booked FAST.

I mean, MONTHS in advance.

I didn’t think I was going to rent a golf cart at the time, but when we decided to explore the island with the time we had, I emailed Bonaire Cruisers immediately.

And guess what? The golf carts were booked on my requested date 4 months ahead of time. 4 months!

Bonaire Cruisers kindly added me to their waiting list. Within a few weeks, someone had canceled their booking and they emailed me asking if I still wanted the golf cart. I booked it. Worse case, I’d cancel, but we ended up keeping our reservation.

Golf carts at Bonaire Cruisers site
Bonaire cruisers golf carts

Is a Golf Cart Rental in Bonaire worth it?

Yes, it’s a fun experience. At least something you can do once.

Do you think a car rental may be better?

Like anything else, everything has its pros and cons. I do think a car rental will get you to farther destinations faster.

Is the golf cart safe to drive around in Bonaire?

Yes. It’s the perfect island to drive around in a golf cart in. As a matter of fact, there was never any crazy traffic to watch out for and regular vehicles would just pass right around us. It was very calm and the main road pretty empty.

How long does it take you to make a loop around the island?

It took us not even 2 hours to drive around the main road of the island with a few stops. Once we made the first go around, we continued on to 1000 Steps.

Cons of driving a golf cart?

The sun will be shining on you quite a bit, so prepared to get a little sunburnt. I suggest wearing a long sleeve rash guard or wrapping something around your shoulders as you drive around, on top of applying sunscreen.

We rented from Bonaire Cruisers

Excellent customer service from the very 1st email exchange and all the way until we dropped off the golf cart.

A Bonaire cruiser representative will meet you right outside where the cruise ship docks. They check your name off the list and then direct you to their office which is only a short walk away.

It’s a smooth process checking you in. They go over safety, the map of the island, and instructions on how to drive the cart, and then send you on your way to explore.

Rather take a tour? Check out this North and South Island Tour with a Native Guide: [Book Here].

Tops Things to do in Bonaire Island

Explore the Bonaire Beaches

There are over 22 beaches in Bonaire. I don’t think you can go wrong at any of them.

Do not expect all beaches in Bonaire to have white sandy beaches. Instead, you may find beautiful beaches filled with a variety of hard coral and rocks.

My #1 tip is to make sure you have a good set of water shoes.

What I loved about the beaches is that they are easy to find along the routes. Each beach entrance is marked with yellow bright rocks with the beach name written on it.

1000 Steps (North Shore)

View of 1000 steps beach from the top of the steps.

I’m going to start with my favorite time of our day on the North Shore of Bonaire at 1000 Steps beach.

Believe it or not, our golf cart made it all the way to 1000 Steps beach. There were several cars parked along the side of the roads. I think a smaller vehicle definitely helps when parking.

Why is it called 1000 steps? Because of the limestone steps, you have to take to get down to the beach. There aren’t literally 1000 steps, but it’s a pretty steep descent and then you have to take them on the way back up.

Steps leading down to 1000 steps beach in Bonaire
Limestone steps of 1000 Steps Beach in Bonaire.

We walked further down the shore and found the perfect enclave to sit under for shade. Hubby immediately went out to snorkel. There were at least a dozen snorkelers at this location. We even saw a few scuba divers.

I am not a strong swimmer, so I didn’t trust swimming too far away from shore to snorkel. Hubby went and till this day raves about the snorkeling here. He even saw a sea turtle! Seriously, it made his entire day.

At 1000 steps beach in Bonaire.

While he snorkeled, I was joined by these wonderful ladies vacationing there from the Netherlands. It was their last day in Bonaire, after 3 weeks of being on the island and they said 1000 Steps was by far the best spot they found on the island. They also insisted I visit the Netherlands soon and see more than just Amsterdam – I promised, I’ve been dying to visit anyways.

Google Map It

Pink Beach (South Shore)

Yellow rocks with the names of the beach mark each beach location in Bonaire. Pink Beach is written on this yellow rock.
Look for the yellow rocks with the beach names.

Earlier in the day, we made a quick stop at Pink Beach and were just amazed at the sheer beauty of it. Nobody was around. The waters were not calm enough to swim in. It was such a nice spot to just sit and take in.

Google Map It

Te Amo Beach

Not far South from the Bonaire airport and cruise port, you will find Te Amo beach. Since it’s so close to the port, it may be filled with cruisers.

Don’t let that stop you if you’re looking for a few hours at a beautiful beach.

Google Map It

Klein Bonaire

Klein is a small islet off the West coast of the island of Bonaire. It’s uninhabited and you can visit by taking a water taxi. The taxi will drop you off at No Name Beach where you can spend the day and return back to the main island at a later time.

Book a Water Taxi in Advance to Klein | Cost: Adults $20, Kids 12 & Under: $10 R/T

Go Beach Hopping in Curacao

Are you island hopping the ABC islands? Rent a car in beautiful Curacao and go beach hopping.

Salt Pans & Pyramids

Mountains of Salt in the distance and Salt Pans in Bonaire
Salt Pans and pyramids of Bonaire

Salt is produced on the island of Bonaire.

These salt pans at certain times of year turn pink. Isn’t that cool? It would have been cool to see, but it wasn’t the right time of year. I’ve never seen salt pyramids before, so that was a first for me.

Imagine driving along the road, the blue Caribbean ocean on one site and pink water on the other side. I have to go back to witness this.

When can you see the salt pans turn pink? It all depends on the evaporation of the water and the crystallization. There is more of a scientific explanation to it – and I’m not even going to try to dive into that web that isn’t mine, ha. But if you manage to visit when it’s pink, that’s definitely a unique sight to see.

Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary

pink flamingo

As you drive South, you will spot flamingos in their natural habitat. You can stop at Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary.

Note, you can’t get too close, but you can still take photos and admire them from a distance. Sadly, I did not get any great photos, but I do have a video here.

It’s worth the stop.

Google Map It

Old Slave Huts

Part of Bonaire’s history is these slave huts that were built in the mid-eighteen hundreds. The huts are where the workers used to sleep and live in.

Orange and narrow pointy structure along the coast used for navigation in the past.

Keep a lookout for the pointy structures called obelisks. There are 4 of them throughout the island, each one representing a color of the Dutch’s flag. Ships coming into land would use these to navigate to shore.

Google Map it

Willemstoren Lighthouse

South of the Flamingos, you will find the lighthouse.

As you drive around the coast you will see wood assembled in different triangular and pyramid shapes. Locals supposedly collect driftwood and other items washed ashore by the lighthouse to put them together.

Google Map It

Washington Slagbaai Park

Unfortunately, we did not have enough time nor the right vehicle to reach Washington Slagbaai National Park, Bonaire’s nature sanctuary. I am including it because a planned day here is a great option.

If you’re in Bonaire for more than a day (lucky you), I’d spend the day driving and exploring one of the two routes of the park. There are also three hiking trails available.

At this park be ready to see beautiful vistas, beaches, native wildlife, local vegetation, flora, and beaches where sea turtles nest.

Entry fee: $45 pp (Free if you already purchased a dive tag for Bonaire National Marine Park)

Tour Option: Tour Washington Slagbaii Park with Local Guide [Book Here]

Bonaire National Marine Park

The marine life here is the bomb! So, if diving or snorkeling is your thing, then you have to make a day of it at Bonaire’s National Marine Park. This is the mecca for divers.

If you’re a diver, diving in Bonaire is not be missed. There are excursions available that leave from near the port to the park to snorkel or dive.

Entry-free to scuba dive: $45 | Other water activities: $25

Other Activities & Tours in Bonaire to Consider

Whare are other things to do in Bonaire? You can always book one of these tours.

1. Cave Tour

Did you know there are almost 400 caves in Bonaire? I didn’t either until I bookmarked this tour.

Explore two caves on the Northside of the island with a local guide. Explore ancient formations and even snorkel in crystal clear water in one of the caves.

Book Here

2. Tour Downtown

Don’t feel like beaching it? Why not tour the streets of Kralendijk?

Book Here

3. Kayak & Snorkel The Bonaire Mangrove

Start a Lac Car beach and take glass bottom kayaks to the Bonaire Mangrove reserve. Let an informed guide point out and share their knowledge of the untouched beauty that resides in the mangroves.

Book Here

4. Snorkel Trip on a Catamaran

Sail on Catamaran to Marine Park and snorkel at some of their best spots. Lunch is included with this tour and it is cruise ship itinerary friendly.

Book Here

5. Landsailing Adventure

Have you ever heard of land sailing? I sure haven’t. This unique and fun Bonaire adventure involves a blokart. Ride (or is it sail?) against others in the tour for an hour in the windiest part of the island and see who wins.

Book Here

Bonaire is Paradise

View of Bonaire Island as we sailed away on the cruise ship

There is no doubt that Bonaire is special. The breathtaking coastal views at every turn really left me with my mouth hanging open. I just couldn’t believe how blue the water is, sometimes like a neon turquoise that I’d pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The locals are super friendly and they take great care of their island.

If you have a cruise day coming up and it’s your first time, I highly suggest touring the island and seeing as much of its beauty as you can. You will want to return for a longer vacation.

See highlights of our day in Bonaire on Instagram.

Next Stop: Key West, Florida

Have you been to Bonaire? If not, have you added it to your bucket list? What’s the one thing you look forward to seeing or doing in Bonaire?

Don’t forget to share the love on Pinterest:

Things to do in bonaire | pinterest marketing image

When I’m not daydreaming about my next vacation, drinking coffee, or playing with my dogs, you can find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook for more posts and stories! Would love to hear from you! -Kathy

8 thoughts on “Top Things to Do in Bonaire in a Day”

  1. We’ve been wanting to do a cruise to the ABC islands and of course you hear so much about Aruba. Now Bonaire is high on my list…for you know, when we can actually travel! Those beaches look absolutely incredible.

    Also, I have to say, your site looks gorgeous. I love the updates.

    Reply
    • The ABC islands are so worth it! I hope cruising opens up soon and its better than ever.

      And, thanks. Still working on the site, but its coming along. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Oh my god no lie I seriously think I want this to be one of my first trips when travel is possible again! We still have to rebook Mexico one day because that’s what my Aunt and mom really want, but me, I’m going to Bonaire! It seriously does look like paradise. Love your beautiful pictures.
    Exploring the area by golf cart sounds like so much fun and I’m so jealous of the ladies you met who stayed there for three weeks. They were living the life!
    Those pyramids are so cool too. I want to see them when it’s pink. I gotta research that. Maybe I need to marry a scientist and we can honeymoon there when it’s pink??

    I love all your tips too. Awesome post as usual!

    Reply
    • If you’re looking to do a solo trip, I’d say Bonaire is a perfect choice. Especially after all the chaos going on in the world right now, Bonaire is great getaway after this is all over.

      Now, the pyramids won’t turn pink, it’s the salt flats around them that will. I think it will be pretty special to experience.

      So happy you loved the post. Hope you get to visit Bonaire after your Mexico trip. Ah, can’t wait for travel to be back better than ever.

      Reply
  3. I just realized that you changed up your blog theme! Where have I been?

    Bonaire looks BEAUTIFUL. Nothing gets me more than coming up on a place and just seeing its striking beauty. I felt that way about Capri and the Greek islands. Of course, I was seasick too so the ground was even more magical lol! That port picture is gorgeous along with the turquoise waters and beautiful beaches. Sighhhh….

    Your video is giving me total wanderlust. GAH, I am SO ready to travel right now! I’m even missing the Florida coastline.

    I have never rented a golf cart… bucket list?

    I snorkel with a lifevest. The ocean freaks me out, and like you, I am not an amazing swimmer.

    Reply
    • Yes! New blog theme. I’ve been productive these days. Still working on it, but it’s coming along. =)

      Bonaire is one-of-a-kind. I think out of all the Caribbean Islands it is my favorite. You will absolutely love it. Rent a golf cart, it’s fun.

      I snorkel with a life vest too and I’m always too scared I won’t be able to swim back to shore haha. I like snorkeling from a boat best. I would love to take some swimming classes to get better at it.

      Reply
  4. Renting a golf cart sounds like so much fun!! I think a change from soft, white sand is always a good way to switch it up; those beaches sounds lovely. Those salt pans turning PINK?!?!? Too cool!! I would love to see that. Oooh, and I love your new look here on the blog, so sleek 😉

    Reply
    • I wish my visit was during the time the salt pans are pink. If you look it up on Google, you’ll see amazing pictures of it. It’s so cool!

      Thanks for the new blog theme comments. It’s a work in progress, but I’m loving it and happy to hear you like it too.

      Reply

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