Finding Unique Souvenirs on Bonaire
Many times shopping for a unique and interesting souvenir for friends or family back home can be frustrating endeavor. Bonaire has many such options for souvenirs, but you may have to spend a bit more time and effort to seek them out. Here are some of the items available around the island; these items are truly Bonairean, either made with local products or highlighting the island itself.
One location where many of the island’s artisans gather to offer their products is the Art & Craft Market, held in Wilhelmina Park. The market is open each day when cruise ships are in port. The market truly offers unique souvenirs hand-made by local artisans in a one-stop-shopping location!
Bonaire Salt Products: Bonaire’s salt pans provide a steady supply of sea salt which is then mixed with essential oils to create a soothing, exfoliating, and moisturizing bath salt that can be used in either shower or bath. Also, many of Bonaire’s spas utilize the bath salts, offering full or partial body salt scrubs. Find Bonaire’s salt products in many of Bonaire’s shops.
Onima Aloe Products: For centuries now, Bonaire has been exporting its precious aloe vera gel for skin and body products, but several years ago, a new company was formed to manufacture these fine products locally. Aloe Vera only offers its benefits when it is properly processed, without heat, drying or addition of chemicals. Onima Aloe works diligently to preserve all the beneficial properties of the aloe vera, so that its products are as pure and potent as if you had squeezed it directly from the leaf. Onima Aloe offers two products lines: Natural Health or Natural Beauty, each consists of a variety of options. These products can be purchased in many of Bonaire’s finer shops.
Hand-made candles are available in a variety of forms and colors at the Fundashon Kwido pa Personanan Desabilita (Foundation for the Care of Disabled Persons) in Rincon. Here you will find candles, along with other handicraft items, which are personally made with great care and pride.
Bonaire Affair Private Label Condiments: Located in the main shopping area of Kralendijk, Bonaire Affair is a shop filled with unusual and unique gift options. The owner produces a very fine line of private label condiments, including Mango Hot Sauce and Pumpkin Chutney. These items are only available at Bonaire Affair, located just off Kaya Grandi.
Cadushy of Bonaire Liqueur: Made with all natural ingredients, this liqueur is based on the combination of many traditions of Bonaire. Cadushy of Bonaire was introduced on September 6, 2009, Dia di Boneiru, and it is available at many shopping outlets or supermarkets around the island. Also be sure to sample the latest line, The Spirit of Bonaire. This line of spirits include Rom Rincon, Cadushy Vodka, and Captain Don’s Whiskey. Also available are a variety of teas and dried cactus soup mixes, including recipes for the traditional method of making cactus soup, as well as a more modern way. To sample the products, visit the Cadushy Distillery in Rincon. Open Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
Captain Don Stewart’s Collection: Captain Don was a legend on Bonaire, having arrived way back in 1962 on his 70-foot schooner, the Valerie Queen. Since that time, Captain Don was been at the forefront of conservation and preservation of Bonaire’s reefs, even being the driving force and initiator of the island’s current mooring buoy system for dive boats. Captain Don was a prolific writer, and his most recent book, “Reef Windows”, premiered in December, 2009. There is also a DVD, entitled “An Island Adrift” chronicling his years in the Caribbean. These items are available at many shopping establishments around Bonaire.
Driftwood paintings, lamps, sculptures, and mirrors are available for sale at Yellow House, located at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #29. Utilizing pieces of driftwood which have washed up on Bonaire’s shores, along with other items found on the island, each piece is a unique remembrance of a visit to Bonaire. Driftwood objects are also available for sale at the atelier and home of Curacao-born artist Germaine Nijdam. She is one of the pioneers of driftwood art and started painting on canvas until she migrated to driftwood. Her driftwood art includes chairs, tables, benches and lamps along with shelves, signs and wind chimes. The atelier is in Santa Barbara at Kaya Onix #1, or find unusual objects at Driftwood Art by Dion. Dion makes one-of-a-kind pieces out of a combination of clay seeming to melt with driftwood. The wood pieces, beaten, broken, and washed up on shore, receive a new life, beautiful as the tree once was.