Posted January 21, 2010 by Jamie Moore
Feel the island vibe in Bonaire, one of the world's top dive destinations. Underwater enthusiasts rave about the color and diverse marine life down below, but there's plenty to see and do topside, too. Sit on the terrace of a brightly colored Caribbean restaurant and stay at a sprawling resort that runs everything from snorkeling tours to mountain biking excursions.
Cactus Blue: Feeling hot, hot, hot? Test your taste bud tolerance on spicy Caribbean cuisine and potent drinks at this festive hangout in downtown Kralendijk. The outdoor grill sizzles with fresh wahoo, served in a sweet chili and mustard sauce. Try a gourmet pizza with a zing: jerk chicken topped with pineapple and cheese. Cool off with one of Cactus Blue's famous high-octane potions. The mixed drinks come with four shots of liquor per half-liter carafe.
Scuba diving: All kinds of scuba magazines rank Bonaire tops for diving. Why? The island is home to more than 85 marked dive sites, most of which are accessible by shore or a quick 15-minute boat ride. Deep sloping reefs teem with parrot fish, tangs, and angelfish. Turtles, nurse sharks, rays, and dolphins make appearances, too. The fact that visibility is 100 feet year-round doesn't hurt, either. The island's fragile reefs are protected within Bonaire National Marine Park. To find a dive operator, visit InfoBonaire.
Buddy Dive Resort: With its three pools, thatched-roof poolside bar, and oceanside setting, this resort looks like something right out of the pages of a travel magazine. Sure, it caters to divers with an on-site dive center, but you can sign up for several other outdoor pursuits—including kayaking, windsurfing, and snorkeling—at the resort's activities desk. Stay in a hotel room (starting at $121 per night) or an apartment with up to three bedrooms. Each one overlooks either the ocean or the resort's lush gardens.
To search for flights and compare prices to Bonaire, please use our price-comparison tool.(Photo: iStockPhoto.com/John Anderson)
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