Category Archives: Culture

Today is Bonaire Day, Dia di Bonaire, Dia di Boneiru! Enjoy Bonaire’s Flag Day!!

Bonaire’s Flag Day is September 6th each year.

Today, September 6th, is Bonaire’s Flag Day, a day which is filled with reminders of our unique culture and heritage.

The day was officially opened with the traditional flag-raising ceremony.


View the entire schedule of events.

Prayers go to our sister islands.

While we celebrate today, our festivities are tempered by sadness for our sister islands, Sint Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius, as they struggle with Hurricane Irma. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the path of this storm.

Bonaire Folkloric Dancers.


The Maskarada makes a mid-year appearance!

The Bikers’ Parade.


(Source:  Bonaire Insider reporter)

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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 




Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day) 2017 Schedule of Events

Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day) events start on King’s Day and continue through May 1st.

Dia di Rincon hosts a multitude of culture, music, and dance.

Dia di Rincon hosts a multitude of culture, music, and dance.

The village of Rincon has released a stellar schedule of events for the 2017 edition of Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day) with events starting tomorrow, King’s Day (a national holiday) and running all the way through Monday, May 1st (also a national holiday).

Thursday, April 27th (King’s Day)

From 9:00 AM through 4:00 PM, head to Rincon for the go-kart race and the Simadan di Rei, the King’s Harvest Parade.

Also starting at 9:00 AM, Rotary Bonaire will hold its annual Feria (market) at Wilhelmina Park.

Friday, April 30th:

From 8:00 PM until midnight, gather in Rincon to get “warmed up” for the weekend with the Den Trin (Party Hotspot) event.

Saturday, April 29th

8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, enjoy Mangazina di Rei’s Nos Zjilea, with the music of Watapana and the Foyan Boyz, food, plants, arts and crafts, and local food.

At 3:00 PM, the Simadan parade from the schools will take place, starting several days of festivities to celebrate Bonaire’s Simadan, the harvest time.

At 8:00 PM, there is a Ban Topa (Let’s Meet) pre-opening event.

Dia di Rincon takes place every year on April 30th.

Sunday, April 30th

The day’s party begins with Mass at 8:00 AM and will continue in high form until midnight. Don’t miss the annual celebration of Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day) highlighting Bonaire’s culture with all its musical and dance performances, local food, drink, and other goodies!

Monday, May 1st

Starting at 10:00 AM, at the Centro di Bario Rincon, view the parade of the Antillean Bicycles.

Simadan on Bonaire, a special music and cultureFrom 5:00 PM through 8:00 PM, there will be closing ceremonies to close out another fun and event-packed Dia di Rincon.  Meet at the Centro di Bario Rincon.

If you’re in Kralendijk, be sure to watch for the Simadan parade of Doei Diaz, from 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM.

(Source:  TCB)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

Enjoy This Year’s Edition of Maskarada on Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Maskarada is a unique Bonaire tradition.

Maskarada is Sunday, January 8th, 2017.

The New Year always hearkens the return of the Maskarada (Masqueraders). This year, the troupe, made up of a group of musicians and masked characters, will take to the streets of Bonaire and entertain once again this Sunday, January 8th, 2017.

The Maskarada Tradition.

It’s tradition that the Maskarada begin on New Year’s Day serenading and entertaining Bonaire’s Lt. Governor, but then after that, they will have two full days of visiting families in various neighborhoods of Bonaire. Those that follow the Maskarada will enjoy the traditional song that always forecasts the masked character’s arrival. Then, the colorfully clad characters arrive amid of burst of energy! While they play out certain skits, not a word is said. They are fully costumed, so no one knows their identities. That is, until the end of the day, when they are finally un-masked, and we learn just who has been entertaining us all day!

20140102-Maskarada3Where to find the Maskarada?

If you’re on Bonaire, come for one of the performances, or follow the Maskarada all day. They will be performing  at the SGB School, Kolegio San Bernardo, and FORMA.

For additional information about this annual cultural event unique to Bonaire, click here.

(Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)



Bonaire Maritime Film Festival Salutes Bonaire’s Sailors

The Bonaire Maritime Film Festival is January 14, 2017.

There’s no doubt there is an amazing allure and mystery about those hearty sailors who ventured out onto the world’s oceans and sailed the seven seas for their livings.  Bonaire’s seamen have been part of this sailing tradition, and the Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation will honor them at the upcoming Bonaire Maritime Film Festival.

Stormvogel, the last sailing vessel of the ABC Islands.Stormvogel Rising.

The festival will tell the saga about the rebirth of the Bonaire-built Stormvogel, the last of the sailing ships of the ABC Islands. This national treasure is currently being refitted to once again sail the region’s seas.





A Salute to the Sailors.

The film festival will also feature the original crew of Stormvogel, most of whom are now in the 80s.  They will be honored at this special festival evening by the Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation. Some of these sailors are even well known to Bonaire visitors, and include Ismael Soliano, captain; Jan Felida, boat building crew; Luis Coffi, cook, and deckhands Lucio Soliano and Boechi Frans.




maritime_film_festivalVanishing Sail.

This award-winner 90-minute documentary tracks the building of a wooden boat on the Caribbean island of Carriacou and shares the wild tales of trade and smuggling as told by some of the last true West Indies seamen.




The festival’s date and time, entry fee, and location.

The film festival will take place on January 14, 2017 from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM at Plaza Beach Resort. Those interested in attending this fantastic cinematic view into the old sailing era of the Caribbean, as well as meet the island’s sailors, will need to make an advance reservation and purchase a ticket.  The cost is $20.00 per person and simply email to request your ticket.

This fine event is made possible with the support of Bonaire’s boating industry, who have donated the necessary funding.  The foundation wishes to thank ABC Marine, Boto Blanku, Budget Marine, Don Andres NV, Harbour Village Marina, and WannaDive.  Special thanks also go to Sign Studio for graphics and design support, as well as Plaza Resort Bonaire, who has graciously donated the use of a 150-seat conference room.

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

(Source:  Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation)





St. Nicholas is Coming to Town

St. Nicholas is coming to Bonaire.

St. Nicholas, better known on Bonaire as Sanikolas (Papiamentu) or Sinterklaas (Dutch), the old gentlemen arrives each year at the end of November.  This year, he will arrive on Saturday, November 26, 2016, at about 2:00 PM.

Sanikolas_2015_22Be sure to gather at Wilhelmina Park this Saturday.

All kids, both young and old, will meet at Wilhelmina Park this Saturday to welcome Old St. Nick.  Legend tells us that the gentleman arrives by boat from Spain, accompanied by his Piets, mischievous characters, dressed in colorful Renaissance attire.

The Sanikolas Tradition on Bonaire.

Sanikolas and his Piets are part of the traditional annual feast of St. Nicholas, culminating on the evening of December 5th, when sweets and presents are distributed to the children. After arriving at Wilhelmina Park this Saturday, Sanikolas and his Piets will be traveling around the island in the coming days to visit those who have been good, or those who have been bad.

Sanikolas_2015_14The tasks of the Piets are mostly to amuse with all sorts of aerobatics and dances, but they will also toss and scatter pepernoten, kruidnoten and strooigoed (special Sinterklaas candies) from their sacks for those who come to meet the saint as he visits stores, schools, and other places. Traditionally, naughty children risk being caught by one of the Piets, who then throws him in his sack and takes him back off to Spain.

Before going to bed, children put their shoes out and they place a carrot or some hay in it and a bowl of water nearby “for Sanikolas’ horse.” The next day, the children are thrilled when they awake to find some candy or a small present in their shoes.

St. Nick’s Arrival on Bonaire this year.

Be sure to gather early this Saturday in Wilhelmina Park.  There will be all sorts of games and kids’ activities to keep the little ones busy, while the bigger kids socialize with neighbors and friends.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)



Mangazina di Rei’s October Cultural Market Focuses on Health

Bonaire’s Monthly Cultural Market at Mangazina di Rei provides a fun opportunity to learn about the island’s history and culture.


Enjoy breakfast treats from the ladies of Rincon.

Enjoy breakfast treats from the ladies of Rincon.

The last Saturday of every month, everyone gathers at Mangazina di Rei for the fun, and educational, cultural markets.

These markets each have an underlying theme, and October’s theme is health and wellness. Tomorrow, the fun starts as early as 8:30 AM. Stop by the stalls and enjoy some local treats for breakfast from the ladies of Rincon.

Tying the traditional Bonaire head-dress.

At 8:45 AM, the ever-popular scarf workshop takes place.  In her inimitable way, Mamita Fox will color coordinate just the right scarf for volunteers from the audience, and magically make beautiful head-dresses in no time at all!

Mamita Fox with her Scarf Workshop

Mamita Fox with her Scarf Workshop

Local music is always popular with Bonaire’s visitors.

But there’s never a Bonaire cultural event without music, so at 9:30 AM the local band, Grupo Ekspreshon Rítmiko will take to the stage.

A traditional "face" of Bonaire.

A traditional “face” of Bonaire.

The Kunuku lifestyle.

But this month’s theme is about health and wellness, so be sure to stay for the educational talks.  At 10:15 AM, we’ll learn about the Kunuku Lifestyle Challenge from Heleen Quartel. This challenge is an educational program on gardening while creating a healthy lifestyle and entrepreneurship.

Using local herbs for health and wellness.

At 11:30 AM, Dinah Veeris will give a presentation on how local herbs can be used for health and wellness.

At 12:15 PM, the local band Grupo F.M.K., a group of local kids and youth who specialize in folkloric music, will be providing entertainment.

Learn how easy it is to tie those head-dresses!

Learn how easy it is to tie those head-dresses!

The making of traditional cactus soup.

Of course, there is never a cultural market without some focus on Bonaire’s culture, and tomorrow everyone can enjoy the demonstration of making the traditional cactus soup!

Mangazina di Rei does a wonderful job in creating these unique cultural events.  The activities keep one’s interest, and it’s nice to enjoy the day on Mangazina di Rei’s patio.  The event will be open through 2:00 PM.  Be sure to come and enjoy it!

(Source:  Mangazina di Rei)


Bonaire Celebrates Its National Monuments This Sunday

Bonaire’s Monument Day is Sunday, September 25th, 2016.

This year brings the fourth edition of Monument Day.

monument_day_2016This Sunday, the island will celebrate the fourth edition of Monument Day, a time when Bonaire looks back at its rich cultural and historical architecture.  This year’s event is being organized by the Bonaire Island Government, in conjunction with Soldachi Tours and Fundashon Monumento Boneiru.

Event Venue.

This year’s event will begin with a walk in historic Rincon, visiting the various monuments in the center of this village, the oldest settlement on Bonaire.  The program will begin at 10:00 AM at Plasa Commerce and will end at the Museum Chich’i Tan at 1:00 PM.

Monument Day Pre-registration.

Those wishing to participate should pre-register at the offices of SKAL, at Kaya Kachi Craane #34 before close of business on Friday.

Learn More about Bonaire’s Monument Day.

Last year’s event designated 15 new historical monuments. These structures can provide an interesting glimpse into life on Bonaire in earlier centuries.


(Source:  Extra)





Fire-Jumping on the Feast Days of San Wan and San Pedro

firejumpingEach year at the end of June, during the Saints Days of San Wan (St. John) and San Pedro (St. Peter), Bonaireans go back to their roots, and this year was no exception.

Residents and visitors were treated to several occasions of fire-jumping.  Along with this festivity, there is always some spontaneous impromptu music, using the traditional cultural instruments, those which hearken back to the days of using farm implements, or other items around the kunuku.  These can include the marimba, wiri (guiro), bari (small drum), karko (an empty conch shell), the triangle, guitar, quarta (a local, four-stringed guitar), and, of course, hand-clapping for percussion.

We hope you enjoy these videos.


(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Enjoy Bonaire’s Culture, Food, and People on Dia di Rincon, April 30th, 2016

diadirinconIt’s never been said that Bonaire doesn’t know how to throw a party, and each year, on Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day), one of Bonaire’s largest single day parties takes place.  April 30th is the day to enjoy Bonaire’s history, culture, food, and people.

Download this year’s event schedule (in Papiamentu in PDF format) by clicking here.

This special day will begin early with Catholic Mass in Rincon at 8:00 AM.  After the Mass, the Rincon Flag will be raised and then a drum and bugle corps will march to the village’s plaza for the opening ceremonies.

Starting at 11:00 AM and continuing all through the day, the various stages and performing areas will be host to many music and dance groups.

Throughout the day, there will be stalls lining the main street of Rincon selling sweets, local “krioyo” food, and other goods or souvenirs, many of which are locally made on Bonaire.

From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, a parade will take place with the following route:

Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago – Kaya Marino Pourier – Kaya C.D. Crestian – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago

From 3:00 to 7:00 PM, the original Simadan parade will following the following route:

Kaya Piedra pretu – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago –Kaya Marino Pourier – Kaya C.D. Crestian – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago

From 7:00 PM to midnight, there will be the presentation of the Simadan/Krioyo (modern) which will follow this route:

Kaya Piedra pretu – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Kaya E.B. St. Jago – Kaya Commerce – Kaya Miguel Pourier – Ending at the Sentro di Bario Rincon

If you are lucky enough to be on Bonaire during Dia di Rincon, be sure to enjoy this landmark event!

Learn more about this wonderful cultural event.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)


Mangazina di Rei Re-Opens After Renovations, Launches New Culture Discovery Tours

stone_houseMangazina di Rei, an open-air museum located in one of Bonaire’s oldest structures, has recently re-opened after renovations, and they have announced a new schedule of activities and tours.

Mangazina di Rei hosts Culture Discovery Tours are available Monday through Friday at either 9:00, 10:00, or 11:00 AM or 2:00 or 3:00 PM.  The tours offer a fascinating way to immerse one’s self in Bonaire’s local culture.  Entry is $19.00 per person for adults, and children under 13 are $3.00.  All proceeds from the tours are directly utilized in the Mangazina’s educational projects.

A visit to their Rincon Exhibit is a wonderful way to get an overview of the rich heritage of Rincon, the oldest settlement on Bonaire.  This exhibit also provides a wealth of information on the indigenous flora and fauna as well as some of the more interesting sights in the Rincon area.  The entry fee for the exhibit is $10.00 per person, and it’s open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The Mangazina hosts a monthly cultural market which is a fusion of old and new, with local arts and crafts, plants and vegetables, and local food and music.  Check the Calendar of Events for the next market.

Of course, those that just want to let nature provide a rest-stop to the hustle and bustle of every-day life are free to wander the grounds of the park at no charge.  (Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.)

Mangazina di Rei has a wonderful collection of the types of traditional homes and other structures utilized by Bonaire’s early inhabitants.  (Source:  Mangazina di Rei)


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