Netherlands > Netherlands Antilles > Bonaire > Kralendijk


Kralendijk is the capital city and main port of the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. The language spoken in the town is Papiamentu, but Dutch and English are widely used. In Dutch, Koralendijk means "coral reef" or "coral dike". In Papiamentu, the town is often called Playa or "beach". As of 2006, the town had a population of 3,061.

Off the coast of Kralendijk lies the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire, noted for diving and snorkeling activities. This small island can be reached by water taxi, or, for divers, by practically all of the local dive operators.


Fort Oranje was built in 1639 to defend Bonaire's main harbor. The fort was extensively modified during the end of the seventeenth century. The English settlement of "Playa" was established adjacent to the fort in 1810. The town was renamed "Kralendijk" by the Dutch colonial rulers in about 1840.

On May 10, 1940, 461 Dutch and German citizens were transported to Bonaire and interned in a camp just south of the fort. After World War II, this camp was converted into a hotel, which is now the Divi Bonaire.


Kralendijk has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with uniformly hot, humid but dry weather due to the divergence between the trade winds and the North American Monsoon, along with a strong drying effect from winds parallel to the coast of South America. There is a short rainy season between October and January due to stronger northeasterly flow during the retreat of the monsoon; however it is erratic and heavily influenced by the Southern Oscillation, frequently failing completely during El Niño years. During La Niña years, however, rainfall may reach up to 1,000 millimetres (39 in) over a year and over 350 millimetres (14 in) in a month as happened during 1970/1971, 1988/1989, 1999/2000 and 2010/2011.

Sights and activities

The Tourism Corporation Bonaire has a "Historical Walking Tour" brochure that lists 25 historical sites in the downtown area:

In addition to the stores on the main street (Kaya Grandi), there is a large food market (Cultimara) and a bakery (Exito) on Kaya L.D. Gerharts. There are two warehouse-type food markets on Kaya Industria, on the way to Flamingo International Airport.

The "Public Beach", also known as Windsock, is located 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) south of downtown at the west end of the runway of the Flamingo International Airport. Another public beach is at the site of the Bonaire Sunset Beach Hotel about two kilometres (1.2 miles) north of downtown.


Kralendijk is served by Flamingo International Airport. Taxis are available in town and at the airport. There is no public bus service, but collective taxis run between Kralendijk and Rincon. Car rentals are available at the airport. Bicycle and scooter rentals are available in town. Water taxi service goes to Klein Bonaire from the centre of Kralendijk.


Previously Dutch Antilles Express, an airline, had its head office in the Plasa Medardo SV Thielman in Kralendijk. In April 2007 the airline moved its head office from Bonaire to Curaçao, where the airline's flight operations have been based. The airline's call centre and its revenue accounting and handling departments remained in Bonaire.

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