Bonaire’s capital and cruise port, Kralendijk, is a quirky little town.
For one thing: It’s small. As in, you can walk its length—and back—in a half an hour. Though given the fact that the population of all of Bonaire is just over 14,000, I guess this isn’t surprising.
Its candy-colored houses reminded me nothing of actual Dutch towns, despite the fact that it’s a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Rather, it’s reminiscent of Scott’s and my former home in Aarhus, which I liked to say looked as if a ton of Skittles (the tropical kind, in this case) had been poured down over the landscape below.
(Only, Denmark lacks the palm trees.)
And, of course, it has its own Caribbean flair, with surf and resort wear shops dotting the main drag downtown.
Just like the island’s terrain, the city is a contradiction in itself: Situated in the middle of the Caribbean, it’s laden with Dutch restaurants and Surinamese fare—the food there is so much better than the meals I’ve had on other nearby isles. (The Caribbean is known for a lot of things; cuisine, unfortunately, is not one of them.)
Kralendijk is a stop on a growing number of cruise routes, such as select Holland America ships. After seeing so many eyesores on other ports in the Caribbean with the same ol’ tacky shops and international brands littering the waterfronts, I’d say it’s a breath of fresh air for those stepping off the boat.
Not a chain in sight—just laid-back, one-off storefronts, scenic panoramas and a lot of colonial charm.