Category Archives: Sightseeing

Top Things to Do in Bonaire If You Don’t Dive

A visitor’s guide to seeing Bonaire, even if you don’t dive!

Written by one of Bonaire’s visitors, this article is a great read!

The suggested itinerary proves there is more than enough to do on Bonaire to keep anyone busy for a week’s vacation.

Bonaire is known as a diver’s destination. But there lots of fun things to do in Bonaire even if you don’t dive. This 5-day alternative itinerary will give you the best spots for sightseeing and snorkeling in Bonaire.Top Things to Do in Bonaire If You Don’t Dive

 


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. 


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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)

 

 

 

 

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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)

 

 

 

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Explore the Valley of Rincon’s New Driving, Hiking, and Biking Trails

Piedra di BoneiruLast summer, the island of Bonaire opened up a totally new area of the island that visitors could explore when the Bara di Karta Trails were opened for driving, hiking, and biking.  Now, another much-loved area of Bonaire has launched similar trails to explore in the Valley of Rincon.

Most visitors to Bonaire are well acquainted with Rincon and its environs, but the new trails definitely will highlight historical landmarks, such as the Mangazina di Rei and the Piedra di Boneiru (Bonaire’s mythical origin), favorite eateries in the area, and Bonaire’s much-loved nature with hiking and biking trails which will promise to get you off the beaten path.

DSCN1155With the newly launched Explore the Valley of Rincon initiative, there are two circular driving trails, three hiking trails, and two mountain biking trails, with full details of the trails available by clicking here.  Be sure to check them out on your next Bonaire visit.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 

 

 

Learn More About Bonaire's Unique Tours

 

 

 

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Eco-Friendly Bon Tuk Tours Adds “Big Tuks”

Bon Tuk Eco Tours has recently expanded their fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles, ideal for guided sightseeing around Bonaire.

20151105-Tuk2

The “tuks” have been in service for several years now, but recently the new owners of the company, Lara and Helene, purchased larger shuttles that they now affectionately call the “big tuks.”

20151104-Tuk1All tuks, large or small, are electric vehicles, and they are powered by modern, quiet, zero-emission electric engines, perfectly in keeping with Bonaire’s desire to be as green and ecologically friendly as possible.  Your tour is conducted without the noise or smells of combustion engines!

For those who might not have the convenience of a rental vehicle in which to sightsee, or for those who simply want to help ease their carbon footprint when on Bonaire, Bon Tuk offers a variety of sightseeing tours around Bonaire:  north tour, south tour, island tour, colored salt tour, city tour, sunset beach bites (with snacks provided), and the Onima Aloe Vera tour.

For more information, visit Bon Tuk’s web site at www.bontuk.com(Source:  Bon Tuk)

 

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Carib Inn Launches Weekly Photo Contests

What the mouth of a frogfish looks like!

With the proliferation of wonderfully small and high quality cameras these days, more divers than ever are taking their own underwater and travel images and coming home with great images.  Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn has just launched a weekly photo contest for their guests and divers to help showcase these wonderful images.

It’s very simple–post your favorite images taken during your stay on the Carib Inn Facebook page.  Images must be uploaded during your stay by Thursday each week.  The week’s winner will be announced on Friday and is awarded by the most number of “likes.”  Each weekly winner receives a T-shirt (winner must be present to receive the prize), and each winner is automatically entered into the annual contest, with a prize of a shore diving package for two.

Images can be from above or below the water, and can be of guests, staff, flora, fauna, landscapes, or activities.  It’s only limited by your own imagination!  Be sure to submit only current images, those taken during your stay at Carib Inn or while diving with them.

Other terms and conditions do apply, so visit the Carib Inn web site for additional details. (Source:  Carib Inn)

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Bonaire Designates 15 New Official Monuments on Monument Day

Although many of Bonaire’s visitors come for the island’s well known watersports, there is a history to the island as well, which is often overlooked.  In recent years, the Bonaire Monument Foundation has held an annual event each September, Monument Day, during which many of Bonaire’s historic buildings have been designated as monuments.

monument_day_2015_12This year’s event on Sunday, September 27th, gave Bonaire fifteen new official monuments.  Many of these historic edifices have been restored and now house governmental or private business entities, or still private homes, but their structures can provide an interesting glimpse into life on Bonaire in earlier centuries.

The majority of these monuments are in Kralendijk and can be easily viewed via a self-guided walking tour, lasting about two hours and it’s an enjoyable way to mix shopping in town with a bit of history.

View some of these newly designated monuments, many of which offer beautiful examples of Bonaire’s neoclassical architecture, and plan your walk to see these edifices yourself on your next trip into Kralendijk.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

map_monuments

Click on the map to open a larger view.

 

 

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Getting a Bird’s Eye View of Bonaire

All visitors to Bonaire, either consciously or unconsciously, see the variety of Bonaire’s avians soaring over the land or sea.  Have you ever wondered what Bonaire looks like to them?  Now you can find out with BonAeroClub.

BonAeroClub has been in existence now for a number of years, and they offer sightseeing flights and flying lessons as well.  On a one-hour sightseeing flight, one can experience that bird’s eye view of nearly all of Bonaire.

There are some restricted areas over which they cannot fly, but generally most of Bonaire can be viewed from the sky.  It’s a great photo-safari trip, offering stunning views of Bonaire’s lighthouses, Lac Bay, the southern salt pans, and of course, Washington Slagbaai National Park.  Bonaire’s leeward coast offers great views of everyone enjoying their visits–at resorts, private homes and apartments, and of course, Bonaire’s water sports.

The plane is a four-seater, so up to three persons can make the flight.  One sits next to the pilot, and two can fit in the rear seat.  The plane is well set up to make viewing and photographing easy, but a telephoto zoom lens is recommended.

For those that really want to do the extreme, arrange for a flying lesson with one of the club’s patient instructors, who have lots of experience in teaching flying.  In your first lesson, you can even take off on your own, although the pilot does recommend he land the plane until you have a bit more experience!

For those who have extensively visited Bonaire, BonAeroClub provides a thrilling way to do something new!  It’s a fabulous gift for someone who will be visiting soon.  For more information, call +599 786-2437+599 786-2437, and ask for Wietze Koopman.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

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