Bonaire is best known as a diving destination. Even the license plates of the island’s cars are tagged with the line Divers’ Paradise. On this trip, though, you’ll see there are more sides to the island. Its history, for example, is just as deep as its waters. Arawak Indians were the first to live on the island, before the Spanish colonisers arrived in 1499. Then the Dutch took over in 1634. The first place you’ll see on this trip will give you an insight into industry on the island. You’ll drive past a plantation in the Karpata area, where they once produced aloe, charcoal and dyewood for shipping to Curacao. Your first stop of the day will be in the village of Rincon, which was settled by the Spanish in the 16th century. From here, you’ll visit the popular outdoor venue Rose Inn where you sample locally produced Cadushy liqueur made out of cactus and lime. Pressing on, you’ll head to the Mangazina di Rei Culture Park, where The King’s Warehouse is the second-oldest building on the island. While you’re here, you’ll get to hear people playing traditional Creole music. Finally, you’ll head south to see the salt flats and salt mountains that were mined by slaves in the 19th century. The old slave huts are still standing here in lest-we-forget fashion.
Lac Bay National Park is like a small-scale Eden, measuring up at just two-and-a-half miles long and two miles wide. On this trip, you’ll take a boat tour past the mangrove forests, barrier reefs and unspoilt beaches that make up the area. Your vessel for the day is an electric-powered boat. It’s eco-friendly and quiet, so you’ll be able to listen to the sounds of your surrounds, rather than an engine, as you explore the area. Keep an eye out for the brown pelicans, blue herons, and pink flamingos that flock to breed among the mangroves. Later, we’ll moor up on the beach, where you’ll have some free time to take a dip in the warm Caribbean Sea or relax on the sands.
This trip will give you a taste of the high life. You’ll begin by boarding the Mushi Mushi catamaran, a luxury boat that’s 40 feet long. Then, the crew will set the sails, and you’ll ride the waves out to the Bonaire Marine Park. This 7,000-acre site is one of the oldest protected areas of sea in the world and scientific studies have shown the fish population to be the most diverse in the Caribbean. You’ll get to judge this for yourself when the captain stops at a Marine Park mooring buoy. Pull on a snorkel and you can explore the coral reefs. There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself swimming with the likes of parrot, butterfly and angel fish. Drinks will be served on board and you won’t have to queue up at the bar, because they’ll be served by waiters. After a few hours in the sun, you’ll head back to port.
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