After our unbelievably amazing snorkeling trip, we walked back from Woodwind’s small dock towards downtown Kralendijk, Bonaire where the Emerald Princess was docked. We went back to the ship for a quick buffet lunch, and then headed back out with our DSLR camera for a stroll around town. Kralendijk is the charming capital city and main port of Bonaire. We took a leisurely walk around the downtown shopping area, and down by the water back towards the ship. The downtown area wasn’t huge; we were able to walk all over town in about an hour or so.
Justin and the Emerald Princess docked in Kralendijk, Bonaire
First, we saw the Post Office located directly across the street from the cruise ship. I love to collect stamps and postcards from places that we visit, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to purchase some colorful stamps from Bonaire! We waited in line for about 20 minutes – there were only a few people ahead of us in line, and only one person behind the counter. When we got to the front, we discovered that we were not allowed to purchase stamps there! She could sell stamps to put onto envelopes to be mailed directly through the post office, but she refused to sell me any stamps! I could not understand why for the life of me, but we left empty handed.
Kralendijk Craft Market
Right beside the Post Office and across from the cruise ship dock was the Bonaire Art and Craft Market. The Market is generally open during the hours that cruise ships are in port, mostly throughout the winter months. We wandered around the market and we were able to find many locally produced and handmade items by Bonaire residents, with an emphasis on local specialties. This was definitely my type of shopping trip as I’m always looking for unique items from the places that we visit.
We found these beautiful handmade glass necklaces made by artist, Charlene Bosch of Elements Bonaire. There were many pieces of jewelry made out of Dichroic Glass. I absolutely loved my necklace (as you’ll see in the later photos from dinner time) – it is two different shades of blue that sparkle in the sunlight, which reminds me of the beautiful ocean all around Bonaire.
We also purchased some sea salt and bath salts from a stand owned by Maria Lopez. Bonaire harvests its own salt and we were able to purchase Bonairean bath & scrub salts, as well as edible coarse sea salt. Since we’ve been back home, I’ve used the various scented baths salts for a relaxing aromatherapy experience at home!
We visited a stall that supported the Bonaire Animal Shelter. We purchased a picture book that was published by the island’s Donkey Sanctuary with all proceeds assisting the sanctuary. We hope to someday return to Bonaire and visit the Donkey Sanctuary, as we really enjoyed visiting the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada close to home. There are currently about 400 donkeys living at the Bonaire Donkey Sanctuary and they are provided with food, water, and medical care as well as a happy life. Donkeys are not native to the island of Bonaire. They were brought over by the Spaniards in the 17th century to assist with manual labor and farming. With the increase of modern technology, many people abandoned their donkeys and let them roam freely around the island. As Bonaire is such a dry and hot island, many of the donkeys die of hunger or dehydration. Thankfully, the Bonaire Donkey Sanctuary has been able to rescue many of these donkeys and provide them with the chance to have fulfilling and healthy lives.
After shopping at the Market, we took a walk down the main street, Kaya Grandi. This shopping street has many styles of architecture from the 1800s and 1900s. All of the buildings are painted in bright colors, and you definitely won’t find any huge brand named stores here! All of the shops are independently owned, so there was the opportunity to find some unique items. There were many restaurants and cafes, too! With so many Caribbean islands catering to chain stores and tons of the same jewelry shops, Bonaire was a breath of fresh air!
Bonaire flag and Netherlands flag
A brief history lesson: Bonaire used to be a part of the Netherlands Antilles until the country’s dissolution in 2010. Now, Bonaire is considered to be a special municipality within the Netherlands. Dutch is the official language of Bonaire, although the most widely spoken language on the island is the creole language Papiamentu. We didn’t have a problem speaking English to anyone on the island. It seemed as though many people there could speak many different languages. Spanish is also widely spoken on the island. Only about 17,000 people live in Bonaire.
Plasa Machi Mimi was an interesting yellow building that we saw along the water directly across from the cruise port. In fact, you can see the Emerald Princess right behind the structure! Every Friday, there is a vegetables market there with traders traveling from Venezuela to sell their fresh produce. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the market as our cruise ship docked later in the day.
Next, we enjoyed a lovely walk along the water before heading back to the cruise ship. There were many gorgeous views of the ocean that we were fortunate enough to enjoy that day.
Amazing how these giant ropes help to hold the ship in place!
We love Bonaire and can’t wait to travel back there someday!
Around 6:00pm, we were back on board and watched the sunset from our balcony. We also watched as the ship sailed away from the island. It was beginning to get dark outside as we left, and we watched as Bonaire began to light up in the evening around the shore.
After we sailed away, we went to the Michaelangelo Dining Room on board for dinner and it was Italian Night! All of the servers were dressed in green/white or red/white striped shirts. To start, we had the Minestra di Orzo e Porri – a traditional pearl barley and leek soup with garlic crostini.
For the main course, Justin had the Penne all’ Arribbiatta (spicy tomato pasta) and I had the Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese – whole wheat pasta, Swiss chard, potatoes and Napa cabbage tossed with a garlic and sage sauce. Both meals were very delicious!
After dinner, we walked around the upper decks of the ship before going back to the room. We had such a fantastic day in Bonaire! Next up: Aruba!
Wearing my new glass necklace from Bonaire!
Check out our morning of adventure in Bonaire going Snorkeling at Klein Bonaire!