The typical Bonaire culture

Habits, language and how we live

We are family

Bonaireans are real family people, we love to share everything together. You can find us regularly with each other when we are outside; whether we eat together, hang out together on the beach or when we get snèks, we do so preferably with each other. On Sundays we go to church together, most of our residents are Catholic. After church you will almost always find us at one of our beautiful beaches.

How we live

We love colors, you will notice them everywhere on our island. Our houses are brightly colored, which gives a buzz to our island and our streets and we feel comfortable with that. Our houses are often built with the wind in mind, so we can always profit from the cool trade winds. If possible, we design our homes in a way that the wind can cool us even inside.

We prefer to keep our gardens free from intruders and therefore we often use prickly hedges around our sites. We prepare them by cutting off cacti and placing them on the ground at an angle against each other. They will grow roots again and make a beautiful hedge.

Good food

Are you curious about our cuisine? Then come and taste our delicious dishes in the small intimate restaurants we love to visit. Our Kushina Krioyo, the Creole cuisine, is very rich but our kitchen has influences from all over the world and we like to cook with fresh homegrown produce. Our delicious stoba’s and stews are our favorite.

Our language

Since 1936, the official language on our island is Dutch and all official documents, our law and our laws are written in Dutch. We teach in Dutch as well. But most of us speak several languages, including English, Spanish and Papiamento. The latter we speak among ourselves. Papiamento is not a dialect as many people think, but an official language.

The language comes from the time of slavery. African men, women and children of different strains were put to work with each other but did not understand each other; they spoke a different language. The first slave traders were of Hispanic and Portuguese descent and only used their own language to talk to the slaves. The result was a hybrid language that we still talk.

Bon Bini na Boneiru

Will you stay long term on the island and do you want to learn the language? Our locals love to teach you! Both online and face to face you can learn our language in quite a short time.

Do you want to learn a few words? These are words we often use:

Welcome = Bon Bini
Good morning = Bon dia
Good afternoon = Bon tardi
Good evening = Bon nochi
How are you = Kon ta bai ku bo?
I’m doing good = Mi ta bon
Thanks = Danki
You’re welcome = Di nada
Sleep well = Drumi dushi
You’re welcome = Di nada
I’m going = Mi ta bai
Bye! = Ayo
See you later = Te aworó
Many = Hopi
Little = Tiki
Bay = Boka
Sea = Laman
Beach = Playa
Sun = Solo
Donkey = Buriku
Many donkeys = Hopi buriku
Goat = Kabritu
Many goats = Hopi kabritu
Bonaire = Boneiru
Netherlands = Hulanda

Daily tips from locals!

Going on a vacation to Bonaire?

Discover our island as a local!

  • daily tips during your stay!
  • discover local secrets
  • completely free!
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY