Category Archives: Education

CIEE Hosts Special Presentation about the Danza of Bonaire

CIEE offers many informative public presentations, imparting knowledge while allowing their students to gain experience.  But in their next upcoming public lecture, they have a new and unusual twist.

CIEE Instructor Astrid Verstappen will present a talk entitled, “A voice of their own – How the Dutch Caribbean melting pot resulted in unique musical genres.”

Simadan on Bonaire, a special music and cultureThe Dutch Caribbean islands are unique for many things: their reefs, their landscapes, their language, food, and overall culture. However, the local music, like many other cultural aspects, is often overlooked. In this lecture, Astrid will shed some light on the Danza, how it came to be and how the Dutch Antilles ended up with their own version of this swinging, Latin American music genre.

The presentation will take place on Monday, April 10th at 7:00 PM at the CIEE Research Station at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26, In Kralendijk.

As always, entrance is free, and anyone with an interest is welcome.  CIEE’s presentations do fill up, so arrive a few minutes early to get a seat.  Come and learn about this often-overlooked aspect of Bonaire’s history and culture.

(Source:  CIEE)


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.


Upcoming Nature Events with Washington Park Hike and Reef Fish Identification

Washington Park Hike and Reef Fish Identification Course offer fun and education.

Hiking in Washington Park on Sunday, February 26th, 2017.

Join STINAPA on Sunday February 26th at 7:00 AM for a Mondi Sùit Hike in Washington Slagbaai National Park. Participants will meet at the park entrance at 7:00 AM.

What will I see?

Hiking in Washington Park, Bonaire

Hiking in Washington Park

This will be a hike of approximately 6 km/3.75 mile, and is rated as an easy hike. It’s also a hotspot for bird-watching. During the hike, participants will have a view of Boka Chikitu and Seru Grandi. You will also pass alongside Saliña Matijs, which many times provides views of Bonaire’s flamingos.

How do I register?

If you would like to participate, please call STINAPA at 717-8444 to reserve your spot. There is space for only 25 people and the participation fee is $10.00 per person. Remember to wear good hiking shoes and a hat, wear sunscreen, and bring your water bottle.

Reef Fish Identification at CIEE on March 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, 2017.

Each year, CIEE offers a fun and educational lecture series on Reef Fish Identification, and it is especially suited for divers and snorkelers who want to gain a better knowledge of all those fish they see while enjoying Bonaire’s reefs.

Reef Fish Identification Course

Slender File Fish

This is a four-part lecture series taking place at 6:30 PM on March 6th, 13th, 20th, and March 27, 2017. CIEE lectures are held at their headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26. All presentations are free, and many fill up quickly, so be sure to arrive with plenty of time.

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

(Source:  STINAPA and CIEE)



STINAPA Presents Public Presentation About Shark Research and Coral Bleaching

STINAPA Connecting People with Nature lecture series about shark research and coral bleaching.

Shark research on Bonaire.

Sharks and rays on Bonaire are the subject of recent scientific research.

Sharks and rays on Bonaire are the subject of recent scientific research.

Last September, the Bonaire Insider shared some information on new shark research being conducted on Bonaire. STINAPA and IMARES collaborated to assess the current diversity and distribution of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in Bonaire’s waters. This study is part of a three-year “Save Our Sharks” research and outreach campaign.

Sharks are natural regulators of fish populations on Caribbean reefs. Learn more about how sharks help keep fish populations healthy, as well as the results of the September survey about the diversity and distribution of sharks on Bonaire by attending STINAPA’s presentation at CIEE on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch and effect of coral bleaching on Bonaire.

A second topic discussed will be about the results of STINAPA’s recent project monitoring (December, 2016) on the extent and severity of coral bleaching in the Bonaire Marine Park, in response to a Coral Bleaching Alert Issued for Bonaire by NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch. Luckily, the project found that the extent and severity of the bleaching on Bonaire is not severe. Learn more about why corals bleach, the impact to our reefs, and the efforts STINAPA is taking to protect our reef resilience.

Event Venue.

This presentation is open to anyone with an interest, and is a part of STINAPA’s Connecting People with Nature series.  As always, all lectures hosted by CIEE are held at their headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26 in Kralendijk from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.

(Source:  STINAPA)

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

Upcoming Bonaire Events Focusing Upon Nature

Learn your Bonaire shorebirds, and plant a tree!

Join STINAPA biologist Caren Eckrich and learn how to identify some of the common shorebirds.

Have you ever been driving along Bonaire’s coastline and looked at all the little white and grey birds and thought to yourself, “Gee, they all look alike!” Well, actually they don’t. Birders in-the-know have the tips and tools necessary to pinpoint the small differences that make each bird species unique.  And now, you can learn these easy tips for Bonaire shorebird identification in a free presentation by STINAPA biologist, Caren Eckrich.  She will also discuss the Caribbean Waterbird Census, in which Bonaire is an active island participant.

Tagged Ruddy TurnstoneDuring the fall, winter, and early spring months, many migratory birds can be found on Bonaire. Some of these birds are tagged, and it’s interesting to see the very long distances this small birds cover in their annual migrations.

On Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, Caren will provide a talk about how to identify the most common shorebirds found on Bonaire.  The presentation will take place at CIEE’s headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26.  Entrance is free, and everyone is welcome.

Join Echo Foundation with their third Tree-Planting Day.

Then, use your new-found knowledge to check out the shorebirds at Boka Slagbaai in Washington Park this Saturday, but only after assisting with Echo’s third Tree-Planting Day, taking place at in the park.

Last month, we highlighted the many reasons why Bonaire must be reforested. Echo is excited to announce that the second of ten reforestation sites has been completed. This work is being manged through a project that has been mandated and funded by the local island government.

This Saturday, in conjunction with the STINAPA Junior Rangers, Echo will host its third and final free-planing event for this year at Boka Slagbaai. All members of the community or visitors are welcome to participate.


We live by our nature. Let's work together for a sustained development of Bonaire.

We live by our nature. Let’s work together for a sustained development of Bonaire.


Native trees, ready for planting at Boka Slagbaai in Washington Slagbaai National Park.For this event, Echo has the lofty goal of planting 500 trees from 20 different species of native trees. The event will run from 8:00 AM through 12:00 Noon. Volunteers can meet at the entrance of the WSNP and transportation will be provided from the entrance of the park to the work site. Refreshments and snacks will also be provided for all volunteers. It is recommended that each person wear closed-toed shoes, and to bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and insect repellent. If you have your own gardening gloves and tools, please bring those also! In addition to planting out the trees, volunteers will be needed for watering the plants once they are in their new “homes.”

By planting native trees back into protected areas, Echo is helping to restore and protect the unique dry forest environment of Bonaire. Having more trees and a greater variety of trees is better for the animals, soil, climate and people.  And, of course, more trees mean more birds to see an identify!

(Source:  STINAPA and Echo Foundation)

Bonaire's Calendar of Events




Chez Nous, Bonaire’s Culinary School, Opens for the Season

Chez Nous, Bonaire’s culinary school, opens November 9, 2016.

Chez Nous is the culinary school of Bonaire, training many of Bonaire’s youngsters in proper food preparation, presentation, and taste.  Many of the chefs currently employed in Bonaire’s many restaurants learned their skills at Chez Nous.

Enjoy a three-course dinner at Chez Nous.

Chez-Nous, Bonaire's cooking school, is now open for the seasonOn Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, at 6:00 PM, the school will open its restaurant for the season. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the three-course meals served at their dining room.  The meal, excluding drinks, is only $15.00 per person, and space is limited, so reservations are required.

Instructor Klaas Ruitinga has a delicious meal planned with wiener schnitzel, broccoli in butter, mixed salad, and french fries.  Dessert is a vanilla custard served with chocolate sauce.

Support Bonaire’s Young Chefs.

If you’d like to attend, make your reservation via their Facebook page.  The visitors of tomorrow will thank you for giving experience to the new generation of chefs.  Be sure to include your name, phone number, and the number of persons in your party.

(Source:  Chez Nous Culinary School)


Bonaire’s Bats Do a World of Good!

On Bonaire, bats are good.

Bats eat mosquitoes and pollinate plants.

Many of Bonaire's bats pollinate the cactus.Many people cringe when thinking about bats, the only mammal in the world with wings. But bats provide a wonderful service, especially in tropical locations such as Bonaire.  Why? Because many of them eat pesky mosquitoes.  Others pollinate our cactus and other plants.

Learn about Bonaire’s bats.

As part of STINAPA’s Connecting People with Nature series, there will be an evening to learn all about these wonderful mammals on Saturday, November 5th, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

The venue.

The evening will begin at STINAPA’s headquarters at Barcadera, with a visit to a nearby cave afterwards.  Participants will be treated to a demonstration on how scientific research is conducted on bats.

What to bring.

Participants need to bring a flashflight covered with a red piece of cloth or paper, as bats don’t like light, sneakers in which to climb up and down the cave,  and a bottle of drinking water.

Be sure to pre-register.

There are no costs to participate (but donations are always welcome), but participants much register in advance by calling 717-8444.

(Source:  STINAPA)


Bonaire Joins the Caribbean Birding Trail to Showcase Bird Tourism

Bonaire Joins the Caribbean Birding Trail.

Many of Bonaire’s visitors have a keen interest in nature, and that has been amply documented as thousands and thousands of divers and snorkelers flock to the island each and every year, many with fish ID lists in hand!

Bonaire’s topside fauna is just as diverse as underwater.

The Pearly-eyed Thrasher

The Pearly-eyed Thrasher

But what many of these visitors don’t understand is that the island boasts of having a topside fauna which is just as diverse.  And, most of Bonaire’s visitors are, well, “missing the boat.”  That’s because they have their eyes focused under the water line instead of glued to the tree line.

Globally, the tourism market for wildlife watching and wildlife photography is growing, and bird tourism is a significant part of this. Another growing segment is that of the independent traveler; individuals that prefer to go “off the beaten path” and seek out authentic experiences. The Caribbean Birding Trail (CBT) is an initiative that seeks to connect the natural and cultural heritage of the Caribbean islands through the training of local naturalist guides who will then be able to identify and interpret the birds and their habitats for local and foreign visitors. The CBT is being developed to raise global awareness of the unique birds and biodiversity of the Caribbean and to create a sustainable economy around these rare species, in an effort to protect them.

Bonaire’s tourism sector is trained on birding.

Bonaire's workshop attendees are birding out in the field.

Bonaire’s workshop attendees are birding out in the field.

Last week, an intensive five-day workshop was held on Bonaire to train 25 guides in the art of bird-watching, as well as leading birding tours.  The workshop offered skills in identifying birds, how to use binoculars and spotting scopes, avian ecology, and guiding and interpretation techniques. The training also included daily field visits to some of Bonaire’s best birding sites, such as Lac Bai, Gotomeer, Salina de Vlijt, and the LVV/waste water treatment ponds. Interactive presentations and demonstrations were given by staff of BirdsCaribbean, STINAPA Bonaire, and Echo. Certified Interpretive Trainers from the National Association of Interpretation (NAI), Venicio Wilson and Rick Morales, who work as guides in Panama, wowed the participants with in-depth sessions on the birding market, communication skills, and the principles of environmental interpretation.

Watch for resident and migratory birds.

Many species of resident and migratory birds can be easily seen here. For some, it was their first time seeing Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Semipalmated Plovers, Black-necked Stilts, and Caribbean Elaenias, and even the trainers were excited about seeing Bonaire’s national bird, the American Flamingo.  Venicio “Beny” Wilson, one of the trainers and a keen birder, had this to say about his birding on Bonaire:

Throughout the week, I was constantly amazed at how “tame” Bonaire’s birds are.  By that I mean they are generally unconcerned about close proximity to humans and simply go about their daily routines.  It was fabulous to be so close to the action!

Bonaire's national bird, the American Flamingo

Bonaire’s national bird, the American Flamingo

Digiscoping will become a popular part of Bonaire bird tours.

For those workshop participants who had never before seen a bird through a pair of binoculars or telescope, this workshop was an enlightening experience. The art of “digiscoping” was popular among many, especially those who don’t have a fancy camera but still want to take–and share–great bird images. Using this technique, visitors can easily take fantastic bird images using their own smart phone and their guide’s scope.

Keep track of your bird sightings while on Bonaire with eBird Caribbean.

Others were eager to sign up on eBird Caribbean, an online checklist program, and start entering their sightings. This can be a useful tool for any visitors who wish to add birding to their Bonaire vacation itineraries, as the web site illustrates which birds have seen on the island and their general locations.  It’s a fabulous way to see if a life bird you wish to see has been found on Bonaire.

Soon, we fully expect many Bonaire visitors to arrive with their fish ID list in one hand, and their bird ID list in the other!  We invite you to comment below if you believe this is a good initiative for Bonaire.

The CBT Interpretive Guide Training was made possible through the generous support of sponsors and local partners. These include: BirdsCaribbean, the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, Vogelbescherming Nederland, the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, Echo Foundation, STINAPA Bonaire, Cargill, Kooyman, Wild Conscience, Vortex Optics, BONHATA, Rento Fun Tours, Bonaire Rent-a-car, and Boutique Hotel Sonrisa.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, photo gallery images courtesy of BirdsCaribbean)





Upcoming Events with a Focus on Bonaire’s Nature

Bird-watching, Hiking Bonaire’s Dry Forests, and a Full Moon Hike in Washington Slagbaai National Park!

Bird-Watching with STINAPA

This Saturday afternoon, September 10th, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM, STINAPA will host another bird-watching tour at Gotomeer, near the entrance to BOPEC.

The Autumn Bird Migration

Bird migration has begun and many birds are escaping the coming winter months by migrating south to warmer regions. Many birds will be stopping-over in Bonaire en route to South America.


Gotomeer is a large saliña with an abundance of bird species. Common birds seen here include egrets, herons, terns, pelicans, plovers and sandpipers. The group will meet at the western/seaside end of Gotomeer (approximately 150 meters before the BOPEC entrance.

What to Bring

Bring binoculars (if you don’t have any, STINAPA can provide you with a pair to use), drinking water, and good walking shoes. Please call 717-8444  to make your reservation. There are no costs involved but donations are always welcome.

Explore Bonaire’s Hidden Dry Forests with Echo Foundation

Bonaire’s Hidden Dry Forests

Echo Foundation offers nature hikesEcho Foundation has just announced it will host a very special walk on Saturday, September 17th at 8:00 AM.  The theme of this walk will be “Hidden Wonders of the Dry Forest.”

What to Bring

The walk will take place at Echo’s Conservation Centre on Dos Pos and will last for 1-1.5 hours.  It is an easy walk, but people should wear closed shoes or good hiking sandals, bring water, insect repellent, and sunblock. If visitors own binoculars, these are also recommended.  The Echo tour guides will have at least two pairs for sharing.  The guides will be looking to see how many different animals and birds they can find, and they will also be imparting information about Bonaire’s loras (parrots) and what Echo Foundation is doing to protect them.


Meet at the entrance to their Dos Pos kunuku location.  Parking is available at the Dos Pos windmill.  This guided walk is donation-based, please RSVP to if you would like to attend.

Walking Under the Full Moon at the Washington Slagbaai National Park

Hike Under the Full Moon

STINAPA Full Moon WalkSTINAPA will host another full moon walk in Washington Slagbaai National Park on Friday, September 16th, 2016 from 5:45 PM to 9:00 PM.  It’s the perfect opportunity to take part in a healthy walk and enjoy the park at night under the full moon. The route will be the Lagadishi Trail alongside the coast and back.

What to Bring

Don’t forget to put on some walking shoes that are comfortable. Bring a flashlight along because even if it is full moon you do want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you, as you won’t want to hit your toes against rocks or even cacti. Don’t forget to bring your own bottle of water and snacks if necessary. For participation please call 717-8444. There is space for 25 persons. The entrance fee is $10 per person.

(Source:  Echo Foundation, STINAPA)Bonaire's Calendar of Events



The Terramar Historical and Archaeological Museum Has Opened

Bonaire Has A New Museum

Several years in the making, the new Terramar Historical and Archaeological Museum just opened this month.

Located in Kralendijk, the new museum offers a glimpse into the Caribbean’s rich past, with a special focus on how Bonaire was affected through the ages.

A Caribbean Timeline

Terramar Museum's Timeline of the Caribbean's Past

The main exhibit gives an extensive timeline, going back centuries.  It’s an excellent way to get an informative snapshot of events in the Caribbean, prior to looking into the exhibits highlighting Bonaire’s past.  This museum utilizes a variety of the latest technology to present their exhibits, and an animated floor exhibit in the timeline room keeps one mesmerized.

The upstairs gallery at Terramar MuseumVisitors can exit out of the timeline exhibit through several doors, and then step back into a world long gone in the side exhibits, many of which are relevant to Bonaire, but also cover life in the Caribbean through the ages.

Museum director Ruud Stelten, who has been involved with the project from its concept to full realization, says this about the new museum:

“Terramar Museum will guide the visitor through 7,000 years of Caribbean history, informing both tourists and locals about many aspects of the region’s fascinating past.”

Exhibit at the Terramar Museum

Terramar Museum Combines New with the Old

There is a wonderful fusion of old and new at the museum.  As one steps into the historical building, one is immediately immersed in the creative exhibits, utilizing the latest technology. Yet, traditional exhibits are interspersed.  The result keeps one’s interest high as the exhibit areas are walked.

A visit to Bonaire’s new Terramar Historical and Archaeological Museum should be on everyone’s list of “have-to-do” when next visiting the island.  More information is available, including open hours and entrance fees, by clicking here.

Bonaire has a wealth of other museums as well, information about these options are on InfoBonaire’s history page.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)




STINAPA Will Offer Another Bird-Watching Excursion on July 16th, 2016

spotted-sand-piperAs part of STINAPA’S Connecting People with Nature continuing education series, there is another bird-watching excursion planned for July 16th, 2016 from 5:00 to 6:30 PM.

These excursions provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the great diversity of birds that we have here on Bonaire, both those which live here all year, and those which might visit during migration cycles.

This next session will be conducted at the LVV facility (Kaminda Lagoen). This area has a constant supply of fresh water which attracts an abundance of bird species. Very rare species of birds for the ABC islands have also been spotted in this area, like the Blackbellied Whistling Duck, Southern Lapwing and the Glossy Ibis.

Bring binoculars (if don’t have some, STINAPA can lend you a pair), drinking water, and good walking shoes. Please call 717-8444 to make your reservation. There are no costs involved, but donations are always welcome. We will meet at the office building next to the wastewater tanks.

The next birdwatching excursion will be on August 13th, with the time and location being announced soon.  (Source:  STINAPA)


Bonaire's Calendar of Events


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