Non-diver? Don’t worry, Bonaire has lots of fun non-diving activities!

Posted by on Oct 16, 2011

Enjoying Lac Bai.
Enjoying our jaunt to beautiful Lac Bai.

 

In 2008 Randy and I went to Bonaire with another couple, one of whom wasn’t a diver. This is a pretty common situation where a dive group or couple has a member that isn’t a diver or maybe isn’t as avid a diver as the rest. Sometimes that person may be happy sitting by the pool or the beach reading a book but not always. Because we had a non-diver in our group on that trip we ended up doing a lot of non-dive related land-based activities. Bonaire is a small island. It takes less than one day to drive all the way around Bonaire. But there are a surprising amount of non-diving activities for such a small island. This blog features some of the fun land-based activities on Bonaire.

Washington Slagbai Park is a fun half-day jaunt. There are two one-way routes through the park, the longest of which takes three to five hours to go all the way around. If you go remember to pack a lunch and plenty of water, there are no stores once you are past the entrance. We enjoyed seeing and trying to photograph birds and also got some great photographs of iguanas, and the blue tailed lizards that are all over the island. At Slagbai beach we got out and put our feet in the water to cool off. You can dive here; there is a protected bay with a sandy beach entrance.

Iguana

An iguana looks at us with his yellow eyes.

Lighthouse aficionados will love Bonaire as there are many old and new lighthouses, some with keeper’s buildings, along the coast. Many of the lighthouses are no longer used and are slowly being worn down by nature and the ocean. I couldn’t find a lot of information on the lighthouses we found on Bonaire but some of them are really picturesque and worth a drive to see.

Old Lighthouse and Keeper's Building

Old Lighthouse and Keeper's Building

Another great adventure is to explore the caves on the island. Some have stalactites and stalagmites and some are “wet” where you snorkel through ancient underground lakes. In some of the caves there are Indian pictographs, ancient drawings on the walls and roofs of the caves. Explore the smaller caves yourself or go with one of the companies on Bonaire that offer a more adventurous exploration using ladders to go deep into the caves.

Cave on Bonaire

Some of the caves were easy to explore, like this one.

Bird watchers will love Bonaire! As mentioned earlier, in Washington Slagbai Park we saw many birds including Caracara, parakeets, hummingbirds, Bananaquits, Yellow Warblers, and the very occasional Troupial. One of the most famous birds of Bonaire are the pink Flamingos. These can be seen at several areas around Bonaire including Washington Slagbai Park and Goto Meer, an inland saltwater lake. Favorite birds on Bonaire include the colorful Caribbean Parakeets and Yellow-shouldered Parrots. They look similar, but the parrots are larger. There is a wonderful website called Birds of Bonaire (www.bonairebirds.com) with lots of information on the birds you can see on the island.

Flamingo

A flamingo struts his stuff.

Bonaire has been a major supplier of salt for hundreds of years. Salt production continues today and you can see the mountains of salt from miles away! At one time slave labor was used to produce the salt. The slaves lived in tiny white and red-washed huts placed along the shore. Some are still there and you can go look at them and go inside them. The government also built four obelisks, each a different color to signal ships where to pick up their cargo of salt. Three obelisks are still standing and can be seen today.

Pack a lunch and take a drive out to Lac Bai. It is a beautiful place to eat a picnic lunch under the Mangroves looking out over the blue, blue water. At Sorobon, at Lac, you can go windsurfing or just watch the colorful windsurfers out on the bay. On the way out to the bay there are places to rent kayaks to paddle through the mangroves where it is cool and the shorebirds fish along the water edge.

Shorebirds

Shorebirds at Lac Bai.

The Butterfly Farm is an interesting place to visit. The butterflies are from around the world but come from a South American nature protection program where they are bred for captivity with profits going to help preserve the rainforest habitat of the butterflies.

There are many land-based activities on Bonaire that we didn’t do. You can rent a motor boat and cruise to Klein Bonaire for a picnic or go fishing. Go sailing, dirt biking or visit the donkey sanctuary. All these land-based activities will keep the non-divers in your group happy and even hard core divers enjoy the occasional above water activity once in a while, so check out the non-diving activities on Bonaire next time you’re there!

 

For more information on Bonaire and non-dive related activities on Bonaire try these websites:

http://www.tourismbonaire.com
http://www.outdoorbonaire.com/caving.html
http://www.diving-bonaire.com/bonaire-caves.html
http://www.bonairebirds.com
http://www.infobonaire.com
http://www.bonaire-travelguide.com/history/