Our Last Day in Bonaire and a few practical tips for traveling to the Island

Gio’s on the main street for gelato
©Jean Janssen

This is our last day in Bonaire.  Resting, packing, and a little more island exploring is on the agenda.  We headed into town to grab lunch and just walk around the city center.  Most shops were closed from 12:30-2:00 for lunch.  If you wanted to eat lunch in town, there were very few options-probably different when the cruise ships are in town.  We had a big breakfast and still had plenty to munch on for lunch back at the room, so we opted for a midday dessert, gelato at Gio’s, right on the main street.  I tried the cheesecake with cherry topping and the coconut with chocolate.  The coconut was out of this world.  Loved the decorations here.  All black and white, with a few red accents-white leather chairs and black chandeliers.

Tablecloth at a downtown cafe which serves Dutch Pancakes.
©Jean Janssen

Things were pretty quiet in town today.  Many of the restaurants are open only at dinner.  During the day, most of the tourists are diving or windsurfing.  I was surprised at the number of restaurants not open on the weekends, even at night.  Our receptionist told me that many of the businesses are run by a husband and wife team with only one or two other employees.  They like to take the days off.

We walked around the town square where there was a food festival the last time be came to Bonaire.  We also walked along the harbor, saw all the sailboats, and checked out spots for seaside dining that evening.  Sometimes it is all about food.  Diving does work up an appetite.  (Oh yea, we are not diving today.)

Downtown Kralendijk
©Jean Janssen

caves along the Barkadera
©Jean Janssen

access point for 1,000 steps dive site
©Jean Janssen

It was not a sunny day and I was still nursing a sunburn, so we decided not to go to the windsurfing beach at Lac Bay as originally planned.  We drove down the Barkadera and checked out the oldest caves on the island.  As you continued down the road, you came to various dives sites, all marked with a yellow-painted stone with the site name.  The most popular was 1,000 steps, a site we had dove from the boat.  There were lots of divers there braving the steps and a few photographers like me just taking pictures.

a local greeter for the tourists
©Jean Janssen

A few practical matters about Bonaire.  US currency is the standard here, so American visitors have no worries.  MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted, as is American Express to a more limited extent.

My favorite road sign in Bonaire-diver crossing. ©Jean Janssen  You will want a car if you are staying on island for more than a few days (unless you plan to just dive or windsurf from your resort).  Gas is expensive, but the island is small so you don’t need much.  Driving on the right side is the correct side, so no difference there for most international drivers.  The big rental car company here is AB Car Rental; my friends rented from them with great success.  Total also does pretty big business.  I rented from Budget as a familiar company and one that offers an automatic transmission option.  I was not happy with them, a repair took a long time and they wanted me to pay for a tire that had been cut from the inside which had clearly not happened on my watch.  (We came out the first day to find the tire totally flat and the wheel sitting on the rim.  I had only driven the car to the resort. )  They seemed to be charging every other person returning a car for some repair.  Total Scam.  I would not rent from Budget again on Bonaire.

 

There are four major languages spoken on the island-Papiamentu (local language of the ABC islands), Dutch, English, and Spanish.  American visitors will have no issue communicating verbally, reading some of the packaging and signs, particularly in the grocery store, is a more of a challenge.

Temperatures are given in centigrade, so be prepared for a little conversion when putting things in the oven.  The controls on the appliances are also unfamiliar and there is some trial and error involved in the process.

If you want air conditioning, confirm your room has it before booking.  Even if they advertise AC, it is often only in the bedrooms.

Although readily available on the island, some rooms are not stocked with things like soap, paper towels, or cleaning supplies like dish washing liquid.  There is also no conditioner for your hair and believe me you will need it if you are getting in the salt water everyday.  (This is one of my major peeves about Walt Disney World, which I love by the way.  Why don’t they put conditioner in the rooms?  It’s a little more understandable on Bonaire.)  Also, many rooms don’t have microwaves.  This was my one suggestion to the Caribbean Club-get microwave ovens for the rooms.

A career-changing opportunity on Bonaire
©Jean Janssen

And finally, if you are like me and have an adult child who just hasn’t found himself or herself, or you have just always wanted to be part of the medical profession, may I suggest Bonaire and the St. James Medical School.  (It is also a popular hangout for the donkeys.  I spotted a herd of 7 of them there one morning.)

our view at dinner
©Jean Janssen

We ended the day with dinner along the harbor, wonderful seafood tapas at La Guernica.  We had to make sure we were packed and ready to go before going to sleep.  We had to wake up at 4:30 am to make our early flight home.  It was a wonderful trip.  Rocky thanked me often during the week.  I highly recommend a trip to Bonaire, especially if you love diving, windsurfing, or wild donkeys.

About travelbynatasha

I am a retired attorney who loves to travel. Several years ago I began working on a Century Club membership achieved by traveling to 100 "foreign" countries. Today, at 49 years of age the count is at 82. Many were visited on land based trips. Some were cruise ports. Some were dive sites. Most have been fascinating.
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