Dutch Antilles | Bonaire

Bon Bini Bonaire = Welcome to Bonaire

 

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For over three centuries, the island’s culture and prosperity was dependent upon this most important of the world’s spices. Salt is still produced on Bonaire, though the stunning salt beds of Pekelmeer are also home to one of the hemisphere’s great populations of flamingoes.

 

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Bonaire ranks as the finest snorkeling and scuba diving destination in the Caribbean.

 

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By 1837, Bonaire was a thriving center of salt production. The government, who by then controlled the industry, built four obelisks, each painted a different color, red, white, blue and orange (the colors of the Dutch Flag and the Royal House of Orange). They were erected strategically near areas of the salt lake. The idea was to signal ships where to pick up their cargoes of salt. A flag of the corresponding color was raised atop a flagpole, thus signalling the ship’s captain where to drop anchor. Three of the obelisks can still be seen today.

 

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Lacre Punt Light (Willems Toren)

 

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Ruins of a 1-story lighthouse keeper’s house at Lacre Punt Light (Willems Toren)

 

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At Cabaje are found a number of picturesque and grimly fascinating stone huts. Waist-high, with small doors and no windows, these cramped quarters were laboriously constructed by hand in the 18th century as housing for the slaves who harvested salt in the nearby flats. They are an important part of the island’s heritage and have been left to stand mute testimony to Bonaire’s repressive beginning.

 

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Sorobon Beach with it’s prominent position on Lac Bay, has some of the best protected windsurfing in the Caribbean.

 

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Conch shell heaps at Lac Bay.

The Conch Restoration project in Lac, Bonaire is part of a three-year initiative funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery called “We ARE the World”. The project aims to demonstrate ecosystem restoration in action. The project was launched in August 2010 by the national park management organization, STINAPA Bonaire, with a goal to reverse the dwindling of the conch population surrounding the island and in particular within Lac Bay. Years ago Lac was inhabited by a large number of conch and many other species, however, over!shing has pushed this species to the brink of extinction on Bonaire. This report describes the progress of the Conch Restoration project during its second year.

www.dcnature.org

 

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Abandoned cinema at Rincon, the oldest village in Bonaire. When the Spanish founded Rincon around the turn of the fifteenth century, they laid their foundations slightly inland to escape the roving eyes and ship-board cannons of passing buccaneers. Slaves from Africa, brought by the Spanish, were also housed here. Today the town is an entrancing collage of pastel cottages.

 

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Goto Meer is a favorite among Bonaire’s abundant flamingo population, which gathers on this salt lake to consume the brine shrimp, brine fly and larvae which endow these great birds with their rosy hue. Like Salina Slagbaai, another of the salt ponds of Bonaire’s Washington-Slagbaai National Park, Goto Meer becomes a veritable sea of pink during the January-July breeding season.

 

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Prickly pear fences

 

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At dive site 1000 Steps 67 staircase steps separate your car from the beach. So why the name 1000 Steps? That’s because of the climb back up. After diving, these 67 steps can feel like a 1000. Fortunately the view below the surface makes the effort  worth while. If you want, you can also go on a boat dive to 1000 Steps. The descent is worth it.

 

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More info

www.tourismbonaire.com

www.infobonaire.com

http://ilovebonaire.com/bonaire

www.geographia.com/bonaire