Often overlooked, this tiny paradise is quickly luring tourists with its historic villages, crystal-clear water, and some of the most spectacular coral reefs around.

By Marisa Spyker
March 20, 2019
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When it comes to vacations, springtime and the Caribbean are about as natural a match as any. Whether you’re jetting off to Nassau with friends or kicking back in Punta Cana with your other half, the destination’s warm weather and picture-perfect beaches make it an obvious antidote for the long, dark days of winter.

But if you think you’ve done the Caribbean for Spring Break before, you’ve only scratched a tiny surface. The archipelago encompasses a million square miles and 7,000 islands—and this year, it’s one particular speck of land that’s drawing the attention of a new wave of travelers.

According to Airbnb, a trio of Dutch territories—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba—are seeing a huge uptick in arrivals this year by 51 percent, with 95 percent of that traffic headed specifically for the tiny island of Bonaire. Part of the ABC island chain, Bonaire has for years flown largely under-the-radar compared to its neighbors, Aruba and Curacao.  

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But that’s certainly not for lack of treasures. Covering just over 100 square miles, the pint-sized atoll has long been an attraction for in-the-know divers thanks to its spectacular system of coral reefs. Nearly every inch of the island’s coastline is bordered by a national marine park with a total of 86 dive and snorkel sites, many of which are accessible from the shore.

Ulrike Kern-Winter / EyeEm/ Getty Images

That underwater vibrancy is matched by the palette of Bonaire’s capital city, Koralendijk (meaning “coral reef” in Dutch), which offers colorful boutiques, galleries, and restaurants for vacationers to explore on foot. If nature is more your sightseeing speed, however, hike to the top of Bonaire’s highest peak, Brandaris, or visit one of the island’s unique animal sanctuaries, including a haven for pink flamingoes that’s one of only four areas in the world where flamingoes breed.    

Want to join the crowd jetting off to blissful Bonaire? Here are five adorable (and affordable!) stays you can book right now on Airbnb:

Courtesy of Airbnb

 Private cottage with garden and Jacuzzi; From $84 per night

Courtesy of Airbnb

Private room in a five-star B&B close to Kralendijk; From $75 per night

Courtesy of Airbnb

Cozy studio by the sea; From $100 per night

Courtesy of Airbnb

HGTV-featured 3-bedroom villa; From $145 per night

Courtesy of Airbnb

Casa Topana, an “authentic Bonairean home,” From $179 per night