There are four languages spoken on Bonaire today. While Dutch is the official one used in government and legal transactions, Papiamentu is used in daily exchanges and has wide acceptance. English and Spanish are also common.
Papiamentu, a Creole language indigenous to the Dutch Antilles, particularly Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba, has its roots in West Africa as early as the mid-1400s. The Portuguese colonization prompted the evolution of a new language, one containing elements of African language structures and Portuguese vocabulary that allowed the people to communicate with each other. With the slave trade, the language grew and spread among the general population.
Visitors to Bonaire generally try to master a few Papiamentu words. A new phrase book as well as a dictionary, has been published and can be quite helpful for anyone interested in the basics.