bon aire

However You Spell It, Bonaire (or Bon Aire) Is Paradise

Divers Paradise. A Well-Kept Secret. The “B” of the ABC Islands. Bon Aire.

The beautiful Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is known by many names. Whatever you call it, one thing is certain – this natural paradise is a gem among Caribbean islands. But first things first. The right way to spell the name of this tropical oasis in the sun is with one, simple word – Bonaire.

One of the lesser known Caribbean islands, Bonaire has a rich and varied history and culture. Today’s island reflects a melting pot of native, European and African customs and traditions collected over the centuries. The islands earliest inhabitants were the Caquetio Indians, a branch of the Arawak tribe that arrived by canoe from nearby Venezuela in about 1,000 AD.

The island’s name is thought to originally have come from the Caquetio word “bonay” which means low country. This makes sense, as most of Bonaire is flat, allowing you to see both the east and west coastlines from many vantage points on the island.

As various Spanish and Dutch settlers arrived, they modified the spelling to “Bojnaj” and eventually to the present spelling “Bonaire.” Along the way, the French also explored the island, and some believe they called the island “Bon Aire” as a tribute to the island’s good air. While we can never be 100% certain exactly what influenced the name, one thing everyone can agree on is that, whatever you call it, Bonaire is a great place to be.