Bonaire – New experiences on the island

The Caribbean’s hidden gem is bustling with exciting developments and with new flight routes available to the island, foodies, nature lovers and adventure-seekers alike have plenty of opportunity to experience Bonaire firsthand.

Already known as the diving mecca of the world, the destination is gaining traction beyond its spectacular underwater scene. The intimate-sized island might have as many flamingos as human residents, but there is no shortage of new experiences. Bringing more global flavors and culinary options, updated accommodations, outdoor activities, and more to both locals and visitors in 2024, below are 24 of the best of Bonaire awaiting to be discovered this new year.

It’s in Our Nature

Bonaire’s longtime emphasis on sustainability and protecting the environment invites visitors to step out of their comfort zone and into nature. In 2024, the island is offering some fun opportunities to do so, including:

In 2023, Nature Cooking School opened to provide experiential learning for individuals or groups to connect with nature, learn about the power of food, and build community through cooking and planting edible landscapes. Think kneading dough and foraging vegetables from the garden for a Food Forest Pizza while sharing a meal and a deeper connection to Mother Earth.

For the adventurers looking for a little island challenge, Packraft Trip Bonaire is the new ultimate outdoor experience.  Packraft Trip organizes various adventures through an exciting itinerary consisting of hiking, beach hopping via pack raft, mountain biking, jeep riding, sailing at sea, snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, and more. Team building activities can also be arranged to include an element of competition.

Epic Tours has joined forces with Buddy Dive, one of the island’s iconic resorts, to offer its guests a Sail, Dive & Dine tour which combines the resort’s guided dives with an all-inclusive service from Epic Tours while on board a catamaran. Additionally, Epic has added a 2-hour Sunset Bliss catamaran sailing trip every Wednesday at 4:15 PM which includes food, drinks, and music entertainment. Additional new sailing options include the Lady Bellaïs, a charming wooden Brazilian schooner offering different sailing experiences ranging from boat rides at brunch complete with tasty bites and drinks to snorkeling excursions and sightseeing trips.

In 2024, Buddy Dive Resort will celebrate 40 years of Hilma Hooker Diving with a weeklong historic underwater adventure in September. One of the most well-known wreck dives on Bonaire, the site is in great shape and easily accessible from the shore, as well as by boat. The Hilma Hooker cargo ship was originally built in 1951 and sunk in Bonaire in 1984. 

More Ways to Get Around 

Whether looking to explore Bonaire’s stunning landscapes by boat or enjoy the island’s easy Drive and Dive experience, there are some new ways to take visitors from point A to point B and everywhere in between. 

For those looking for a more eco-friendly way to get around the sustainable island, Hopp Bonaire offers bikes / scooters that are leading the way in making urban travel more green and convenient through the use of electric or carbon neutral vehicles.

Golf Cart Rental Bonaire opened in 2023 and is a fun, unique way to see Bonaire and get 360° views and a warm breeze throughout the entire journey. 

Epic Tours Bonaire Water Taxi is now offering a new departing location with the launch of daily services from the recently opened Watersport Center Bonaire at the Courtyard by Marriott to take hotel guests to Klein Bonaire. 

Nikol Luxury, a Navigator 53 classic yacht, is now available to offer up to 30 guests the ultimate experience on board. Nikol also offers tours in addition to being equipped with a master bedroom, ensuite bathroom, a staple bedroom, and a queen bedroom for charters. 

Bon Bites 

Named a Culinary Capital by the World Food Travel Association in 2022, the growing food scene in Bonaire is one that visitors will want to see (and taste) in 2024. With more than ten new dining options available, including VIP experiences and a new rooftop restaurant, this small island with big flavor is sure to satisfy a variety of palates. 

In 2023, 2 Fools and a Bull opened up an intimate U-shaped bar in Kralendijk designed to accommodate 17 guests at a time. This adult-only fine-dining experience is run by two “fools” with a combined 45 years of experience in the industry, who will talk about wining, dining, and all things cuisine while preparing their guests a beautiful 5 1/2-course dinner. 

Zara’s Bonaire entered the scene in summer of last year, making its home at the Stichting Art Center in the Antriol neighborhood. A combined art gallery and refined dining concept, Zara’s offers a private Chef’s table and the island’s only rooftop restaurant, where guests will find a menu consisting of global flavors that showcase the freshest ingredients sourced locally and from around the world.

A new restaurant will be opening its doors in early 2024 in Downtown Kralendijk. The Bucket, a delicious blend of a “grill” and “cocktail bar,” will reimagine Bonaire’s dining scene where food, drinks, and entertainment are its main focus. There will be a daily Happy “Bucket” Hour from 5-7 PM, large televisions for locals and visitors to gather for exciting events, and late night hours to keep the entertainment going.

Opened in late 2023, Hooked by Sunsets is a local bar and restaurant offering fresh, high quality ingredients and tasteful wines. The Caribbean menu is an ever-changing list of small, shareable dishes bursting with special flavors, like Lobster Hot Dog, all lovingly crafted in-house.

Casa Bizarro brings a fusion of Asian cuisine and carefully crafted international dishes that blend beautifully together to the island of Bonaire. The new restaurant has quickly gained attention because of its vibrant colors, jungle interior, inviting atmosphere, and excellent food and cocktails.

Biña Restaurant recently opened at Chogogo Resort right on the beach and serves up unforgettable Caribbean views alongside international dishes, a la carte options, and a luxurious chef’s menu. The word ‘’biña’’ comes from the local language Papiamentu, and means ‘’wine’’ and comes as no surprise as the founders of the restaurant are connected with Alpasión, an estate of organic vineyards in Argentina, allowing sommeliers to select best wine pairings to complement dinner.

Number Ten has quickly become a fan-favorite on the island. Located in a historical building in downtown Kralendijk, this cozy and colorful restaurant opened its doors last year and offers an upscale breakfast and lunch café that serves up its own take on the In-N-Out Burger.

Visitors can now fuel up after a long flight at the new Blue Lagun Cafe Bonaire located across from Flamingo Airport. This luxury lounge and café serves a weekly changing local lunch menu, with authentic flavors and a modern twist.

Bonaire is home to flavors from all over the world. Owner and Chef Juan de Sousa of the popular existing C’est la Vie, opened up a second restaurant, Maçaroca Madeira Bar Restaurant Bonaire in June 2023. Located at South Pier Mall, Maçaroca Madeira serves delicious Portuguese cuisine. Carlitos on the other hand, is a colorful eatery in the center of Kralendijk offering Mexican inspired food and drinks such as freshly made tacos and delicious Margaritas. They are open for lunch and early dinner from Monday – Friday.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, try John’s Ice Cream or Artisan Bakery, both opened in December of 2023. Artisan Bakery is located on Kaya Grandi, offering fresh sourdough products and delicious cinnamon bread, open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm. John’s Ice Cream has become a local favorite with unique ice cream flavors like Caribbean Rum Raisin, made from Rum Rincon. 

Reimagined Retreats 

Bonaire offers visitors a wide range of accommodations from boutique hotels and villas to all-inclusive resorts. The below updates aim to upgrade experiences as well as open the door to even more guests. 

Delfins Beach Resort has upgraded stays with the addition of new 3 and 4-bedroom villas featuring luxurious private plunge pools, expanding their offerings to a total of 20 villas. The sprawling resort features two pools, a diving center and five acclaimed dining options on site including Senang Restaurant which just launched a new menu inspired by Asia, the Middle East and more.   

The family-friendly all-inclusive property, Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, has undergone major renovations with newly updated studios. With kitchenettes, dining areas, patios or balconies, and convenient dive lockers located on the pier, guests can enjoy an oceanfront experience where fish can be seen swimming directly from your balcony. A new pier is coming to the property soon as well! Also joining the makeover train is the luxury, seaside boutique hotel, The Bellafonte, that has recently undergone major renovations, as well as Captain Don’s Habitat, which updates include a brand new pool. 

In recent months, Sorobon Luxury Beach Resort has gotten a major makeover. The resort fully renovated their beach houses and revamped the common areas to offer a fresh and modern ambiance that complements Bonaire’s natural beauty. The Beach Bar has also evolved into a new concept — the Reef Bar. It’s the perfect place to relax, enjoy refreshing drinks, and soak in the stunning views of the lagoon.

To Complete Your Trip

After a trip full of adventure and non-stop exploration, loosen up on the dance floor or shop for some souvenirs to help remember your new favorite Caribbean island. In case you are looking for something more permanent, nothing says unforgettable like some new ink!

BonWaire is a fashion boutique located downtown specializing in clothing and accessories from beach attire to elegant dinner ensembles. The clothes are largely made on Bonaire with a selection of handmade accessories from all over the world. For more beach attire options, Tulum Swimwear opened at the end of 2023 and sells European swimwear brands and handmade, custom made jewelry by local partner, Palma Jewelry Bonaire.

Visitors can now permanently remember their trip to Bonaire with a quick visit to Kralendijk Ink. Opened in 2023 in the heart of Kralendijk, Kralendijk Ink Tattoo Shop Bonaire offers a premier studio with a team of experienced artists dedicated to providing exceptional artwork and an unforgettable experience. As part of the Bonaire’s “It’s In Our Nature” branding and the Bonaire Bond campaign, visitors and locals can get a memorable tattoo of elements and assets of the island.

Finally, dance the night away at Club Rush Bonaire, a brand-new nightclub offering music and dance lovers a new local hotspot to discover and is the perfect way to end the night after a day full of adventure.