Bonaire’s Terramar Museum opened in 2016 on the waterfront in the capital of Kralendijk. The historical building was renovated to create an up-to-date presentation that takes visitors on a journey through 7000 years of Caribbean history, including the story of Bonaire’s past. Highlights include modern and well-organized displays of artifacts and an impressive 66 ft/20 m timeline with drawings and photographs depicting thousands of years of regional history.
Among the artifacts, you’ll see ancient tools, practical household items, ritual objects, and personal jewelry. The colonial and transatlantic slave trade period is brought to life with clay tobacco pipes, glass slave beads, official documents, and antique European food containers.
Interesting items recovered from shipwrecks include wine and liquor bottles, parts of sailors’ uniforms, cooking utensils, and pieces of sunken ships. Audio clips and a short video show the travel of various groups of people throughout the Caribbean over time. Divers will be especially interested in the coral exhibits and the methods used by the Coral Restoration Foundation to revitalize and protect Bonaire’s reefs.
Plan to spend about an hour going through the museum’s displays, and consider taking a tour with one of the knowledgeable and friendly guides. Afterward, stop at one of the nearby eateries for a snack. Luciano makes ice cream right before your eyes. Try one of the flavors made from local fruit. La Creperie serves authentic French-Belgian creations and a variety of specialty drinks. Both are on Kaya Craane.