Top 7 Things to Buy in Bonaire

A cruise to Bonaire will undoubtedly be a vacation to remember. The “B” in the ABC islands, the isle of Bonaire is part of the Dutch Caribbean Antilles, located near the northern coast of Venezuela. This popular diving destination is naturally filled with beautiful sand beaches and mountain peaks. Bonaire’s unsurpassed natural beauty is the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities like kitesurfing, windsurfing, snorkeling and diving. On top of that, there are many great places to eat, drink, and shop.

When you’re ready for shopping in Bonaire, there are plenty of souvenirs worth the space in your carry-on. If this is your first time visiting, you may be interested in learning about what to buy in Bonaire for yourself or loved ones. As a memento or a gift, an item made on the island is always a great choice. Here are the top 7 things to buy when vacationing in Bonaire.

aerial view of the port of bonaire

1. Evaporated Sea Salt

For things to buy in Bonaire, sea salt should be at the top of your list. The island has been a large producer of sea salt for more than three centuries, made by evaporating crystal clear seawater in the sun. Today, Bonaire sea salt is a popular take-home item for visitors on the island. Pick up a salt mill filled with the best Bonairean salt and you’ll have a useful reminder of the fresh sea air in Bonaire. Or, for something more festive, choose from a full range of other salty stuff. You can bring home luxurious bath scrubs, salt scrubs, beauty products and other specialty items.

bag of sea salt on a wooden scoop and plate

2. Bonaire Sweets

When you’re hanging out in the “diver’s paradise” of Bonaire and it’s time to shop, you can pick up some local baked goods as a sweet memory of your trip to Bonaire. Grab some treats to enjoy while you’re on vacation and take some more home for later! A box of handmade chocolates or local favorite “Bolo Pretu” (black rum cake) make a great gift for grandparents or friends. Who doesn’t love delicious sweets? Other local delicacies you might want to buy when in Bonaire include Caribbean churros and peanut coconut cookies.

slice of bolo pretu-black rum cake

3. Bonaire Liqueur

It won’t take long before you’re offered a taste of the island’s own locally produced cactus liqueur. Made from the Kadushi cactus that grows on the island, Bonaire liqueur is a pride of the locals. Unlike tequila, which comes from the agave cactus, this Kadushi cactus liqueur is sweet and makes for a great dessert drink. The Kadushi cactus is also used on the island in soups and teas, and as a natural remedy.

You’ll have no trouble recognizing the distinctive triangular bottle, and there are plenty of flavors available. Bonaire liqueur is available in shops, supermarkets and at the distillery, so you can take home a bottle of your favorite flavor as a memory of your cruise to Bonaire.

4. Aloe Products

Bonaire has a long history of exporting its healing aloe vera gel to the world for use in beauty products and skin creams. Now, you can buy this locally made product right from the source. Experience the soothing properties of pure aloe vera with a bottle of gel or lotion made in Bonaire. Every traveler has someone on their shopping list who would love some wellness products made with tropical aloe vera gel. The aloe vera produced in Bonaire is 99.9% pure and is used to make aloe-vera-infused lotion, sunblock, lip balm and after-sun gel.

aloe vera leaf over aloe vera cream

5. Driftwood Handcrafts

Driftwood handcrafts are another specialty sold in markets and gift stores throughout Bonaire. The locals collect unique and beautiful pieces of driftwood, sun dry them and turn them into a remarkable piece of art. When you’re out shopping, you can find all manner of sculptures, bowls, paintings, lamps, and even furniture! In the stalls that line the markets in Wilhelmina Square, you’ll often be buying handmade creations from the artist themselves. A lovingly made art piece right from the sand of Bonaire makes a perfect keepsake from a trip to this Dutch Caribbean isle.

6. Island-Made Art

During your adventure in Bonaire, you can find local artists making brilliant oil and watercolor paintings or selling scenic Bonaire photographs. Local artists from the island also make and sell their own prints, hand-pressed cards, colorful tiles, painted fish and island dolls. Most of the products you will find are painted in beautiful local colors. Why not hang onto a colorful memory of island life with a piece of art made right in Bonaire?

man taking scenic photographs of sunset in a beach of bonaire

7. Handmade Jewelry

The locals make many products using items found on the island, such as shells and coconuts. You can find beautiful coconut and shell earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings in the shops of the popular street, Kaya Grandi, and in markets around the island. However, as Bonaire is dedicated to sustainability, you’ll never see local artisan products made from coral or protected woods and plants. Nature preservation, conservation and recycling are a main focus on the island, so you’ll know the keepsakes you buy in Bonaire are not only beautiful, but also friendly to the environment.