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 various parades and events, including the Simadan di Rei, the King’s Harvest Parade.

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

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. 

Bonaire’s Firefighting Instructors Train in a Simulated Airplane Fire

Bonaire’s instructor firefighters train for emergencies at Flamingo Airport.

When arriving for vacation, one doesn’t want to think about disasters, but, unfortunately, they can strike any time, anywhere.  It’s comforting to know Bonaire’s firefighters are ready to tackle an emergency fire at the island’s Flamingo Airport.

In-service training was received specifically for airplane fires.

On Wednesday April 12th, the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department (Brandweerkorps Caribisch Nederland, hereafter referred to as BKCN) held an airplane firefighting training simulated exercise on the grounds of the airport. BKCN is not only responsible for regular firefighting duties, but also for airplane firefighting on all three of the BES Islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba). The training exercise was an in-service training in the field of airplane firefighting and was intended for all BKCN instructors. The instructors therefore are able to give other colleagues within the department in-service training.

The simulation was realistic with two different types of “airplanes.”

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) applies very strict rules and requirements which the fire department must observe. It was a realistic training exercise with fire and smoke in an airplane during evening hours. These exercises took place on the grounds of BIA where a training object has been constructed from containers and other materials to imitate the fuselage of an airplane. There are two different mock-up cabins on the inside; one of a smaller airplane with one aisle and one of a larger airplane with two aisles, to realistically training in the types of aircraft landing on Bonaire. In case of an airplane fire it is important for the fire department to respond and reach the fire within three minutes and to create a survivable situation as soon as possible in order to save as many lives as possible.

Four shift leaders and three officers of service from Bonaire, and 1 shift leader and 2 firemen from St. Eustatius participated in this physically demanding training exercise. A total of 10 participants and 3 fire engines were deployed. The training exercise was organized by BKCN instructor Ab Hoek and Sergeant Major Frank Koenders, airplane firefighting instructor of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, in collaboration with the firefighting training institute BOGO. The airplane firefighting training exercise for instructors lasted 9 days, of which one day was devoted to theory and the remaining days were practical days.

During the simulation, emphasis was also placed on cooperation with other services, such as red cross, ambulance, police and the KMar.

Bonaire’s firefighters perform many life-saving duties for the community.

Bonaire’s firefighters perform many life-saving duties.  View the video (also simulated) of our firefighters removing a traffic accident victim from an automobile.

(Source:  RCN)


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. 

Cargill and STINAPA Collaborate to Protect Corals Under Bonaire’s Salt Pier

Relocating corals under Bonaire’s Salt Pier.

Salt Pier’s temporary closing.

Late in March, the Bonaire Insider informed its readers of the then-impending closure of Bonaire’s Salt Pier dive site for a temporary period while Cargill made renovations to the pier.

Last week, STINAPA and a group of assistants dove tirelessly under Bonaire’s Salt Pier in an effort to mitigate potential damage to the corals in that location.

Old anchor chains were scheduled for removal, but were encrusted with live corals.

As part of the renovations for the major pier repairs, two huge 40-year-old anchor chains, both encrusted with living corals, were to be removed. Cargill requested STINAPA’s advice as to how to minimize damage, and they agreed to leave most of the old chains in place, but instead lay the new chains next to them.  In order to clear a path for the new chains, live corals and sponges had to be relocated to a safe area nearby.

Corals and sponges were relocated to nearby areas or to coral nurseries.

STINAPA relocates corals at Bonaire's Salt PierWith the expertise of Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire and the help of number of volunteers, the STINAPA Junior Rangers, and many private sector divers, STINAPA proceeded to relocate a large number of hard corals, soft corals, and sponges, which would otherwise have faced certain death. The live corals were moved by hand while on SCUBA to nearby safe zones. For moving the larger colonies, the marine park rangers used lift bags.

A few of the corals were transported by boat to coral restoration sites at Buddy Dive and Harbour Village. In the coming months STINAPA will be monitoring the survival rate of the corals and sponges that were relocated.

(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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

Washington Slagbaai National Park Remains Closed After Heavy Rains

Washington Slagbaai National Park temporarily closed.

Unfortunately, Bonaire’s Washington Slagbaai National Park remains temporarily closed as the northern part of the island received torrential rains on Friday, April 14th, 2017.

Heavy rains caused flooding in Bonaire's Washington Slagbaai National ParkRainfall in the park totaled 65.3 mm/2.57 inches in three hours, causing flooding and damage to the roads.  Although the park staff has been working tirelessly to get the park ready for visitors once again, the park remains closed until another assessment can be made this weekend.  The earliest the park might be open for traffic is Monday, April 24th, 2017, but STINAPA will evaluate if that is possible this weekend.

In the meantime, the museum, Kasikunda Trail, and the Lagadishi Trail are open for visitors, and entrance to the park is free during this interim period.

For additional information, you may contact Washington Slagbaai National Park at telephone 788-9015.

Note Update April 24, 2017:  We are happy to report that Washington Slagbaai National Park is now open with normal hours.

(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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.

Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week is May 1st through 7th, 2017

Take advantage of the Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week, with three-course dinners only $25.00 per person.


Bonaire’s own beer has its own special celebration between May 1st and May 7th, 2017 when a great many of the island’s eateries will host a special three-course culinary dinner for only $25.00 per person.

Sebastian’s Restaurant
Rum Runners
It Rains Fishes Bonaire
La Cantina Bonaire
Cuba Compagnie Bonaire Restaurant
Bistro de Paris Bonaire
Spice Beach Club
Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino Chibi Chibi
La Guernica Bonaire
Breeze ‘n Bites Bonaire
Capriccio Bonaire
Ingridiënts Restaurant
At Sea Restaurant
Joe’s Restaurant

Be sure to visit your favorites during this special event, or try out a new eatery.

(Source:  Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week)

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.

Free WiFi Hot-spot in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk

Visitors can pick up free WiFi via a hot-spot in Kralendijk’s Wilhelmina Park.

Last week, officials from Island Government, Tourism Corporation Bonaire, and Digicel launched a new service for Bonaire’s visitors and residents who are frequently in Wilhelmina Park, in downtown Kralendijk.  Effective immediately, a free WiFi hot-spot has been created.

Free wifi hotspot in Wilhelmina Park, BonaireInstructions to access the hot-spot.

To access the hot-spot, you will need a Facebook login to verify your identity. To find the connection on your wireless device, simply search for the signal “Welcome to Bonaire” and follow the login instructions.  You will receive 30 minutes of WiFi free, and, should additional time be needed, you will be prompted to purchase more minutes to continue on the high-speed Internet.

This service is provided thanks to a coordination of efforts between Bonaire’s tourism office, Digicel (one of the island’s mobile providers), and the Protestant Church, for assisting with installation locations.

(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.

Sebastian’s Restaurant Premieres New Summer Menu

Everyone’s favorites are still there, but there’s some exciting additions to the new summer menu at Sebastian’s Restaurant.

Just this morning, Sebastian’s Restaurant premiered their brand new summer menu. A favorite on Bonaire, Sebastian’s is well known for keeping his menu updated with the latest offerings of what is fresh and in season, with ingredients imported from locations around the world. The new menu selections are available starting tonight for dinner at the oceanfront restaurant.

What’s on the new menu?

Long-time favorites are still available.

Sebastian's Restaurant Premieres New Summer MenuWhen taking a peek at the new menu, it appears that favorites of many are still available, such as the Land & Sea (Filet Mignon with grilled Black Tiger Shrimp), the Octopus Carpaccio and Tuna Trio starters, the Caribbean Shrimp, and the Gorgonzola fettuccine. But there looks like there are some new menu items which definitely will require further investigation.

New menu items entice the taste-buds.

The “Salmon Meets Seaweed” appetizer sounds very interesting, as does the slow-cooked Pepper Steak and the New Zealand Rack of Lamb. Vegetarians will find a variety of options with four appetizers and three entrées delineated with a heart-friendly, green V.

With 15 appetizers, nine main courses with meats and seafood, six pastas, and six desserts, including the intriguing Grandma’s Cheesecake, there is no doubt everyone will find the perfect choice of meals.

After dinner, sit back, relax, and enjoy a special coffee and dessert.

After dinner, enjoy a cappuccino or late, or a fresh mint tea, or try out a special coffee–there are seven from which to choose, originating from countries around the world. Savor them with one of Bonbons Bonaire’s special chocolates or lollipops.

About Sebastian’s Restaurant

The new fine dining menu is available Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, Sebastian’s serves an Italian Night with pizzas and pastas. The oceanfront restaurant, located at J. A. Abraham Boulevard #60, is open daily from 5:30 to 11:00 PM.  Advance reservations are always recommended, and can be requested by calling 717-1697, 701-1697, or using the restaurant’s online form available on their website.

Although every day on Bonaire is summer, there are still “perfect” summer days–those with Sun, Sand, and Sebastian’s!

(Source:  Sebastian’s 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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.

Bonaire Insider Dining Review–La Cantina del Mar, Reincarnated

La Cantina del Mar on Bonaire has reincarnated itself into an exciting and fun eatery.

La Cantina del Mar, conveniently located on Kaya Grandi in Kralendijk, has undergone a metamorphosis in recent months, reincarnating itself into a world-class restaurant. Previously serving an eclectic Mexican-inspired menu, La Cantina del Mar, as it is today, is a totally new restaurant! And one which you should definitely add to your Bonaire restaurant Bucket List.

My dining companion and I decided to check it out. We made an advance reservation (HIGHLY recommended) and were surprised when we arrived to see the line of people waiting to be seated. But the line moved quickly, as the hostess efficiently seated everyone, and we promptly informed the hostess we had a reservation. I do believe it was the last open table in the house. Even every bar-stool was taken.

The menu truly offers something for everyone.

The wait staff in any of Rick’s and Kim’s restaurants are highly trained and they quickly brought us menus and took our beverage orders. At first, I was overwhelmed by all the choices on the menu, as I turned page after page. But with only a moment’s review, I quickly caught on that La Cantina del Mar truly has an option for everyone:

  • Those who want to sit back, socialize, and be served a great meal,
  • Those who want to have a little say in the decision of what will be served, and
  • Those who have definite ideas as to what and how much they will eat, and how it is prepared.

Once we figured this out, it was quite simple to make our choices. But let me describe the various options.

The Chef’s Table.

For those who want to enjoy their meal, but don’t want to bother with having to figure out what to order, La Cantina del Mar’s Menu JRE is just the thing!

Chef Rick is a member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs, an association of young chefs who share their talent and passion for great food. The chefs of this elite group combine high quality culinary craftsmanship, incorporating local culinary traditions and produce.

La Cantina del Mar offers either a four- or six-course JRE “surprise” menu, and the entire meal is prepared in the outdoor kitchen, so you can even watch its creation. A four- or six-course drink and wine option is available as well, with beverages carefully selected to meld with the food courses.

One important note about the JRE menu, it is available by the table only, so everyone at the table must take part.

À la Carte Menu.

So then we come to the second type of dining patron, those who have an idea of what they would like, but are open to suggestions from the chef. For these, the menu offers a long list of starters, all inspired by local ingredients. For main meals, there are ample choices from the restaurant’s à la carte menu, the Meat Market, or vegetarian options.

The Fish Market.

And for the foodies among us who want to have full control, there are also many options from which to choose. My dining companion and I quickly decided we fell into this category, so we zoomed in on the menu choices available via the Fish Market. The fish is fresh right from the sea, caught by the the restaurant’s fishermen. The variety changes every day, and you can check out what is available on the Catch of the Day signboard.

The Fish Market allows one to choose fish fillets in either small (80 gram), medium (160 gram), or large (240 gram) size, or one can elect a trio of fish (240 gram). Seafood, including shrimp or scallops, can be ordered by the piece. Octopus can be ordered in 50 gram increments. Total control for foodies! And so we placed our orders. You can even specify how you wish the food prepared.

The edible bread basket highlighting Bonaire and Klein Bonaire

The edible bread basket highlighting Bonaire and Klein Bonaire

The dining experience at La Cantina del Mar.

The bread basket is unique and fun to eat.

While we waited for our meals to be prepared, the bread basket was brought to us. Immediately, we sat up and took notice, as we were served our squid-ink dinner rolls (very Italian!) on a chopping board in the shape of Bonaire, complete with Klein Bonaire. We were highly amused with the divi divi trees (edible, of course), and the sand (actually bits of cheese), as we sat and chuckled over the ingenuity of the presentation.

The whimsical  l’amuse bouche were served.

Deep-fried anchovies in a luscious sauce, served as a l'amuse bouche

Deep-fried anchovies in a luscious sauce, served as a l’amuse bouche

Next, our server brought us a variety of l’amuse bouche, complimentary small bites. I particularly enjoyed the deep-fried anchovies, but all three bites were delicious.


Since I had ordered a medium-sized, whole red snapper, I was invited to go up to the Fish Market with my server and personally choose my fish. What fun! While there, I told Rick I wanted the whole barracuda, so he pulled it out to weigh it for me, saying my wish could be accommodated. Sighing, I replied I could only wish, and then I picked out a more suitable (read: smaller) red snapper from the displayed fish.

Then our starters arrived. I had chosen some grilled shrimp from the Fish Market menu, while my dining companion exclaimed over the beautifully pan-seared scallops melting in his mouth, also from the Fish Market. Since he didn’t share them with me, I will just have to go on his say-so. Then, again, I was enjoying my shrimp so much, I also didn’t share!

When our meals arrived, we promptly devoured them! My whole red snapper was succulent, beautifully seasoned, and just the perfect size. My dining companion had elected to have the barracuda (but not the whole fish!) and said it was exquisitely prepared.

By the end of our entrées, we were very full, and decided against dessert. But we shall return again soon, to try out other menu items, as well as dessert.

La Cantina del Mar is the third restaurant developed on Bonaire by Kim van Dijk and Rick van den Broek. Over the past six months, they have put a lot of love and attention into making the La Cantina del Mar dining experience a true pleasure. The restaurant regularly holds special culinary events. The menu is international in nature, with fresh, local ingredients as the star of each dish.

Have you tried La Cantina del Mar recently? If so, please add your own review!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)


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.

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.


Mating Seahorse Videos–A Once in a Lifetime Experience?

Is shooting video of mating seahorses a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Not so, if you are on Bonaire!

Seahorses are high on the bucket list of most Bonaire diving visitors, right along with frogfish, turtles, rays, and other elusive sea creatures. Many are happy to be shown a seahorse by their dive guides, but they are truly delighted when they stumble across one on their own, as the creatures are usually very camouflaged.

So, you can imagine the happiness when your dive takes you to an area of the reef where there are two seahorses! Eureka, you have hit pay dirt! But wait, it gets better, way better, when the two seahorses start the dance of love right before your eyes.

Coming across two mating seahorses.

mating seahorses, image by Ron WilseyThis is exactly what occurred to Ron and Nancy Wilsey back in early November, 2016, at a dive site on the southern leeward side (location has been intentionally omitted to protect the privacy of these seahorses). Nancy first located a yellow seahorse, and, while Ron set up to film it, she found a second seahorse in the area.

A few days later they returned to see if they could find the couple once again, and found the seahorses involved in extreme courtship! The female wrapped her tail around the male and appeared to open his pouch.

Just a few moments later, they met in mid-water, where they went belly-to-belly and eggs were exchanged.

An amazing experience, and one which you’d think could never be repeated again! But not so for Ron and Nancy! Later in the month, friends of theirs shared their find of seahorses at another southern dive site, so off Ron and Nancy went to see if they could find them.

Finding a second set of amorous seahorses.

But this time, it was Ron who found the yellow seahorse. Not to be outdone, Nancy continued to look for a second seahorse, knowing that many times there are two in close proximity. Sure enough, a second, rust-colored seahorse was found. After a wonderful vacation, Ron and Nancy returned to their El Paso, Illinois (USA) home for the holidays, with many memories of wonderful dives on Bonaire.

Returning to find yet more mating seahorses.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Wilseys own a vacation home on Bonaire, which allowed them to return in early 2017 for an extended visit, getting them away from the cold and snow of winter in Illinois.

They quickly set out to check on their two sets of loving seahorses, and unfortunately, the first set had relocated and was not to be found anywhere.

However, Ron and Nancy were delighted to find their second set of seahorses was still in the same area, and, on February 19, 2017, engaged once again in some lovemaking which Ron was able to catch on video!

The chances of seeing this happen once in your lifetime are small. But Ron and Nancy seem to swim upon lots of sex in the sea; we might need to start calling them the Seahorse Whisperers.

But it still doesn’t end there. Yet again, Bonaire’s Seahorse Whisperers said a final farewell to the loving couple with this video of “almost” mating behavior, filmed a few weeks before their departure from Bonaire. At the risk of being anthropomorphic, we can only imagine their communications: “Honey, can we just cuddle today?”

With so much procreation activity happening under the sea, it’s comforting to know there will be many baby seahorses populating the reefs around Bonaire.

Ron and Nancy Wilsey, long-time repeat visitors to Bonaire.

This most recent visit was Ron and Nancy Wilsey’s 29th visit to Bonaire, and they are two-time Bonaire ambassadors. On this season’s visit, Ron and Nancy logged 120 dives together, and they completed a landmark dive, their 830th dive just here on Bonaire.

“You can be accepted and blend with nature if you are patient and approach on nature’s terms.”

— Ron Wilsey

The two work as a team–Nancy is normally scouting for critters, while Ron is filming. Ron uses a Canon G16 with a Fantasea housing. The excellent zoom capability allows Ron to keep his distance so as to not interrupt behaviors or alarm the creatures, but still provide fantastic close-up viewing. With any underwater photography or videography, excellent diving buoyancy skills are necessary.

So, are you going to find your own seahorse couple on your next Bonaire vacation? Sound in on the comment section below!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, image and videos by Ron and Nancy Wilsey, used with permission)

View other Bonaire videos


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.


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