Bonaire is a medium sized and lightly populated island found in the Leeward Antilles of the Caribbean Sea. The term Bonaire refers to both the municipality as a whole and to the main island of Bonaire. Bonaire is a part of the Netherlands, and is often grouped together with the other “ABC islands” of Aruba and Curacao. Bonaire has a total population of about sixteen thousand residents, and the territory covers a total area of about one hundred and thirteen square miles. Bonaire was originally settled by Caquetios members of the Arawak Indians, but soon fell under the control of the Portuguese, the Spanish, the British, and finally the Dutch. Today, Bonaire is a premier vacation destination that primarily targets divers and snorkelers by emphasizing its clear offshore waters and impressive marine diversity. What the island lacks in abundant white sand beaches it more than makes up for in gorgeous coral reefs and underwater landscapes. Bonaire is also a popular destination for windsurfers, especially the area around Lac Bay. Bonaire is home to a number of different resort properties, ranging from bed and breakfasts to resorts and time shares.
Most traffic in and out of Bonaire is through Flamingo International Airport, which offers direct flights to and from both Europe and the United States. Bonaire has impressive biodiversity, boasting flora and fauna such as goats and donkeys as well as a substantial flamingo population. Many of these species are preserved and protected in Washington Slagbaai National Park, which is also home to majestic Mount Brandaris, which offers spectacular views of the island. Bonaire has an excellent, Dutch-style educational system for residents, as well as the Saint James School of Medicine. Most of the island’s residents live in the core or suburbs of the two officially incorporated towns – Kralendijk and Rincon.