Free event on Bonaire:
Your invitation to a one hour educational and fun and free event on Bonaire: Connecting People with Nature next Tuesday November 19th presented by STINAPA Bonaire.
- what: a one hour discussion about Bonaire Nature. The exact topic still to be determined
- where: Kaya Finlandia 10a at the DCNA (Dutch Caribbean Nature Association)
- when: Tuesday November 19th 7pm-8pm
- who: tourists, locals, everyone!
- cost: free!
- contact: STINAPA Bonaire 717-8444
More about STINAPA Bonaire:
STINAPA, the national park association of Bonaire, a non-governmental, not for profit foundation, manages Bonaire’s National Marine Underwater Park and Washington Slagbaai National Park. According to it’s website, STINAPA’s mission statement: to manage, share, protect, restore, promote and educate about the resources, biodiversity and values of Bonaire’s nature.
Land Sailing Bonaire: An outstanding windy adventure
As an experienced windsurfer I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about land sailing. My thoughts were – why, why, why? If you fall off your board while windsurfing on Bonaire you fall into some turquoise pool like water – or as my family calls the color,”Lac Bay.” At worst you’ll swallow some salt water and maybe a little pride. If you fall off of your “Blokart” while land sailing you hit dirt, earth, cactus, rock, rock and more rock. I was scared.
So why risk it on wheels? And if windsurfing is as challenging as it is then how could one possibly get this right and not get hurt?
How it’s done
Well, it turns out that land sailing is a lot like going go-carting. Anyone can do it. On Bonaire Land Sailing’s website they advertise it as “fun, fast, safe and easy!” Control of the sail is a lot like control of a gas pedal. A handlebar shaped wheel steers the blokart, unlike a windsurf board where you have to steer using sail technique. And then a pulley controls your speed. The more you pull, the more wind you expose to your sail and the faster you go. The wind on Bonaire blows steadily in more or less the same direction and the land sailing course is designed with this in mind.
You speed around the same track over and over and you always have wind in your sail – you just control the amount by pulling on a rope. Some real life human help (with a smile) awaits you at the sharpest turn where power goes out of your sail and you may need help getting moving again or making it around that one tough turn. The wimpier you are – uh…me… the more help you need because you’ll slow waaaay down for the sharp right and need help to speed up again.
The people running the show are fun, friendly and laid back. You’ll get a good explanation of what to do, how to sail, how to start and stop and what not to do prior to starting to sail. The lesson lasts about 10 minutes. Everyone gets a helmet, seatbelts and gloves to keep a good grip on things.
What can go right and what can go wrong…
My daughter, age 10, got distracted at one point and managed to go straight over the middle of the course, over all that rock and earth I was just mentioning. I am not sure the people working there even noticed. I also had a bit of a hard time at the end of my course and sort of crashed… It hurt. I’d counted on my windsurf expertise but instead I think my fears got the most of me. Despite the crashes and burns it was an exhilarating ride and we WILL be back.
The kids loved it. This makes the list of kid-friendly Bonaire activities and will certainly win you some points with yours. You do need some wind and it can’t hurt to make reservations in advance. When we were there we only saw 8 blokarts, making reservations all the more meaningful. Fun, fast, safe, easy… well, for some of us. Some went fast, some stayed safe, some found it easy and we absolutely all had fun!
- Location: Road to Rincon beside Arawak Center on the East Coast of Bonaire
- Hours: Open Monday to Friday from 1 – 5pm and weekends and holidays or by appointment starting at 9am
- Reservations are encouraged but you can drop in M-F 1-5pm
- Number to call for reservations +599-786-1572
- price $30 for 30 minutes, $50 for an hour and $60 if you need a ride from your accommodation on Bonaire, $350 for the entire track if you are hosting a special event or have a large group
We LOVE the Kite City food truck and here is why:
- they love their customers back
- freshest of fresh food
- right on the beach
- have their sangria, beer, soda or bring your own! (we supply a cooler in the apartment you are staying in so you can byob or bring your own drinks and snacks)
- the barracuda wrap!
- the sashimi!
- the fresh tuna burger!
- did we say fresh? did we tell you how they always recognize you when you come back?
- This is real, oceanfront, open-air dining at ridiculously reasonable prices with the best view and friendly faces
- food is served on a ceramic plate – not on styrofoam or cardboard
The kite city food truck always comes highly recommended – just look at their reviews online. You pretty much cannot go wrong. Super friendly service, crazy fresh fish, reasonable prices and right on the beach.
The kite city food truck parks at Te Amo beach across from the airport. Opening hours are for lunch only – 11am-4pm every day. They are responsive to Facebook messages so if you have any doubt about hours or want to plan a special event you can get in touch with them easily. They do catering for small to medium size events including weddings and for large groups staying in villas.
- Kite City places a couple small bar tables in front of their truck. For more seating or if you want to sit on the beach to eat, bring chairs from your vacation rental
- Bring your own bottle of wine or beer. At breezybonaire apartments we offer our guests beach chairs, a cooler, cold packs and acrylic wine glasses that you can bring to the beach
- Bring a side dish or order a sashimi appetizer. Sandwiches are served either alone or with a few potato chips
- Get there early for the best selection
- Bring Cash; credit cards are not accepted. There is an ATM machine at the airport right across the street.
- Bring your snorkel gear – this is a GREAT place to go for a snorkel and swim after lunch
Should I visit Bonaire during hurricane season?
September? May? What is the best time of the year to come? A frequent question from new Bonaire visitors regards vacationing on Bonaire in hurricane season. Bonaire, along with Aruba and Curacao are considered to be relatively free from hurricanes during Atlantic hurricane season which runs from May to November. Yes, we will experience some rain and yes, there will be some puddles to walk through, but we snapped this photo in November 2019, during the low (hurricane, rainy) season. Rainy season does not mean that it actually rains all day. Bonaire experiences typically sunny weather with occasional rain in very short bursts during rainy season. In the windier months there may be more cloud cover as well.
Pros of traveling to Bonaire in the low season:
- fewer tourists and crowds, fewer cars on the road than in winter (high season) months
- cheaper plane tickets than in high season
- cheaper car rental and low season prices in most rentals and hotels
- much less worry about bad weather than in other Caribbean destinations
Cons of traveling to Bonaire in the low season:
- this is the warmest time of the year on Bonaire. September is considered the warmest month
- more chance of rain but expect heavy, isolated downpours occasionally combined with a lot of sunshine for most of the day
- more mosquitos (stay in a place with mosquito screens!)
- fewer flight options; many airlines servicing Bonaire cut down the number of flights. For example Delta Airlines offers service from Atlanta on Saturdays and Sundays throughout most of the year but only on Saturdays in the fall months.
- winter months are often considered more ideal because tourists are escaping the harsh winter months back home. This makes winter more desirable for those of us that don’t live in Florida, Texas or the like – but travel costs also go up in the winter along with the crowds
Activities and things to do, restaurants and nightlife are more or less the same in high, medium and low season.
Fun events take place throughout low season to keep things interesting. The annual Bonaire Regatta takes place in October. The annual swim to Klein Bonaire is a fun event for all ages that takes place in early October. There are usually major windsurf races in June, classes for Divers, courses to learn to kite surf, etc. And of course you can dive, snorkel, sail, sunfish, kayak and explore Bonaire 365 days of the year. Should I visit Bonaire during hurricane season. YES absolutely!
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.
Did you miss this event?
If you weren’t on the island November 4th 2019, you can do this hike on your own during daylight hours: Information about hiking Mt. Brandaris
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, a nature reserve with a large mangrove forest, white sand beaches, a small scale restaurant/bar finds itself pretty far from most tourist itineraries. So lunch at Lac Cai is a secret for those in the know.
Conch shell hills:
If you are familiar with Sorobon Beach and Lac Bay, you may have noticed l a couple small hills on the inlet in the distance. Those hills consist entirely of conch shells discarded by fishermen at a time when hunting conch was still legal on the island. The hills of shells now serve 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 with the locals, music and fresh fish prove the most entertaining.
Lunch and Music at Lac Cai Bonaire
The small restaurant at Lac Cai serves lunch every day of the week except Mondays. Live Bonairian music and entertainment takes place most Sundays.
Get away from it all!
A great place for an isolated beach day, Lac Cai boasts great snorkeling, swimming, and definitely some bird watching. Sunday’s you won’t get much privacy but other days of the week you may find yourself all alone. The perfect place for some serious “getting away from it all.”
Lac Cai Tips
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 we don’t guarantee finding the restaurant open but according to their website they serve food six days a week. On Bonaire you never know. So bring food if you want to be absolutely sure. A cooler, cool pack and acrylic wine glasses are located in your apartment if you are staying with us at breezybonaire apartments.
Getting to Lac Cai
Check google maps for “Lac Bay Bar” to get to Lac Cai. Lac Cai is at the end of a long, windy, bumpy dirt road located off of Kaminda Sorobon. You can’t really mess it up – only one road leads to Lac Cai.
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 and enjoy your lunch!
Breakfast with a view
Where to go for Breakfast on Bonaire? Very few restaurants on Bonaire are directly ON the water. Karel’s Beach Bar is not just on the water, it’s ON the water!
Karel’s is the dinghy stop for sailboats moored in the harbor in front of Kralendijk. They are open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact at Breakfast time the restaurant is transformed into the “Cappuccino Bar.” in the afternoon it’s just Karel’s and in the evening it’s awesome for happy hour. Sometimes after dinner live bands play at Karel’s. A TV near the street shows sporting events.
But this post is about breakfast: Karel’s Cappuccino Bar is the perfect location for your morning cuppa and some eggs. You can walk there for a coffee. You can enjoy, pancakes, sausage, toast or whatever strikes your fancy. The best part about breakfast on the pier at Karel’s: location, location, location. The west facing location of Karel’s means you won’t get the sunrise at breakfast time but you also aren’t in the sun’s direct rays/heat. Come back at happy hour to see what I mean!
It’s really all about the view
When you vacation in the Caribbean it might just be for a few days. During that short time if you are like me, your eyes are required to soak up some deep blue and turquoise. Personally that’s an important part of my Bonaire holiday. I can get dark water anywhere. I can get turquoise water here! Bonaire’s entire coast has a turquoise ring around it so you’ll get to take in a lot of blue during your stay. If you’re on the water at a restaurant like Karel’s you can’t miss the turquoise. And even being across the street detracts from your ability to soak up quite as many Caribbean colors. Added bonus – get up close and personal with the fish if you have a waterfront table at Karel’s.
Some of the best restaurants on Bonaire, although close, are not directly on the water (At Sea, Capriccio, Mona Lisa, La Cantina, It Rains Fishes, Cuba Compagnie…) So if you want that “on the water” view – you may have to give up a little in terms of quality being slightly lower and price being slightly higher – but the view might just be worth it.
Service ok, food ok, LOVE that view…
That’s about how I’d sum up Karel’s Cappuccino Bar. The service is friendly (and slow!) But slow works when you’ve got nothing to do but stare out at the turquoise… the food is OK, the coffee is fine but it would be basically impossible to beat the view. So, yes, I like the Illy coffee over at Luciano more and I like the cappuccino at Gio’s even better, but I am going to go to Karel’s now and again because there’s no other place where my eyes can soak up this much turquoise while I’m drinking my coffee. No one is rushing you out the “door” either.
Karel’s has sunset views and great prices on drinks at happy hour. The water doesn’t look as turquoise at sunset though – and in the mornings it’s quiet – so it’s decided despite all my misgivings – Karel’s is where to go to breakfast on Bonaire.
A Taste of Bonaire is your chance to sample local food specialties, taste the signature dishes of your favorite Bonaire restaurants at reduced prices, check out some handicrafts and artwork, listen and dance to local music played live on stage and get a taste of not just Bonairian food but also Bonairian culture. This is a fun place to people watch and also get a taste of what it’s like to live on Bonaire. Taste of Bonaire is a popular event with people living on Bonaire.
Booths are set up in the park for vendors and tables and chairs for visitors. Food is served in disposable carry-out containers or paper plates. A band plays on the round concrete stage that is a fixture of Wilhelmina Park. Event organizers sometimes give short speeches. A Taste of Bonaire is a casual, social event that takes place approximately one time per month. Check the Taste of Bonaire Facebook page for upcoming dates. Right now the next Taste of Bonaire is scheduled for August 4th from 6-11pm and then September 2nd 6-11pm. The September 2nd Edition will be honoring Bonaire Flag Day and is the Dance Edition.
Here’s a short video of someone enjoying herself and tasting local food at Taste of Bonaire:
Where: Wilhelmina Park in Downtown Kralendijk in front of Cuba Compagnie Restaurant on the water side
When: Saturday August 4th and Saturday September 2nd 2018 (and most first Saturday’s of the month)
When Exactly: 6pm – 11pm
What to bring: Cash and an open mind to try new flavors!
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.
Things to do with kids on Bonaire:
- 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.
- 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
- A day at Te Amo Beach followed by lunch at a local food truck
- Paddleball or beach volleyball
- Go birdwatching: Flamingos, parrots and pelicans abound
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!
Dunkerbeck Pro Center – the new windsurf school on Lac Bay. What’s it all about?
Sorobon Beach Resort, the only hotel on Lac Bay, is now home to a small scale windsurf school and rental shop. The other two windsurf shops on Bonaire are Jibe City and Bonaire Windsurf Place, which are direct competitors and next door neighbors.
Dunkerbeck Pro Center was founded by Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Phillipe Bru, well known professional windsurfers who also founded the 1000+ racer DefiWind in France. Two years ago they brought the DefiWind to Bonaire and less than one year ago they opened the Dunkerbeck Pro Center at Sorobon Beach Resort. The shop is next door to Jibe City and directly on Lac Bay with a large stretch of beach front. The Pro Center offers gear rental mainly for slalom sailors as well as windsurf lessons for all levels, beginner through professional. You can also rent foil boards and learn windsurf foil with the pros. On days when the wind isn’t blowing too hard, rent a stand up paddle board or SUP OR give wind foiling a try.
Dunkerbeck Pro Center is set up mainly for guests of Sorobon Beach Resort but anyone can rent gear or take lessons from them. Their prices are already higher than Jibe City and Windsurf Place and for resort guests; add on an extra 20% if you aren’t a guest of Sorobon Beach Resort. The price is a disadvantage but the gear is new, the shop prides itself on quality equipment and service and they open a half hour earlier and close a half hour later than their only two competitors. The wind traditionally is strongest in morning and evening so the extra hour added on to the day at the best time of the day is going to be a deciding factor for serious windsurfers.
Lessons at Dunkerbeck pro center make use of headsets and microphones so that the windsurf instructor can communicate directly with you while you are sailing. This is a big advantage to your windsurf instructor yelling directions to you in the wind and can make for a better learning experience.
The following video has great drone footage of Phillipe Bru windsurfing on Bonaire and some great foiling shots. Foiling is becoming more and more popular all over the world and was almost completely unheard of just five years ago. It’s possible to plane on foil gear in lower winds than with a normal board. Foil lessons (wind foil lessons) offered at Dunkerbeck Pro Center offer a unique opportunity to learn and master this growing new area of the sport – wind foiling! As a precaution you can only use foil gear once the instructors are convinced that you know what you are doing!
Entry level gear starts at $60/day
Mid level gear starts at $85/day and
Professional level gear is $100/day
Lessons:$50 for beginner including gear, $105 for private lesson including gear rental, $150 for two person semi-private lesson including gear.
Foiling lesson with gear $165; 1 hour foil rental $125, 2 hour foil rental $150, 4 hour foil rental $200
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
The movie runs 113 minutes and is in English with Dutch subtitles
Admission price $9
Also showing at Empire Cinema this week:
Starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
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
Directed by J.A. Bavona
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!