Bonaire: A Romantic Getaway

Above: The staircase leading to Beach Bonaire (Photo: Jacob Whyman/Shutterstock)

Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic? Absolutely lovely, but you want some place new to take your honey away to. If you pride yourself discovering spots before most everyone, then Bonaire is where you should book a pair of tickets to. This small island is 50 miles north of the coast of Venezuela, so it may take more travel time than your usual Caribbean getaway, but it’s worth it. Bonaire composes the “B” of the ABC islands, the others being Aruba and Curacao. As a province of the Netherlands Antilles, in Bonaire, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with plenty of Dutch people, but the island has such a multicultural history and you can’t help but fall in love with the lively mix of people, languages and cuisines.

Where to stay:

As the most luxe resort on the island, the Harbour Village Beach Club is a quiet escape, perfect for some snuggling in a hammock on the beach with your girlfriend (however, if you’re a couple that likes to party, this will not be your jam). To truly want to score brownie points, book one of your dinners as a torch-lit meal on the beach so you can nibble on the catch of the day while you hold hands and enjoy the sunset with the sand between your toes. Better yet, surprise her with appointments at the resort’s spa—known to be the best on the island. A one-hour massage here is sure to make you forget any type of stress you brought with you – kick back before or after your appointment in privacy by the spa’s pool; the pretty tiled waterfall makes it feel like the Mediterranean—not that you’ll feel like you need to get away from Bonaire’s scenery.

What to do:

For unreal-looking crystal blue water that’s shallow enough to walk for at least half a kilometre, you must get yourself to Sorobon Beach (about a 20 minute drive from Harbour Village Beach Club). As you make your way there, you may encounter a donkey or two during your drive to the beach—they’re friendly and revered by the locals who set the donkeys free to roam many years ago, recognizing them for doing the hard labour of building the island to what it is today. And also keep your eyes peeled for flamingoes—these birds, the national symbol of Bonaire, can often be seen gathered in salt ponds. Once at the beach, you’ll have to dodge the many windsurfers as you take your stroll in the water; this spot offers fantastic conditions for the sport (and as such, many windsurf champions hail from this little island). Curious if you can whip across the water, too? Rent a board yourself along with a quick lesson and you’ll probably be flying across the water soon enough and totally hooked to the sport.

Where to eat:

For a fun, local outing, rent a car and get some directions from the hotel concierge to Maiky’s Snack. Chances are that you’ll still get lost—you have to navigate some unmarked dirt roads to get there, so you may need to rely on some helpful locals to lead you to this restaurant. But the trek is worth it if you’re keen on trying real island dishes such as goat stew, funchi (a Dutch Antilles cornmeal dish) and iguana soup. If you’ve got a hankering for steak, however, about a 20 minute walk from Harbour Village is Patagonia Argentinean Steakhouse, where you can choose from a variety of cuts (but there are also fish dishes and paella if either of you are non-beef eaters). Go with an appetite as the portions are large, but the friendly staff will wrap up any leftovers for you to tote back to your suite.

Where to dance the night away:

When you need a change from watching the sunset and need something a little more upbeat to start off your evening, walk next door from Harbour Village Beach Club to Spice Beach Club for the happy hour that takes place on Fridays. The volume’s turned up on the dance music the DJ is spinning and the giddy crowd is one that’s set to mingle. If salsa and merengue is what you’re more in the mood for, block Tuesday off and go to Cuba Compagnie, which gets ram packed for this popular night. When you need to take a break from the dance floor, step out to the patio to get a breath of salty ocean air (the patio on the ocean-side entrance to the club has tons of seating) and order some rosé to quench your thirst.

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