Beginner windsurf Lessons on Bonaire. The best place to learn to Windsurf

Beginner windsurf Lessons on Bonaire. The best place to learn to Windsurf

The Best Flatwater windsurf destination in the world

Do you want to take windsurf lessons on Bonaire? In our completely unbiased* opinion, Bonaire is the best flat water windsurf destination in the world and best place for beginner windsurfers. Granted we haven’t explored every destination in the world but Bonaire has a LOT going for it.

Why should you learn to windsurf on Bonaire?

  • Onshore wind: You can’t really get blown out to sea. Learning to windsurf here is safe for that reason. All you need to do is stay in the light turquoise water, which is shallow, and no matter where you are you can walk you and your equipment back to shore. It is so safe that none of the windsurf shops employ a boat to bring people back. It just isn’t necessary. The wind pushes you back to shore.
  • Shallow water: When you fall off of your windsurf gear, you just hop back on. You don’t have to swim to your gear. You don’t have to swallow salt water that is washing over your head. The shallow water also means you can talk to your instructor or fellow windsurfers while standing in the water. Because you don’t have to swim to your gear your learning curve is faster. You are less tired. You can try more times. It is safer. Learn to windsurf on Bonaire in absolutely ideal conditions.
  • Warm water: See above – if it’s warm you aren’t in any hurry to get out. Some people stay in the water for hours and hours.
  • Flat water: you can learn to windsurf in easy conditions, without waves washing over your head when you fall in.
  • Sandy bottom: You fall off your gear onto sand when you learn to windsurf on Bonaire. You may want to wear booties anyway in case you land on a shell but most locals and tourists windsurf barefoot.
  • No motor boats in Lac Bay: in most windsurf destinations you need to watch out for other boats, bigger boats, motor boats. This isn’t an issue in little Lac Bay.
  • No kite surfers. Kite surfing is a very popular sport on Bonaire but it is prohibited in Lac Bay. Windsurfers got there first – and when kiting became popular it became clear that Lac Bay was too small for kiters and windsurfers. So the kiters now sail at Atlantis Beach on the west coast of Bonaire. They have to deal with offshore wind. Learn to windsurf on Bonaire without the worry about running into a kiter’s lines.
  • World Class windsurf instruction: there aren’t many places in the world where your instructors are sometimes ranked among the top in the world. If they aren’t instructing you there’s always opportunity to meet world class and ranked windsurfers. They are here year round and they are at the same beach you are at.
  • Ease of equipment rental: When the wind is high and you are just learning, you’ll want a smaller sail and as the wind dies down, you may want to try a bigger sail. On Bonaire you won’t have to figure this out for yourself. The crew at the different windsurf locations will help you change your sail and board and offer recommendations based on the conditions they’re seeing that day. There is no cost to change your sail an unlimited number of times during the day. All the gear is ready and rigged for you. You just have to ask. Don’t forget to tip the crew who take care of you at Jibe City, Bonaire Windsurf Place or Dunkerbeck Pro Center.
  • Reliable wind: the island is windy almost all year round. September through November are the months with the least wind but even then conditions are OK for learning.
  • Tranquility: The peaceful feeling of being out on the water in Lac Bay is unmatched in all the world.

In conclusion, windsurf lessons on Bonaire are a lot of relaxed fun because conditions could not be better!

*we are biased!

 

rates and packages at Dunkerbeck pro center    a beginner group learning to windsurf bonaire

learn to windsurf bonaire    learn to windsurf bonaire

Tolo: Off-The-Beaten-Path Beach on Bonaire

Tolo: Off-The-Beaten-Path Beach on Bonaire

Off the beaten path Bonaire

We thought we’d share a few photos from another gorgeous off the beaten path Bonaire beach. Come swim, snorkel and relax at the dive site Tolo.

A long drive home

What makes this Bonaire beach a little more off-the-beaten-path than many others is that you have to commit to it! Once you continue along the Queen’s Highway past Thousand Steps on the road toward Tolo you literally cannot turn back. The Queen’s Highway becomes a one-way road at a certain point before arriving at Tolo. To get back to your home base you have to continue North toward the little town of Rincon and then double back. Most likely you won’t encounter traffic – probably not a single other car for miles. But still, it’s hot and isolated and the two way road back towards civilization is kinda on the beautiful side making it hard to commit to getting back via the long back road.

Why we love Tolo

But Bonaire is for adventurers. And Tolo is worth it. The two little cement benches under the trees have been there as long as we’ve been visiting the island.  So if you don’t bring beach chairs you know you’ll at least have a place to sit that’s not on thorns and with a bit of shade.

Sea Urchins on Bonaire

The only real novelty from previous years is the amount and density of the sea urchin population. If you want to swim plan your entrance carefully. You can scuba dive, swim and snorkel here with a fairly easy entrance. There’s even quite a bit of open space for playing paddle ball. This location also works for a slightly larger group of people to come gather than at a smaller and thornier beach like Jeff Davis.

Tolo is the perfect off the beaten path Bonaire day trip. Have a picnic, get some shade and get away from it all. When out exploring the Queen’s highway on a day trip we suggest a stop at Tolo after other stops along the way. First have a swim at Oil Slick Leap, then check out the little sandy beach at Jeff Davis, next a snorkel at Weber’s Joy and last make the descent down to Thousand Steps. Round out your exploration of this route with a swim at Tolo.

If you continue on through Rincon after stopping at Tolo, stop for a Bonairian style lunch at the non-touristy, off the beaten path Bonaire local restaurant Rose Inn. Tip: try the goat stew – cabritu stoba.

queen's highway bonaire scenery; off the beaten path bonaire divi divi tree on bonaire at Tolo; off the beaten path Bonaire

tolo dive site off the beaten path bonaire sea urchin invasion bonaire 2018; off the beaten path bonaire

Jeff Davis Dive Site – The perfect off the beaten path beach day

Jeff Davis Dive Site – The perfect off the beaten path beach day

Jeff Davis Dive Site wonderful for non-divers too

On arrival at the popular Thousand Steps for a little snorkeling one Friday afternoon we stumbled onto seven or eight cars in the parking lot. Well, that’s a crowd on Bonaire! We put the car in reverse and drove back toward where we’d come from. We wanted a spot with a bit more privacy and elbow room – Jeff Davis Dive Site.

What we love about Jeff Davis Beach

Our brief search took us about a half mile down the road to the dive site Jeff Davis. This special place, named for medical researcher, war veteran, and NASA scientist Dr. Davis, cannot be beat for privacy. Dr Davis, an American medical doctor, pioneered using hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of decompression sickness in divers. This treatment remains in use for divers suffering from that illness.

What a beautiful spot to go for a swim, snorkel or just to take in the view. We found only one couple at the beach, one scooter parked in the “parking lot” and an entire beach for our own private enjoyment. Amazing snorkeling, shocking crystal clear blue water and even some sand, unusual on Bonaire. This beach wins for perfect off-the-beaten-path place to beach for the day.

Entering the water for a snorkel, swim or dive

The entrance into the sea is pretty rocky – you need to step down a few steps on rocks because no ladder or any easy access exists. Shady areas consist only of thorny rocky areas under thorny unwieldy divi divi trees, so bring beach chairs. No facilities are in the are so make sure to bring water and snacks.

Location

Jeff Davis Dive site, marked by one of the iconic yellow stones that indicate all marked dive sites on the island isn’t hard to find. The location on the Queen’s Highway along the same road where you find Thousand Steps, Weber’s Joy, Tolo and Karpata provides gorgeous scenery and abundant nature. This is a wonderful road for biking, running, walking or just going for a ride to check out Bonaire’s amazing scenery.

Tip: bring beach chairs  and watch for thorns on the ground!

   

Where to go on your first day on Bonaire? Bachelor’s Beach

Where to go on your first day on Bonaire? Bachelor’s Beach

Where to go on your first day on Bonaire?

Just landed? Want to take in some of that turquoise water but it’s already late afternoon? Here’s the perfect beach to go on your first day! Or any day for that matter. Delta, United, Sunwing and American Airlines each offer direct flights to Bonaire from the US and Canada with arrivals around 4pm. That means a large amount of our arriving guests need a quick beach idea for their first day. We think Bachelor’s beach fits the bill.

Easy to get to and pristine swimming conditions

Bachelor’s Beach Bonaire; located close to pretty much everything on Bonaire this beach offers a no stress place to just stop and take in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. What a perfect place to break in your new mask and snorkel.

Location

Bachelor’s Beach is a short ride from the airport or from Kralendijk or Belnem. From breezybonaire apartments the drive to Bachelor’s beach takes about 5 minutes. The beach is not visible from the road – it’s looks like a little rocky parking lot with a couple of poured concrete beach huts with thatched roofs. Park your car on the cliff overlooking the sea and take the ladder/steps down to the secluded sandy beach. If the tide is in there won’t be any sand but you can still swim and it will be memorable. With no beach visible just leave your things on the steps. Never crowded. Great place to snorkel – super easy, fun, zen away from it all but yet so close to it all.

Find Bachelor’s Beach on the main oceanfront road EEG blvd. Make a left turn leaving Flamingo International Airport and the beach will be on your right just past the road to Sorobon. Look for the two huts which are for public use.

What to bring

Bring towels, beach chairs and definitely don’t forget to bring a mask and snorkel gear. Entrance into the water in any location on Bonaire is easier with a mask so that you can watch for coral and rocks as you get in. Bachelor’s beach, particularly sandy for a Bonaire beach means entry into the water is fairly easy. This is also a good spot for catching some small waves on a windy day.

bachelors beach bonaire   Bachelor's beach - drive up and go for a snorkel

 

 

Frequently asked Question:  Renting a car on Bonaire: is it necessary?

Frequently asked Question:  Renting a car on Bonaire: is it necessary?

If you don’t want to read this whole long article, the answer is yes.

I am asked the car question over and over again by first time visitors to the island: Can I get by for the week on bike or on foot?  If I’m not planning on scuba diving couldn’t I just enjoy laying on the beach by my apartment and not drive anywhere?  How about public transportation?  I don’t mind walking to get groceries. So, is renting a car on Bonaire necessary?

Yes and we mean it

The short answer to any variation on the renting a car on Bonaire question, YES. In our opinion, a car or pick-up truck is absolutely necessary to get the most out of your trip.

That said, a dedicated, hard core biker looking to get lots of exercise during their vacation, can certainly rent a bike and enjoy it. However, the roads have no shoulder and the trade winds regularly blow between 15 and 20 miles per hour. So anyone in less than the hard core category should heed our advice. The heat never lets up so just getting groceries back to your accommodation becomes a chore. Plus you won’t be able to pack your beach chairs on your bike. So we insist upon suggest renting a car on Bonaire. Don’t even try to walk.

No car = no exploration

Bonaire offers a wealth of places to explore. Bonaire differs significantly from other Caribbean Islands in that tourists don’t come here to sit at their hotel on the beach. On many islands tourists can to soak up the sun and relax at one beach by their hotel and be perfectly happy. Bonaire, on the other hand offers exploration and adventure. Guests to the island want to get at least a glimpse of the flamingos, turtles, pink lakes, iguanas, donkeys, and maybe even the National Park.

The following must see attractions necessitate a car or pick-up truck:

Small island but geographically spread out

The point is that these places are not within walking or biking distance of one another. And especially with an average temperature in the 80’s. Additionally we get a LOT of sunshine when it ‘s sunny (most of the time!)  a LOT of rain when it’s rainy. And, of course Bonaire’s famous trade winds which keep the island cool and comfortable, a good thing. But not so good when it comes to exploring the island by bike when there is so much to do and so many interesting places to explore.

What about buses you say?

Nah. Sorry. We have nothing to speak of in terms of Public transportation on Bonaire. You can however, hire a tax if you do not drive or feel uncomfortable driving in a foreign country. And you may be able to work out a deal with a local taxi driver to come get you multiple times during your trip. We know of guests that do just that and have ended up befriending the taxi drivers. Taxi drivers on Bonaire are awesome!

Learning the hard way

Based on years of meeting tourists, watching travelers come and go and getting their opinions about the island, visitors seem happiest when they have more freedom to get around. We think a car provides that freedom. On foot you can stay near the one beach near your hotel or apartment. Lac Bay, one of the must see spots on the island would be so far away without a car that you may not even make it that far in your entire time on the island. Thousand Steps, another must see beach and dive/snorkel spot is equally remote without a car. But it’s just a hop skip and jump in your rental car or pick-up truck, maybe even for a quick picnic lunch. Put your snorkel gear in that handy trunk or back seat!

The donkey sanctuary tour is actually a loop of the safari park in your car. Likewise, Washington Slagbaai National Park is designed for exploration by car. And by ‘car’ we really mean pick-up truck. Even if you plan to do the hike up Mt. Slagbaai, you need a car to get not only to the national park itself where Mt. Slagbaai is located, but once inside the park you will need to drive to the starting point of the hike.

Drive to your walking adventure

There’s plenty of adventure to be had on foot – but best to save your energy for the good stuff like the hike itself. Or how about a long walk near thousand steps on the Queen’s Highway  We also recommend a walk into town at dinner time and along the boardwalk in downtown Kralendijk. It’s one thing to designate a day or two for biking, it’s another thing to risk missing out on so much.

Scuba diving by car instead of boat! The home of diving freedom.

Bonaire is known not only as Diver’s Paradise -right there on our license plates. But it’s also known as the “Home of Diving Freedom.” That freedom comes from the ease of diving anywhere you want any time you want. Without a pick-up, the freedom is gone. With your own transportation no waiting for a dive boat, or being at the mercy of other tourists or dive operators running late. You pick your dive spot, load up tanks from your favorite dive operator and go. Scuba divers almost always rent pick-up trucks instead of renting a car on Bonaire so that tanks can easily be loaded into the cargo area in the back of the truck. Pick-up trucks also are more rugged for the harsh road conditions of the national park and visiting other off the beaten path locations like Lac Cai. If you don’t scuba dive and do not plan to visit the national park, a smaller car will get you around the island just as well as a pick-up. In either case rent a car. You won’t be disappointed you did.

Defi Wind Bonaire – a new annual windsurf event on Bonaire

Defi Wind Bonaire – a new annual windsurf event on Bonaire

DefiWind comes to Bonaire for the second year in a row

The 2nd annual Defi Wind Caribbean organized by Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Philippe Bru will take place June 17th to 21st 2017 with Sorobon Beach Resort organizing the event. The Defi Wind Bonaire includes competitive events for both windsurfers and kite surfers. Kite surf and slalom races will take place on Bonaire’s west coast. The starting points will be Donkey Beach. which is the location of the Kite City food truck.

The annual Sorobon Masters takes place along side the Defiwind Caribbean.

The 5th annual Sorobon Masters  starts one after the Defi Wind Bonaire. The masters takes place June 22nd – 25th 2017. Sorbon Masters includes three different categories:  Slalom, Freestyle and Dunkerbeck Speed Challenge. Sorobon Beach Resort marks it’s starting point.

Races are divided by category based on sex and age and there is a division for rookies. In other words you do not need to be a pro windsurfer or kiter to participate! Registration is between $175 and $225 per event depending on when you register. Try to register before June 3rd to keep your cost down. Registration for both events is going on now.

Watch this blog for updated information on future windsurf and kitesurfing races on Bonaire.

windsurf race on Lac Bay Bonaire 2016 DefiWind defi wind bonaire

*photo credit Marcus Seidel for all Defi Wind images on this post