Finally Public Transportation on Bonaire! BOB-BUS

Finally Public Transportation on Bonaire! BOB-BUS

Public Transportation on Bonaire

The new BOB-BUS- Getting around Bonaire. Getting around Bonaire has always been pretty straightforward. You drive a car, truck or scooter. You take a taxi. You walk. You ride a bike but risk your life (this also goes for the scooter rental idea!) But until now you the possibility of public transport proved more or less a no-go.

As of March 1st 2020 that is all changed. The BOB-BUS, an initiative of Stichting Kinderhulp Bonaire (Child Assistance Foundation Bonaire) makes it’s first stops next week at a location near you!

Bus Routes

This much needed service, the Bob-Bus offers two routes. Both routes start in Downtown Kralendijk at the Wilhelmina Square, near Cuba Compagnie restaurant and bar. Route A heads North from the square while Route B heads South.

Bus Service offered seven days a week in the evening:

  • Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 5pm to Midnight
  • Wednesday through Saturday from 5pm until 1:30am
  • Saturdays and Sundays beginning at Midnight service decreases. This is info from their website and isn’t clear – so just get home by your midnight curfew!

To find out where the buses are located you can even download the BOB-BUS app to your cell phone. This is high tech for Bonaire… I can’t wait to test it out. Service starts March 1st, next week!

B0B-BUS route map

 

How much is the bus ride?

The cost of a single ride is $5 and the best thing about it besides getting where you want to go is that half of the cost is donated to Kinderhulp Bonaire. This organization helps kids in poverty to integrate in society. They help with meals, swim lessons, Christmas presents, participation in sports clubs, computers and more.

You can’t actually hop on the bus with a $5 bill, though. You must buy a bus token at participating vendors. When we find out who sells them this page will be updated.

Should I still rent a car?

Public transportation on Bonaire is a subject that I’m asked about often. And in the 15 plus years I’ve lived or rented out property on Bonaire I always responded in the negative. Tourists don’t always want to rent a car. And now, finally we may have a solution.

If you ask me I always error on the side of convincing tourists to rent a car or pick-up no matter where they stay. I’m convinced you will still want one but I’m thrilled that an organization like Stitching Kinderhulp Bonaire came up with this wonderful initiative to earn money for their great cause and serve the people on the island of Bonaire at the same time.

3 Great Places You Must Take Your Camera on Bonaire

3 Great Places You Must Take Your Camera on Bonaire

3 Great Places for photography on Bonaire

Bring home the best souvenirs from your island vacation without breaking the bank. We’re talking photos. I have a lot more than just three ideas on this subject but to keep it simple let’s start with three. Maybe at the end of this post there’ll be a couple of bonus ideas…

Number 1: Bird watching! Start in the National Park and you won’t go wrong: There are only about 1000 Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrots, locally known as the Lora, left on Bonaire. In contrast, touring Washington Slagbaai National Park makes finding some pretty likely.

As to flamingos, we can almost guarantee some good photo ops in the National Park. With this in mind, try the salt lakes like Salina Slagbaai. Without entering the national park birdwatch for flamingos on the road to Rincon at Salina Goto or on the road to Sorobon in the mangroves. I photographed these flamingos in the mangroves on Kaminda Sorobon with a wide angle lens.

bonaire flamingos in the mangroves

 

Number 2: Local festivals! If you find yourself on Bonaire in February save lots of film for Carnival! The lively costumes, glittery make-up and creative floats will fill your photo album and memories with the color and vibrancy of Bonaire. Carnival takes place February 15th to February 23rd, 2020 and annually in February around those same dates.

kid's parade at carnival bonaire

 

Number 3: Last but NOT least take your camera UNDERWATER! Photography while diving has become a sport unto itself. The vast array of underwater creatures and bright colors of Bonaire create the perfect stage for some amazing photos. In addition, advances in underwater photography equipment and housing mean that this is a sport we all can participate in.

photographing fish while diving on bonaire
photo credit the amazing Karen S. Emery

Bonus:

Bonus ideas for photography on Bonaire: I couldn’t leave it at just three. Some other ideas – photograph windsurfers, photograph the colorful market at Wilhemina Park downtown, take pictures at Klein Bonaire, Thousand Steps, the Salt Factory, the Donkey Sanctuary and try to get some iguana close-ups.

 

Day Trip to The National Park on Bonaire

Day Trip to The National Park on Bonaire

Day Trip to Washington Slagbaai National Park on Bonaire

Looking for a fun family outing? A romantic day visiting beaches, immersed in nature? Do you want a fun off-the-beaten path adventure on Bonaire? We HIGHLY recommend a day trip to Washington Slagbaai National Park. This uninhabited, unhurried nature preserve constitutes about one fifth of the entire island.

Visiting Washington Slagbaai National Park

When to go: Get started early in the morning. Plan to go when roads are most likely to be dry. If heavy rain fell the prior day or two you may find the park roads closed. The park, located in the town of Rincon in the northwest corner of the island is a 25 minute drive from downtown Kralendijk. Driving to the entrance of the park is easy. The road to Rincon overlooking the sea at some points, has no traffic and lots of wilderness. Although the park entrance may only be 25 minutes away, the real adventure begins once inside the park. Plan on a full day adventure as the road is long with lots of stops and rough (bumpy) driving conditions. 

First stop: park and pay entrance fee, quick orientation

When you arrive at the park entrance you will be asked to take care of your entrance fee. The fee structure, broken down below based on my understanding. For our purposes this takes into account only non-residents of Bonaire:

  • To begin with, everyone using the waters of Bonaire must purchase a square Marine Park Tag for $25 before using the marine park for swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, kiting, etc. The “marine park” means ALL waters surrounding Bonaire, not just the National Park.
  • The marine park tag can be purchased at the entrance to the national park if you haven’t already purchased one.
  • Scuba Divers must purchase a $45 round dive tag rather than the $25 square nature tag used for all other water use. They do not need both tags.
  • In addition to the Nature Tag fees you then pay an entrance fee of $15 per person per day or $20 per person per calendar year to enter the park. You must have your square nature tag or round dive tag to prove you’ve already paid that fee. If you have a yearly pass you must bring the paper copy with you to re-enter the park on subsequent days.
  • In summary – if you haven’t already purchased a square tag you will be charged $25 + $15 for a day in the park. Or you will be charged $25 +$20 for more than one day if you plan to return within the calendar year. If you dive your fee is $45 for the dive tag plus $15 to enter the park for one day.
  • You must bring your square or round tag if you have already purchased it prior to your visit to Washington Slagbaai.

Map of the park and itinerary:

At this point the park ranger provides a map for you. They also offer an explanation of what time the park closes and what that means for your itinerary. For example you must be past a certain point before a certain hour to ensure you will be out of the park before the gate closes. A park ranger does a final drive through of the park to ensure that all vehicles that entered the park safely also exit before closing time. On arrival they write down your license plate number for this purpose. 

OK – phew – now you are in, with a map and a schedule, and a back-up plan. 

driving map of washington slagbaai national park

Second stop: the Museum and Gift Shop

The visitor center at the entrance of the park has memorabilia, artifacts and photos. Here you find a good explanations of the history of Washington Slagbaai and it’s flora and fauna, as well as culture and heritage. A small gift shop sells books, postcards and souvenirs. This is the last stop for quite a while for restrooms.

As per the explanation above, when you purchase your day pass you’ll receive a driving map of the park just like the one pictured above. At this point you have basically two options: You can take the “long route” or the “short route.” The long route takes you along the coast, with stops at some breathtaking beaches. The short route is the way to go if you plan to do a hike of Mt. Brandaris.

Take the short route if you are in a hurry to get to the beach at Boca Slagbaai or Wayaka. Wayaka II is my favorite beach on Bonaire with picturesque white sand and crystal clear water, perfect for a swim and a snorkel. The short and long routes through the National Park are narrow, bumpy one way roads. Don’t expect to get anywhere quickly. You are on island time now. 

The Main Event – stops along the way: The nature and Beaches of Washington Slagbaai National Park

The first stop on the long route, Playa Chikitu, is not a swimming beach due to dangerous currents. We sometimes bring a couple large plastic bags and do some beach clean-up on this beach. Large quantities of plastic bottles, shoes and other debris wash ashore here every day. You don’t find debris like this on other Bonaire beaches or anywhere else in the National Park. However, Playa Chikitu offers spectacular fine white sand and small grassy dunes. We consider it a must see beach. (see the photo below). Kids love it for playing in the sand and adults love it for gorgeous views and salty, windy breezes. At the next exit on the long road, Boca Chikitu, stop to watch the waves crash on the shore.

Playa Chikitu Washington Slagbaai National Park

Continue along the “long” coastal route to explore beach after beach. Stunning panorama after panorama. After Boca Chikitu you come upon Suplado Blow Hole. The photo at the top of this blog post shows some scenery along the road near the blow hole. Spectacular!

The national park is yours to explore. Each exit on the itinerary, however, takes some driving time. It may take a few trips before you actually experience all of them. So in terms of not to miss beaches on Bonaire I will go with Wayaka II. 

My favorite beach is Wayaka II pictured below

wayaka II beach Bonaire the best beach on Bonaire

Another favorite is the beach near Boca Slagbaai pictured below

boca slagbaai beach national park bonaire

Both Boca Slagbaai and Wayaka II are accessible on the short route as well. Try the short route If you ONLY want to visit these two beaches or if you want to do a combination of a hike up Mt. Brandaris and then go to these two beaches. Of course there are other sites to see along both routes. You will be astounded by the flora and fauna. Parrots, flamingos, parakeets, iguanas and many other species of birds and reptiles are found in Bonaire’s Washington Slagbaai. The beaches inside the park are an important nesting ground for all four species of sea turtles found in the Caribbean. 

What to bring:

What to bring to the park for the day? Swimming and snorkel gear, beach towels, beach chairs if you have them, lots of water, picnic lunch. If you plan to hike up Brandaris you should bring a small backpack to carry your water since some of the climb is hand over foot. If you plan to hike wear sneakers with grip or hiking shoes. Flip flops really aren’t appropriate for hiking as there is an abundance of cacti and rough, hilly terrain. We recommend snorkeling with a rash guard rather than slathering on sunscreen. This helps protect the reef. 

And lastly your phone probably won’t get a signal but you will definitely want it for photos! 

Have a wonderful (day)trip in Washington Slagbaai National Park!

What’s On: Bonaire Christmas Shopping Night

Bonaire Christmas shopping night

Bonaire Christmas Shopping Night

Get together with friends and family for a fun night of shopping and live music on Kaya Grandi. On Saturday December 21st the annual Bonaire Christmas Shopping Night takes place. The street will be closed to cars so that everyone can enjoy traffic free streets while they shop.

  • Date: Saturday December 21st
  • Time: Shopping 6-9pm on Kaya Grandi. Live music and entertainment 8-11pm in Wilhelmina Park, Pictures with Santa Claus 6-9pm
  • Location: Kaya Grandi and Wilhelmina Park in the center of Kralendijk
  • Organizers: TCB Tourism Corporation Bonaire and SKAL
  • Tourists and locals will be there. Santa Claus too!
Watch for stands selling delicious traditional Christmas food including ayaka and oliebollen. Additionally expect to find arts and crafts and gifts from Marshe di Playa and Bonaire Art and Crafts Association.

At 7pm the “elderly parade” marches through Kaya Grandi. After that line up to take pictures with Santa Claus. He visits Wilhelmina Park between 6 and 9pm.

After you finish your Christmas shopping night come gather at Wilhelmina Park for the Fiesta di Bari starting at 8pm.

Tourism Corporation Bonaire invites all locals and visitors to come enjoy this event and celebrate this festive time of year.


 

The Frans Paradise Windsurf school and shop

The Frans Paradise Windsurf school and shop

The Frans Paradise Windsurf school and shop now open!

Local windsurf superstar brothers Taty and Tonky Frans opened the doors to their own windsurf shop on December 30th 2018. The Frans Paradise offers expert lessons taught by the pros as well as high quality rental equipment for windsurfing and wind foiling. The opening of The Frans Paradise marks Bonaire’s fourth ever windsurf shop.

For windsurfers returning to Bonaire year after year the opening of the Frans Paradise brings big news! Things on Bonaire move on island time so the opening of TWO new windsurf operations in just a couple of years means surprisingly big change for this little island. For about 25 years only two windsurf shops competed for windsurf rentals and lessons. Now with the opening of Dunkerbeck pro center last year and the Frans Paradise right afterwards, sailors can experience a different kind of rental and lesson experience.

A little history of Windsurfing on Bonaire

In 1988, Ernst van Vliet brought his car loaded with windsurf rental gear to a stretch of beach on Lac Bay Bonaire – a little known spot. The island, known only for scuba diving at the time, didn’t know what had hit it. Jibe City, the first windsurf rental shop and school was launched. Within a few years Bonaire Windsurf Place opened it’s doors next door. Not until about 29 years later did a 3rd shop open – this time a small windsurf center at Sorobon Beach Resort, Dunkerbeck Pro Center. And now, 30 years after windsurfing came to Bonaire and 23 years after they began windsurfing, Taty and Tonky’s Frans Paradise opened it’s doors.

The Frans brothers, truly Bonairian legends, now share their talent and knowledge with us mere mortals. The two learned about windsurfing from Elvis Martinus, the founder of Bonaire Windsurf Place starting back in about 1995. They started competing in 1996. By 2001 competing internationally, the boys gained recognition overseas where the talent from our little island surprised everyone. Additionally, Tonky and Taty are in part responsible the sport becoming more dynamic and exciting to watch. Because of them, the sport moved from old school to new school windsurfing with the advent of jumps, spins and sliding moves. Years of dedication and hard work has taken them all over the world to compete and made them and the island of Bonaire famous for windsurfing. Now they are ready to share their hard-won talent, skills and love of the sport with you and me.

Location

Tonky and Taty run The Frans Paradise out of a brightly painted container located near the event site on Lac Bay, Sorobon Beach. To find them drive or walk past Bonaire Windsurf Place and look for their little shop along the beach as you approach the event site, not far from the fishing boats. All four windsurf shops on Bonaire are located on the same stretch of Beach at Sorobon. The four schools include Jibe City, Bonaire Windsurf Place, Dunkerbeck Pro Center and The Frans Paradise.

Why rent from Frans Paradise? Here is what guests are saying:

“First time foiling for my boys at the Frans Paradise last week — got a taste of flying!! Thanks Taty and Tonky!!

“What a perfect spot to chill and windsurf! And Tonky and Taty are the BEST. All smiles, not intimidating, and full support for all your windsurfing goals!”

“Taty is the best windsurf instructor I know, patient, respectful, super friendly and a very good teacher!”

“In my opinion The Frans Paradise has the best spot in the bay. it is downwind from the crowds and gets cleaner air. there is both shallow and deep water within steps of the shore. great spot for beginners and freestyle riders in the shallow water, but also great for foiling and practicing water starts in the deeper water. On the day I was there the deep water was the smoothest in the whole bay and I could really work on my jibes. The Frans brothers really have a choice spot and I will be sailing with them next time I am on the island.”

And here is what WE think about Frans Paradise

Expect a different experience at Frans Paradise than at any other shop on Lac Bay. In addition to their worldwide fame and windsurf achievements, Tonky and Taty have the most relaxed, inclusive and supportive attitudes. They want you to learn and they want you to have fun. They both spend time on the water every day because they love the sport. You get to rent great gear and support this wonderful new local business run by two truly top class guys. Their smiles are contagious. What more could you ask for on your windsurf holiday?

Tonky and Taty Frans in Bonaire

What’s new at Frans Paradise?

New Gear! In December 2019 Frans Paradise brought in all new Tabou Boards and Gaastra Sails, booms and masts.

Rental and Lesson Rates

Rentals

  • windsurf rental:  one hour $35, two hours $60 , one day $75, one week $425
  • foil rental without sail: one hour $50, Two hours $80, Full day $100, weekly $400
  • foil rental with sail: one hour $70, two hours $100, full day $150, weekly $700
  • slalom rental: one hour $50, two hours $75, full day $100, weekly $550

Lessons

  • Beginner windsurf lesson $50 including equipment; gear rental after your lesson is $30/hour or $45 for two hours
  • Intermediate windsurf lesson $75 including equipment
  • Foil lesson $125 including equipment
  • Private windsurf lesson $110 including equipment

Find them on Facebook or give them a call for reservations at +599 785-0514

A Recommended Day Trip on Bonaire – Woodwind Bonaire Drift Snorkel

A Recommended Day Trip on Bonaire – Woodwind Bonaire Drift Snorkel

An Amazing Day Trip – Woodwind Bonaire

When guests ask us about snorkeling recommendations, the Woodwind Bonaire always comes to mind first and foremost! A snorkel trip on the Woodwind is one of the best ways to spend a day and truly experience Bonaire. Sea and water lovers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the pristine underwater aquarium which we lovingly know as The Bonaire National Marine Park. The BNMPencompasses all water surrounding the island. The Woodwind, a tri-hull catamaran, accommodates about 25 guests. The vessel itself, replaced in 2018 with a larger and more modern boat also replaced it’s iconic bright blue color for a sleek white.

What to expect on your Woodwind Bonaire adventure

Each day, the crew sails guests out from the dock at Divi Flamingo Hotel toward the small uninhabited island Klein Bonaire for drift snorkeling. Snorkelers begin to drift at the first location off the coast of Klein Bonaire. Once drifting, they meet up with the boat at the next location. The boat sails to it’s next mooring while the snorkelers drift, guided by an experienced free-diving tour guide. You can choose to drift two or three times, depending on the tour. Some guests prefer to remain on board to relax in the sun. Enjoy your day whether in or out of the water.

The Woodwind’s Knowledgable and Fun Crew

Dee, the owner, and her captain and crew provide everything you could possibly ask for. They fit you with all snorkel gear including prescription masks if needed. Choose to try a full face mask with built-in snorkel, the newest gadget in the world of snorkeling. The crew also fits you with fins of all sizes, sea skins, wetsuits, booties and swim vests.

The tour begins with top-notch instruction on how to snorkel comfortably and safely including proper fitting of your mask, snorkel and other gear. Experts on everything underwater and the Bonaire marine park in general, the crew guide you with as much or as little information as you wish on marine biology and the ecosystem of the reef. Once comfortably outfitted with mask, snorkel and all other gear, the fun begins! Snorkelers slowly enter the water, divided into small, guided groups to begin the drift. Your guide will dive deep to point out sea life including turtles, parrot fish, lobster, barracudas, coral, etc. Your guides are expert both at spotting turtles and keeping you safe and comfortable while you drift. They also make sure you are well hydrated and well fed while on-board.

The rescue trained crew genuinely care about the marine life they are lucky enough to get to share with their guests on a daily basis. The crew assists you with the technicalities of the snorkel itself as well as information about underwater life.

After your snorkel lunch is served, dessert is served, drinks are served… And then it’s back to the Divi Flamingo for goodbye’s and plans to do it again next time.

Types of cruises, rates and schedule

Choose between sunset sails, lunch and dinner sails, three and four stop sails, etc.  Drinks are unlimited, lunch is served. Additionally a photographer will be on board so your experience on the Woodwind can be captured with photographs or a video.

Full Day (5 hours)–$65.00

  • Sundays 9am – 2pm
  • Tuesdays 9am – 2pm
  • Wednesdays 10am – 3pm

3/4 Day (4 hours)–$55.00

  • Mondays 9am – 1pm
  • Thursdays 9am-1pm
  • Fridays 9am-1pm

Snorkel Sunsets–$60.00

  • Fridays 3:30pm until the sun sets
  • The Snorkel Sunset Cruise can be arranged for other nights upon request and availability.

Night Snorkels–$60.00

  • Inquire when on Bonaire for availability.

Woodwind Bonaire Tips

One useful tip is to watch the schedule for cruise ship days/hours and book your trip on the Woodwind in advance to avoid the big crowds. And a tip about tips – the Woodwind crew appreciate your tip at the end of another fabulous day on the water.

Whats on Bonaire: The last Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019

Whats on Bonaire: The last Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019

Come watch or join in for some Beach Tennis Tournament fun!

The final ranking Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019 takes place the weekend of December 14th and 15th 2019 at Spice Beach Club. The tournament can fill up fast so register early. Anyone can participate and all are welcome!

  • What: The final Doubles Beach Tennis Tournament of 2019
  • Who: Everyone is welcome to play at all levels. Sign up for your correct level: Fun, Intermediate or Advanced
  • Mens doubles Saturday December 14th.
  • Women’s doubles Saturday December 14th
  • Mixed doubles Sunday December 15th
  • Registration fee: $15 for one day, $25 for both days
  • How: sign up here

If you don’t feel ready for a tournament yet, come watch and support the athletes! Main sponsors of the event include Amstel Bright, La Terrazza Food and Wine, It Rains Fishes Restaurant, and Luciano Ice Cream Factory.

Not ready to compete?

Or if you haven’t yet done so, give Beach Tennis a try. It’s not complicated to learn and lots of fun. And what a wonderful way to combine some physical activity with your beach vacation. The courts at Coco Beach stay open all day until 9pm and are open to the public free of charge. Racquets and balls are available at Coco Beach to borrow or you can purchase a racquet through Beach Tennis Bonaire’s website. Courts stay open all week but Wednesdays are generally reserved for League Play.

If you’re new to the game, try Beach Tennis Bonaire’s organized training sessions. Join trainer Paco every Thursday night from 7 – 8 pm for a Fun training and from 8 – 9 pm for Intermediate training. Lessons cost $5 each week.

By the way, Beach Tennis Bonaire just turned the big FIVE. That’s right. The first Bonaire Beach Tennis tournament took place in November 2014. Here is a little look back on that historic moment!

First Beach Tennis Bonaire from stills ‘n’ stories on Vimeo.


 

What’s On At The Cinema Bonaire

What’s On At The Cinema Bonaire

What’s on at the Cinema Bonaire?

Empire Cinema Bonaire, our, our one and only movie theater- of course 100% outdoors – offers the following films for the week of November 28th to December 4th.

Learn more here about why we LOVE Empire Cinema Bonaire. And get some tips about your trip to the movies during your next visit to the island.

To make a reservation at Empire Cinema click here

This week’s schedule November 28th to December 4th

Ford Vs. Ferrari: 

  • Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon
  • Thursday Nov 28th 8:15pm
  • Sun December 1st 8:15pm
  • Mon December 2nd 8:15pm
  • Tue December 3rd 8:15pm
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: action
  • Run time: 2 hrs 32 min
  • English version with Dutch subtitles
  • Tickets: $ 12

Frozen II English version

  • Veteran voice cast Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Ciarán Hinds return as their previous characters, and are joined by newcomers Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.
  • Friday November 29th 6:15pm
  • Saturday November 30th 6:15pm
  • Wednesday December 4th 6:15pm
  • Rating: PG13
  • English 3D version
  • kids $ 9  Adult $ 11

 

Frozen II DUTCH version

  • Saturday November 30th 2:00pm (sold out)
  • Sunday December 1st 4:00pm
  • Wednesday December 4th 4:00pm
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Disney Animation
  • Run time: 1 hr 43min
  • DUTCH version
  • Tickets 2D: kids $ 8  Adults $ 9

Last Christmas

  • Starring: Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding
  • Thursday Nov 28th 6:15pm
  • Sun December 1st 6:15pm
  • Mon December 2nd 6:15pm
  • Tue December 3rd 6:15pm
  • Friday November 29th 8:15pm
  • Saturday November 30th 8:15pm
  • Wednesday December 4th 8:15pm
  • Rating: PG13
  • Genres: romance, comedy
  • Run time: 1 hr 43 min
  • English version with Dutch subtitles
  • Tickets: $ 9

Addams Family DUTCH version

  • Saturday November 30th 4:00pm
  • Sunday December 1st 2:00pm
  • Wednesday December 4th 2:00pm
  • Rating: G
  • Genres: animated, family comedy
  • Run time: 1 hr 27 min
  • Tickets: kids $ 8  Adults $ 9

Best Local Food: Maiky Snack

Best Local Food: Maiky Snack

Best Local Food: Maiky Snack

As you pass through the gate into the parking lot at Maiky Snack the first thing you notice is a big concrete sign painted with the words “Best Local Food.” The owner, Maiky, after all just wants you to know the truth! Indeed, we concur with Maiky. His snack restaurant has the best local food on the island. We don’t really agree with the word snack, though. What you are about to enjoy is a meal.

When to go

Plan ahead because Maiky Snack only opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11:30 – 3:30. Because of the short span of opening hours Maiky Snack fills up quickly with locals on their lunch breaks and tourists in the know. By all means get there on the early side for the best selection. We love the traditional goat stew, or cabritu stoba. If you get there too late you might miss out on trying it!

Location and getting there

To get to the best local food you have to really want it! Located on an out of the way winding dirt road you can expect some searching and maybe some confusion. But all this only adds to the charm, fun and flavor. Tourists seem to take pride in just having found it!

Directions to Maiky Snack: Take Kaminda Sorobon from the traffic circle near Van Den Tweel Supermarket and continue on towards Lac Bay, passing Liangxiang Supermarket on your left. Not far after the supermarket make a soft left onto a wide dirt road marked by a huge billboard for Maiky Snack. Now it becomes tricky so pay close attention. You need to turn left at the blue rocks somewhere down that road. The rocks are small, not marked by any sign, on the ground and usually pretty faded. Once you turn left onto the unmarked road, Maiky is about a quarter mile ahead on your right. You’ll see the big Best Local Food sign. You made it!

Ordering

Order at the counter upon arrival and the staff alert you when it’s ready. Expect a good, island time kind of wait. So what to order? This is THE place to try goat stew, kabritu stoba. The word stoba means stew in Papiamento. It comes with a few sides of your choice. You may find papaya stoba on the menu which sounds vegetarian but it’s actually another version of goat stew, this time mixed with green papaya (not sweet). Snijboonchi stoba, bean stew likewise, is also not vegetarian; it’s a stew of  green beans with goat. Our personal favorite, the traditional kabritu stoba and a mix of the funchi, corn meal similar to polenta, never disappoints.

On Sundays you can choose between funchi and tutu. We go with the tutu every time. Tutu and funchi share similar ingredients but tutu contains black beans and sugar. We LOVE tutu. Aros, white rice and batata, thick cut fried potatoes, are also side options and all dishes come served with a couple of fried plantains and a small lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad. On your table you’ll find a couple types of hot sauce or salsa to add to your meal. Be careful – they can be quite spicy! Like we said earlier, Maiky serves a meal, not a snack. Expect to leave feeling happily full and satisfied.

Drinks

For drinks they serve up your choice of soft drinks, Polar, the local(ish) beer or Heineken in bottles. You can ask for a pitcher of water if you prefer. Tap water on Bonaire is safe to drink and delicious. Your very casual table awaits you in the shade of a rustic, almost camp style dining area. With the breeze and casual atmosphere you couldn’t ask for a more relaxing lunch. Maiky Snack does not offer dessert or coffee. This place is all about the goat. Interestingly and for some, disturbingly, goats (and sometimes cats, chickens and iguanas and donkeys) wander freely around the parking lot and yard while you eat. Farm to table, shall we say? We love it.

Expect to pay about $13 – $16 per person.

Insider tip: get there early as they can and do run out of food by the afternoon.

A real off-the-beaten-path Bonaire experience

The hours of operation, difficulty in finding it, (turn left at the big billboard sign and then left again at the almost impossible to see blue rocks), the menu in Papiamento scribbled on the blackboard all add up to a memorable off-the-beaten-path kind of day. And, add to that the unusual cuisine itself – goat stew, blood sausage, tutu anyone? It all really does add up to the “Best Local Food” on Bonaire. Add Maiky Snack to your Bonaire bucket list.

P.S. It’s really, really local. Most days owner Maiky himself is there taking orders and working the grill.  The goat doesn’t come from very far away either… An island favorite for a reason.

 

Things to do: The Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire

Things to do: The Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire

Things to do: The Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire

From the beginning the idea of going to look at some donkeys while on a tropical island never sat right so it took me a while to finally visit The Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. But after we finally made it there our family “adopted” a donkey and continued to visit often, always searching for our donkey among the crowd.

A couple of hours at the Donkey Sanctuary make for a wonderful, unusual but relaxing excursion in the middle of nature. Take a tour of the donkey sanctuary and you won’t be disappointed. Kids love it! In a peaceful setting which feels a bit like being on safari, the sanctuary provides some sanctuary for us humans too. A great way to spend a peaceful afternoon. To tour the donkey sanctuary follow the only road around the park in your car, stopping to get out anywhere along the way to visit with the animals.

A little History

Donkeys have long been a fixture of the scenery of Bonaire. Just a few short years ago hundreds roamed the streets freely. Many fewer now roam the streets freely thanks to the sanctuary. But as of this writing the island government does not plan to completely eliminate donkeys from the landscape. Consequently many donkeys live at the sanctuary and a few live out and about just roaming the island. The Donkey Sanctuary houses over 400 donkeys. We don’t know the number of donkeys on the streets of the island.

In 1993 Dutch Nationals, Marina Melis and her husband Ed Koopman, established the donkey sanctuary on Bonaire to cure for sick, wounded and orphaned donkeys. The sanctuary was located on land bordering the airport. When the island became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010 the Sanctuary was forced to move and give up some of it’s land because by European law it was too close to the airport runway. Some of the land remained theirs and the entrance area and gift shop moved to a completely new spot. The entrance and gift shop are now located on the road to Sorobon, Kaya Statius Van Eps.

The sanctuary now houses most of the donkey population of Bonaire. Males are castrated to keep the population down. Sick animals are cared for and any animal that enters lives out it’s life in the sanctuary. When a donkey cannot be cured they are put down peacefully. The sanctuary provides an amazing service and for a wonderful cause. It saves the lives of donkeys and also of people because fewer donkeys on the road mean fewer car accidents. Your visit to the sanctuary helps pay for the care of these animals.

Your tour of the Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire would go something like this

  1. Arrive
  2. pay your entrance fee at the shop
  3. Check out the fun products for sale at the shop
  4. Buy a bag of carrots or two or three to feed the donkeys
  5. Drive in the main gate past the gift shop. First stop visit the young, new, or injured donkeys that are corralled near the entrance to the park. See the photo above. Usually one of the volunteers can tell you their history. You probably stay in this area for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on your interest.
  6. Get in your car and start the drive.
  7. The first stop off is a wooden lookout structure – Climb it! From the top you have a wonderful open view of the park itself and some wonderful island views. There’s even a camera up top where you can deposit a quarter to get an even more panoramic view. This stop could be your first encounter with some donkeys to feed.
  8. Feed some donkeys. Using the carrots you bought at the entrance hold the carrots in your hand with your fingers together and palm flat. Do not let the carrots fall to the ground as the donkeys should not eat dirt and they will eat the carrots off the ground if you allow them to fall.
  9. Keep circling around the road and encounter more donkeys. And more donkeys. And more donkeys. Feeding stations along the way mark the route. A larger feeding station where the animals get their feed twice a day can be a crazy crowded place. Once or twice I’ve been there with no donkeys anywhere but in the large feeding area. They know when it”s mealtime!
  10. Drive back out through the gate and get one more chance to stop at the gift shop.

You contribute just by visiting

You can help the donkey sanctuary continue their important work saving the animals just by visiting, but you can also volunteer your time, or “adopt” a donkey for a year with a larger donation. Easy to get to and very accessible just off the main road to Sorobon, Kaya Statius Van Eps, The Donkey Sanctuary offers a fun half day excursion and your visit contributes to the well-being of the animals.

The Best Hiking Trail on Bonaire: Mt. Brandaris

The Best Hiking Trail on Bonaire: Mt. Brandaris

The best hiking trail on Bonaire

In our opinion the best hiking trail on Bonaire is the hike up Mt. Brandaris inside the National Park.

For adventurous guests looking for some real exercise in the middle of nature we have just the thing for you! Take a drive into the Washington Slagbaai National Park and climb Mt. Brandaris, the highest peak on the island of Bonaire. It’s a difficult, yet not so difficult climb. That is to say the peak is at only 784 feet and only takes about a half hour to reach. But, the climb is steep in places and best done by those that are are moderately fit and not too too scared of heights. The views from the top and along the way make it worth the effort. Do not expect guard rails, well marked trails or handholding. Do expect a steep, hand over foot four limbed climb as you near the summit. Just a few faded yellow dots painted onto rocks mark the way. Rocks can slip out from under you. Do not expect a crowd. Expect an adventure!

Tips:

  • Park rules indicate you must reach the start of the hike by 12 noon so get an early start.
  • Bring plenty of water and if possible it should be in a backpack, not hand-held. You need your hands free for climbing near the summit
  • Wear a sun visor and sunglasses
  • Wear sneakers or hiking shoes but not flip flops or sandals
  • Exiting the park you have quite a long rough road ahead of you. Leave enough time for a stop at Wayaka II beach on the way out and enjoy the island’s most beautiful, isolated spot to cool off after your hike
  • Bring snacks and/or picnic lunch

Keep in mind if you plan to visit the park’s other beaches by driving the long route inside the National Park – that should probably be saved for a separate day trip. It costs $25 to enter the national park no matter how many times you go in one year, so if you do the “long route”, consider doing the hike as well a different day to get the most bang for your buck. The Mount Brandaris hiking trail is located on the other route, known as the “short route.”

At the entrance to the National Park you will be greeted by the park service ranger where you will show or buy your admission pass. They can answer your questions about getting to Mt. Brandaris. The one-way rocky roads are abundant with nature; lizards, cacti, flowers, goats, iguanas, birds such as green parrots. The view from the summit is unlike anything else on Bonaire. Stunning!

Wine Tasting on Bonaire; Antillean Wine Company and Wine & Paint Night

Wine Tasting on Bonaire; Antillean Wine Company and Wine & Paint Night

Weekly and monthly Wine tasting events on Bonaire

Wine tasting on Bonaire, what a wonderful way to meet the locals! In addition to beaches, diving and windsurfing we find it so much fun to see what people living on Bonaire are up to in the evenings. These events are for everyone, tourists and locals.

Two recurring events not to miss if you are on the island the second Saturday of the month at Antillean Wine Company or each week Wednesday at Eddy’s Bar

Antillean Wine Company
  • The next wine tasting takes place Saturday December 14th 2019 7-9pm
  • and then 7pm – 9pm every second Saturday the month

Every second Saturday of the month locals and tourists meet up at an unexpected little wine tasting event. Unexpected because it takes place in a self storage facility. Antillean Wine Company (AWC) located across the street from Warehouse Bonaire Supermarket at Kaya Industria 23, literally in a self storage facility and literally on a street called Industrial Street – hosts this cheerful monthly meet-up. Other unexpected things about this wine company in a storage facility is that they have more or less the widest selection of imported wines anywhere on the island and they also sell refrigerators, lamps, rugs and Ikea products.

For $15 you get three glasses of white wine and three glasses of red wine. And you get some lively conversation to go along with it! This event can be quite popular so get there early to claim your seat. Because of the popularity of this event the hosts recommend bringing your own chairs.

Wine and Paint Night with Studio Sauvignon at Eddy’s Bar

For something with a little more going on than just wine, try combining wine and art! Get your creative juices flowing at Wine and Paint Night with Studio Sauvignon at Eddy’s Bar

You’ll find Eddy’s north of Kralendijk near Sand Dollar Resort. Make your reservation now!

  • The next Wine and paint night takes place Wednesday, November 27th 7-9pm
  • Dec 4th 7-9pm
  • Dec 11th 7-9pm
  • December 18th 7-9pm
  • December 25th (we are not sure if this is correct but it’s listed on their calendar.)

Studio Sauvignon will give you step by step guided painting lessons no matter what your level. Group lessons at Eddy’s also include two glasses of wine. Pick your favorite and fill your glass before sitting down at your canvas to get painting.

The cost is $39 including painting lesson, all materials and two glasses of wine.

To reserve your canvas contact Studio Sauvignon on their website. Limited spaces available. Studio Sauvignon also offers private paint lessons at birthday parties, fundraisers, get-togethers, company parties, reunions, kid’s parties and any other celebration you have in mind. Contact them for details.