Bonaire is a small Caribbean island located just 50 miles north of Venezuela. The island is 24 miles long by 3-7 miles wide (112 square miles) and has a population of only 13,000 and NO traffic lights!
Bonaire is known for its love for nature. It has become a tradition for many generations to understand the importance of nature and the unique position Bonaire has to conserve it. With this said, Bonaire developed a master plan to control the development of the island without harming its natural wonders, such as the beautiful Marine Park and Washington Slagbaai National Park.
There are four languages spoken on Bonaire today. While Dutch is the official one used in government and legal transactions, Papiamentu is used in daily exchanges and has wide acceptance. English and Spanish are also common. Papiamentu, a Creole language indigenous to the Dutch Antilles, particularly Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba, has its roots in West Africa as early as the mid-1400s. The Portuguese colonization prompted the evolution of a new language, one containing elements of African language structures and Portuguese vocabulary that allowed the people to communicate with each other. With the slave trade, the language grew and spread among the general population.
Bonaire is part of the Netherlands Antilles which forms part of the Dutch Kingdom. Although Bonaire is part of one country it still holds its own flag which can be seen on the right. The yellow and the upper triangle represents the sun and the bright yellow flowers that bloom after a rain. The white field represents the purity of the Bonerian people, while the blue reminds the people of the ocean that surrounds the island. The star represents the six traditional neighborhoods of Bonaire, while the navigators compass pays homage to the brave sailors and navigators who helped the Dutch marine during the second world war. The color red represents the fighting spirit of the Bonerian people!
The culture of Bonaire can be seen in the faces of its people. The different features and hues tell the story of dozens of ethnic and racial influences. Indian, African, Asian and European inhabitants have all contributed to who Bonaire is today. Two of the most unmistakable features are the smiles that break out when greetings are made and the soft yet firm handshakes that pass between old and new friends.
Information courtesy of Tourism Corporation Bonaire