Curacao and Bonaire have many attributes in common such as similar landscape being generally flat and dry in appearance.
Likewise, both islands share Dutch as its official language.
In this article, we explore areas where the islands differ to help you decide which one is more suitable for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Curacao is suitable for individuals interested in white sand beaches and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere with great access to major international cities. Alternatively, Bonaire is ideal for an individual seeking a peaceful and laid back island with an interest in shore diving.
Read on deeper insight into how these two stunning Caribbean Islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national who lived in the Dutch Caribbean.
Curacao Vs Bonaire- Which Island Is Bigger
Curacao is the larger of the two islands being 171 square miles. Mount Christoffel is the highest point and stands at an elevation of 1,220 feet.
On the other hand, Bonaire is slightly smaller with a landmass of 111 square miles. The highest point of elevation is The Brandaris at 784 feet located at Washington Slagbaai National Park.
Curacao Vs Bonaire- Does The Currency Differ?
The official currency of both of these islands differs. The currency used for financial transactions in Curacao is the Netherland Antillean Guilders or Florins.
The Netherland Antillean Guilder is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of USD $1 to $1.79 ANG.
This currency is also used by St Maarten and there is a Central bank for Curacao and St Maarten responsible for managing the stability of the currency.
The local currency is available in bank notes and coins. Bank notes are available in $10, $25, $50, $100 Guilders.
Coins are available $1 Guilder, $5 Guilders, 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents pieces.
Despite being an overseas territory of the Netherlands, the US dollar is the formal currency used in Bonaire.
Curacao Vs Bonaire- Which Island Has Better Beaches
Both islands have amazing beaches however your travel motivation may drive the answer to this question.
If your priority is shore diving, then Bonaire is the better island for you.
Corals and variety of fishes can be seen near the shore without taking a boat. Te Amo Beach and Lac Bay are some of the best spots for snorkeling on the island.
Contrastingly, if you will like white sand beaches then Curacao is the better island to consider.
Some of the popular beaches on the island include playa piskado which translates to fisherman’s beach where you get to swim with sea turtles in Curacao.
Another white sand beach that is loved by both locals and visitors is Playa Kenepa Grandi which is excellent for swimming and snorkeling.
In addition, you can swim with dolphins at Jan Thiel beach.
Curacao Vs Bonaire- Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
Curacao is the island to visit if you are interested in enjoying nightlife during your vacation.
There is a large expat community on the island which has contributed to the vibrant nightlife atmosphere. Mambo Boulevard is a hotspot to visit for entertainment on the island.
Contrastingly, Bonaire is the epitome of peace and tranquility and thus nightlife is limited to restaurants and bars on the island.
Some of the great restaurants include Patagonia which specializes in Argentina inspired cuisine.
Curacao Vs Bonaire- Which Island Has Better Access To International Cities
Curacao has better access of the two islands to major international cities.
The airlines that provide direct and non-stop flight to the island include KLM, TUIFly, Jet Blue, American Airlines and United Airlines.
Air Canada and West Jet provides direct flights from Canada seasonally.
Avianca and Wingo provide service from Colombia while Copa Airlines provides service from Panama.
Air Century and Sky High provides direct flights from Dominican Republic.
Air Belgium, Caribbean Airlines provide direct flights from Suriname.
On the other hand, as part of the Netherlands KLM offers direct and non-stop flights to the Netherlands every week from Bonaire.
In addition with the introduction of American Airlines, there are now direct flights to Miami international.
Through Insel Air, there is also easy access from Bonaire to South American countries such as Brazil and Colombia. Insel Air also offers flights to several USA cities.
If you are contemplating a trip to Bonaire, Insel Air offers a great promotion on its anniversary and you can access great flight rates during this period.
Curacao Vs Bonaire- Activities & Things To Do
Shete Boka National Park, Curacao- this was established in 1994 and plays a key role in protecting and conserving sea turtles as they lay their eggs in this area.
This park has around 10 small bays which are often used by the turtles. There are numerous hiking trails in this area and it is located near to Christoffel National Park.
Dolphin Academy, Curacao- one can enjoy a wonderful experience interacting, snorkeling, swimming and diving with dolphins.
There is also a museum at the location where you can view other animals. This activity is perfect both children and adults.
Donkey Sanctuary, Bonaire- these animals are commonly seen on the island and in 1993; the sanctuary was established to care for sick and injured donkeys.
Visitors are welcome to interact with the animals. There is a souvenir shop on site. Donations are accepted.
Salt Pyramids, Bonaire– this is one of the distinctive features on the island and a must see during your visit.
The pyramids are approximately 50 feet high and contain pure salt. There are sea salt products available at local souvenir shops.
On a whole, Curacao is ideal for individuals who enjoy hiking, interacting with dolphins and white sand beaches. On the other hand, Bonaire is perfect for persons who are seeking a peaceful and tranquil destination with an interest in shore diving.
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