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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Taste of Bonaire Talent Edition is Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Save the date for the fourth edition in the 2017 Taste of Bonaire events, coming on July 1st, 2017.

 

Each edition of this popular event has a special theme, and the July event is all about Bonaire’s talented youth. Be sure to come out and support them and enjoy their efforts!

Music, Food, Arts & Crafts.

 

July 2017 edition of Taste of Bonaire features the island's local youth talents.As always, the evening will be filled with a full schedule of music and displays of local talent. There are food stalls offering a variety of tastes from Bonaire’s many eateries, as well as many arts and crafts stalls through which to wander and find just the right gift for souvenir.

The stage will feature the musical group Formashon Musikal Krioyo, and an added attraction will be the group BYOF (Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation), which will present different performances in a variety of forms including dance, song, drama, and more.

When and where will Taste of Bonaire take place?

This edition will once again be held in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk from 6:00 PM through 11:00 PM on Saturday July 1st. What a great way to kick off the new month!

 

Bonaire's Calendar of Events

 

(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 for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


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STINAPA Connecting People with Nature Events for June, 2017

STINAPA’s June events include hiking to the top of Bonaire and enjoying Bonaire’s summer birds.

 

See sunrise from Brandaris, the highest point of Bonaire during the next hosted hike in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Guided hikes in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

The only way to view sunrise from Brandaris is to join STINAPA on one of their sunrise hikes of Bonaire’s highest point.  The next event will be on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18th, 2017, so grab the father in your life and get climbing.

The experience of sunrise (or sunset) on Brandaris is a singular experience, and one which most visitors never get to enjoy.  The hike will begin before sunrise, so participants must be at the entrance to the park before 5:00 AM.

Hiking Brandaris, the highest point of Bonaire.Space is limited and registration is necessary.

There is space for twenty participants, and pre-registration is necessary by calling STINAPA at 717-8444; the entry fee is $10.00 per person.  Participants must arrange their own transportation to and within the park.

What to bring; fitness is important.

A good physical condition is important and children 10 years and up may participate only if accompanied by an adult. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring your own water and a snack and don’t forget to bring a flashlight, since the climb will begin in darkness.  Plans call for everyone to be back at the park entrance about 8:30 AM.

Toward the top of Brandaris, there is a part which can be a bit of a strain, but once you reach the summit, the views of Bonaire are unforgettable.

Birdwatching with STINAPA at LVV on June 24th from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.

Bonaire has an amazing diversity of birds, but many visitors do not realize it.  On June 24th, there is an excellent opportunity to go birding with STINAPA at Bonaire’s LVV facility on Kaminda Lagoen.

Rare species of birds can be spotted.

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 been spotted in this area, such as the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Southern Lapwing, and the Glossy Ibis. This event provides an excellent opportunity for bird photography as well.

What to bring, make a reservation.

Bring binoculars (if don’t have any, STINAPA can loan you some) and drinking water, and be sure to wear good walking shoes. Reservations are needed, so be sure to call STINAPA at 717-8444 to insure your place. There are no costs involved to participate, but donations are always welcome. Meet at the office building next to the wastewater tanks.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 


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 Culinary Team Shines at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean Competition

Bonaire’s Awards Include Nine Medals, Leading With the Overall Winner of Caribbean Chocolate Competition

The Bonaire Culinary Team at Taste of the Caribbean 2017.

The Bonaire Culinary team was on fire at Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean Awards on June 6, as the team took home nine medals. Taste of the Caribbean is a culinary competition which takes place each June in Miami, Florida.

In recent years, Bonaire has earned the reputation as having some of the best chefs in the entire Caribbean, presenting diverse cuisine to offer both visitors and residents.

Sherundly Pernabela, Overall Winner of the Chocolate Taste of the Caribbean CompetitionThe Bonaire Culinary Team 2017 was formed with Senior Chef Miguel Saragoza, Chef Sherundly Bernabela, Junior Chef Dustin Libiee, Pastry Chef Maria Mastrangelo, Bartender Kelvin Ventura, Head Coach Floris van Loo and team.

The team brings home nine medals.

The Bonaire awards included:

  • Overall Winner: Caribbean Chocolate Competition: Sherundly “Shur” Bernabela, for his very creative “Tropical Bonaire Paradise” showcasing Bonaire’s salt mountains, its sea and land elements for which Bonaire is so famous; Shur also competed in the seafood competition and won a bronze medal with his dish preparing a colorful plate with red snapper and shrimp.
  • Gold: Caribbean Chef of the Year: Miguel Saragoza
  • Gold: Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year: Dustin Libiee with his “Dry-rubbed Tera Cora beef medallion & green herb and citrus snapper”
  • Silver: Caribbean Beef Competition: Miguel “Poppy” Saragoza, with a dish which included a superb Bonaire style ceviche. Miguel also won a silver medal for the individual beef competition in which he prepared this meat 4 different ways and combined with modern Bonairean twists in using vegetables and seasoning
  • Silver: Caribbean National Team of the Year: Bonaire
  • Bronze: Caribbean Bartender of the Year: Kelvin Ventura for his use of fresh and well balanced flavors accomplished in all his four different cocktails using local ingredients
  • Bronze: Caribbean Seafood Competition: Sherundly Bernabela
  • Honorary Mention: Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year: Maria Mastrangelo

Bonaire's Culinary Team at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean

The full team, led by manager Floris van Loo, delivered on their promise to showcase not only talent, but also excellent team work by winning a silver medal for the Team of the Year competition, a three-course lunch, which included the mouth-watering dessert prepared by pastry chef Maria Mastrangelo, using locally picked Shimaruku berries.

About Taste of the Caribbean.

Kelvin Ventura making his rum cocktail at the 2017 Taste of the CaribbeanTaste of the Caribbean is a yearly culinary competition for professional chefs and bartenders organized by CHTA. Since 1993, the best chefs and culinary teams unite to learn and demonstrate their professional skills. They provide the general public a scintillating exhibition of the most savory and delectable treats in the Caribbean.

(Source:  TCB, Bonhata)

 


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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It’s Time for Tapas at It Rains Fishes Restaurant’s Special Event

Enjoy live music and a special tapas menu at It Rains Fishes Restaurant.

On June 16th and 17th, 2017 It Rains Fishes will host another of their special events with a unique treat when their Tapas Nights offers a festive dinner with many mouth-watering options from which to choose!

Tapas Nights at It Rains Fishes Restaurant on Bonaire

Live guitar music.

The evenings will have a romantic ambiance with some sweet Latin music by guitarist, Jeroen.

Make an advance reservation.

It Rains Fishes special events book up quickly, so do make a reservation if you wish to enjoy this special dining event.  Call 717-8780.

(Source:  It Rains Fishes Restaurant)

 


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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Quick Response on Bonaire Averts Potential Environmental Calamity

Excellent cooperation and fast mobilization on Bonaire has helped to avoid environmental problems after tar globules from Trinidad arrive on Bonaire.

As reported last week, two weeks ago, Bonaire started seeing globules of tar arrive on the windward eastern coastline, after traveling downcurrent from Trinidad and an oil spill from their Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

Today, after two weeks of intensive work, we have good news to report that the east coast is returning to normal.

The entire Bonaire community–including nature organizations, government, private sector, and private citizens–came together in a massive cleanup effort, which has helped tremendously with dealing with the potential negative ramifications of the Trinidad oil spill. As of now, the most ecologically valuable areas do not appear to have been negatively impacted or have seen only minimal impact.

150 volunteers work together.

Last Saturday, over 150 volunteers worked ceaselessly along Bonaire’s east coast beaches at various locations to insure that all is safe and clean and remove any oil which had washed up on Bonaire’s shore, including a number of places near Washington Slagbaai National Park, Lagun, Washikemba, Sorobon, Willemstoren and Markultura. Oil that had washed up was collected and, where possible, even scraped off the rocks.

 

Safety materials were provided to all volunteers by Bonaire’s island and federal governments, while STINAPA organized the volunteers for the different locations. The Fire and Police Departments assisted by delivering materials and food (donated by Bonaire Food Group and its supermarkets), and the volunteers did the rest!

It was an awesome effort, and today we are happy to report that Bonaire’s beaches on the east coast are now clean and safe, with no new oil washing ashore in several days. Due to the organized clean-ups that began on Saturday, May 27th, 2017, it can be said that the sandy areas are clean. Unfortunately, it is not possible to remove all oil residue from the rocks and stones. The beaches are receiving continued monitoring.

Join STINAPA’s Junior Rangers at Lagun tomorrow morning for an additional cleanup.

Because it has been observed that there is still oil washing ashore at Lagun, there will be another cleanup tomorrow at this location by STINAPA’s Junior Rangers, who adopted this beach years ago as their beach to keep clean on a regular basis.

The reason the oil is still present at Lagun is because oil that was washed into the bay is still coming ashore with seaweed. If you wish to help out, join the Junior Rangers tomorrow morning at Lagun.  Protective gear will be provided, including gloves, boots, and overalls. If you still have protective gear from the cleanups of last week, please bring these with you. STINAPA and the Junior Rangers thank you for any assistance.

Seabirds are recuperating.

Red-footed Booby, recuperating from Trinidad oil spill.

Image courtesy of Elly Albers

Eight seabirds (Red-footed Boobies and Brown Boobies) were found still alive, but covered in oil. These were brought to Elly Albers at the Mangrove Info Center for rehabilitation, as she has experience in helping seabirds return to health. Two were very sick and did not live, but Elly is happy to announce that the remaining six seabirds are healthy, clean and stable.

The birds required multiple cleanings using Dawn dish-washing liquid, as the tar was not easy to remove. However, they are finishing their recoveries, and Elly hopes they can be released again soon.

Thanks go to many entities on Bonaire for the great coordination and fast mobilization:

  • Bonaire’s Governments
  • STINAPA
  • STCB
  • STINAPA Junior Rangers
  • Selibon
  • The Dutch army
  • Bonaire’s Fire Department
  • Bonaire’s Police Department
  • Ministry of I&M
  • Bonaire Food Group
  • van den Tweel Supermarket
  • Warehouse
  • Kooyman
  • The Mangrove Info Center
  • Elly Albers
  • Rentofun
  • Budget Car Rental
  • Bonaire Hydrotest and Maintenance
  • And, of course, the many hundreds of private citizens who volunteered!

(Source:  STINAPA, The Mangrove Info Center)

 

 


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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Save Our Sharks Room is Launched at Washington Park’s Open House

Enjoy this year’s open house at Washington Slagbaai National Park on Sunday, June 11, 2017.

This Sunday heralds the annual open house event for Bonaire’s Washington Slagbaai National Park, and this year there is a special feature, when the new Save Our Sharks Room is launched.

Fun events will be occurring all day long throughout the park.

Washington Slagbaai National Park's Open House is June 11, 2017The park’s open house is a fun day filled with lots of events, food, and sun and sand for anyone, residents or visitors alike, to enjoy. The park is open from 8:00 AM through 5:00 PM, and entrance for this very special day is free. Transportation from the entrance to Boka Slagbaai is provided at 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, with a return at 3:00 PM.

Don’t miss the grand opening of the new Save Our Sharks Room, with interactive exhibits.

At 10:00 AM, there will be a very special grand opening of STINAPA’s Save Our Sharks room, located in the park’s museum at the entrance.  Within this special room, one can discover the sharks of Bonaire, uncover fossil shark teeth in the Shark Tooth Dig, and learn about the sharks of the past, present, and future! Thanks to the generous support of the Nationale Postcode Loterij in the Netherlands, STINAPA, among others, is able to make a real difference in shark conservation in the Caribbean.

Biking, hiking, barbecue and drinks, local market, and face painting.

But events will be occurring all day long.  There’s a mountain bike race starting at 7:30 AM, a local market will be open at 8:00 AM with food and drinks, there’s hiking for both kids and adults, face painting, handicrafts, barbecue, and live local music starting at 1:00 PM.

Enjoy the day!

(Source:  STINAPA)

 


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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Marine Species on Bonaire Which Have Protection

There are both plant and animal species on Bonaire which are protected under either international agreements or local laws.

Internationally protected marine species on Bonaire.

Download the list of protected marine species on Bonaire.

The species of marine animals that are protected are listed below and these can be important for reef fishermen to know about.

All whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, and sea turtles that may be found in the waters of Bonaire are protected by treaties (international agreements). All the soft and hard corals are also protected. In fact, the entire underwater park and all that is in it is protected, alive or dead.

Click image to download the entire list of protected marine species on Bonaire (in PDF format)

Click image to download the entire list of protected marine species on Bonaire (in PDF format)

In the underwater marine park, except for the two fish reserves, fish may be fished with traditional fishing gear. However, a number of fish and other marine animals are protected according to international and local law. Most of the mentioned fishes occur on the red list of endangered species of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). It concerns CR (critically endangered), EN (endangered) or vulnerable (VU) categories. The government is more or less obliged by the international community to protect these fishes.

Parrotfish are protected because of their ecological importance. They play a key role in the ecosystem. Parrotfish are grazers needed to keep our coral reefs free from algae. Groupers are getting rarer and are at the top of the food chain. They also have a touristic value, like the sea turtles, sharks and rays.

Lobsters are over-fished. Separate management measures are required to maintain and improve the lobster numbers. Lobsters may only be caught between 1 November and 30 April and only along the east coast between Malmok and the Willemstoren. A lobster whose head and trunk together (carapace) is less than 12 cm/4.75 inches may not be captured or killed. Also, egg-bearing lobsters must not be caught or killed, for obvious reasons. The conch (locally known as karko) is on the list because this mollusk is also over-fished.

Locally protected sea creatures

Fishes

(Provided by scientific name, Papiamentu name, Dutch name, English name)

Balistes vetula, pishiporko rabu di gai, koningstrekkervis, queen triggerfish
Dermatolepis inermis, olitu, zeebaars, marbled grouper
Epinephelus itajara, djufes, itajara, Goliath grouper, jewfish
Epinephelus striatus, jakupepu, Nassau tandbaars, Nassau grouper
Lachnolaimus maximus, hòkfes, everlipvis, hogfish
Lutjanus analis, kapitán, snapper, mutton snapper
Lutjanus cyanopterus, karaña, snapper, cubera snapper
Scaridae, gutu, papegaaivissen, parrotfishes
Thunnus obesus, buni wowo grandi, grootoogtonijn, bigeye tuna

Invertebrates

(Provided by scientific name, Papiamentu name, Dutch name, English name)

Panulirus argus, kref, kreeft, Caribbean spiny lobster
Panulirus guttatus, kref, gevlekte kreeft, spotted spiny lobster
Panulirus laevicauda, kref, kreeft, smoothtail spiny lobster

Mollusks/Seashells

Strombus gigas, karkó, grote kroonslak, queen conch

(Source:  STINAPA)

 


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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Special Introductory Fares for Flights Toronto to Bonaire Offered by Sunwing

Sunwing will begin direct flights from Toronto to Bonaire and return in mid-December, 2017.

As the Bonaire Insider informed in an earlier story, Sunwing will commence flights to Bonaire in mid-December 2017 by offering a weekly non-stop service from Toronto to Bonaire every Sunday on a Boeing 737-800 with a capacity of a 189 seats.

Special introductory fares of $595.00 are available now.

Introductory Airfare specials on Sunwing from Toronto to BonaireNow there is a limited-time special introductory fare for air-only of $595.00 per person, including all taxes and fees.  This special rate is valid for flights from Toronto to Bonaire on 17th December, 2017, 24th December, 2017 or 7th January, 2018.  Return flights on this fare are available 24th December, 2017, 31st December, 2017, 7th January, 2018, or 14th January, 2018.

Award-winning in-flight service.

All flights to or from Bonaire include Sunwing’s award-winning in-flight service with:

  • Welcome glass of sparkling wine
  • Free checked baggage up to 23 kilos
  • Extensive buy-on-board menu (additional charge)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • First-run movies
  • Kidcations Backpacks with games and toys
  • Free 5 kilo carry-on, with one free personal item.

Terms and conditions may apply.

Prices are for new bookings only and subject to change without notice. All flights are with Sunwing Airlines or Travel Service.  In-flight service varies by flights times, and other conditions may apply. Upgrades to Elite Plus Service are available for only $50.00 per person per flight.

For additional information, or to make a reservation, visit Sunwing’s website.

(Source:  Bonaire International Airport)

 


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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Trinidadian Oil Spill Reaches Bonaire’s East Coast

Massive oil spill cleanup in process organized by STINAPA, STCB, the island government, Selibon, and volunteers.

 

It is with a very heavy heart that today we report that the result of an oil spill last month in Trinidad is now affecting Bonaire’s east coast.

Trinidad oil spill reaches Bonaire’s east coast.

On April 23rd, 2017, a fuel oil storage tank ruptured at Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre (Trinidad) refinery spilling 20,000 gallons. Aerial surveys and monitoring indicated that some of the oil leaked from the Pointe-a-Pierre operations and made its way out to sea.

tar from a Trinidad oil spill mars Bonaire's east coastIt has taken about a month to reach Bonaire’s east coast, but globules of tar began washing up on the island’s eastern coast last Thursday. The island government’s Department of Public Health, STINAPA, along with its Junior Rangers, STCB, the island’s waste management company Selibon, and a slew of volunteers have spent the last four days doing their best to mitigate the damage.

Bonaire is racing against time and making a massive effort to mitigate the damage to its natural resources.

Bonaire’s government began immediate aerial surveying, but the salt in the sea has turned most of the oil into tar, so it is not easily detected by air as the tar could be floating just under the surface of the sea.

Trinidad oil spill reaches Bonaire's east coastIt should be noted that at this time, the tar is only washing up on Bonaire’s east coast so it doesn’t impact the safety of water sports enthusiasts diving or kiting on Bonaire’s western leeward short.

Seabirds along Bonaire’s eastern coast are at high risk for death or sickness.

Because the areas of Lac, Lagun, and Sorobon are high-risk areas due to their large bird diversity, cleanup actions are being focused upon these areas first. Unfortunately, bird populations in these areas, and especially those of seabirds, can be quickly affected, many times causing the bird’s death.

 

STINAPA and volunteers working tirelessly to clean up the oil

 

Do not attempt cleanup without the proper equipment.

It should be noted that residents or visitors should NOT try to assist with the cleanup operations without the proper equipment.  The oil/tar can be toxic and shouldn’t come in contact with a person’s skin.  Should it be touched, the tar should be cleaned with an oil-based substance, such as Baby Oil or cooking oil.  Alcohol will not remove it.

You can help. Volunteers are needed to assist with proper cleanup and tar removal efforts.

Those who wish to volunteer to help will be provided the proper equipment and instructions as to how to safely remove the tar.  Removal of the tar is easier in the mornings, as the lower temperatures make the tar and oil less fluid. Those who wish to help can sign up by sending an email to either marinepark@stinapa.org or volunteer@stinapa.org, with the subject line, “Oil Cleanup Volunteer.”  Please provide your name, contact phone numbers, days you are available to help, your address, and if you require transportation or not.

Or contact either STINAPA (717-8444) or STCB to participate in a joint cleanup effort tomorrow morning, May 30th, 2017. If you cannot assist tomorrow, your assistance during the rest of the week is still appreciated.

 

Rehabilitating Seabirds.

Already affected seabirds are arriving at The Mangrove Info Center, as Elly Albers, owner/manager of the center, has had good experience with the rehabilitation of sick or injured seabirds. Already two boobies have “checked in” in with Elly for a health check.  After a massive cleaning, the birds are resting, and hopes are high they can be re-introduced to the sea and shorelines after the situation has resolved.

(Source:  OLB, STINAPA, images and videos by STINAPA and Elly Albers, used with permission)

 


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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