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: John Wilson
Our tour guide was a no-show and we had to wait 30 minutes for his replacement, but the wait was worth it. The new guide was very informative, and we covered all of the planned stops. The flamingos were spectacular and Rincon Village was really neat. Glad we took the tour, and I would recommend it.
Reviewer: Barbara Hodge
We would recommend this tour. Very interesting sights, pleasant guide.
Reviewer: John Mancini
This is the second time that we have gotten away from the big expensive tours and booked through Shore Excursions. Once again, we were extremely pleased! The young man who ran the tour was most personable and knowledgeable. He saw to it that each of us had a great experience. Instead of waiting for 50 people to get on and off a big bus, the dozen or so of us quickly and efficiently got to all the sites and were personally assisted. The price was very fair too!
Reviewer: Yvonne Mulrooney
The tour was relaxed and felt that it excellent value for the price.
Overall very nice trip - luckily bus was not full - otherwise would have been tight seating. (Common on most excursions) Saw most of Bonaire. Was hoping to see more flamingos and was unable to get off bus to see closer due to government regulations (wish I knew ahead of time). Main goal was to see the flamingos and sat on the wrong side of bus so was unable to get better views through the windows for photos.