But what about the beaches?
Tourists that come back year after year love the island unconditionally. But a big concern for first time visitors planning a trip here is, “but what about beaches?” Bonaire, not known for white sandy beaches actually has some of the most pristine white beaches anywhere in the Caribbean. Enter Klein Bonaire. On arrival by plane flying into Flamingo International Airport, passengers on the left side of the plane should have a pretty clear view of this little blue gem. Pay attention during your flight, though, because your view of Klein Bonaire from the airplane may be your only sighting of it. With so much to do on the mainland the majority of tourists never get quite that far. And think about it – you can actually swim to Klein from Bonaire itself! Do try to squeeze in a day trip – you won’t be sorry!
White sandy beaches and coral reefs
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, and to think they were once connected!
Klein Bonaire means Little Bonaire
In Dutch the word Klein means Little. So the name of this island literally translates to English as Little Bonaire. At its closest point Little Bonaire lies only a half mile from the mainland and stretches about 1500 acres in total. Sandy beaches and thorny plants and trees comprise most of the island. The only structures on the entire island are two huts at a beach aptly named No Name Beach. The thatched roof huts provide shade and shelter for anyone lounging around the beach for the day.
Why is Klein Bonaire uninhabited?
Outside of the two small huts, Klein Bonaire is completely undeveloped and uninhabited. The island is owned by the Bonaire government. Thank The Foundation for the Preservation of Klein Bonaire (FPKB) for the pristine, uninhabited island you enjoy today. FPKB started in the 1990’s during a fight against development of the small island. The waters surrounding Klein are protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP). All waters surrounding the mainland also enjoy protection as part of the BNMP. There is currently no discussion about future development of Little Bonaire. Although or BECAUSE Klein Bonaire has zero facilities, just natural beauty, it simply cannot be missed.
Bring your snorkel gear to Klein Bonaire
This is one of the best places in Bonaire and in the world to go snorkeling. If you come to Bonaire for snorkeling put this on your list of must-do snorkel stops. If you have never snorkeled before – now might be a good time to begin! Dozens of places to snorkel surround 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 shows footage of a few different 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, about as close as you can get to Klein Bonaire from Bonaire proper.
For day to day tourism, however, we don’t recommend swimming there! We recommend taking a 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.
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 Idea
If you take a trip on the Woodwind 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.
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 to Klein Bonaire for a day trip
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.
Have a wonderful day in uninhabited island bliss.