Belnem House Bonaire
History of Bonaire

The hidden history of Bonaire

Discover the hidden history of Bonaire

Stories and historical landmarks

Bonaire, an island with a rich and complex history spanning over 100 million years. From the original Caquetio Indians and European colonization to slavery and eventual emancipation, Bonaire offers a wealth of historical stories waiting to be discovered.

The Caquetio Indians and their legacy

Embark on your journey tracing the footsteps of Bonaire's original inhabitants, the Caquetio Indians. This tribe inhabited the island centuries before the arrival of Europeans, leaving behind impressive rock carvings and petroglyphs. Visit the Indian Inscriptions at Onima and the areas around Rincon, just a 20-minute drive away.

Tip: Book a tour with a local guide for a deeper insight into this ancient culture. Local guides can explain the meanings of the drawings and take you on a walking tour of the historical sites.

Spanish and Dutch colonization

In 1499, the Spanish arrived on Bonaire and took possession of the island. Later, in 1636, Bonaire was captured by the Dutch. Colonization brought significant changes, including the introduction of slavery. Visit Fort Oranje in Kralendijk, built by the Dutch in 1639 to defend the island against enemy attacks.

Tip: Combine your visit with a stroll along the boulevard and conclude with a visit to a local café to savor the authentic atmosphere of the town.

Slave huts and salt pans

One of the most poignant reminders of the slavery era are the slave huts and salt pans. Slaves worked here under harsh conditions to harvest salt, a key export of Bonaire. Visit the White and Orange Slave Huts on the southern coast, near the salt pans. These huts served as temporary residences for the slaves who worked in the salt pans.

Tip: Bring a picnic and explore the slave huts on the island's southern coast, which have given the island its renown.

Rincon: The oldest settlement

Rincon, located in the northwest of Bonaire, is the oldest settlement on the island, founded by the Spanish. The village boasts a rich cultural heritage and is home to several historic buildings and traditions. Visit Rincon and Mangazina di Rei, a historic warehouse turned museum and cultural center.

Tip: Rent a car from Belnem House and take a day trip to Rincon. Visit Mangazina di Rei for a deeper dive into the island's history.

Belnem House Bonaire is the ultimate starting point

Located near Kralendijk, Belnem House Bonaire is a convenient and centrally located starting point. Our exclusive off-grid resort offers luxury apartments, suites, and penthouses with modern amenities, ensuring you can relax comfortably after a day full of adventure. Take a refreshing dip in our pool and make use of our car rental services to explore even more of Bonaire the next day.