Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao make up the ABC islands in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.
These islands located just off the coast of Venezuela (a bit north of the country) are part of the Netherlands. Several cruise ship itineraries make stops to these destinations, although Bonaire is the least developed and least visited of the three.
We have been to all three and thoroughly enjoyed them. All are watersports havens. Aruba would be my choice for lazy beach days and partying at night. It offers more of the typical Caribbean island experience you might expect. Curacao offers plenty of neat places to explore, such as forts and limestone caves, as well as shopping areas filled with local vendors offering handicrafts.
Bonaire is for the hardcore scuba diving crowds. The island has few beaches, but you step right off the shore into deep water filled with an array of wonderful fish and coral reef. We donât even dive (we snorkel), but this island struck us as our favorite for its relaxed vibe. We had a great time drift snorkeling at Klein Bonaire, a tiny, uninhabited islet off the shore of the mainland.
I recommend that you look into a cruise that will get to at least two of these islands during your trip. The weather will be warm and sunny, and you'll never run out of fun things to do. Plus, you'll want to return often. Brush up on a few phrases in Papiamento, the native tongue in the islands. It's a mix of Portuguese and African languages, with English, Spanish, Dutch and American Indian influences, too.
Try a wide-smiling "bon dia" (good morning) when you arrive, and you'll be warmly greeted and on the way to a wonderful adventure.