Finally Public Transportation on Bonaire! BOB-BUS

Bob-BUS bonaire new public transportation

Public Transportation on Bonaire

The new BOB-BUS- Getting around Bonaire. Getting around Bonaire has always been pretty straightforward. You drive a car, truck or scooter. You take a taxi. You walk. You ride a bike but risk your life (this also goes for the scooter rental idea!) But until now you the possibility of public transport proved more or less a no-go.

As of March 1st 2020 that is all changed. The BOB-BUS, an initiative of Stichting Kinderhulp Bonaire (Child Assistance Foundation Bonaire) makes it’s first stops next week at a location near you!

Bus Routes

This much needed service, the Bob-Bus offers two routes. Both routes start in Downtown Kralendijk at the Wilhelmina Square, near Cuba Compagnie restaurant and bar. Route A heads North from the square while Route B heads South.

Bus Service offered seven days a week in the evening:

  • Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 5pm to Midnight
  • Wednesday through Saturday from 5pm until 1:30am
  • Saturdays and Sundays beginning at Midnight service decreases. This is info from their website and isn’t clear – so just get home by your midnight curfew!

To find out where the buses are located you can even download the BOB-BUS app to your cell phone. This is high tech for Bonaire… I can’t wait to test it out. Service starts March 1st, next week!

B0B-BUS route map

 

How much is the bus ride?

The cost of a single ride is $5 and the best thing about it besides getting where you want to go is that half of the cost is donated to Kinderhulp Bonaire. This organization helps kids in poverty to integrate in society. They help with meals, swim lessons, Christmas presents, participation in sports clubs, computers and more.

You can’t actually hop on the bus with a $5 bill, though. You must buy a bus token at participating vendors. When we find out who sells them this page will be updated.

Should I still rent a car?

Public transportation on Bonaire is a subject that I’m asked about often. And in the 15 plus years I’ve lived or rented out property on Bonaire I always responded in the negative. Tourists don’t always want to rent a car. And now, finally we may have a solution.

If you ask me I always error on the side of convincing tourists to rent a car or pick-up no matter where they stay. I’m convinced you will still want one but I’m thrilled that an organization like Stitching Kinderhulp Bonaire came up with this wonderful initiative to earn money for their great cause and serve the people on the island of Bonaire at the same time.

A Recommended Day Trip on Bonaire – Woodwind Bonaire Drift Snorkel

the new woodwind bonaire

An Amazing Day Trip – Woodwind Bonaire

When guests ask us about snorkeling recommendations, the Woodwind Bonaire always comes to mind first and foremost! A snorkel trip on the Woodwind is one of the best ways to spend a day and truly experience Bonaire. Sea and water lovers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the pristine underwater aquarium which we lovingly know as The Bonaire National Marine Park. The BNMPencompasses all water surrounding the island. The Woodwind, a tri-hull catamaran, accommodates about 25 guests. The vessel itself, replaced in 2018 with a larger and more modern boat also replaced it’s iconic bright blue color for a sleek white.

What to expect on your Woodwind Bonaire adventure

Each day, the crew sails guests out from the dock at Divi Flamingo Hotel toward the small uninhabited island Klein Bonaire for drift snorkeling. Snorkelers begin to drift at the first location off the coast of Klein Bonaire. Once drifting, they meet up with the boat at the next location. The boat sails to it’s next mooring while the snorkelers drift, guided by an experienced free-diving tour guide. You can choose to drift two or three times, depending on the tour. Some guests prefer to remain on board to relax in the sun. Enjoy your day whether in or out of the water.

The Woodwind’s Knowledgable and Fun Crew

Dee, the owner, and her captain and crew provide everything you could possibly ask for. They fit you with all snorkel gear including prescription masks if needed. Choose to try a full face mask with built-in snorkel, the newest gadget in the world of snorkeling. The crew also fits you with fins of all sizes, sea skins, wetsuits, booties and swim vests.

The tour begins with top-notch instruction on how to snorkel comfortably and safely including proper fitting of your mask, snorkel and other gear. Experts on everything underwater and the Bonaire marine park in general, the crew guide you with as much or as little information as you wish on marine biology and the ecosystem of the reef. Once comfortably outfitted with mask, snorkel and all other gear, the fun begins! Snorkelers slowly enter the water, divided into small, guided groups to begin the drift. Your guide will dive deep to point out sea life including turtles, parrot fish, lobster, barracudas, coral, etc. Your guides are expert both at spotting turtles and keeping you safe and comfortable while you drift. They also make sure you are well hydrated and well fed while on-board.

The rescue trained crew genuinely care about the marine life they are lucky enough to get to share with their guests on a daily basis. The crew assists you with the technicalities of the snorkel itself as well as information about underwater life.

After your snorkel lunch is served, dessert is served, drinks are served… And then it’s back to the Divi Flamingo for goodbye’s and plans to do it again next time.

Types of cruises, rates and schedule

Choose between sunset sails, lunch and dinner sails, three and four stop sails, etc.  Drinks are unlimited, lunch is served. Additionally a photographer will be on board so your experience on the Woodwind can be captured with photographs or a video.

Full Day (5 hours)–$65.00

  • Sundays 9am – 2pm
  • Tuesdays 9am – 2pm
  • Wednesdays 10am – 3pm

3/4 Day (4 hours)–$55.00

  • Mondays 9am – 1pm
  • Thursdays 9am-1pm
  • Fridays 9am-1pm

Snorkel Sunsets–$60.00

  • Fridays 3:30pm until the sun sets
  • The Snorkel Sunset Cruise can be arranged for other nights upon request and availability.

Night Snorkels–$60.00

  • Inquire when on Bonaire for availability.

Woodwind Bonaire Tips

One useful tip is to watch the schedule for cruise ship days/hours and book your trip on the Woodwind in advance to avoid the big crowds. And a tip about tips – the Woodwind crew appreciate your tip at the end of another fabulous day on the water.

Whats on Bonaire: The last Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019

tennis ball on the beach at beach tennis tournament

Come watch or join in for some Beach Tennis Tournament fun!

The final ranking Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019 takes place the weekend of December 14th and 15th 2019 at Spice Beach Club. The tournament can fill up fast so register early. Anyone can participate and all are welcome!

  • What: The final Doubles Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019
  • Who: Everyone is welcome to play at all levels. Sign up for your correct level: Fun, Intermediate or Advanced
  • Mens doubles Saturday December 14th.
  • Women’s doubles Saturday December 14th
  • Mixed doubles Sunday December 15th
  • Registration fee: $15 for one day, $25 for both days
  • How: sign up here

If you don’t feel ready for a tournament yet, come watch and support the athletes! Main sponsors of the event include Amstel Bright, La Terrazza Food and Wine, It Rains Fishes Restaurant, and Luciano Ice Cream Factory.

Not ready to compete?

Or if you haven’t yet done so, give Beach Tennis a try. It’s not complicated to learn and lots of fun. And what a wonderful way to combine some physical activity with your beach vacation. The courts at Coco Beach stay open all day until 9pm and are open to the public free of charge. Racquets and balls are available at Coco Beach to borrow or you can purchase a racquet through Beach Tennis Bonaire’s website. Courts stay open all week but Wednesdays are generally reserved for League Play.

If you’re new to the game, try Beach Tennis Bonaire’s organized training sessions. Join trainer Paco every Thursday night from 7 – 8 pm for a Fun training and from 8 – 9 pm for Intermediate training. Lessons cost $5 each week.

By the way, Beach Tennis Bonaire just turned the big FIVE. That’s right. The first Bonaire Beach Tennis tournament took place in November 2014. Here is a little look back on that historic moment!

First Beach Tennis Bonaire from stills ‘n’ stories on Vimeo.

 

The Best Hiking Trail on Bonaire: Mt. Brandaris

The best hike on Bonaire

The best hiking trail on Bonaire

In our opinion the best hiking trail on Bonaire is the hike up Mt. Brandaris inside the National Park.

For adventurous guests looking for some real exercise in the middle of nature we have just the thing for you! Take a drive into the Washington Slagbaai National Park and climb Mt. Brandaris, the highest peak on the island of Bonaire. It’s a difficult, yet not so difficult climb. That is to say the peak is at only 784 feet and only takes about a half hour to reach. But, the climb is steep in places and best done by those that are are moderately fit and not too too scared of heights. The views from the top and along the way make it worth the effort. Do not expect guard rails, well marked trails or handholding. Do expect a steep, hand over foot four limbed climb as you near the summit. Just a few faded yellow dots painted onto rocks mark the way. Rocks can slip out from under you. Do not expect a crowd. Expect an adventure!

Tips:

  • Park rules indicate you must reach the start of the hike by 12 noon so get an early start.
  • Bring plenty of water and if possible it should be in a backpack, not hand-held. You need your hands free for climbing near the summit
  • Wear a sun visor and sunglasses
  • Wear sneakers or hiking shoes but not flip flops or sandals
  • Exiting the park you have quite a long rough road ahead of you. Leave enough time for a stop at Wayaka II beach on the way out and enjoy the island’s most beautiful, isolated spot to cool off after your hike
  • Bring snacks and/or picnic lunch

Keep in mind if you plan to visit the park’s other beaches by driving the long route inside the National Park – that should probably be saved for a separate day trip. It costs $25 to enter the national park no matter how many times you go in one year, so if you do the “long route”, consider doing the hike as well a different day to get the most bang for your buck. The Mount Brandaris hiking trail is located on the other route, known as the “short route.”

At the entrance to the National Park you will be greeted by the park service ranger where you will show or buy your admission pass. They can answer your questions about getting to Mt. Brandaris. The one-way rocky roads are abundant with nature; lizards, cacti, flowers, goats, iguanas, birds such as green parrots. The view from the summit is unlike anything else on Bonaire. Stunning!

The Lazy Tourist’s Guide to Shopping for Gifts on Bonaire

bonaire gourmet sea salt

photos sold at the grocery store with island scenes        tekibon liquor made on bonaire   van den tweel shopping bags make great gifts       souvenir bonaire photo mugs

 The lazy tourist’s Guide to Shopping for Gifts on Bonaire

Lazy, eh? Don’t get me wrong. I love shopping but I don’t particularly love shopping for gifts on Bonaire nor do I want to spend my vacation doing so. Get me out of the gift shops and out/in/on/around the Caribbean SEA! But… someone is feeding the fish, someone’s getting my mail… I may even have left a child or two back home. They’re going to need something to ease my guilty mind and tanned body… So here we go with the lazy tourist’s guide to shopping for gifts on Bonaire.

Van Den Tweel Supermarket for easy gift shopping on Bonaire

Of course when on Bonaire I always make a trip or two to the grocery store to load up for the week (or the month…) Conveniently nowadays the grocery store IS the lazy tourist’s gift shop. The folks back home will never know.

I snapped the pictures in this post at Van Den Tweel supermarket located on Kaya Industria about a mile or so from my apartment at breezybonaire. Choose from mugs embossed with glossy Bonaire Scenery, liqueurs – TikiBon Brand, or beer – Bonaire Blond brand, made and bottled right here on Bonaire. Other options include postcards, calendars with colorful Bonaire art and photography, a pretty good variety of local sea salt of both the edible and the spa treatment variety. Scenic photographs ranging from postcard size to just barely fitting in your suitcase also make great gifts or better yet, souvenirs of your trip. For friends that have actually been to Bonaire before some grocery bags with Bonaire scenery will remind them of their own visits to the island.

Food products to bring back from Bonaire as gifts

You can also get more creative by touring around the supermarket and looking for Dutch or Bonairian food specialties to bring home. When I’m on Bonaire I usually come back to the US with at least 8 or 10 packs of stroopwafels (A type of waffle cookie filled with caramel often served heated up). Unfortunately those are becoming more common in the US and as such, slightly less interesting as a gift idea. Still they are inexpensive, pack easily in your suitcase and pretty much a delight to anyone receiving them. As an aside – if you buy them before getting on the plane, store them in the refrigerator until time to pack up and go home.

To be honest, although simple, easy and yes – lazy, these ideas appeal to me more than t-shirts or little trinkets. If this isn’t your cup of tea there are a large variety of gift shops on Kaya Grandi, the main road in downtown Kralendijk. You’ll find t-shirts, key chains and Bonaire mugs. Try to avoid downtown when a cruise ship is in port.

What to do on Bonaire: Land Sailing

land sailing Bonaire blo karts

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 to Land Sail?

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!

child land sailing on the course at bonaire blokart
A land sailor coming around the bend on a blokart on Bonaire’s East Coast
anyone can try land sailing on bonaire
Catching some wind land sailing on Bonaire

Details, details…

  • 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