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Kralendijk, Bonaire

Kralendijk is the capital city and main port of the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. In Dutch, Koralendijk (of which the name Kralendijk is a degeneration) means "coral reef" or "coral dike". In Papiamentu, the town is often called Playa or "beach".

Off the coast of Kralendijk lies the uninhabited island of 

Klein Bonaire

, a diving and snorkeling paradise. This small island can be reached by water taxi, or, for divers, by practically all of the local dive operators.

Bonaire is a Caribbean island just north of Venezuela, politically part of the Netherlands. Along with its neighboring Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao, it forms the ABC Islands, though it is much quieter. It is a mostly flat, riverless... Read more

Kralendijk, Bonaire

Destination:

Kralendijk is the capital city and main port of the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. In Dutch, Koralendijk (of which the name Kralendijk is a degeneration) means "coral reef" or "coral dike". In Papiamentu, the town is often called Playa or "beach".

Off the coast of Kralendijk lies the uninhabited island of 

Klein Bonaire

, a diving and snorkeling paradise. This small island can be reached by water taxi, or, for divers, by practically all of the local dive operators.

Bonaire is a Caribbean island just north of Venezuela, politically part of the Netherlands. Along with its neighboring Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao, it forms the ABC Islands, though it is much quieter. It is a mostly flat, riverless coral island renowned for diving, windsurfing, and bird watching (particularly flamingos). Lacking many sandy beaches – it instead has lush coral reefs – it is less visited by cruise ships. Bonaire has world-class shore diving, much of it easy, and is thus well-suited for beginners, or for experienced divers who want relaxing independent diving.

Geographically, Bonaire is part of the Netherlands Antilles, which is comprised of the ABC Islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. These islands, in turn, are part of the Leeward Antilles, which also contains numerous islands that are part of Venezuela.

Politically, however, Bonaire is part of the Caribbean Netherlands, with Sint Eustatius and Saba, and is a "special municipality" fully integrated in the Netherlands proper but does not have the same laws.

History

Fort Oranje was built in 1639 to defend Bonaire's main harbor. The fort was extensively modified during the end of the seventeenth century. The English settlement of "Playa" was established adjacent to the fort in 1810. The town was renamed "Kralendijk" by the Dutch colonial rulers in about 1840.

On May 10, 1940, 461 Dutch and German citizens were transported to Bonaire and interned in a camp just south of the fort. After World War II, this camp was converted into a hotel, which is now the Divi Bonaire.

Climate

Kralendijk has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with uniformly hot, humid but dry weather due to the divergence between the trade winds and the North American Monsoon, along with a strong drying effect from winds parallel to the coast of South America. There is a short rainy season between October and January due to stronger northeasterly flow during the retreat of the monsoon; however, it is erratic and heavily influenced by the Southern Oscillation, frequently failing completely during El Niño years.[4] During La Niña years, however, rainfall may reach up to 1,000 millimeters (39 in) over a year and over 350 millimeters (14 in) in a month as happened during 1970/1971, 1988/1989, 1999/2000 and 2010/2011.

 


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Kralendijk, Bonaire: Port Information


Cruise liners dock at the center of the city, and its attractions are within walking distance. If you want to visit the south or the north of the island, you can take a taxi.

Get around Kralendijk, Bonaire


By car

Driving is on the right, and the island does not have any stoplights. Maximum speed in urban areas is 40 km/h (25 mph), and outside of town, it is 60 km/h (35 mph).

Automobiles can be shipped to Bonaire and rental cars are available at the airport and at selected hotels. Reservations are strongly suggested as, especially during peak times, all vehicles may be rented. You can drive around the entire island in a couple of hours!

By bus

There is an informal bus system on the island that utilizes vans. There are a small number of medium-sized tour buses on the island as well.

By taxi

The island has a small fleet of cabs to service cruise ships and the airport. Rates are not set and should be negotiated beforehand.

By bicycle

Bicycle rentals are available.

By other

Scooters, motorcycles, golf carts, are also available for rent.

What to see in Kralendijk, Bonaire


The Tourism Corporation Bonaire has a "Historical Walking Tour" brochure that lists 25 historical sites in the downtown area:

1. World War II Monument. In memory of the Bonaireans who lost their lives during the war. Most were killed when German submarines sank oil tankers that were manned by men from the Netherlands Antilles. Bonaire lost more sailors than any of the other Dutch islands.
2. Pasangrahan. Built about 1890 as the home of the Debrot family. In 1921, it was converted into a government guest house of visiting officials. Later it became the office of the water supply and public works. It was restored and then reopened in 1980 as the Island Parliament House where the island council meets.
3. Wilhelmina Park. This park is named after Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.
4. Protestant Church. This congregation was established in 1843. The church was built in 1847, mainly for Dutch living on Bonaire. The church tower was added in 1868.
5. Van Walbeeck Monument. This 1934 monument commemorates the 300th anniversary of Johannes van Walbeeck, the first director of the Dutch East India Company in Curaçao and first governor of the Netherlands Antilles.
6. Eleanor Roosevelt Monument. This monument is in honor of Mrs. Roosevelt's visit to the American troops on Bonaire in World War II.
7. Welcome Seat. This bench was dedicated on August 31, 1923. This is a place where people would sit and wait for family and friends coming from Curaçao. The plaque is dedicated to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The "W" shape refers to "welcome" and "Wilhelmina."
8. Customs Building. This building was built in 1925 as the Island Office. Over the years, it served as the tax collector's office, the customs office, and the post office. It was vacated in 1995 for restoration. It is now a customs office again.
9. Government Office Building. This building was constructed in 1837 as the governor's home. It was restored in 1972 and is now the island government's main office building.
10. Fort Oranje (Bonaire). This fort was built in 1639. The commander of the island lived here until 1837 when his new home was built next door. The fort never saw action. The cannons are old English cannons that date between 1808 and 1812. A wooden lighthouse was built around 1868 and replaced by a stone structure in 1932. Over the years, the building has been used as a government center and warehouse for government goods, as a prison, police and fire station. The fort building was restored in 1999 and is now the courthouse.
11. Betico Croes Monument. This monument and bust commemorate Betico Croes who led the struggle for "Status Aparte" on the island of Aruba.
12. Post Office. The first post office was established in 1890 and moved to this building in 1974. It was recently restored.
13. Tourist Information Office. A report in 1956 indicated that tourism could become the main source of income for Bonaire. Information on Kralendijk and Bonaire is available here.
14. Telephone Company (TELBO). The first telegraph connection with Curaçao was in 1911. The telephone lines were laid to Rincon in 1921. The construction of the telephone began in 1944 and became automatic in 1961. In 1975, Bonaire was the first Dutch island to direct-dial internationally. In 1999, Bonaire had its first fiber optic connection via a cable under the sea.
15. Simón Bolívar monument and bust. This monument commemorates the Liberator's 1816 visit to Bonaire while seeking safety during the Venezuelan War of Independence.
16. Museo Boneriano. This museum contains different artifacts from the past of Bonaire.
17. St. Bernardus Church. This parish dedicated to Saint Bernard was established in 1827. The original building was built in 1829 and then replaced in 1848. The church complex included the home of the priest.
18. Plaza Fraternan di Tilburg. This monument is dedicated to the Fraters of Tilburg who were involved with education on the island from 1894 to 1991.
19. Julianaplein. This is a small park in honor of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
20. Former St. Franciscus (Saint Francis of Assisi) Convent. The Sisters of Roosendaal started a school here in 1856 where about 30 girls from Bonaire became Catholic sisters. All the Dutch Sisters now have returned to Holland, and the Bonairean Sisters now live within the community. Behind the convent is a chapel and home for the elderly.
21. Old Hospital. Built in 1922 and restored in 1944. Since the opening of the modern hospital in 1977, the building has been used for offices and the elderly.
22. Chapel at the Old Hospital. This chapel welcomes visitors of all religions.
23. Historical cannons. These cannons are located across the street from the Old Hospital. They are from a British ship that ran aground in 1829 near Oranje Pond. The anchor was found in the same general area.
24. Main shopping street (Kaya Grandi). This shopping street has the various architecture in many styles from the late 1800s and 1900s. The shopkeepers lived upstairs and the businesses were on the ground floor.
25. Fish Market. Built in 1935 as a market place for fishermen. Now a fruit and vegetable boat comes from Venezuela weekly. The Venezuelan men sell the produce in the old fish market.

In addition to the stores on the main street (Kaya Grandi), there is a large food market (Cultimara) and a bakery (Exito) on Kaya L.D. Gerharts. There are two warehouse-type food markets on Kaya Industria, on the way to Flamingo International Airport.

The "Public Beach", also known as Windsock, is located 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) south of downtown at the west end of the runway of the Flamingo International Airport. Another public beach is at the site of the Bonaire Sunset Beach Hotel about two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of downtown.

What to do in Kralendijk, Bonaire


Scuba diving

Bonaire is renowned among divers as one of the top shore-diving locations in the world. The reef along the western side of the island has been protected for years and is in excellent condition, offering visitors the opportunity to literally wade in from the beach in front of their hotel and experience an amazing underwater world. The eastern side of the island is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and is significantly rougher, so diving opportunities are limited to guided dives on all but the calmest days.

Dive sites are located along the entire western coast, generally marked by a painted yellow rock and/or a mooring in the water. Dive shops are everywhere and will rent gear, and most have drive-thru tank rentals where you can pick up tanks for the day and return used tanks. The reef is fairly shallow, with depths from 10 meters to 40 meters (30 feet - 130 feet).

Before diving, all divers must review the national marine park rules and pay a fee, good for one year. The fee for snorkelers is also good for one year. The fee can be paid in cash at any dive shop, and you will be issued a dive tag that you must carry with you while diving.

Activities

The main attraction is shore diving: rent a truck, fill your tanks, load up your gear, drive to a site, and start diving! Obviously, this requires experience and a buddy to be done safely; you can hire a Dive Master to come along if inexperienced or for more challenging dives.

There are a number of special activities available, including:
  • Coral Restoration with the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire (at Buddy Dive, Harbour Village Resort, and Wannadive):
  • Coral Restoration Adventure Dive
  • PADI Coral Restoration Diver Distinctive Specialty
  • Lionfish Hunting, which is only allowed with a special gun, under supervision. Lionfish are an invasive species, and it is ecologically responsible to kill them (and tasty to eat them!).
  • Resorts notably include VIP Diving and Stay & Dive
Other water activities
  • Snorkeling
  • Fishing
  • Windsurfing
  • Kiteboarding
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Sailing
Land activities
  • Mountain biking
  • Cave exploring
  • Bird watching

What to eat and drink in Kralendijk, Bonaire


Bonaire has many restaurants and quite varied cuisine given the overall island population. "Aki ta Bende Kuminda Krioyo" will inform a visitor that local-style food is available, generally heavy on soups, stews, fried foods, and fish. Traditional foods that may be found on the menu include conch, cacti, wahoo, and rock lobster. Much of the fish is caught locally by line fishermen in season. Though traditionally eaten, iguana is not generally served in restaurants.

Bonaire has little in fast food, though there is the "smallest KFC franchise outlet in the world" in a shopping plaza by Kralendijk and a Subway sub shop. Check out "Swiss Chalet", a local favorite serving Fondu. Bobbejan's is an extremely popular weekend-only barbeque joint. Other cuisines common on the islands are Argentine, Italian, Indonesian, Suriname, and lots and lots of Chinese. Island-made ice cream is available in many places, with Lovers Ice Cream being a local favorite. Arrive before noon, as they often sell out.

Almost all eateries are open for limited hours during the day, and many close briefly during siesta time between 2-3 PM. Call or check ahead to determine if a restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, both, or only open on weekends. Some are closed certain days of the week, such as Sunday.

Shopping in Kralendijk, Bonaire


Bonaire uses the U.S. dollar, denoted by the symbol "$" (ISO currency code: USD). It is divided into 100 cents.

Safety in Kralendijk, Bonaire


There is little serious crime on Bonaire; however, 911 can be used for emergencies. Secure your bicycles and scooters. Never leave anything of value in your car while diving as break-ins are common.

Tap water on the island is perfectly safe for drinking, although bottled water is readily available for those who want it.

Language spoken in Kralendijk, Bonaire


The official languages are Dutch and Papiamento, the latter of which is the traditional language spoken by the locals. Many locals also speak Spanish, and employees at hotels, dive shops, and restaurants will almost always also speak English.

LOCAL TIME

7:28 am
May 19, 2019
America/Curacao

CURRENT WEATHER

27.46 °C / 81.428 °F
overcast clouds
Mon

27.5 °C/82 °F
overcast clouds
Tue

27.47 °C/81 °F
light rain
Wed

27.39 °C/81 °F
broken clouds
Thu

27.54 °C/82 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

USD

1 EUR = 1.12 USD
1 GBP = 1.27 USD
1 AUD = 0.69 USD
1 CAD = 0 USD

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Latest travel blogs about Kralendijk, Bonaire



© Public domain/Pixabay

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