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Just 30 miles from Curaçao lies the compact, boomerang-shaped island of Bonaire, just 38.6 kilometres (24 miles) long by 4.8 to 8 kilometres (3 to 5 miles) wide.

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We spent a few nights at tropical oasis Bamboo Bonaire, a lush and lovely Indonesian-inspired boutique resort a few minutes north of Bonaire’s capital, Kralendijk.

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A large Buddha statue greets us as we pull into the parking area. Greeted by Mick and taken to our cottage after a brief flight over from Curaçao, we immediately feel at one with the surrounding nature.

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What better way to relax in the tropics than with your own private porch complete with overhead fan, hammock, lounge chairs, Indonesian decor and hanging lights!

Added to this scenario is a small bistro table with two chairs, ideal for a morning coffee or afternoon cold drink.

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Our air-conditioned room contains colourful Moroccan lamps, a few silver buddhas on the wall, a wooden cupboard, small dining table and kitchenette area, plus a walk in rain shower in the bathroom.

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The outlets are smartly placed near the dining table and accommodate both 120- and 220-volts as well as a USB slot. Guests also receive a box of Nespresso capsules to use during their stay (additional boxes are available for purchase in the resort office).

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At the foot of our bed on a cute antique wooden table is a smart TV with Chromecast.

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At night, the resort charms with tiny twinkling fairy lights draped around the trees, atmospheric lighting and the trickle of small fountains surrounded by buddhas and other art pieces. Bamboo Bonaire is the ideal spot to unwind, unplug and to practice the fine art of doing nothing!

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Each of the 13 cottages is as unique as its name (we were Between the Trees; others include Touch of Love, Stairway to Heaven, So Happy Together and Walking on Sunshine).

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[Reading corner]

Bamboo Bonaire is located right in the island centre, close to shops, supermarkets, restaurants, dive shops and several beaches suitable for both snorkeling and diving. The helpful and friendly staff is onsite during the day in a centrally-located office to help with snorkel and dive tips, dining out, directions and beach towel swaps.

For late departures/flights, enjoy the property and then freshen up at the tropical shower (with luggage storage lockers nearby).

Curaçao/French Angelfish

Snorkel and Dive

No other Caribbean island offers as many choice dive sites as Bonaire, due to its protected coastline. You’ll get to explore a double reef, wreck diving sites, sloping drop-offs and nearby Klein Bonaire, an island off the island!

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[Andrea II’s underwater world; image by Galen Piehl]

Snorkeling spots close to Bamboo Bonaire are Bari Reef, the Cliff, Andrea I and II, and Eden Beach. For diving enthusiasts, guests are offered 24/7 unlimited air/Nitrox on site provided by Bamboo Bonaire’s dive partner, VIP Diving. Various dive packages are available here (including a convenient drive-thru for tank exchange).

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[A quick trip to Klein Bonaire offers several dive spots plus an amazing drift snorkel]

Note that in addition to Bonaire’s tourist tax (USD $75 per person), visitors to Bonaire that wish to dive or snorkel must pay a Stinapa fee, which goes towards maintaining the island’s underwater ecosystem, supporting scientific research, preserving cultural and historic sites, controlling invasive species from protected areas and restoring natural habitats.

The fee is also mandatory for visits to Washington Slagbaai National Park and Rio Lamoenchi Nature Park.

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Dining at CHEFS

Opened at the resort in 2019 is CHEFS, a separately-owned restaurant that offers both five-course dining experiences and daily breakfast. CHEFS is often booked months in advance for this special culinary evening and with space for 16 guests, has one limited seating per night.

You can also opt to have breakfast served at your cottage with Bamboo Bonaire’s Breakfast-in-Bed service (which includes an optional champagne add-on).

Next door to CHEFS are six waterfront restaurants within close walking distance of the resort offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also two gas BBQ grills onsite for guest use.

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Bamboo Day Spa

Nestled within the resort, close to the lounge pool, is Bamboo Day Spa. Here guests can enjoy a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage which incorporates long, flowing circular movements to help realign the body and send it into deep relaxation. The Hammam treatment offers a therapeutic combination of body scrub and relaxing massage using olive soap. Other treatments include deep tissue, Tropical Touch, Swedish and couples massages, available in 60- and 90-minute sessions with advance reservation.

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And when you’re ready to refresh from the heat, there’s a small magnesium pool and (fresh-water/chlorine) jacuzzi. A few of the superior cottages contain their own saltwater jacuzzis as well. Yoga classes are also offered upon request.

Caribe Car Rental

Area Attractions

While Bonaire is a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise, there’s plenty of activities to check out around the island: Bonaire Museum, Washington Slagbaai Park, plus land sailing, kayaking, bird watching, wind- and kitesurfing, hiking, cycling and cave exploration. The main town of Kralendijk is a five-minute drive away.

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Bamboo Bonaire is located at Kaya Gob. N. Debrot 86 in Kralendijk, Bonaire. Visit them online for more information, bookings and special packages.

We were graciously hosted by Bamboo Bonaire for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, remain our own. Non-watermarked images courtesy of Bamboo Bonaire.

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