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What is the size and population of Bonaire?

Bonaire is a small island with a population of approximately 19,500. Most people live in the main town of Kralendijk and about 1800 live in the smaller town of Rincon, found in a valley in the north. The island is approximately 112 square miles, ranging from three to seven miles in width and twenty-four miles in length. The north part of the island is hilly and has a national park. The south side is flat with salt pans. Both parts are unique as well as beautiful. Bonaire is located approximately fifty miles north of Venezuela. Approximately one mile away from Bonaire is the small island of Klein Bonaire (literally, “Little Bonaire” in Dutch). It is uninhabited, so be sure to bring sunscreen and water if you visit. The beach is very nice and the snorkeling is excellent. A water taxi is available.

What is the history of Bonaire?

Cruiser's Choice 2017, Top Five Southern CaribbeanBonaire was originally inhabited by a branch of the Arawak Indians who sailed from Venezuela over 1000 years ago. The first Europeans to arrive were the Spanish in 1499. They did not stay long, as they decided not to develop the island, but they took the Indians who were here as slaves, leaving the island uninhabited. After that, there were also visits by the French, Portuguese, and the Spanish convicts who returned, leaving their imprint and influence. In 1633, the Dutch took possession of the island, along with Aruba and Curaçao. They imported African slaves to work the plantations and the salt mines. Bonaire’s ownership changed hands several times until 1816 when the Dutch maintained leadership. Slavery was abolished in 1863 and around this time Bonaire started attracting more inhabitants. Early in the 20th century, visitors started arriving on Bonaire; eventually, a pier was built, further attracting tourism, and in 1943, the airport was built.

What is Bonaire’s political status today?

Bonaire is a special municipality of Holland, along with Saba and St. Eustatius, since October 10, 2010.

What languages are spoken?

The official language is Dutch and the spoken language of the local people is Papiamentu, which is a Creole language based on seven different languages, reflecting the mixed culture and history of the island. English is spoken by most people and Spanish is also widely spoken.

What is the temperature?

The air temperature averages about 83°F/29°C, although it can be hotter from August through October. The water temperature varies from 79°F/26°C to 84°F/29°C.  Full daily weather reports are available by clicking here.

How are the snorkeling and diving?

Bonaire is one of the top destinations in the world for snorkeling and diving. The waters surrounding Bonaire form a marine park. Shore access is easy at most dive sites for either diving or snorkeling. Visibility is often 80 to 100 feet and the reefs are alive with coral and fish. Touching or standing on corals or other marine life can be harmful to both the marine organisms and the snorkeler/diver, so please take care! Woodwind Snorkel & Sailing Cruises offers excellent snorkel trips for either a beginner or advanced snorkeler.  Renee Snorkel Trips offers small groups and a guide with an expert eye for shore snorkeling.

Cruise ships dock right at Bonaire's piers.

Where does the cruise ship arrive on Bonaire?

The ship arrives at one or two of the main Bonaire cruise port terminals, just south of the downtown area of Kralendijk.

How do we get around?

If you stay in Kralendijk, most places are easy walking distance. For visiting the beaches, in most cases, a taxi will be needed.

What about taxis?

Taxis will be available directly in the area of the pier where you disembark; costs will vary depending upon the destination. Taxis can also provide touring services.  View the various services available to cruise visitors by Bonaire’s taxis.

What currency is used?

The U.S. dollar is the official currency as of January 1, 2011.

Are there banks nearby?

There are several ATMs in the downtown area as well as several banks. All transactions must be accompanied by a photo ID.

What is the shopping like near to the Bonaire cruise port?

There is an outdoor market in nearby Wilhelmina Park, near to where the cruise ships dock, which sells local wares and foods. Also, a cruise shopping mall is newly available adjacent to the docks.  Kaya Grandi, the main street in Kralendijk, also has shops with clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, snorkeling, and diving equipment. Grocery stores and a pharmacy are nearby.

Although not close by the cruise port, the village of Rincon also hosts an outdoor market from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on days when cruise ships are in port.  If you plan to tour the northern section of Bonaire, do stop by and meet the local ladies and gentlemen of Bonaire’s oldest village.

Are there restaurants or bars in the vicinity of the cruise piers?

There are several restaurants and bars in the downtown area, well within walking distance.

Are public toilets available on the island?

Yes, but they can be very busy on days when cruise ships are in port.

How far is it to a beach and what amenities are available?

Bonaire is not known for many sandy beaches since it’s much better known for its underwater beauty. However, some sandy beach areas are available at select resort areas.  Here is a brief list of some of the Bonaire beaches near the cruise port.

Locations Chair FeeRestaurantsActivities in area
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino
10-minute walk south of pier
$5-$10
2
snorkeling, boat excursions, casino, swimming
Eden Beach Resort and Coco Beach
5-minute taxi, or 25-minue walk north of pier
$5.00
2
boat rental, water skiing, kneeboarding, inner tube rides, snorkel trips, water taxi to Klein Bonaire, kayak rental, swimming
Plaza Resort Bonaire
5-minute taxi, or 15-minute walk south of pier
$20.00
2
snorkeling, boat excursions, swimming
Sorobon Beach (at Lac Bay)
15-minute taxi, $20.00 one way, group fees available
$5.00
3
windsurfing, snorkeling, massage and salt body scrubs, glass bottom kayaks, swimming

What about the national park?

Washington Slagbaai National Park is located at the north end of the island. It takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to drive there from the area of the cruise piers. Opening hours are 8 AM to 5 PM. Although a truck or four-wheel drive vehicle is not mandatory, such a vehicle is definitely recommended, as the road can be rough in some areas. The entrance fee is $25.00 per person. A museum illustrating Bonaire’s past and its people is open at the entrance to the park. Cool drinks and a terraced area are also available at the entrance. Many visitors choose to make short hikes via the walking trails from this entrance, instead of traversing through the entire park via a vehicle.

What activities are available on Bonaire?

View more activities for your day in port. Diving and windsurfing are always favorite past-times, so you may contact one of Bonaire’s dive operators, or learn more about windsurfing on Bonaire.

Can we take shells?

No. Taking shells is against local and international laws.

Need to learn more?

Read what others have to say about what to do on Bonaire at the Bonaire Cruise Critic Forum.

If you have a question which hasn’t been addressed here, feel free to write InfoBonaire at questions@infobonaire.com; we always welcome your suggestions for the addition of subjects to this list of frequently asked questions.

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Restaurant Reviews on BonReviews:

5/5

Pizza, pizza at Rum Runners!  My second dinner upon arrival on Bonaire is going to Rum Runners and seeing my good friend TT and ordering two spicy shrimp pizzas and taking them home. Best pizza on the island. Well eating healthy I also order their Caesars Salad no anchovies with the pizzas. Note-TT is the […]

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5/5

Fast and delicious.  Nice ambience, good service, delicious food at Cuba Compagnie.

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5/5

La Cantina is absolutely the best!   Great ambience! Great service and the food was absolutely stunning!!  Chef Cook Rick and his wife Kim did it again! They created a new food experience!  You can order a la carte or take a surprise dinner and watch how your food is being prepared.  You should definitely […]

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5/5

Good taste at Bon Aroma! The elegance of this small beautifully-appointed space provides privacy between the five tables and quiet from the street while breezes flow through the open walls encouraging relaxation and conversation. My meal of braised marlin and lionfish with mango and basil sauce, a medley of fine vegetables and Italian rice, finished […]

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4/5

At Sea Restaurant Accommodating to Vegans and Gluten Free Folks.  First off they have my favorite…Hendricks gin, but a steady supply of fever tree tonics is a must to enjoy its smooth flavours. An enthusiastic bartender willing to earn your praises is a great start to an enjoyable evening. I asked the waitress if chef […]

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4/5

Latin Vibe at Cuba Compagnie!  I was invited to dinner by friends. Previously, I had been to Cuba for cocktails but dinner was a new experience. We sat outside surrounded by a lively and bustling vibe. The wait staff are very friendly and helpful. They are very busy so it takes patience and some effort […]

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5/5

Great local flavor of the island at Mi Banana. We were directed to Mi Banana to a great surprise. Friendly and personable staff and food was great. Chicken and fish dishes were our favorites up until the dessert. The three leche cake was to die for. Don’t miss the dessert.

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5/5

A great experience at BonAroma! Excellent food and presentation, reasonable prices, great service and wonderful people.  Best dining we have had on Bonaire!

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5/5

At Sea serves works of art!  We dined at At Sea twice while we were recently in Bonaire. Both times we chose the Surprise Menu, and all of the dishes were beautifully prepared and delicious. The dishes were true works of art, decorated with beautiful garnishes and great imagination. Dessert one night was an underwater […]

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5/5

My new sushi place…Osaka Japanese Fusion Restaurant. A friend recommended this restaurant for dinner and I had a great experience. I simply love this restaurant! Friendly staff, and amazing sushi! The fish is fresh and everything is very well made. I love the Volcano and Kamikaze roll!! Next time I’m in Bonaire, that’s the place […]

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5/5

Bon Aroma is fantastic in every way! Incredible food (in top 3 on island); impeccable and warm service, intimate ambiance – BonAroma has it all. We had asparagus soup with shrimp, tuna carpaccio, lion fish and tuna duo, all perfectly prepared and presented. Well balanced menu, vegetarians will be very happy. Good wine list. Delicious and […]

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5/5

Great breakfast and lunch at Between Two Buns! Nice salads and sandwiches. Don’t forget to try the home made pies!

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4/5

Al fresco dining at Cuba Compagnie. We loved dining at Cuba. The outdoor setting is casual and comfortable. It’s a lively vibe. Service is efficient and friendly. I typically order the fresh fish. I have also enjoyed the ceviche.  Cuba is a fun spot for a group of friends.

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5/5

Best pizza at Pasa Bon Pizza! Best pizza on Bonaire.  We look forward to getting that crisp crust and hot cheesy pizza served at Pasa Bon pizza every time we go to Bonaire. Try their Lion Fish pizza….it is good !!

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5/5

Jasmine Garden is a typical Chinese restaurant, where we had a delicious dinner. We ordered the Yeung chow fried rice and the Kung pao chicken, which were served by friendly staff. During our 2 week’s holiday in Bonaire, we went there 4 times to eat. Every time we were satisfied.

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5/5

Best Lunch Spot!  I am a tuna sandwich aficionado. I have sampled tuna sandwiches across Bonaire. Between Two Buns serves the best by far. I love their multi-grain bread with seeds and goodness. The salad itself is chock full of flavor. They put salty briny capers in their salad adding an extra flavor blast.  Wow, […]

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4/5

Good food, friendly service, reasonable prices at Diver’s Diner Bar & Grill.  Place looks very unpretentious, but the staff is very willing to please. The food is very good and very reasonably priced.

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5/5

Pasa Bon Pizza, Not your usual pizza place Third trip to Bonaire and this is our go-to place for dinner at least two nights each trip. Cozy outdoor place. Wait staff very pleasant. Lion fish pizza is awesome. Frozen Lime and Guava dessert is yummy and refreshing. Open Wednesday through Sunday (I think). I am […]

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5/5

Good food at Between Two Buns.  As an owner at Sanddollar, this is one great restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Very friendly owner and staff. I think that I order the same thing every time, great looking desserts and salads.

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4/5

Good food and good friends at Diver’s Diner Bar & Grill!  We have been return customers every time we come to Bonaire. This is trip number 7. Try the walking sticks for sure and the dipping sauce. I could go on and on. Try it out you won’t be sorry.

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4/5

Love lunch at Zen’s Bar Café!  I am always impressed with the Lunch specials. They are as appealing to the eye as to the stomach and my pocketbook.

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5/5

Between Two Buns, Love this place! When we two Canadians visit Bonaire, we plan on almost daily visits to “Between Two Buns.” The sandwiches and salads are terrific and the staff very friendly! Sure fills the bill after a morning of snorkeling!

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5/5

Great lunches at Donna & Georgio’s.  It’s like stepping off Bonaire’s streets and into Italy. Wonderful food and great atmosphere plus air conditioning. Daily specials and mouth watering pizzas await you…..

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4/5

Nothing is better than Seared Tuna at the Beach!  The Kite City food truck at te’ Amo beach near the airport is not to be missed. Fresh fish prepared just right in oh-so-many ways is one of the expected pleasures of coming to the Caribbean, and Kite City does not disappoint.  The beach dining is […]

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3/5

So-so at Between Two Buns. If you never had a sandwich before I suppose you might think it was good. Sandwiches are not served on buns but rather on a sliced baguette about 8″ or so. A piece of meat or cheese is placed in between and voila! Sandwich. No lettuce, tomato, mustard or aioli, […]

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5/5

Food is excellent @ Donna & Georgio’s, Donna always made me feel special. Great food and always a take out service.  As an owner at Sanddollar and full kitchen facilities makes their take out food a very good place to eat in or take out. Every trip to BONAIRE requires multi stops at this restaurant. For pizza […]

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5/5

Tipsy Seagull – Best dinner ever! We decided to have dinner Friday night at the Tipsy Seagull at the Plaza Hotel and we couldn’t have enjoyed it more! The 3 course meal was fantastic and the music was so awesome.  The servers were so friendly and attentive and the food was wonderful. We will definitely […]

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5/5

Bistro de Paris is accommodating for vegans and vegetarians.  We love going to Bistro because we know we can eat a fabulous meal for our vegan needs. Mary makes a mean veggie salad large enough for a meal. The rice bowls, carrot bourgenon is soo tasty, the potato terrine is to die for, so rich […]

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5/5

I have been coming to Bonaire for over 20 years. Without a doubt, Donna & Giorgio’s is our favorite place to dine. A husband & wife team, Donna is the hostess with the most-est and Giorgio is the fantastico Italian chef. Our favorite thing for dinner is to tell Giorgio to make us whatever he […]

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5/5

Gourmet burgers at King Kong Mobile Food Truck! Very convenient at bachelor’s beach. Great burger! Next time I will go for the Junk Yard Dog.

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5/5

Not a Typical Pizza! I’m a pepperoni and sausage pizza guy so I was skeptical when I saw pizza topped with shrimp on the menu.  I tried it, I loved it, and I’ll go back to Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet for more the next time we are on the island.  They offer […]

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5/5

Best food on Bonaire at Donna & Giorgio’s! We had 2 dinners and one lunch during our week in Bonaire. We loved the food, Donna, and her daughter. Everything we had was great! Be sure and call for a reservation.

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5/5

Hot Spot King Kong!   Bachelor Beach is er een stuk leuker en lekkerder op geworden. King Kong levert uitstekende kwaliteit. Verrassende smaken!

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5/5

Sebastian’s Restaurant is an Epicureans Delight!  You have to try this seaside gourmet restaurant. The chef is known for combining foods and spices you will not taste elsewhere.

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5/5

Eddy’s Restaurant–Again, as an owner at Sanddollar you could not find a better place to eat. Friendly casual great food with a different variety. Family owned and run and will cook to your pleasure. Eddy is the cook, Sonia runs the front along with their children–another Sonia and Eddy!

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5/5

Awesome burgers and fries at King Kong Burgers & Hotdogs!  I would eat these burgers 7 days a week if I could, but my wetsuit would not fit after awhile. They are wonderful and the area the truck is at couldn’t be better. Great job to the owner. Will be back next visit to the […]

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5/5

Sebastian’s Restaurant By the Beautiful Sea! You know the saying about saving the best for last?  Lorrie and I save Sebastian’s Restaurant for the end of our trip because we love the food selections, service, scenery, Sebastian and the friends that join us for our farewell dinner.  The restaurant offers a local menu with several nightly […]

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4/5

Best Fries On Bonaire! I have been enjoying Bobbejan‘s weekend BBQ since 2001. Maggie and Robert run a tasty restaurant. My daughter loves the rib dinner. I enjoy the fish when it’s fresh. Their side cole slaw is garlicky and tasty. The reason I go so often is their french fries. They are the best […]

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5/5

Eddy’s is Excellent!  We love going to Eddy’s. The service is always great and the food is fresh and outstanding!

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5/5

King Kong Burger Food Truck. Find it on Bachelors Beach. Tuesday through Sat…I think. We have returned to these freshly made, gourmet burgers several times. The meat is fresh and tasty. Prepared when ordered and seasoned to perfection. Several special recipes to choose from. Our favorite is the French connection….so unique and tasty, paired with mosquito […]

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5/5

Sebastian’s Restaurant is the best all around!  I’ve eaten at Sebastian’s maybe five times in the last three years and it’s always been a unique experience. From the greetings that make you feel welcome to the creative menu and exceptional food to the natural ambiance of water and sky–there’s nothing to match it on Bonaire.

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5/5

Bobbejan’s is our first dinner upon arrival!  Upon arriving on Bonaire after food shopping my first dinner is always at Bobbejans. They have the best chicken Sate and ribs. Known as the best take out restaurant and they developed an outdoor dining area. Only opened Friday’s, Sat and Sunday’s but well worth the wait and […]

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5/5

Goat stew at Eddy’s Restaurant was the best meal on the island, so tender. The barracuda was excellent and the mojitos were special.

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5/5

Best experience on Bonaire at King Kong Burgers & Hotdogs! Quality burgers! I was one of their first customers and now almost 2 years later they are still the best on Bonaire!

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5/5

Fine dining at Sebastian’s Restaurant!  I had two wonderful dinners recently at Sebastian’s, one out on their private pier.  In my opinion Sebastian’s is the place to go whenever visiting Bonaire.  The ambiance is lovely, the service impeccable and the food outstanding.  It is in my opinion, the best place to dine on the island […]

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5/5

Service & Food  at Breeze ‘n Bites–OUTSTANDING We always make a point of eating here at least once during our trips.  Service is always friendly and the food is always tasty.

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5/5

Gio’s is an amazing place!  We go here every day we are on the island. We so love the Gelato and desserts! I think we both gained 20# in one week but well worth it! Amazingly tasty gelato! Thank You!

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4/5

Mezze is a great new spot!  They installed a makeshift wheelchair ramp so a bunch of us decided to try this new addition to the island’s many awesome restaurants. Loved the excellent lamb shank served with delicious vegetables. Started with the eggplant and fresh pita. Decent prices too. We’re heading back soon.

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5/5

Best tuna ever at Sebastian’s Restaurant! We visited Bonaire 06/16 & I have to say that our visit To Sebastian’s was one of the highlights. The tuna was some of the best I’ve ever had & was done to its rare perfection. Cut with a fork & melt in your mouth!!!! Of course, washed down […]

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5/5

Capriccio Ristorante is wonderful!  This was a nice surprise! We were greeted with a welcome drink and a wonderful basket of bread and fresh pita chips. We had scallops and pasta which was wonderful and bolognese was nothing to brag about. Staff was pleasant and welcoming. Reservations (highly recommended) were for 6pm for party of […]

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4/5

My wife and I had a wonderful meal at Ingridients, but I have to say that the waiting staff did pressure us to select items we did not want.  Don’t hesitate to eat here because the food is excellent…just be prepared to say no to serving suggestions.

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4/5

Don’t miss Mezze while on Bonaire! We visited Mezze with friends and had a delicious meal. “Mezze” like “tapas” means “small plates” and all of the apps were outstanding: hummus, falafel, tabouleh, and baba ghanous, which we lapped up with homemade pita, forks and fingers. The concept of “small” evaporated when the entrees were served, especially […]

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3/5

Great food at Sebastian’s Restaurant, but exceptionally slow. After waiting 30 minutes for our snickers ice cream dessert they told us they were out of peanuts and have sent someone to buy some and would be at least 10 more minutes. we said forget the dessert and bring us the check. it still took 30 […]

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5/5

Fantastic fresh fish at Chibi Chibi.  We have now eaten the fresh fish special (mahi) twice on two separate trips (November and January).  The service is impeccable, the restaurant and bathrooms are very clean, and the food is amazing.  I struggle to understand why this restaurant doesn’t have better reviews on Trip Advisor.  It truly […]

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5/5

Excellent daily specials and “to die for” ribs at Joe’s Grillhouse!  Excellent casual place. Jessica and Bart, along with the staff, make you feel welcome and comfortable. We always visit Joe’s at least twice during our yearly dive trip to Bonaire. The daily catch special is always excellent while the ribs are “fall off the bone” […]

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5/5

Delightful evening at Bon Aroma! Be sure to include Bon Aroma on your list of fine dining experiences. The ambiance is lovely, the service impeccable and the cuisine delicious. The marlin and lionfish duo with its sides was outstanding. Dessert was a delight – apple tart with vanilla ice cream and a mixed berry cobbler […]

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2/5

Pizza needs work at Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet. The mojitos are great Service started off OK, then once I got my food, I never saw the server again, so never got any more water. The pizza needs work. The crust is about 2mm thick & is heavy & still not totally cooked. […]

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3/5

Cuba Compagnie Going Downhill We have been here a few times before. I went there tonight with my son and the service was unresponsive and when I said something I got a rude smart mouth response from management. The food is generally good. But don’t order the sodas. You get a small glass full of […]

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