Rainbow-hued facades, marinas and a lively waterfront set against a backdrop of the shimmering Caribbean Sea await in Kralendijk, Bonaire’s colourful capital.
As the main port for cruise ships and with an international airport conveniently located just a few minute’s drive from the compact city centre, Kralendijk is the hub of activity on this otherwise chill, windswept island.
Dive shops line seemingly every street in a nod to Bonaire’s main pastime, and adventures like kiting, blokarting and hiking in the national park are a short drive away which makes it the perfect base for exploring.
From sailing trips to historical walking tours, here are five of the best things to do in Kralendijk Bonaire.
Shop on Kaya Grandi
Colonial buildings painted a kaleidoscope of colours make up the downtown area in Kralendijk, and large murals–most of them of flamingos–have transformed nearly every corner into a photo-op.
The best place to go for a stroll is Kaya Grandi, which is the main street and shopping area with souvenir stores, home and clothing boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
When happy hour rolls around, head to Kaya J. N. E. Craane along the waterfront to enjoy sunset drinks at one of the many fabulous restaurants, or sip on craft cocktails at nearby Tiki & Co.
Visit Kralendijk’s historical spots
If it’s history you’re interested in, Kralendijk has plenty of that with beautifully preserved landmarks dating back to the 1800s. Guided tours like this one are a good option for those who arrive on a cruise ship and are tight on time. Click here to book
Otherwise, self-guided tours are also quite easy as the Tourist Information Office gives out pamphlets outlining the Historical Kralendijk Walk Tour–there’s also a map at Wilhelmina Park.
Notable spots include:
- Pasanggrahan, built as a home in 1890 and eventually served as the Island Parliament House
- Fort Oranje, where a sunshine-yellow lighthouse stands tall overlooking the harbour, surrounded by cannons that fortunately never had to be used
- The Welcome Seat, where people would wait for family and friends arriving by boat from Curacao
- Oranjeschool, the island’s original school which is now the Cuba Compagnie restaurant
Sail to Klein Bonaire
A quick boat ride from Kralendijk’s shores on a glass-bottom boat or water taxi brings visitors to Klein Bonaire, a pristine, uninhabited and protected island that’s home to turtle nesting grounds.
There are no facilities here which is part of the charm; expect to find sun-soaked spots like No Name Beach which has sparkling white sand, or snorkel in the crystal clear water and keep an eye out for eagle rays, turtles and Angelfish.
Epic Water Taxi has boats departing at 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM from the harbour in Kralendijk, while return trips are at 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM (schedules may vary on cruise ship days). The price is $20 per person round trip.
An even more memorable option is to book a Chill & Grill catamaran tour from Kralendijk with Epic Tours, which includes stops at a couple of snorkel spots as you sail along Klein Bonaire’s coastline, an open bar and gourmet meal served at sunset. The company also offers a brunch sailing, and downwinders for the kiteboarding crew.
Book a tour to Klein Bonaire:
Go diving in Kralendijk
Bonaire is one of the world’s top diving destinations, and incredibly you don’t even have to leave the city limits to explore this underwater paradise.
With pristine reefs all along Kralendijk’s coastline, it’s easy to head out for a quick shore or boat dive and there are dozens of dive shops based around town and at the resorts.
Andrea I is a 10 minute drive north of downtown and has vibrant tropical fish and turtles, and Cliff Dive Site and Bari Reef are even closer. The Divi Dive Bonaire has shore and boat dives that depart from the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort in town, and it’s a quick water taxi ride over to Klein Bonaire to swim around the coral reefs.
Book a dive trip:
Take a day trip around Bonaire
It’s easy to see Bonaire’s top attractions during a day trip from Kralendijk, and best of all you never have to drive more than an hour thanks to the island’s compact size.
From pink lakes to pristine beaches, some of the best day trips in Bonaire are:
- Seeing flocks of fluorescent flamingos, the salt flats and pink lakes in Pekelmeer
- Drive through Washington Slagbaai National Park to see the beaches and protected areas
- Diving, kiteboarding and wind surfing along the coast
- Relaxing at the Ocean Oasis Beach Club in Bonaire
- Go on an exhilarating blokart ride with Bonaire Landsailing Adventures
- Visit colourful Rincón which was Bonaire’s first village, and try cactus vodka at Cadushy Distillery
Book a day trip around Bonaire:
Where to stay in Kralendijk Bonaire
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino: This resort is just a quick walk from the heart of Kralendijk, along the pristine Calabas Reef. With swimming pools, beaches, multiple restaurants, a spa and casino on-site you’ll have everything you need for a great vacation on your doorstep, and there’s even a dive shop that organizes shore and boat dives, lessons and equipment rentals right on property. Click here to book
Harbour Village Beach Club: Lush tropical gardens surround the suites at this highly-rated hotel a short drive from downtown, which overlooks a marina. Relax in a swinging hammock or lanai, soak up the sun on its beach, head out on a snorkel excursion or dive, then retreat to your large suite at the end of a fun day in Kralendijk Bonaire.
Click here to book
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