Bonaire’s biggest downside is its lack of sizzling soft white sand. The shores are mostly encrusted with toe-stubbing, sole-jabbing coral chunks and lurking sea urchins that are absurdly painful, while the waters of the east coast are brutal and unrelenting. However, there are one or two possibilities for desperate dive wives and offspring.
Lac Bay’s Sorobon beach is on the southeast coast but is well sheltered by a barrier reef, about 100m of soft white sand but with all necessary facilities for a comfortable day. The bay has shade trees and shallow (about 2ft/. 6m deep), calm waters that are great for smaller kids while adults can kayak, board surf, watch the kite surfers or float at ease in the clear and balmy sea.
Klein (little) Bonaire island just west of the main island offers probably the closest experience to a traditional Caribbean beach, No Name Beach, a brilliant strip of white bordered by equally stunning turquoise waters turbulent with fish, but sadly the beach is devoid of other vital utilities such as shade, cold beers, restrooms or any other facility. Water taxis make round trips there three or four times a day and charge about $20 return.
North of Kralendijk town there’s a 100m (360ft) stretch of OK sand called Eden Beach which has a reasonable selection of facilities including bar and dive shop and a lot of marine action very nearby, so this is a fine swim/snorkel destination.
A little further up the coast is another beach offering fine snorkeling, swimming and diving, though it has no facilities, a fair amount of coral chunks lying around and 75 steps down to reach it, in spite of which it’s called 1, 000 steps Beach.
In the far north of Bonaire a couple of beaches can be found in Washington-Slagbaai National Park, the best being Boka Slagbaai, an ancient harbour with excellent snorkeling and all the facilities a demanding beach person could ask for excepting proper accommodation.
The other interesting, beautiful beaches in the park are Boka Cocolishi, a black sand beach with purplish waters, and Playa Chikitu, a cove backed by sand dunes. Both are isolated and dramatic but neither beach is safe for swimming.
Topless sunbathing and public nudity are forbidden throughout the island.