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Unique black and red coral reefs, mangrove forests and an azure blue ocean – the beaches of Bonaire are as beautiful as they are varied. Most Caribbean islands boast long white beaches, but Bonaire is primarily known for its intimate bays with coarse, light pink sand and undisturbed, thriving sea life.
Bonaire is surrounded by coral reefs which is why the sand is less fine than on other Caribbean beaches. This makes the beaches not only narrower and rougher but, in some places, the beautiful coral reaches as far as the land. A fresh dip in the sea is not possible everywhere, certainly not in the east and north where the current is too strong. But if you know where to go, you can cool off and enjoy the sea on a hot tropical day, from fully developed promenades with cocktail bars to unspoilt spots where you only share the sand with turtles.
It’s easy to see how Pink Beach got its name – this beach is known for its rose-coloured powdery sand that gets its colour from the coral that washes ashore. A major storm swept the sand into the sea, making the shallow water a pleasant bathing spot. Unusual marine animals like tarpon fish, turtles and rays can often be seen here. Pink Beach does not have any food vendors, so do like the locals do and bring a well-filled picnic basket.
Klein Bonaire is the ultimate destination for a heavenly holiday as this mini island off the coast of Kralendijk is easy to reach by boat. Here you will find No Name Beach: a wide and unspoilt white sandy beach that’s perfect for lazing in the sun. Walk only a few metres into the sea and you’ll be richly rewarded. The clear water right off the coast is teeming with brightly coloured parrot fish and yellowtail snappers swimming around finger corral. Klein Bonaire is also unique in that it is the most important breeding ground for rare sea turtles.
Of the 7 species of sea turtles in the world, 5 of them can be found around Bonaire: the loggerhead sea turtle, green turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle and the very rare leatherback sea turtle. The latter is a real giant and can weigh up to 1,000 kilos. Not so long ago, it was common to find turtle soup on the menu on Bonaire but nowadays these reptiles are well protected. If you come across a sea turtle nest on the beach, you are kindly asked to report it to Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire.
Lac Baai is located in the south-eastern tip of Bonaire. This lagoon with calm water is flanked on one side by a coral dam and on the other by a mangrove forest. The most popular beach is Sorobon Beach; continuous winds make it a favourite spot for windsurfers. Cai Beach is quieter; its shallow waters are perfect for families with children. Note: Sundays get very crowded at Cai, when the locals come to eat, drink and dance. A real Caribbean experience!