The south of the island of Bonaire is host to the famous salt flats & mounts.

An area where Cargill has been operating since 1997 producing some of the purest salts in the world

Using the salt, the sea and winds of Bonaire, the salt accumulated in the impressive mounds of crystals is produced.

The Salt pyramids of Bonaire can be seen when arriving either by sea or by air, each of those is roughly 50-feet high and contains approximately 10,000 metric tons of 99.6% pure salt.

As you drive along south road, you will notice the different colors of the water, turning into an intense pink color.

Bonaire Salt Flats

The process of making salt

The process of making salt actually starts on our east coast, where the water flows naturally ono the land by sea wave action and gravity. When entering from the ocean, it has its temperature and can support fish and other life that live at the temperature at that temperature.

As the water moves through the ponds, the salinity increases because of the evaporation of the water and the temperature rises causing a change in the organisms that live in the water thus changing its color.

Once a year each of the 16 crystallizers of the Bonaire’s salt flats are drained of any remaining water and then harvested into piles, leaving a base layer of about 15 to 20 cm of salt that is left at the bottom of the pond.

The salt is separated into three grades:

  • The supercoarse grade: very suitable for water softeners
  • The coarse grade : suitable for chemical industry
  • The medium grade: suitable for the fish industry and other food aplications

Bonaire Flamingo Sanctuary

Bonaire Salt flats is also home to the Flamingo Sanctuary a the nesting area of the flamingos, chosen by them and protected by the government.

Flamingos females and Males work together to build a nest that will be about 10 to 12 inches high to lay one egg per nest that will take about 28 to 32 days to hatch.

Both parents take care of the young babies when they are born. Flamingos are white when born and because of the diet rich in larvae, shrimp and algae they turn pink.

Flamingo Nesting Area Bonaire

Photo Credit: We Share Bonaire

Bonaire salt pier

Right in front of Bonaire Salt flats, you can find the salt pier.

The Salt pier juts out into the Caribbean and is the point where the salt is delivered from the piles to the boats that will carry the salt around the world.

The Salt pier is also one of the famous diving sites of Bonaire. Sponges and coral live underwater around the base of the pier, making it a favourite spot for divers and one of the reasons why Scuba Diving Magazine designated Bonaire as the best shore diving destination over 2 decades.

Once you pass the Salt flats, continue your journey to see the white slave huts and pink beach.

Enjoy the day!

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