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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


 

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Tropical Coconut Macaroons

Print Recipe
Tropical Coconut Macaroons
These macaroons are easy to prepare and sure to please! The Caribbean-inspired cookies can even by used to decorate your cakes.
These tropical coconut macaroons can be used to decorate cakes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
persons
Course Dessert
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
persons
These tropical coconut macaroons can be used to decorate cakes.
Instructions
  1. Take your egg whites and sugar and warm them in a saucepan to 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Farenheit). Be sure not to allow the mixture to heat to a higher temperature, you just want the sugar to dissolve into the egg whites.
  2. Add the flour and the shredded coconut. This recipe is all about the coconut, but the flour is needed as well so the macaroons get some volume. Add the shredded lemon zest for a tropical freshness.
  3. The shredded coconut needs time to absorb some of the liquid, so place the mixture in the mixer for fifteen minutes.
  4. Next, add the mixture to a piping bag, and squeeze some small cookie-sized portions onto a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven until the cookies are golden colored. Be sure they are cooked through. Let them cool down and you are ready to enjoy your Caribbean style cookies or use them to decorate a special occasion cake.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Pastry Chef Elise Weerstand from Sebastian's Restaurant.  She puts a lot of love into her fine desserts!

Request a reservation at Sebastian's Restaurant, Bonaire

 

 

 

 

 

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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)

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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 on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.


 

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Bonaire’s Salt Pier Temporarily Closed for Diving Due to Scheduled Repairs

Salt Pier is temporarily closed for diving during repairs.

Cargill has announced that repairs are scheduled to be made to Bonaire’s Salt Pier.  These repairs will be conducted between April 3 and May 15, 2017.

Bonaire's Salt Pier on the premises of CargillRestrictions on activity at the pier during renovations.

During this time-frame, no ships will be docked at the pier, but also, for their own safety, divers will not be allowed under the pier while renovations are taking place.

Find other shore diving options.

Divers need not despair, there are plenty of other shore diving locations along the leeward shore.  Check out the dive and snorkel site map.

(Source:  Cargill)

 


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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Carib Inn Expands Retail Store

Carib Inn augments their selection of quality dive equipment on Bonaire with the expansion of their retail store.

The retail store at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn has always been well known on Bonaire for great prices on quality dive and snorkel equipment.  The store is entirely staffed by PADI instructors, insuring that shoppers will receive a perfect fit or advice on best equipment for their own personal needs.

Knocking out walls leads to more space and display areas.

Now, Carib Inn has expanded their retail store, so there is even more opportunity to have great dive gear stocked on Bonaire at good prices.  After spending quite some time on calculating how to expand the store, it was finally decided to tear down a wall.  It took a few days of planning, and a few evenings of work, so as not disrupt daily services, but it is done and is looking spiffy.  The biggest challenge was keeping the dust contained when breaking the concrete wall, but all went well.

Wetsuits are featured in the new alcove.

The store now has a much more open feeling and a lot more space. The new area features all the wetsuits and related items with women’s on the left side and men’s on the right. When I visited recently, I was informed that additional new displays and lighting are ordered and on their way to Bonaire.

We found a great value on booties!

While in the store, we found a really great value, and so we want to share it with our Bonaire Insider readers.  Currently, Carib Inn has booties for snorkeling or diving at only $39.00, but with a buy one, get two special. Different sizes can be purchased on this special, effectively making the price $19.50 per pair! If you are on Bonaire, and need some foot protection for shore diving or shore snorkeling, check out the thick-soled booties at Carib Inn. Be sure to bring your fins to check the fit.

Carib Inn is conveniently located at J. A. Abraham Blvd 46, with ample parking.

(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.


 

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