Horseback Riding on Bonaire: A Beautiful and Unique Experience
Horseback riding offers a unique opportunity to see yet another side of Bonaire. Bonaire has many back roads and hidden paths, away from the busier parts of the island. Riding the back pathways is an excellent way to experience an unusual and beautiful part of Bonaire that you can’t see from the main roads.
Bonaire’s countryside is known for its various cacti, extensive mangroves, kunukus, which are local farms, and unique rock formations. You may also see some of Bonaire’s animal life, including iguanas, flamingos, goats, and donkeys.
The countryside surrounding many of the riding trails resembles a desert landscape with candle and prickly pear cactus. Trees and bushes include Brasilwood, Divi Divi, Mesquite, Acacia, and Calabash. Plants often seen include the Century Plant, Aloe, and Rock Sage.
You will also see mangroves if you go by Lac Bay, which is partially surrounded by them. Mangroves are the only trees which can live from brackish water. They separate and use the fresh water, and evaporate the salt through their leaves. Mangroves are also important because they build land mass and provide a safe environment for juvenile fish who are too young to survive on the open reef.
Bonaire’s flamingo population is migratory and generally quite large. There is a protected breeding site on the south side by the salt flats where they can breed quietly, as they are very sensitive birds. The algae, snails, and insects they eat contain carotenoid pigments, which give them their bright orange and pink color. The flamingo lays one egg at a time and the chicks are gray and white. You may also see them flying in formation on rare occasion.
The countryside is dotted with kunukus, which are local farms. They often have goats, and grow aloe and sorghum, which is a grain and looks similar to a corn stalk.
And, all of these things are best seen when exploring the countryside on horseback.
Bonaire has two riding stables. Horse Ranch Bonaire (tel. 786-2094) is located about an eight minute drive from Kralendijk. This ranch offers half-day rides that travel through the southern part of the island, visiting Pekelmeer, which often has flamingos and also the mangroves. The ride finishes at Lac Bay beach with a horse and rider swim in the calm cooling water. Groups are small, ranging from two to five people, to keep the tour relaxed and fun for everyone. First time riders are welcome.
The Club has several beautiful horses. The horses are Paso Fino, known for their calm gait, giving you a smooth ride. Furthermore, they do not use a bit, contributing to a calmer horse and ride. Those interested may contact the Club by calling 786-2094 or 560-7949.
The second provider is Rancho-Washikemba, which offers lessons, tours, boarding and parties and they can be reached by calling 788-8668.
For information on dialing a Bonaire phone number from off-island, see the Telephone page