Eco-friendly travel guide to Bonaire advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Bonaire, Caribbean, North America.
- Air quality: 4.5 / 5
- Bus connections: 2 / 5
- Train connections: 0 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 2 / 5
- National parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 5/ 5
- Locals' English level: 4 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$30 - $120
- Budget per day: US$100 - $140
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
Bonaire is one of the Caribbean islands that people love to explore. It is because of its picturesque views, pristine water and warm and friendly people. It is also one of the most eco friendly tourist destinations in the world. The people and the authorities are strongly committed to sustainable living and have done so much to establish eco friendly tourism.
This island is famous for its water activities. People say that it is an island where people and nature live together in harmony.
Traveling responsibly to Bonaire entails ensuring to abstain from activities that will damage the environment or animals. The people of this island take pride in how well they have preserved the environment of the island and will not be happy if you engage in harmful activities.
Appreciating their nature and environment also entails responsible traveling as it makes the locals happy. They will appreciate it if you make contributions that will help them make nature better.
Being on this island usually brings about peace of mind.
While exploring different places and the general idea of tourism is great, it is also harmful for the environment because of the way tourists travel today. It is of utmost importance to be a responsible traveller especially when we are at the verge of a climate disaster.
- Choosing the right transport method: A major part of your travel experience includes discovering every nook and cranny of the city. While you will have transport options like private cars and taxis at your disposal you need to know that not only do they contribute to more congestion and traffic pollution but also emit harmful gases into the environment. So, choose options like walking, cycling, electronic and public transportation in general.
- Trying local food: A huge part of the local culture is the traditional food that is offered at the local traditional restaurants and by street food vendors. Instead of just sticking to international fast food franchises that contribute to so much waste being produced in the world, you should try the local options. Not only will it help the local economy but also will directly help the families whose sole source of earning are these small food businesses.
- Do not throw waste: As an eco-friendly traveler, you need to promote sustainable living as much as possible in the city to motivate not only fellow tourists but local people. When you visit any tourists attractions especially city parks, make sure you do not throw any food wrapper and do not just stop at that but if you see any trash, pick it up and throw it in the dustbin. It might look like a very small thing to do but has a huge impact on people watching especially the children present in the park since they learn and mimic the behaviour of other people around them.
- Choose a green hotel: Plenty of accommodations are available in the city that provide you with a top-notch experience but instead of choosing them, you can pick green hotels for your stay. They use eco-friendly measures to reduce the pollution and waste of the city. This is one of the great ways to contribute towards the city to keep it safe and clean.
- Shop local: In order to support local craftsmen and artisans always shop local. During your trip to the city, you will come across small shops and food stalls in almost every lane of the city. If you want to have an unforgettable experience in the city, then buy goods and handicrafts from these shops. This will not only help you to save a lot of money but you will be supporting a lot of local people who are dependent on their small businesses to earn a livelihood.
Air Quality and Pollution
Since the people of Bonaire are famous for their love for nature, people have high expectations concerning air quality on the island. The locals believe in preserving the environment and in sustainable living so the Air Quality and Pollution levels reflect on that belief.
The air quality of this island is usually good, making it a safe space and conducive environment. If you have health issues, you will not get any triggers on this island due to air quality.
The high air quality level on this island is commendable and adds to why people have it as a holiday destination. People always want to stay in a place that brings comfort and a sense of safety.
Respect the Culture
Being respectful towards the local culture and the local people is of utmost importance. The people of Bonaire are very friendly and warm so you will find yourself at ease. You can ask them questions about their unique and enriching culture but do not be disrespectful and do not look down upon their traditions and beliefs.
If you do not engage in any harmful activity, you will not have any issue with the locals. All they ask from foreigners is mutual respect.
They take pride in their environment and water bodies. The locals love when a foreigner indicates zeal and interest in exploring their environment or participating in local activities.
You will realize that it is easy to get along with them. The secret to being on this island is to treat others the way you will treat yourself.
Once you have this mindset, get ready to enjoy yourself and have a swell time as the locals have an open mindset.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Many of the tourist attractions in Bonaire have an affiliation with water. It is only normal since it is on an island. Here are some of the top places:
- Lac Bay: If you have ever wondered what an islet looks like, this place is the answer to your question. It is one of the best places for snorkeling on the island. There is a small harbor for fishing vessels, making fishing one of the activities you can enjoy. People also engage in windsurfing at this islet. You always have the promise of a swell time at this place.
- Old Slave Huts (Kralendijk): During the slave era on this island, this is where the slaves stayed. These huts are at the edge of the water on the beach. Analyzing the situation, it came in handy then as the slaves usually engaged in salt extraction from the water. It is the best place to get to know more about the history of slaves.
- Donkey Sanctuary (Kralendijk): Generally, you can describe this place as an animal protection center. The locals are animal lovers and this beautiful sanctuary is reflective of that. When visiting this place, ensure that you go with a bucket of food for the donkeys. This is a way of showing your support. People have the opportunity to feed the animals at the sanctuary.
- Salt Pier (Kralendijk): There is almost nothing you won’t love about the Salt Pier. It is one of the top tourist attractions on the island. Some people describe it as a dive site. It makes sense as you can engage in scuba diving at this place. It is also a great place to see sea turtles. These animals are usually fascinating to some people. The experience at the pier is always mesmerising.
- Caribe Watersport En Watertaxi Bonaire (Kralendijk): Your holiday will not be complete if you do not visit the waterpark on this island. Taking a water taxi is usually one of its top highlights as it connects to different locations on the island. If you have not been on a water taxi before then you should not miss out on the chance. It is quite the experience.
- Kiteboarding Bonaire (Kralendijk): People say that it is a recreational center mostly for lovers of kites. Flying a kite is a way to bring out the inner child in a person. If you are ready to enjoy a fun and carefree activity, this is the best place to visit. You can also do snorkeling and shore diving at this place.
- Bonaire Cruise Port (Kralendijk): It is normal for a foreigner to think of cruising on a boat or ship on this island. After all, there are many water bodies. If you desire to be on a cruise boat, this is the best place to visit. However, it is not always open. It is only open when there is a cruise boat available. Thus, you need to monitor it properly. By being on a cruise boat, you get to see different angles of Bonaire, and you will appreciate it.
- Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (Kralendijk): As the name implies, you know that this is a safe space for sea turtles. If you would love to see and play with a sea turtle, you know where to visit. You can also get sea turtle inspired gift items at this place. You are sure to leave with more information about sea turtles.
- Landhuis Karpata (Rincón): It lets you have amazing and pleasant views. Although it is currently deserted, you can also see amazing buildings. If you are looking for a getaway when in Bonaire, it is a great place to visit. People engage in diving at this place.
- The Bonaire Botanical Garden: It is an informative place if you are a lover of plants. It also lets you connect with nature. You will see many local plants and herbs, and you get to learn about their uses.
Bonaire has so much to offer to tourists. All of the mainstream activities that you can think of doing at an island and much much more. There is so much to see and so much to explore. It is the number one Shore Diving Destination in the Caribbean/Atlantic as per the Scuba Diving Magazine’s Annual Readers’ Choice Awards. One of the most fascinating things that you will discover while exploring Bonaire is their commitment to eco friendly and sustainable living.
The locals are always there to help you and guide you so your stay will be relaxed and your time spent exploring will be fun filled.
If exploring a city park was on the top of your list when visiting Bonaire, it is time to change the list and schedule. This is why it is always best to research a place before visiting to know the things you can do.
Bonaire offers many exciting activities that keep foreigners buzzing. However, you cannot explore a city park since the island does not have city parks.
Due to the fact that Bonaire has committed to the idea of sustainability and eco friendly tourism, there are a couple of national parks at the island to preserve the unique geological features of the different areas. These National Parks include:
- Washington-Slagbaai National Park: It is a beautiful place with a scenic atmosphere. You will be in awe of the different views when you visit. Since it is vast, you are sure of exploring different areas. Diving and birdwatching are also some activities you can do at this place. People say that Bonaire connects humans with nature, and this place is a manifestation of the claim. We can also not rule out hiking from the list of things to do.
- Bonaire National Marine Park: Being one of the oldest marine reserves in the world, this park is definitely worth visiting. The park covers a whooping 6700 acres and is made of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove vegetation.
The island is home to some of the most scenic beaches in the region. The pristine water, golden sand and the peaceful atmosphere just seem to be a little slice of heaven.
Some of these beaches are:
- Sorobon Beach (Kralendijk): It is always all fun and games at this beach. This white sand beach is a favorite place to hang out for many people in Bonaire. People partake in many water activities like windsurfing and water ball. There are also restaurants on the beach where you can try out different varieties. It is one of the best places to relax and let go of all worries.
- Te Amo Beach (Kralendijk): From the name, you should expect nothing less than a friendly vibe from this beach. It is usually peaceful and relaxing with many activities that a person can do, including watching the sunset.
- Atlantis Beach: This rocky beach is home to Kite boarders and if you have kids accompanying you then this is the beach to be at. Looking at all the colourful kites flying in the air is such a mesmerising experience. It is like having a spring festival at the island.
- No Name Beach: The reef running parallel to the shore east to No Name Beach is one of Bonaire’s busiest snorkeling spots. A good variety and quantity of reef fish can be spotted in the area but the shallow part of the reef, strongly damaged, can be disappointing.
It is always necessary to know the different landmarks in a place as it helps you to identify different locations. If you do not know your way to a particular place, you can find it with a landmark description.
Landmarks are essential to anyone who wishes to explore so that you will not miss your way. Thus, you need to know the landmarks when visiting Bonaire.
Some of them are:
- Seru Largu (Kralendijk): It is a mountain area on the island. Asides from the fact that it is a mountain, a feature that makes it outstanding is its big cross monument. You are sure to see it from afar.
- Fort Oranje (Kralendijk): It is one of the tourist attractions on the island. As a fort, you are sure that it is a tall building. Thus, classifying it as a landmark.
If you thought that there are no museums in Bonaire, you thought wrong.
Some of the museums in Bonaire are:
- Musée Terramar de Kralendijk: Some people say that you will always learn something new anything you visit this museum. It is an archaeological museum that tells the story of Bonaire’s history through pictures and artifacts. Thus, you know that it will be fascinating. We cannot say that this museum is big, but it is gradually expanding, and we are sure that it will soon gain more popularity.
- Bonaire Museum of Natural History (Kralendijk): This museum is interesting, and everyone who has visited it can testify. Asides from the fact that it presents a lot of information, it also has an appealing courtyard for relaxation. You cannot resist visiting this place.
You may be imagining what type of local meals are available in Bonaire as you cannot wait to taste them. If you think that most of the meals consist of seafood, you are not wrong.
One of the top meals on this island is Guiambo. It is a type of soup made with okra and seafood. You will see different varieties of fish soup on this island.
Understandably, not everyone is a seafood lover. Thus, you can eat other varieties of local meals in Bonaire like Kabritu Stobá. It is their version of goat meat stew and usually tasty. For those who will prefer beef stew, you should try Baka Stobá.
Bonaire traditional local meals usually leave your tastebuds craving, and we know that you will not regret trying them.
If you wonder about where you can get these meals, you should not worry as they are easy to find. After all, it is rare for a place not to have traditional local restaurants. Thus, you can get these meals at any of the local restaurants in Bonaire.
There are restaurants almost everywhere on this island as they understand that food is important. Thus, locating one will be easy. For first-timers on this island, it may be hard to choose a meal. This is why we have helped to highlight some of the best options. However, you can also ask the locals for their opinion.
The traditional local restaurants in Bonaire ensure to serve only premium and quality meals that will leave you asking for more.
People say that no two persons are the same, and we agree with this claim. A manifestation comes in the good preference of individuals.
Some people in the world are vegans and do not eat regular meals. Thus, it is only right if restaurants have provisions for such persons.
Getting the right food is usually the worry of some vegans and can decide if they will visit a place. If you are a vegan traveling to Bonaire, do not fret as there are many vegetarian restaurants.
The locals do not want anyone to miss out on their delicious meal options, so they ensure that there are provisions for vegans. It is usually not hard to find a vegan restaurant on the island.
Street foods are not left out of the equation when it concerns the local meals in Bonaire. If you are lost, street foods are easy meals that you can get on the roadside (streets).
It is almost safe to say that majority of the world population are snack lovers. Thus, we know that you cannot resist eating pastechis when in Bonaire. It is a type of snack filled with either meat, shrimps, or other equivalents. It is one of the top street foods on the island.
Seafood also plays a huge role in Bonaire’s available street food. If you are a seafood lover, you should try Piska Kriyoyo. It is a type of fish, usually grilled and served with a special sauce. It is undeniably delicious and tasty.
Some people say that you will always find a variety of drinks when you visit an island. We would not say that we agree with their logic, but it comes to play in Bonaire.
Bonaire offers its visitors an array of drinks, making it hard to make a choice. If you love to try out different drinks, we know that you will have a swell time on this island.
Tekibon is one of its famous local drinks. If you love to drink spirits, you have a suitable option. It is usually infused into most of the cocktails on the island.
There is a certain happiness that comes with sharing drinks amongst people. Thus, ensure that you hang out with the locals and enjoy the different available varieties.
Since there are different drinks in Bonaire, it is also normal for one to wonder about their tap water state.
Water is an essential drink, and people need to know what to expect before arriving on the island. We would say that Bonaire lives up to the fact that it is a perfect holiday destination. If you are on this island, you should not worry about drinking tap water.
The island offers portable tap water as it is directly distilled from the sea. If you drink Bonaire’s tap water, there should be no fear of it negatively affecting your health.
It is suitable for both locals and foreigners. However, deciding to drink other water is your choice as we know that individuals have different preferences.
It will be wrong to say that you are bored while in Bonaire. The island provides an array of activities. We are sure that you will not finish all the activities if you plan a short duration o the island.
However, if you still need a guide on the different activities you can do in Bonaire, your first thought should be water activities. It will be wrong to let the numerous water bodies go to waste.
Fishing and kayaking are some of the top activities on this island. You can carry out these activities on any of the water bodies in Bonaire.
These activities prove exciting and have a way of capturing the interest of anyone. It also serves as a bonding method for locals and foreigners.
We are sure that you will have a pleasant time engaging in any of them.
Although Bonaire is famous for its water activities, we do not say that you cannot engage in other activities on this island. Suppose you are not a fan of water activities or you wish to do something different.
In this case, you can try indulging in yoga. It is one of the top activities on the island as the people use it to relax.
It may be that yoga is not popular in your home city, but the difference is the case in Bonaire. There are many yoga studios on the island with effective trainers.
These trainers serve as a guide to professionals and teachers to newbies. Engaging in yoga helps to keep foreigners busy if they ever feel bored. It is always a pleasurable experience.
One of the thoughts that disturb many people when they decide to travel is where to stay. We can all agree that going to a foreign terrain is not easy, and finding accommodation is one of the difficult tasks.
It is why you need to start your research early if you decide to go on holiday. One may feel that you can walk to any of the accommodation facilities once you arrive on the island. But what if the price is above your accommodation budget?
Carrying out adequate research helps you to plan properly so that you will not be stranded. If you start to make plans and preparation early, the thought of accommodation will no longer be a worry and burden.
Bonaire would not be a perfect holiday destination if they did not engage in sustainable activities. One of such reflects in their accommodation options as they have green hotels.
Green hotels are usually eco-friendly, and should be a part of your choices when looking for accommodation.
We cannot state these places prices as it differs, but it is sometimes more expensive than regular hotels. Thus, if you plan to stay in a green hotel, you should have a higher accommodation budget.
However, the comfort you get at such places makes money worth it. The green hotels in Bonaire and conducive and usually gives exquisite views. You will never regret staying in any of them, and the staff are usually helpful.
Hostels and Guest Houses
It is possible to get hostels and guesthouses as a part of the available accommodation options in some places. Thus, it is not surprising that foreigners ask if this is possible in Bonaire.
We are not canceling out the chances of seeing this option. But you have higher chances of getting a guesthouse on the island than seeing hostels.
These guesthouses are also conducive and comfortable. Some people say that they are one of the most affordable accommodation options.
Staying in a guesthouse sometimes brings a sense of warmth and togetherness. The idea here is these places management loves to have a personal feel and interaction with their customers. It helps you to feel welcome and properly fit in with the new terrain.
It could be that you were considering staying at an apartment while in Bonaire. After all, it is available in your home city, and you have high hopes of getting one on this island. If this is in your mind, we are happy to say that your hopes will not be crushed.
There are apartments as a part of the available accommodation options in Bonaire. Some of them could be expensive, while some are affordable. It depends on the one you choose. These apartments have the comfort of their customers at heart, and they strive hard to ensure that you do not have any complaints.
It is safe to say that you will have peace of mind if you lodge in any of Bonaire’s apartments.
Many people are already familiar with the idea of Couchsurfing. It entails staying with a local while you are in a foreign place.
It is popular in many parts of the world, and Bonaire is not an exception. If you can remember, we mentioned that the people of Bonaire are carefree and open-minded. Thus, they do not have any issues when it concerns housing a foreigner.
You will realize that it can be fun to stay with a local. You get first-hand stories of the island, and they are sure always to include you in fun activities.
All that is needed is mutual respect, and you will get one of your best life experiences.
Camping is a very popular activity in Bonaire especially at the south side. You can enjoy with your friends or family. It is the perfect destination for camping with scenic views, accessibility to different resources, closeness to nature etc. You will see that a lot of other people tourists and locals alike also love the idea of camping. You would be able to see them setting up tents and enjoying at different locations. The best part is that you will not have to just sit around in a tent middle of the woods. You can camp on the beaches and national parks where you can enjoy activities like swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing and what not. At night you can light up a fire and enjoy the beautiful and soothing voice of the ocean while roasting some marshmallows.
Getting There and Moving Around
Getting to a place should be a proper concern for anyone who wishes to travel. In case you do not know, there can be different ways to get to a place. However, you will not know these different options if you do not research.
It is always right to ask questions about how to get to your destination. If you are traveling to Bonaire, we will help to highlight some of the feasible options.
It will be best if you do not wait until the last minute before doing this research, as early planning is always important. It is also good to know about the way people move around when it concerns your holiday destination. You should know that the available means of transportation in a big city will differ from that of a small city.
Thus, it is not right to think that what you see in your home city will also be applicable at your holiday destination. By knowing the different available means of transportation or ways people move around, you are preparing yourself. After all, we are sure that no one likes to be caught unawares.
When it concerns moving around in Bonaire, we can say that walking is one of the best and easiest options. It is a small island, and almost everything is centralized. Thus, it will help if you do not fear or worry about covering long distances on foot.
If there is a situation where you cannot walk to the place you intend, you can divert to other means of moving around. However, we are sure that you can walk to most of the destinations.
The island’s peaceful and calm atmosphere also makes walking feasible as you will not feel tired most of the time. People say that walking around in Bonaire makes them happy as they appreciate and connect with nature. Thus, it would be best to remember that walking is a feasible option on this island.
We have looked at different places and seen that using a bicycle is another feasible means of transportation. With this knowledge, we decided to check if it is also applicable in Bonaire.
We cannot say that it is common to see people using bicycles to move around in Bonaire, but it happens.Thus, if you love to cycle, you can rent a bicycle.
The island does not have bicycle lanes, so you need to be careful while riding. It is also best to know that the roads are narrow.
When riding a bicycle in Bonaire, you are driving in the same lanes as cars. However, the drivers are usually considerate and give space for bicycle riders. The free feeling that comes with riding a bicycle is usually top-notch.
We cannot fail to mention the use of a scooter since we have already talked about bicycles. Interestingly, it is easier to see people using a scooter than a bicycle.
These scooters could either be rented or owned. It is dependent on your choice. The same way you would ride your bicycle around the island is how you can use a scooter.
Using a scooter comes at your pace, and since it is a small island, it comes in handy. You also get to connect with nature as you ride around the island. It is easier to greet people by waving as you use your scooter on the island.
Thus, keeping in mind that using a scooter is a feasible means of moving around in Bonaire.
A sure means of getting into Bonaire is to use air. There is an airport on the island, but it differs from other regular airports.
Often, airports are air-conditioned. However, the airport at Bonaire is open-air. It is also not large but comes in handy for people visiting the island. You can get a direct flight to this island from different places, especially Canada and Netherlands. You can also get a direct flight from other locations. As a foreigner intending to reach Bonaire, check if there is a direct flight from your current location.
Using air to the island makes your journey faster.
Since Bonaire is a small island, you should not think that you can fly around. As we earlier mentioned, most of the places on this island are centralized. There is only one airport on the island, and it receives international flights.
In some other places, it possible to get domestic flights. However, this is impossible in Bonaire. Thus, using air is not a means of moving around.
Getting to Bonaire via bus is not possible because it is an island destination and the roads are not well connected to this island. The two ways that you can get to the island is by Air or cruise. There are no local buses as well that can take you to Bonaire from a close by destination due to the lack of infrastructure.
If you planned on visiting Bonaire on a train then it will be disappointing to know that the island does not have a train system. However, from an eco friendly point of view this is a massive positive point. The destruction that could have been caused by building railway lines, running trains would have been irreversible. This is for the preservation of the local environment and to ensure that the beauty of Bonaire remains in its natural state. Even though it might sound like getting to the island is not possible by any other means except for Air or cruise, you should know that this does not make the island inaccessible. These two ways are very common and very popular so you will not have too many issues.
The idea of hitchhiking comes to play in different ways. It could either be when you are trying to get into Bonaire or as a means of moving around. The general idea is to get a free ride.
If you are trying to hitchhike into Bonaire, it will not be possible as there are no road connections. So far, you can only use air to the island.
Hitchhiking within the island is also difficult as people feel that the distances are short. Thu, hitchhiking is not common in Bonaire.
Bonaire is fortunate to have a wide choice of well known, reliable car rental agencies. As it is known as the shore diving capital of the Caribbean, the most popular rental vehicle is the double cabin pick-up truck. You are well advised to secure a reservation in advance, especially around holiday periods. Most agencies do have a minimum age requirement of 23-25 years. You will need to have a credit card and a valid driving license.
Sustainable shopping is the need of the hour. The amount of pollution and waste that the fast fashion industry produces amounts to 2.1 billion tonnes CO2eq. There needs to be significant shift towards buying sustainable products that last longer and are made of ethically sourced material. Bonaire has a lot of local artisans and small business owners with an ethical and sustainable business models. You will see them selling their craft at affordable prices and the best part if that they are one of a kind pieces. Bonaire vendors always try to connect with the buyers as they want to make you feel comfortable. They even give tips on the preparation method of the meals.
There are also some second-hand stores on the island. These stores’ idea is to sell out items that people do not need instead of letting them waste. These stores do not sell items that are below quality, so you should not have any worries. You will notice that majority of the souvenir items you can get from this island are in these second-hand stores.
Shopping at a second-hand store also counts as sustainable shopping, so you should ensure to visit and patronize these stores.
Have you heard about eco-fashion before? It is an infusion of sustainability and fashion. People use recyclable items to make fashionable wear, and they are always outstanding.
If you indulge in buying these fashionable wears, you will fall in love with them instantly. Some people say that it makes them look fashionable in ways that cannot be described.
We urge that foreigners buy eco-fashion wears as it is a way of sustainable shopping. If you do it, we know that you will not regret it. You can also take them as souvenirs when going back to your home city.
We can certify that this is one of the cleanest islands you will visit. Some people say that it is typical for islands to be clean, but we know that there are some exceptions.
If you wonder about what makes Bonaire clean and outstanding, it is because the people engage in recycling. They are concerned about turning thrash into things that can be used again.
It is commendable and something we urge all foreigners also to follow whenever they are on the island.
Without a doubt, we can say that Bonaire is doing well when it comes to waste management. This makes the island stay clean and appealing at all times. If you have high expectations before visiting this island, these expectations will be met and you will be satisfied with the system.
It is important to know that you also have a role to play as a foreigner. You should ensure that you deposit trash only in the designated areas.
If everyone continues to play their role when it concerns waste management, Bonaire will always stay clean.
Work and Study Abroad
If you are looking for a getaway while still pursuing your education, Bonaire is one of your best options.
Since it is a small island, the educational institutions are not many. However, you can check to see if any of the available options offer what you desire.
It comes in handy that there are no laws or restrictions that hinder people from working while studying. Thus, you have the freedom to do what you desire. However, it is best to ensure that your work does not hinder your studies.
Bonaire is not a popular destination for exchange students. It is an island with limited resources, Limited number of universities and living there for a long time does not seem the most ideal option for most of the students. If you wish to spend time on the island as an exchange student, it will be idea to check with your university if they offer an exchange program in Bonaire. This is because most of the universities offer these programs for more metropolitan places instead of remote islands.
The concept of an Au Pair living with local families has not gained popularity in this place for now. Since locals heavily rely on tourism industry themselves, it is not feasible for them to start paying tourists to stay with them to help with house hold chores. Even if it is done the money will not be a big amount especially if you come from Europe, America etc.
Even though the volunteering opportunities in Bonaire are not as many as you would expect in other areas but there are still enough for you to make an impact. Volunteering opportunities regarding the preservation of environment, the marine life and helping the locals are plenty. You can volunteer for unto 12 hours a day without the need for a work visa. There are animal sanctuaries, different NGOs and Soup Kitchens where you can do volunteer work at the grass root level.