Bonaire is well loved by tourists that come back year after year. But a big concern for first time visitors planning a trip here is, “but what about beaches?” Bonaire is not known for white sandy beaches. Enter Klein Bonaire. On arrival on Bonaire as you fly into Flamingo International Airport, if you are sitting on the left side of the plane you should have a pretty clear view of Klein Bonaire. If you aren’t paying attention during your trip your view of Klein Bonaire from the airplane may be your only sighting of it. There’s so much to do on the “mainland.” But Klein Bonaire is worth it so don’t forget to plan a day trip.
Klein Bonaire, the small uninhabited island off the coast of Bonaire in front of Kralendijk is nothing if not white sandy beaches! Actually it’s also quite a lot of coral reef and is surrounded by dozens of scuba dive sites and snorkeling sites. Amazingly this little island has a completely different look and feel than the larger main island of Bonaire even though it’s possible to swim between the two islands.
In Dutch the word Klein means Little. So the name of this island literally translates as Little Bonaire. It is about half a mile from Bonaire at its closest point and is about 1500 acres in size. It’s made up of sandy beaches and thorny plants and trees. The only structures on the entire island are two huts at a beach named “No Name Beach,” which provide shade and shelter for anyone lounging around the beach for the day.
Outside of the two small huts, Klein Bonaire is completely undeveloped and uninhabited. The island is owned by the Bonaire government. The Foundation for the Preservation of Klein Bonaire (FPKB), which started in the 1990’s during a fight against development of the small island is in large part to thank for the pristine, uninhabited island you find today. The waters surrounding Klein Bonaire are protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park, as are all waters surrounding Bonaire itself. There is currently no discussion about development now or in the future of Klein Bonaire. Although Klein Bonaire has zero facilities, just natural beauty it simply cannot be missed.
Klein Bonaire is one of the best places on the island and in the world to go snorkeling. If you are coming to Bonaire for snorkeling this is definitely on your list of must see snorkel stops. If you have never snorkeled before – this is a good time to begin! There are dozens of places to snorkel around Klein Bonaire and access is easy with the sandy bottom and clear, calm water. Your water taxi may be able to drop you off in a location to allow you to drift to the beach where you’ll be picked up later in the day. Inquire with your captain.
The following video was filmed on Klein Bonaire at a few snorkel spots: No Name Beach, Jerry’s Reef, Ebo’s Reef, and the Sampler dive sites.
How to get to Klein Bonaire:
Each year in October the annual “Swim to Klein Bonaire,” takes place with the departure point at Eden Beach (Spice Beach) – which is about as close as you can get to Klein Bonaire from here. For day to day tourism, however, we don’t recommend swimming there! We recommend taking the water taxi. There are several to choose from. Departure points for the water taxis are at hotels on the waterfront in and North of Kralendijk, Karel’s Pier (in Downtown Kralendijk) and from in front of It Rains Fishes restaurant which is a few blocks north of downtown, along the waterfront promenade.
Kantika di Amor: $15/ per person round trip. Phone +599 796-5399. E-mail email@example.com. The taxi departs from in front of It Rains fishes at 10am, 12pm and 2pm and returns from Klein Bonaire at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:40pm
Caribe Water Sports Water Taxi: phone +599 700-8080 Taxi’s depart Eden Beach at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm and return to Eden Beach at 12:45, 2:45 and 5pm. Taxi’s also service Karel’s Pier. Inquire about departure times and price.
Another idea: Klein Bonaire is home to turtle nesting grounds. Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) offers small scale trips to Klein Bonaire during turtle nesting season (May – November) where you can watch experts monitor sea turtle nest activity and watch for tracks in the sand of newly hatched turtles. This program is very small and fills up quickly. This is a great alternative to just spending your Klein Bonaire day lounging on the beach. Call in advance to make reservations.
One more: If you take a trip on theWoodwind Snorkel Sail you will do a drift snorkel near Klein Bonaire but you won’t actually get off the boat to set foot on this island. Enjoy the marine life with an amazing tour – but no chance to enjoy that white sand.
And yet one more option for getting to Klein Bonaire: Rent a boat for the day. Try Caribe Water Sports – they rent boats, hire out captains, and also provide a water taxi service. If you rent a boat you can moor at Klein Bonaire but you cannot pull the boat up on the sand the way the water taxi’s do. You have to jump out of the boat and swim to shore. If you rent a boat you may want to leave towels and cameras on board the boat.
What to bring: rash guard; snorkel, mask and flippers; towels; plenty of water; a cooler for food/drinks if you want; a camera or go-pro; sun screen; a hat for shade; sunglasses; flip-flops and maybe even a fold up beach chair. Upon exiting the water taxi you will just walk through a few inches of water to get to the beach so you can carry dry items onshore.