Find Businesses and Services in Kralendijk, Bonaire
Kralendijk - Set alongside a picturesque harbour on the west coast, the tiny capital of Kralendijk ("coral dike" in Dutch) is Bonaire's commercial centre and the first stop for anyone visiting the island. Marked by a few low-rise buildings painted in pretty pastel colours and a handful of narrow streets, the town holds most of the island's government buildings, shops, hotels, restaurants and bars. There's not much to do or see in town, other than shop or dine at the restaurants, many of which are on the waterfront. The town's couple of historical buildings and small cultural museum won't take more than an hour or two to explore. Kralendijk can seem chaotic at times, especially when hordes of cruise-ship passengers crowd the small streets and zip around on mopeds or bicycles. The best time to see the town therefore is late afternoon, when the cruise ships have departed. Due to the many one-way streets the town is easiest to explore on foot, and you won't need a map to see the few attractions, many of which are found close to the coast on the main roads of Kaya Charles E.B. Helimund and Kaya Grandi. Perhaps the best place to get your bearings is follow the colourful waterfront thoroughfare known as Kaya Jan N.E Craane, which merges with Kaya Charles E.B. Helimund toward the south end of town. Along this route you'll find several government buildings, shops, restaurants and bars, as well as the occasional Dutch Caribbean-style building painted yellow and gold. Benches and a few palm trees en route make this stretch a popular place to take in the tropical surroundings or catch the sunset. On the north end of the route, Karel's Pier is home to a favourite watering hole for locals and tourists, as well as Pirate Cruises and Seacow Watertaxi. Across the way, you can also browse through the shops, boutiques and restaurants of the Harbourside Mall . Further south and closer to the centre of Kralendijk is the Town Pier, often referred to as the North Pier and a superb spot for night diving. Its underwater pillars are encrusted with sponges, corals and other sea creatures, all of which come to life after sundown. The pier can be extremely busy at times with heavy cruise-ship and boat traffic, and you must obtain permission from the Harbourmaster if you wish to dive here. The Harbourmaster's office is located in Fort Oranje, a few metres to the south and across from the smaller Ro-Ro Pier.
Next door to the North Pier is a small open-air market where vendors peddle fresh produce and fish from Venezuela. Several souvenir stands selling locally made wooden handicrafts and artwork are usually set up inland across the avenue in Wilhelminaplein , a courtyard near the Protestant church. Here you'll find a monument honouring Eleanor Roosevelt's 1944 visit to American troops stationed on the island, as well as the Van Walbeck Monument , commemorating the landing in 1634 of the director of the Dutch West India Company. At the southern end of the route sits the South Pier , which receives a fair amount of marine traffic. On the way you'll pass small, mustard-coloured Fort Oranje with its four cannons and stone lighthouse. The fort was built by the Dutch in 1817 to protect the island's flourishing salt industry, and has since served as a prison and a storage depot. Today, the fort is home to the city hall and a few government offices. There's really not much to see inside the buildings, and most people are content with taking a few snapshots and moving on. Running parallel to the waterfront a block inland from Kaya Jan N.E. Craane is another main road, the short stretch of Kaya Grandi , where you'll find the tourist information centre and many of the island's shops, boutiques and restaurants. Graphic sourced with thanks from Skyscrapercity.com The town's only other noteworthy sight is a ten-minute walk east of town. The quaint Bonaire Museum , Kaya J.v.d. Ree 7 (Mon-Fri 8am-noon & 1-5pm; US$1.50, children US$1), is worth a visit for its tiny but interesting collection of old photographs, artefacts and exhibits of folkloric costumes.
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