Bonaire- Papiamentu: Boneiru) is an island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Together with Aruba and Curaçao, it forms the group known as the ABC islands, located off the north coast of South America near the western part of Venezuela. Bonaire's capital is Kralendijk. The island has a permanent population of 17,408 and an area of 294 km² (together with nearby uninhabited Klein Bonaire).
The name Bonaire is thought to have originally come from the Caquetio word 'Bonay', a name that meant low country. The early Spanish and Dutch modified its spelling to Bojnaj and also Bonaire. The French influence while present at various times never was strong enough to make the assumption that the name means 'good air'.
Bonaire was part of the Netherlands Antilles until the country's dissolution on 10 October 2010, when the island became a special municipality within the country of the Netherlands. It is one of the three BES islands located in the Caribbean: the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
Bonaire's economy is mainly based on tourism, taking advantage of its warm, dry climate and natural environment. The island caters to scuba divers and snorkelers, as the surrounding coral reefs are well preserved and easily accessible from the shore. Bonaire has been widely recognized for many years in the diving community as one of the world's best shore diving destinations. Bonaire's Marine Park offers a total of 86 named dive sites, and is home to over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species. Most resorts and hotels have an on-site dive shop, and other accommodations are affiliated with a dive operation.The license plates carry the logo Divers Paradise
Lac Bay, in the southeastern part of the island, attracts wind surfers from around the world to Bonaire. The shallow Bay is on the windward side of the island, so trade winds are strong and constant. A barrier reef across the mouth of the bay allows windsurfers of all skill levels to select wave conditions they like. Lac Bay is one of the stops in the PWA Windsurfing Freestyle World Cup and has hosted the Prokids IFCA Championship. Five of the PWA's ten highest ranked freestyle windsurfers are from Bonaire: Kiri Thode, Amado Vrieswijk, Bjorn Saragoza, Tonky Frans, and Taty Frans. In the northern end of Lac Bay is one of the best preserved mangrove forests in the Caribbean, which is popular for kayaking and snorkeling.
Bonaire is also a port of call for more than fifteen cruise lines who make more than eighty calls per season at the island. The total passenger capacity for cruise ships in Bonaire is about 185,000.
Tourism infrastructure in Bonaire is contemporary and offers a variety of types of accommodations including hotels, full-service resorts, a few small bed and breakfasts, and self-catering vacation rentals of all kinds. Other tourist activities include kite-boarding, mountain-biking, hiking, sailing, charter fishing, boating, and bird-watching. All-in-all tourist expenditures in Bonaire are estimated at $125 million per year.
Salt Production Utilizing the naturally low-lying geography and traditional Dutch dyke design, much of Bonaire's Southern half has been made into a giant system of ponds and pools which evaporate seawater to produce salt. Presently operated by Cargill, Bonaire's solar salt works produces 400,000 tons of industrial grade salt per year. After collection, the salt is then washed and stored in large piles. The salt facility operates its own pier where ships are loaded with salt destined for North American, European and Western Pacific markets. Bonaire's salt is used mostly in industrial roles.
The large condensing ponds which ring the crystallizer basins, called the Pelkermeer, are a natural habitat for numerous species of brine shrimp which in turn feed flocks of hundreds of Pink Flamingoes and other migratory birds. This is the location of Bonaire's flamingo sanctuary.
Oil Storage & Shipment The Bonaire Petroleum Corporation (BOPEC) is a fuel oil storage and transhipment terminal on Bonaire. BOPEC is wholly owned by Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, and functions primarily as a storage facility for multiple grades of refined and non-refined oils from Venezuela and refineries on Curaçao and Aruba. BOPEC also has mixing and blending capabilities for its stored fuels. BOPEC's #1 pier can receive tankers up to 500,000DWT,which means there are only seven ships in the world that are too big for the BOPEC terminal