A Recommended Day Trip on Bonaire – Woodwind Bonaire Drift Snorkel

A Recommended Day Trip on Bonaire – Woodwind Bonaire Drift Snorkel

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.

Should I visit Bonaire during Hurricane Season?

Should I visit Bonaire during Hurricane Season?

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!

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 guided hike to experience the sunset from Bonaire’s highest peak. 

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

Why: You get 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 but in this instance 4pm marks the START of your adventure in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

How much: Admission price $10 for all pre-registered sunset hikers. 

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 your spot. Registration is required for participation. In addition participants must arrange their own transportion 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!

Did you miss this event?

If you weren’t on the island November 4th, you can do this hike on your own during daylight hours:  Information about hiking Mt. Brandaris

Watch for future full moon or day time guided walks, hikes, birdwatching events on Stinapa’s website.

Lazy Sunday Music and Lunch at Lac Cai Bonaire

Lazy Sunday Music and Lunch at Lac Cai Bonaire

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, 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.

Off-the-beaten-path Bonaire

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!

 

This week’s movies on Bonaire: Mamma Mia world premiere!

This week’s movies on Bonaire: Mamma Mia world premiere!

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. Additionally you can order Thai food in advance and have dinner with your movie. This week’s movie’s on Bonaire start with a blockbuster: 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 here on Bonaire two days BEFORE it’s North American Premiere! Apparently 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.

Details:

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!

this week's movies on Bonaire: mamma mia here we go again

 

Visit Klein Bonaire; uninhabited island bliss

Visit Klein Bonaire; uninhabited island bliss

But what about the beaches?

Tourists that come back year after year love the island unconditionally. But a big concern for first time visitors planning a trip here is, “but what about beaches?” Bonaire, not known for white sandy beaches actually has some of the most pristine white beaches anywhere in the Caribbean. Enter Klein Bonaire. On arrival by plane flying into Flamingo International Airport, passengers on the left side of the plane should have a pretty clear view of this little blue gem. Pay attention during your flight, though, because your view of Klein Bonaire from the airplane may be your only sighting of it. With so much to do on the mainland the majority of tourists never get quite that far. And think about it – you can actually swim to Klein from Bonaire itself!  Do try to squeeze in a day trip – you won’t be sorry!

White sandy beaches and coral reefs

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, and to think they were once connected!

Klein Bonaire means Little Bonaire

In Dutch the word Klein means Little. So the name of this island literally translates to English as Little Bonaire. At its closest point Little Bonaire lies only a half mile from the mainland and stretches about 1500 acres in total. Sandy beaches and thorny plants and trees comprise most of the island. The only structures on the entire island are two huts at a beach aptly named No Name Beach. The thatched roof huts provide shade and shelter for anyone lounging around the beach for the day.

Why is Klein Bonaire uninhabited?

Outside of the two small huts, Klein Bonaire is completely undeveloped and uninhabited. The island is owned by the Bonaire government. Thank The Foundation for the Preservation of Klein Bonaire (FPKB) for the pristine, uninhabited island you enjoy today. FPKB  started in the 1990’s during a fight against development of the small island. The waters surrounding Klein are protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP). All waters surrounding the mainland also enjoy protection as part of the BNMP. There is currently no discussion about future development of Little Bonaire. Although or BECAUSE Klein Bonaire has zero facilities, just natural beauty, it simply cannot be missed.

Bring your snorkel gear to Klein Bonaire

This is one of the best places in Bonaire and in the world to go snorkeling. If you come to Bonaire for snorkeling put this on your list of must-do snorkel stops. If you have never snorkeled before – now might be a good time to begin! Dozens of places to snorkel surround 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 shows footage of a few different 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, about as close as you can get to Klein Bonaire from Bonaire proper.

Water Taxis:

For day to day tourism, however, we don’t recommend swimming there! We recommend taking a 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 Idea

If you take a trip on the Woodwind 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.

Boat Rental

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 to Klein Bonaire for a day trip

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.

Have a wonderful day in uninhabited island bliss.

Bonaire Day or Bonaire Flag Day

Bonaire Day or Bonaire Flag Day

An annual tradition

Annual Bonaire Day, also known as Bonaire Flag Day takes place September 6th each year. In Papiamento, the local creole language, the day has yet another name, Dia di Boneiru. The celebration of this national holiday means most island stores and businesses close all day but scuba dive centers and windsurf shops never close. So don’t worry!

Flag day festivities include a ceremonial raising of the flag in the morning, speeches, a large neighborhood street party hosted in a different neighborhood represented on the Bonaire flag each year. And of course you will find myriad booths selling local food and drink.

About the Bonaire Flag

The six pointed red star on the Bonaire flag represents the original six villages of Bonaire: Rincon, Antriol, Nikiboko, North Salina, Playa (Kralendijk) and Tera Kora. All six villages today are thriving, bustling. neighborhoods and as such each year they take turns hosting the event. Bonaire Day is a day of national pride, celebration, music and fun.

The Bonaire flag with it’s white, yellow, red and blue colors looks beautiful against the Caribbean Sea. The colors and design of the flag have special meaning. The blue stands for the sea, of course! The yellow stands for – you guessed it, the sun! The white between the sea and the sun represents the sky. The red, white and blue honor the flag of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, a municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2010 falls under the Dutch flag as well as it’s own. The two other elements of the flag also have special meaning; the compass represents a population that comes from all over the world and the six pointed red star, the six villages.

You need your own Bonaire Flag!

Pick up your own Bonaire flag at Budget Marine. They sell high quality flags in a range of sizes – the photo below shows what’s currently on offer at Budget Marien. A flag of Bonaire makes a great souvenir and a way to show your pride and show off the symbol of your favorite Caribbean Island.

where to buy bonaire flag bonaire flag day