The Dutch call them vlinders. The Bonairans use barbulètnan. Spanish speakers, mariposas. And the English users, butterflies. All of those descriptors impart beauty, elegance and grace. I find that fitting for what I consider to be the most alluring of all insects.
Bonaire is fortunate to have its own butterfly garden. It is located on a dirt track that eventually leads to Lac Cai, a point of land that borders the channel leading from the lagoon, Lac Bay, out to the sea. It is because of Lac Cai that I never got to the butterfly garden before. Whenever I traveled the road there, I was always on a mission—to do turtle surveys in Lac Bay for Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire; to dive the challenging, current-riddled Wild Side with my dive buddy, Bruce; or to lime about on a Sunday at the Lac Cai bar, listening to Latino guitars and drinking ice-cold Polars in the hot sun.
But after four years, I decided I had waited long enough. I purposely drove the Lac Cai Road to go see butterflies. Well, that’s not entirely true. Since the Butterfly Garden doesn’t open until 9, I left early to try my luck getting some early morning bird photos. Good move. The flamingos were very cooperative on this fine day. But as the sun rose, the ‘golden hour’ evaporated like a margarita in a sailor’s glass. With that, I pointed my Subaru to the garden.
What follows are just some of the species of butterflies that live at the garden. It is a large, screened-in oasis complete with a gurgling fountain and soft chirping blue parakeets from Central America. Add a generous dose of Blue Morpho, Zebra, and other butterflies, and what you have is a flying fandango of color.