North Coast Drive, Rincon Village, and South Side Salt Flats
Bonaire's history is deeply rooted in its inhabitants and their culture. The tranquil beauty of the island is reflected in the faces of her people. From the first inhabitants, the Caiquetios (a branch of the Arawak Indians) who sailed from the coast of Venezuela almost 1,000 years ago, to the many cultures now living and working in Bonaire today, the island has a distinct character that is all its own.
This excursion will begin as you drive through Kralendijk, the main village of Bonaire. This diminutive cluster of red tile roofs hugging the island's western coast is Bonaire's lively capital. The main street is a browser's collection of dive shops, boutiques, arts and crafts galleries, restaurants, and bars. The tour will first take you through the residential and resort areas. You will be able to enjoy the nature of Bonaire, as you are told about various trees and plants that were used for export in the past. Remnants of geological changes will be observed along the way.
The first stop will be Goto Lake, one of the best places to see flamingos in the Southern Caribbean. Flamingos get their beautiful pink color from their food - brine fly and its larvae. These exotic birds are usually busy feeding, as their food source lives in the lake along with more than 100 other species of birds. The breeding season for flamingos lasts from January to July, and every day the entire flock of flamingos takes off to nearby Venezuela where they feed in lagoons along the coast of the Falcn peninsula. There will be time at Goto Lake for picture taking, as well as an explanation of the life of the flamingos.
You will also visit Rincon, the oldest village in continual existence in the Dutch Caribbean. Originally settled by the Spanish in the early 1500s, Rincon was strategically nestled within a valley to ward off impending danger from pirates and other threats. Slaves were brought to Bonaire and worked tending crops and in the salt pans. They lived in Rincon with their families and walked to the salt pans in the south to work, staying there for the entire work week. They would return to Rincon to gather supplies at Mangazina di Rei (Kings store house), and to be with family before heading back to the salt pans. You will have the opportunity to visit this old plantation house that has been restored with an indoor museum display of tools, household items, and furniture from that era.
Reviewer: Karen Stott
We enjoyed our tour, the guide was knowledgeable, we saw most of the island, and enjoyed the trip. It was nice to have a smaller group of people on the ride. We had not visited Bonaire before so felt like we made a good decision on this tour choice.
Reviewer: Sue Mortenson
We covered a lot of territory, saw a beautiful overlook of the ocean, and learned about the salt flats. Spent too much time at a small market area where the driver/guide had friend and relatives hanging out. Enjoyed seeing flamingos (in the distance) and wild donkeys.
Reviewer: Theresa Jakeway
This tour was excellent. Our driver was the guide and he did a great job of performing both roles. Truly informative as we travelled around the island, stopping for pictures and admiring the beauty. A great experience!
Reviewer: Patrick Rogers
Although the island is basically barren the salt flats were interesting and the personality and knowledge of the guide was enough to make the tour fun and intellectually stimulating. We learned much about the culture and history of the region and the ABC’s.
Reviewer: Diane Hedges
We had a very good driver and was a good tour guide, made sure we got out at every stop and took pictures if needed. Would say this is a good tour to take.