Bonaire is quite balmy, no matter what time of the year you’re here. Much of that can be attributed to the fact Bonaire is located just a little north (about 12 degrees) of the equator. The other contributing factor is a steady wind from the east that blows over the island most of the year (with October known for lesser winds, and even occasional wind direction reversals). To give you a more accurate idea of what the climate is on Bonaire, we’d like to offer you the following facts, published in George DeSalvo’s most excellent The Bonaire Reporter – a free, twice-monthly English language newsletter published, printed, and distributed on Bonaire for the benefit of tourists, cruisers, and residents:
Average year round air temperature is 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit, with a +/- 2.5 degree seasonal variation, and an average daily variation of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest temperature recorded since 1948 has been 96.4 degrees, and the lowest 67.6 degrees. The surrounding ocean’s temperature fluctuates from a chilly 78 degrees in February to a balmy 86 degrees in October, for a year round average of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remains fairly constant through the year, averaging 76%. It varies from a maximum of 85% at daybreak to a minimum of 66% in the afternoon.
The wind direction is easterly more than 95% of the time, averaging 12 knots. This is 15% lower than on Curacao, and 40% lower than on Aruba. The winds blow strongest in February, March, and June. Lightest winds are in November. The wind rarely exceeds 39 knots.
Bonaire’s average rainfall is 20.5 inches, with 65% occurring October through January. This is 11% less than Curacao, but 13% more than Aruba. The frequency of thunder is low, averaging 18 days per year. The average total cloud coverage ranges from 25% in February, to almost 50% in October (100% means total overcast). The average duration of sunshine during the day is 67.5%, and is fairly constant throughout the year.
The average pressure is 1011.8 millibars (Mb) (29.88 inches of mercury), with a daily variation of 3.3 Mb (.1 inches) and a seasonal variation of 2.7 Mb (not much in inches).
While Bonaire’s climate may sound appealing (and it is), it’s important not to lose track of the fact that the sun is very powerful here. It’s very easy to get a sunburn here if you’re not careful, which is why we recommend you wear lots of sun screen, and keep your exposure to the sun within reason. If you’re coming to visit, start off slow and limit your sun exposure on the first few days of your trip to let your body get used to the sun’s strength, and then you should be able to gradually increase your exposure, but always use common sense.
While some weather services and news sources may claim to offer accurate weather, it’s nearly impossible to do with Bonaire. With the island being as small as it is, and with the winds generally holding steady, weather systems tend to pass over or by very quickly. So, one moment you can have clear skies, the next a small cloud break, followed shortly by clear skies again. It’s best just to assume you’ll have quite a bit of sunshine, some fluffy clouds, and possibly a small drizzle once in a while.