Bonaire: The History and Culture - Part 2
Bonaire is an island municipality of the Netherlands, lying off Venezuela’s coast in the southern Caribbean.
Languages of Bonaire
Today there are four languages spoken on Bonaire. Dutch is the official language used in legal transactions and in government, while Papiamentu is commonly spoken by the locals and used in daily exchanges. Spanish and English are also common languages in Bonaire.
65.4% of the people of Bonaire speak Papiamento, with 15.9% speaking English, 7.3% Dutch, Spanish 6.1%, Creole 1.6%, and the remainder being unspecified
Papiamentu has its roots in Africa, from as early as the mid-1400s: it’s a Creole language, indigenous to the Dutch Antilles – in particular, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. This new language involved due to the Portuguese colonisation of the island; a language containing elements of Portuguese vocabulary and African language structures which allowed the people to communicate with each other. And with the slave trade, this new language spread and grew among the general population. Most visitors to Bonaire try to master just a few Papiamentu words.
Celebrations in Bonaire
It seems that celebrating is what the people in Bonaire do best, with many traditional celebrations held in Bonaire throughout the year. Generally, the elements of these celebrations have much in common, with music, food, and dance. Celebrations are a very important part of the life and culture of Bonaire – it’s a reminder that life is about dancing to the rhythm of the music and having fun.
What’s to do in Bonaire?
Snorkelling, windsurfing and kite surfing are very popular pastimes in Bonaire, and Bonaire still reigns supreme as the dive destination in the Caribbean. For more than 20 years, Bonaire has been named the No. 1 shore diving destination in scuba diving for the region by the Readers’ Choice Awards in Scuba Diving. It’s also been named Best Destination Overall and No. 1 for Marine and Macro Life for the 2014 Trip Advisor Traveller Choice Awards.
Bonaire is always seeking to find the delicate balance between growth and environmental protection, whilst maintaining culture and nature. It has a long history of nature preservation and, in order to conserve their reefs, Bonaire was one of the first Caribbean Islands to collaborate with the Coral Restoration Foundation.
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