Known as the ABC islands; Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are a unique group of islands in the southern Caribbean. Making up the western end of the Leeward Antilles off the coast of Venezuela, they are three of the most southern islands in the Caribbean. The citizens of these islands hold European Union Passports, and the majority can be heard speaking Dutch. English is also commonly spoken along with a creole language called “Papiamentu,” which blends African dialects along with Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish.
While doing work in Aruba I saw beautiful beaches and made friends with the locals. The population seems more advanced and “European” than many of the other Caribbean nations I’ve done work in. The group I was working with seemed well organized and financed.
Bonaire is known for fantastic diving and its world-famous reef. Entirely protected as a National Park, spear fishing is prohibited, and the reef is recognized as a precious part of the eco-tourism that the economy depends upon. The reef is reported to be in better shape than anywhere else in the Caribbean and is so close to shore it can be reached without a boat. Friends of mine have done night dives there wading in gently from shore. A little more relaxing than jumping off a boat into the dark sea. If you’re looking for a unique diving vacation, I recommend Bonaire with professional dive operations ready to accommodate you.
Curacao is another Dutch island with a beautiful, well preserved colonial town named Willemstad. It also boasts the only large floating bridge I know of in the Caribbean. There is also a tourist submarine business in Curacao where a new mini sub, built in the Netherlands, awaits a yacht that will soon carry it away for exploration around the western world. What a trip that will be!