What’s on Bonaire? Guided Sunset Hike Bonaire – in the National Park

What’s on Bonaire? Guided Sunset Hike Bonaire – in the National Park

Hike to the Top of Bonaire after hours – Sunset Hike Bonaire

What: Climb during daylight and watch the sun set from the top of Mount Brandaris, the highest peak on Bonaire.

When:  Sunset, Sunday November 4 from 4pm to 7pm. A Hike to experience the sun set from Bonaire’s highest peak. 

Where: Be at the entrance to Washington Slagbaai National Park before 4pm.

Why: This is a rare opportunity to be in the park after it closes and get to witness the sunset from Bonaire’s highest peak. Normal park hours have you at back at the main entrance by 4pm. For the hike you’re just getting started at 4pm.

How much: Admission is $10 for everyone who has pre-registered for this hike. 

Who: The Sunset Hike Bonaire is presented by STINAPA Bonaire (the national park association of Bonaire). There is space for 20 participants. Call +599 717-8444 to reserve a spot. Registration is required for participation. Participants must arrange their own transport to and within the park. You will be back at the park entrance at 7pm.

What else: This is an uphill climb on rocky terrain and some of it in the dark. You need to be in good shape and, have a light and have shoes appropriate for hiking.

What to bring: Water, snack, flashlight, hiking shoes. Keep in mind that part of the descent will be after sundown so it’s important to have a working flashlight. 

Have fun!

P.S. if you aren’t on the island November 4th 2019, you can do this hike on your own during daylight hours:  Information about hiking Mt. Brandaris

Lazy Sunday Lunch and Music at Lac Cai

Lazy Sunday Lunch and Music at Lac Cai

Lac Cai Bonaire

Sunday lunch, or brunch at Lac Cai should not be missed if you are looking for real local food and a real local experience. Lac Cai is a nature reserve with a large mangrove forest, white sand beaches, a small scale restaurant/bar and beauty all around.

If you are familiar with Sorobon Beach and Lac Bay, you may have noticed looking out to sea a couple small hills on the inlet. Those hills are made of conch shells which were discarded by conch fishermen when it was still legal to hunt conch on Bonaire. The hills of shells have been left as a reminder of those times.

Lac Cai is definitely off-the-beaten-path. Although visible from Jibe City and Windsurf Place it can really only be accessed by a long, windy dirt road -or by windsurf board and sail! You will need a vehicle that can withstand the bumps to get you there along the long dirt road, but it will be worth it, especially if you go on a Sunday at lunch. You can go any day of the week to just relax in unspoiled surroundings but on Sundays there’s fresh local food and live local music.

Lac Cai  is a great place for an isolated beach day, swimming, snorkeling and definitely some bird watching. Sunday’s you won’t get much privacy but other days of the week are generally very quiet so this spot is perfect for some serious “getting away from it all.”

Bring everything you would need for a beach day – snorkel gear, rash guards, water, beach chairs, etc. And bring your appetite. Oh and cash. If it’s not a Sunday, don’t expect to find any services – although you may find the restaurant open other days.

The Sunday Brunch, popular with locals and tourists alike,  is only and exclusively on Sundays, year round, and only from around  until the food runs out. Check google maps for Lac Cai and follow directions from there. Lac Cai is at the end of a long, windy, bumpy dirt road located off of Kaminda Sorobon.

Pictured above is the fresh catch of the day with pumpkin, plantains and yucca -it was $11 in August 2018. And pictured below that are some fishing boats and kayaks at Lac Cai during the same Sunday Brunch in August 2018.

Have a very lazy Sunday.

 

Things to do with kids on Bonaire

Things to do with kids on Bonaire

Your kids are probably pretty happy to be here already. But, in case you’re having trouble coming up with things to do with kids on Bonaire, we have some ideas for you:

  • Donkey Sanctuary
  • Horseback Riding
  • Windsurf Lessons or in season a windsurf clinic for kids
  • Kite Surf Lessons (approximately age 12 and up)
  • Get Scuba Certified:  Children age 10 and up can already begin with either a one day “Discover SCUBA” course or junior open water certification courses.  Ask your dive center for details.
  • Snorkeling
  • Fishing – from land or boat fishing excursions
  • Trip on the Aquaspace
  • Trip on the Woodwind
  • Swimming and Exploring at Lac Cai
  • Bachelor’s Beach
  • Explore the Donkey Sanctuary
  • Photograph the island
  • Build a sculpture out of rocks on the windward side of the island
  • Thousand Steps for swimming, snorkeling, exploring
  • Land sailing
  • Beach Tennis
  • Mangrove Kayak Tours
  • Stand up paddle board rental (SUP)
  • Films at Bonaire’s outdoor movie theater, Empire cinema
  • See or climb Mermaid Rock
  • Cliff Jump Washington Slagbaai National Park
  • Explore Washington Slagbaai National Park
  • Ice cream or gelato at Gios or Luciano
  • Watch the planes come in overhead at Donkey Beach
  • Kite City food truck at Te Amo beach
  • Crepes at La Creperie in downtown Kralendijk
  • Sea Shell Collecting
  • Driftwood Collecting
  • BBQ night at Captain Don’s Habitat
  • BBQ night at Plaza Resort with the steel drum band
  • Climb Mt. Brandaris in Washington Slagbaai National Park
  • Salt factory tour
  • Souvenir shopping in downtown Kralendijk
  • Learn a little Papiamento or Dutch
  • Local Cuisine
  • Barbecue at the beach
  • Paddleball or beach volleyball

There’s a lot to be explored on Bonaire. Kids can go almost anywhere that adults can go. If your kids are adventurous and want to get up close and personal with donkeys, iguanas, flamingos, pelicans, the fish in the sea and most of all with the water, this is the island for you!

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Mamma Mia world premiere in Bonaire! July 18th under the stars.

Mamma Mia world premiere in Bonaire! July 18th under the stars.

This week’s movies on Bonaire playing at outdoor movie theater Bonaire Empire Cinema

Watch the latest releases by the light of the moon and the stars. Bring your own chair or use the chairs provided by the movie theater. Who knew seeing a movie outdoors on Bonaire could be this much fun. Ice cold wine and beer along with popcorn, soft drinks and hot dogs are served. You can also order Thai food in advance and have dinner with your movie.

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again!

The ADVANCE PREMIER OF Mamma Mia Here We Go Again! will be released this Wednesday at 7:30pm. Don’t miss it!

This much anticipated sequel to Mamma Mia, written and directed by Ol Parker can be seen on Bonaire two days before it’s North American Premiere! Everything on Bonaire is on Island time except the movies…

Here We Go Again is the sequel and also the prequel to the 2008 film Mamma Mia. It is scheduled to be released in North America and the UK on July 20, 2018. The release in July 2018 marks the 10 year anniversary of the original film released in July 2008.

Stars include Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan and Cher.

Advance Premiere of Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again!
Wednesday July 18th 7:30pm at Empire Cinema
Rated G
The movie runs 113 minutes and is in English with Dutch subtitles
Admission price $9

Also showing at Empire Cinema this week:

Skyscraper

Starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Rated PG13
Friday July 13th 7:30 and 9:30pm
Saturday July 14th 7:30 and 9:30pm
Sunday July 15th 7:30 and 9:30pm
Monday July 16th 9:30pm only
Tuesday July 17th 7:30 and 9:30pm
Wednesday July 18th 9:30pm only
The movie runs 103 minutes and is in English with Dutch subtitles
Admission price $11

Jurassic World

Directed by J.A. Bavona
rated PG13

Monday July 16th only
Special price admission for only $5. Last chance to see this movie at Empire!
The movie runs 124 minutes and is in English with Dutch subtitles
Admission price $5

See you at the movies!

 

The amazing Outdoor Movie Theater on Bonaire

The amazing Outdoor Movie Theater on Bonaire

Empire Cinema Bonaire – an outdoor movie theater. Have dinner there and watch the latest releases by the light of the stars and the moon.

In 2015 Empire Cinema (figuratively) opened it’s doors and Bonaire finally had a movie theater! I say figuratively because Empire is an outdoor cinema – technically I don’t think they have doors. This is SUCH an unexpectedly awesome place to see a movie and fun way to spend a quiet evening during your Bonaire vacation. It’s popular with locals and tourists alike.

A little history: A movie theater located next to what is now Top Supermarket in downtown Kralendijk existed in the early 2000’s – but the dilapidated building closed down dye ti disrepair and lack of business sometime around 2007 or 2008. Islanders and tourists went without a movie theater for quite a few years. And these were the days before Netflix and decent internet connections! The Plaza Resort held outdoor movie nights under the stars which somewhat filled the void and made for a fun evening – but the sound and quality were unpredictable as were the movie choices and language of the films. Either the Plaza’s projector eventually broke or they just didn’t find it a useful part of their business so that too came to an end. Thus the opening of a reliable movie theater showing new films was a big deal for the island.

Empire Cinema opened in 2015 and is going strong. They show first run movies in an outdoor setting under the stars. They even  occasionally release films that haven’t yet premiered in the US or Europe.

This is the only movie theater you may ever go to where you actually have to pick up and put away your own (plastic) beach chair! Maybe that doesn’t sound too comfortable. But go there because it is. This place is breezy, refreshing and a great way to spend a quiet evening. Get there early to claim your spot of choice. If going on a night when you expect a crowd it can’t hurt to have chairs packed in your car and ready in case they’re needed.

It’s not super easy to find and not well marked from the road. Coming from Caribbean Court or the Plaza Resort Area, head north on the main road passing through downtown Kralendijk. Continue heading north until you pass the traffic circle at Kaya Amsterdam. A few hundred meters further on your right you will see MCB Bank and then Bon Bida Spa and Gym. Empire cinema is located just past MCB Bank on the right. Turn right into the Bon Bida parking lot just past MCB and continue straight along the dirt road. You will see the movie theater on your right just up the road maybe 100 meters. The exact address is Kaya Katwijk 6, in the area of the island called Hato.

In typical island style of combining the unexpected, skip the popcorn and  have your movie with some authentic Thai food. Call in advance +599 7771122 to reserve your Thai meal. Dine in prior to or during the film. When dining in you’ll pick up not only your own plastic chair but your dining table as well. (If you don’t order in advance you’ll be eating popcorn and hot dogs like we usually do- so definitely make that phone call!) Here’s what’s on the menu:

Menu Odd Days:
  • Thai Burger  (200gram beef)  $ 12,-
  • Krai Jiao, nice filled Thai Omelett, steamed rice and salade  $ 12,-
  • Pad Lomiet, vegetarian meal, steamed rice and salade  $ 13,50
  • Pad Thai kai, noodles with vegetables and chicken breast $ 15,00
  • Pad Thai kung, noodles with vegetables and Shrimps  $ 17,00
Menu Even Days:
  • Thai Burger  (200gram beef)  $ 12,-
  • Pad a Pau, minced meat with vegetables, steamed rice and salade  $ 13.50
  • Pad kai, slices chicken breast slices with vegetables, steamed rice and salade  $ 15.00
  • kengkio-One, chicken breast slices with vegetables in curry with coconut milk, steamed rice and salade  $ 17.00
  • Keng-Paneng, chicken breast slices with vegetables & pineapple in curry with coconut milk, steamed rice and salade  $ 18.00

Ticket prices range from $5 when there’s a special to $12. Expect to pay $11/person for most films.

Unexpectedly for Bonaire (where many things run on island time) the movies start right on time and there’s generally one preview and a couple simple billboard style ads on the screen. A movie that starts at 7:30 actually starts at 7:30, so be on time to Empire Theater and not on island time!

 

Visit Klein Bonaire; uninhabited island bliss

Visit Klein Bonaire; uninhabited island bliss

 

Bonaire is well loved by tourists that come back year after year. But a big concern for first time visitors planning a trip here is, “but what about beaches?” Bonaire is not known for white sandy beaches. Enter Klein Bonaire. On arrival on Bonaire as you fly into Flamingo International Airport, if you are sitting on the left side of the plane you should have a pretty clear view of Klein Bonaire. If you aren’t paying attention during your trip your view of Klein Bonaire from the airplane may be your only sighting of it. There’s so much to do on the “mainland.” But Klein Bonaire is worth it so don’t forget to plan a day trip.

Klein Bonaire, the small uninhabited island off the coast of Bonaire in front of Kralendijk is nothing if not white sandy beaches! Actually it’s also quite a lot of coral reef and is surrounded by dozens of scuba dive sites and snorkeling sites. Amazingly this little island has a completely different look and feel than the larger main island of Bonaire even though it’s possible to swim between the two islands.

In Dutch the word Klein means Little. So the name of this island literally translates as Little Bonaire. It is about half a mile from Bonaire at its closest point and is about 1500 acres in size.  It’s made up of sandy beaches and thorny plants and trees. The only structures on the entire island are two huts at a beach named “No Name Beach,” which provide shade and shelter for anyone lounging around the beach for the day.

Outside of the two small huts, Klein Bonaire is completely undeveloped and uninhabited. The island is owned by the Bonaire government. The Foundation for the Preservation of Klein Bonaire (FPKB), which started in the 1990’s during a fight against development of the small island is in large part to thank for the pristine, uninhabited island you find today. The waters surrounding Klein Bonaire are protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park, as are all waters surrounding Bonaire itself. There is currently no discussion about development now or in the future of Klein Bonaire. Although Klein Bonaire has zero facilities, just natural beauty it simply cannot be missed.

Klein Bonaire is one of the best places on the island and in the world to go snorkeling. If you are coming to Bonaire for snorkeling this is definitely on your list of must see snorkel stops. If you have never snorkeled before – this is a good time to begin! There are dozens of places to snorkel around Klein Bonaire and access is easy with the sandy bottom and clear, calm water. Your water taxi may be able to drop you off in a location to allow you to drift to the beach where you’ll be picked up later in the day. Inquire with your captain.

The following video was filmed on Klein Bonaire at a few snorkel spots: No Name Beach, Jerry’s Reef, Ebo’s Reef, and the Sampler dive sites.

How to get to Klein Bonaire:

Each year in October the annual “Swim to Klein Bonaire,” takes place with the departure point at Eden Beach (Spice Beach) – which is about as close as you can get to Klein Bonaire from here. For day to day tourism, however, we don’t recommend swimming there! We recommend taking the water taxi. There are several to choose from. Departure points for the water taxis are at hotels on the waterfront in and North of Kralendijk, Karel’s Pier (in Downtown Kralendijk) and from in front of It Rains Fishes restaurant which is a few blocks north of downtown, along the waterfront promenade.

Kantika di Amor: $15/ per person round trip. Phone +599 796-5399. E-mail info@bonairenauticomarina.com. The taxi departs from in front of It Rains fishes at 10am, 12pm and 2pm and returns from Klein Bonaire at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:40pm

Caribe Water Sports Water Taxi: phone +599 700-8080 Taxi’s depart Eden Beach at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm and return to Eden Beach at 12:45, 2:45 and 5pm. Taxi’s also service Karel’s Pier. Inquire about departure times and price.

Another idea: Klein Bonaire is home to turtle nesting grounds. Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) offers small scale trips to Klein Bonaire during turtle nesting season (May – November) where you can watch experts monitor sea turtle nest activity and watch for tracks in the sand of newly hatched turtles. This program is very small and fills up quickly. This is a great alternative to just spending your Klein Bonaire day lounging on the beach. Call in advance to make reservations.

One more: If you take a trip on theWoodwind Snorkel Sail you will do a drift snorkel near Klein Bonaire but you won’t actually get off the boat to set foot on this island. Enjoy the marine life with an amazing tour – but no chance to enjoy that white sand.

And yet one more option for getting to Klein Bonaire: Rent a boat for the day. Try Caribe Water Sports – they rent boats, hire out captains, and also provide a water taxi service. If you rent a boat you can moor at Klein Bonaire but you cannot pull the boat up on the sand the way the water taxi’s do. You have to jump out of the boat and swim to shore. If you rent a boat you may want to leave towels and cameras on board the boat.

What to bring:  rash guard; snorkel, mask and flippers; towels; plenty of water; a cooler for food/drinks if you want; a camera or go-pro; sun screen; a hat for shade; sunglasses; flip-flops and maybe even a fold up beach chair. Upon exiting the water taxi you will just walk through a few inches of water to get to the beach so you can carry dry items onshore.