Bonaire is best known as the sleep sister to bustling Aruba. Once part of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), Bonaire is now part of the Dutch Caribbean sharing status with Statia and Saba all becoming municipalities of Holland on 10-10-10. Commencing Jan. 2011, the islands will convert to the US Dollar as the official currency. These administrative and political changes won't likely impact tourism a great deal but residents will likely reap the benefits with improved infrastructure as soon to be seen in healthcare, roads, schools and services. Despite being part of of Holland, Bonaire will retain it's strong Antillean culture including holidays, the flag and of course the language of Papiamento. The island goverment will hold jurisdiction and administer locally.
Most residents are multi-lingual speaking Dutch, Papiamento, English and often Spanish. Papiamento is a written language that is mostly spoken in Statia, Curacao and Bonaire. The language is derived from Portuguese and Spanish influences sprinkled with Dutch and English. The island has a multitude of nationals from South American, the Caribbean, all points in Europe and North America. The diversity is expressed in music, culture, food and dance.
The local industry is primarily tourism. Being a year round dive destination, Bonaire enjoys a healthy tourist trade compared to the islands that have a 5 month peak season. Another industry is oil. BOPEC employs may locals at this oil storage and testing facility. Cargill Salt located in the southern end of the island is a large employer of locals as well. The salt made at Cargill is used for water softener, culinary use and for industrial needs. The salt is processed from the pristine waters off Bonaire. Once processed salt is loaded onto waiting ships at the rate of 2000 tons per hour. The majestic white hills of pure salt can been seen as on flies into the island. They are a landmark of this tropical paradise.
Kaya Grandi 60