| Bonaire is an island in the Netherlands Antilles,
and as such, is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Together
with Aruba and Curaçao it forms a group referred to as
the ABC islands. While English, Papiamento and Spanish are commonly
spoken, the official language is Dutch. Bonaire has a land area
of 288 km² (111 sq. miles). At the 2001 Netherlands Antilles
census, the population was 10,791 inhabitants, which means a
population density of 37 inh. per km². In 2004 the population
was estimated at 10,185 inhabitants. Bonaire is served by Flamingo
The structure of the realationship between Bonaire and the
Kingdom is being considered for change under proposed legislation.
Bonaire is world renowned for its excellent scuba diving and
snorkeling consistently rated among the top shore diving and
Caribbean diving locations in the world. The island is ringed
by a coral reef that is easily accessible from the shore along
the Western and Southern sides. Furthermore, the entire coastline
of the island has been declared a marine sanctuary, preserving
local fish life. It is also famed for its flamingo populations
and its donkey sanctuary.
Washington Slagbaai National Park, located at the north side
of the island, is an ecological preserve. The highest point
of Bonaire, Brandaris, located within this preserve has a
complete view of the island.
Lac Bay on the eastern side of the island is a windsurfer's
paradise. Locals Taty and Tonky Frans in 2004 were ranked
in the top five of the world's freestyle windsurfing professionals.