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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The 42nd International Sailing Regatta of Bonaire Begins This Sunday, October 4th, 2009

The island is gearing up to celebrate the 42nd edition of the International Sailing Regatta of Bonaire. Preparations for this popular annual event are in full swing. 

The Bonaire Regatta is a sailing event with many races along the rugged coast of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. All kinds of boats, hailing from all over the world, participate in this sailing competition. Added to this are windsurfing and freestyle competitions. Daily races in various categories are scheduled during the day; the evenings are filled with a variety of cultural and folkloric shows and band performances. The races are held close to the shore so spectators can easily follow them.

The Bonaire Regatta Festival takes place on the Boulevard and on the streets of Kralendijk. Stands with local “criollo” food, souvenirs, and handicrafts attract locals as well as visitors, as they throng the normally quiet avenues during Regatta time. International and local bands perform on stage every day of this festive week.

The week will start off with a bang with the Jong Bonaire Swim to Klein Bonaire on Sunday morning, October 4th.  Sunday night, enjoy the Parade of Nations, or even join in!  Monday the sailing begins in earnest as everyone hopes for kind winds. 

A full calendar of events is available on-line by clicking here(Source:  Bonaire Regatta Web Site)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 30, 2009 at 11:31am AST
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Next CIEE Lecture Presents Bruce Bowker Speaking on Diving Buoyancy Skills

The CIEE Research Station Bonaire is pleased to invite interested participants to a presentation on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 7:00 PM.  Bruce Bowker of the Carib Inn will speak on “Advanced Buoyancy.”

Bruce has over twenty years of experience and knowledge gained from owning a small resort and diving facility, and he was one of the original proponents of the Bonaire Buoyancy Clinics that were held some years ago for any diver interested in advancing their buoyancy skills.  These clinics provided a basis for many of the continuing education classes now offered by official training agencies to divers to improve buoyancy.

Anyone who has an interest in improving their own skills is invited to the free lecture.  It will be held at the CIEE lecture hall at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26.  There’s no need to bring anything other than yourself! (Source:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 29, 2009 at 3:52pm AST
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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Wounded Warriors Receive Their Diving Certifications

As was announced in a prior posting, the island of Bonaire is hosting severely injured members of the U.S. military, while they complete their final open-water dives.

The men, their significant others, and instructors arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning on the Continental Airlines flight from Houston.  Although a bit travel-weary, everyone jumped right into action with their first two open-water training dives.  That evening, everyone still had enough energy to enjoy a pizza party, compliments of Caribbean Travel & Life/Destination Weddings & Honeymoons/Islands/Sport Diver Magazines.

The Bonaire Insider caught up with these fine men on Sunday afternoon while they were lunching at Rum Runners Restaurant located at Captain Don’s Habitat, their host hotel for accommodations and diving, as they were preparing to make their fourth and final dive to complete the PADI Open Water Diver course and HSA certification.  Wives and significant others of three of the men are accompanying them, and the guys and gals were enthusiastic and eager to hit the water.  All we saw were smiling faces both going in and coming out after the dive.  These men, highly trained members of Special Forces groups, took to their dive training like ducks to water.  The buoyancy and skills they exhibited with just basic training illustrate the high degree of accomplishment to which these men are accustomed.  Sunday evening everyone piled in the bus and transferred to Paradise Moon Bar & Restaurant for dinner, provided by Oceanic and AERIS.

This morning, Monday, dawned with rain, as a thunderstorm passed over Bonaire.  However, the group didn’t let the rain put a damper on their activities, as they made off for a boat dive at 11:00 AM.  Tonight they will enjoy a cocktail party at the resort, prior to a BBQ dinner compliments of BonaireTalk.com.  We’ll check back with these folks on Wednesday, as they meet Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Thode.

Enjoying Bonaire’s hospitality are Erik Burmeister, Justin Eldridge, Mario Barragan, Luis and Katherine Morales, Juan Carlos Valentine Rivera and Amy Eileen Thorton, and Christopher Lee Tonsmeire and Elise Margaret Christopher.  View images as they prepare for their final certification dive on the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery by clicking here. (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 28, 2009 at 4:52pm AST
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Possible Lionfish Sighting on Bonaire

Readers of the Bonaire Insider are well acquainted from prior postings with the impending lionfish invasion into the southern Caribbean.  It appears that now there has been a possible sighting on Bonaire.

Last week the Bonaire Marine Park received the first report of a lionfish sighting on Bonaire. Marine park staff spent several hours diving in the reported area, but could not confirm the sighting.  The report indicated that a juvenile lionfish was spotted at Keepsake at Klein Bonaire 6 to 10 meters (20 to 33 feet) west of the mooring at a depth of approximately 12 to 15 meters (40 to 50 feet). 

If divers spot any lionfish in any location, please inform the Bonaire Marine Park (telephone: 717-8444) as soon as possible, and specify the date the fish was seen, the dive site and the distance from the mooring in meters or minutes diving, the depth at which the fish was spotted, the approximate size, as well as any specific reef references that can help to locate it.  (Source:  Bonaire National Marine Park)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 24, 2009 at 11:21am AST
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New Traffic Rules for Bonaire’s Rotaries

Since June, the island has been diligently preparing a new traffic rotary at the intersection of Kaya Internashonal and Kaya Industria, which traditionally has been an intersection causing many traffic accidents.  It’s hoped that the new rotary will alleviate the problematic intersection, and the rotary is scheduled to open later this afternoon. 

The Island Government has issued a statement that all drivers need to note:  With the opening of the new traffic rotary, the rules governing right of way for Bonaire’s rotaries will change and will now comply with international rules for such rotaries.  Drivers are cautioned to carefully note the street signs and also the signs on the road itself to comply with the changing rules.  Basically, the traffic that is in the rotary has right of way, while those entering should yield to traffic in the rotary.

It should also be noted that these rules will also apply to the the traffic rotary located on the northern hotel row, at the intersection of Kaya Amsterdam and Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot.  Since this is a change to past right of way rules, initially caution should be used at this location.

At the end of January, 2010, work will begin on the third rotary at the intersection of Kaya Emerenciana, Kaya Nikiboko Sùit, and Kaya International.  (Source:  Island Government)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 24, 2009 at 7:37am AST
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Can Bonaire’s Reefs Resist A Warming World?

The Bonaire Insider has, in recent years, run stories about the warming temperatures in the Caribbean region and how they can affect Bonaire’s reefs.  Recently, we came across an article which puts it succinctly:  Bonaire’s reef CAN recover, but help is needed now.

An interesting article by Richard Harris, entitled, “Can Corals Survive in a Warming World?” is available on line at NPR News by clicking here.  The article points out the difference in a reef’s resilience between that of one without much human stress (with a location far away from humans), compared to one which must exist in close proximity to humans, such as the reef in front of populated resort areas.

It’s not just added stress from divers, although there certainly is an impact from diving activities, but the article points out that it’s the human activities on shore which can ultimately effect the nearby reef.

We recommend anyone interested in reef ecology and preservation to click on the link above to view the story.  Or listen to the eight-minute podcast available at the same location.

View other recent stories on the Bonaire Insider regarding this issue by clicking here or here(Source:  NPR News)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 23, 2009 at 1:19pm AST
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Monday, September 21, 2009

BonaireWebcams.com Sports a New Weather Station Providing Detailed Information

BonaireWebcams.com has just completed installing a new weather station here on Bonaire, which provides much greater detail about what is happening on Bonaire, weather-wise, that is. 

The weather station is state-of-the-art equipment, and it’s been located on a third-floor terrace in Belnem, just south of the Flamingo International Airport.

With the new weather station coming on-line, there are now new data points for the following categories, with updates each minute:  Temperature, Humidity, Wind Speed (mph), Wind Direction, Wind Chill (yes - this is important, too, sometimes!), Barometer, Total Rain for the current year (this will reset on October 1st in anticipation of the upcoming “rainy” season), Current Solar Radiation, and UV Index (for those who sunburn easily).

Anyone can view the current weather by visiting BonaireWebcams.com, or by clicking here (current weather) or here (all components of the site, you’ll need to scroll downward)(Source:  Bonaire Webcams)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 21, 2009 at 11:08am AST
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ned and Anna DeLoach to Speak on Impending Lionfish Invasion

Earlier this week, an adult lionfish was documented on Aruba.  This is the closest sighting to date for Bonaire, and demonstrates that the fish will be in Bonaire’s waters sooner than expected.  Ned and Anna DeLoach, noted underwater naturalists, are currently on Bonaire, and have offered to speak on the impending lionfish invasion.

The presentation will be on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 at 6:30 PM at the Poolbar at Buddy Dive Resort.  Ned and Anna will speak about important information about the lionfish and also how divers can assist with the containment of this invasive species.

As some background information, lionfish are considered a dangerous pest because they are not native to the Caribbean, reproduce quickly, have no natural enemies on the Caribbean reefs (except for large groupers which are practically extinct because of overfishing), and devour large amounts of small and juvenile fish dramatically reducing recruitment of new reef fish such as snappers, groupers, grunts, and parrotfish. They also have sharp, highly venomous spines that cause excruciating pain when stung, and, in exceptional cases, can even cause death in humans. Lionfish started their conquest of the Caribbean in 1992, presumably after having been released or escaped from an aquarium in Florida. First they spread northward along the coast of the United States. Ten years later, they jumped to the Bahamas, a few years later to Cuba, and, in just the past two years, spread among all the northern islands of the Caribbean and Central America. A map of their progression can be found by clicking here.

Because lionfish spread by dispersal of larvae that can travel great distances in the sea currents, and they live down to depths of 175 m (600 feet), it is practically impossible to completely eradicate them once they are established, with new larvae continuously coming in from distant locations. The only practicable response is to control their numbers by capturing them as soon as they are spotted. They are easily caught using two hand nets, and they are good to eat.

In Aruba’s situation, Byron Boekhoudt, Coastal Zone Management coordinator of Aruba, reports that on Thursday the dive shop Unique Sports on Aruba went back to the spot where a lionfish had been reported and was able to locate and capture it. People from the Aruba fisheries department (DLVV) were alerted and picked up the fish. Byron Boekhoudt will arrange to take samples of the fish for DNA analysis through the REEF organization, who are working with experts to analyze genetic material from lionfish from all over the Caribbean and Western Atlantic to establish the relationships between local populations.

The captured lionfish was estimated to measure about 20 cm (nearly 8 inches) from the tip of its mouth to the fork of its tail. It is now temporarily on display at the Buccaneer Restaurant, which kindly cooperated and provided their aquarium to keep it until everything is ready to euthanize it and prepare the DNA samples according to the protocol provided by REEF. Only four months ago REEF held a very timely workshop on Bonaire to prepare for the coming of the lionfish in the Dutch Caribbean islands.

Previous Bonaire Insider reports on this situation are available by clicking here and also here, and include a summary of Bonaire’s plan for containment of the species as well as links to other information sites.  (Source:  MINA, Buddy Dive Resort)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 19, 2009 at 7:26am AST
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Buddy Dive Resort Hosts Their Annual Planet Ocean Fest Underwater Photography Seminar

Buddy Dive Resort will once again host their Planet Ocean Fest this November/December, when noted photographers share their tips and knowledge with those wishing to improve upon their photographic skills.

This year, from November 28th until December 18th, John Wall, Manager of Buddy Dive Resort’s digital photo shop, will host the annual photo underwater photography seminar. The weekly program includes three (digital) photo classes and photo safaris (underwater). The price for this program is only $100 during this time-frame for guests of Buddy Dive Resort, Belmar Oceanfront Apartments, and Caribbean Club Bonaire.  Others who are not staying with these resorts can sign up for the cost of $225.00 per person.  For more information about the Planet Ocean Fest daily program, click here.

To make the seminar even more enticing, during the Planet Ocean Fest, participants may book a Drive & Dive package and every second diver dives for free.  The Drive & Dive package includes accommodation for 8 days (7 nights), a rental vehicle (double cabin pick-up truck or van) for 7 days, 6 boat dives, 6 days of unlimited air fills, free nitrox for those certified in its use, daily American-style breakfast buffet, a welcome drink, free “Manager’s Rum Punch Party”, airport transfer, and all government taxes.  Rates begin at $719 per person, based on six persons occupying a three-bedroom apartment.  (Source:  Buddy Dive Resort)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 18, 2009 at 1:37pm AST
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bonaire Briefs--Island News and a Look at What’s Happening

Bonaire offers something for everyone--divers, snorkelers, adventurers, families and even single sun-seekers.  Helping to make vacationing in Bonaire easy, relaxing and fun, here is some of the latest news from the island.

All Around the Island:

Bonaire Atelier Club is for artists who need set-up supplies and a place to paint.  A shaded, open-air garden atelier is available at the JanArt Gallery, located at Kaya Gloria 7.  Paint supplies are also available at the Club for a small fee for travelers who choose to leave their painting equipment at home. Easels, tables and accessories are free of charge.  Iguanas and birds sometimes model for free.  Local artist Janice Huckaby is on sight to assist in art coaching and tips upon request.  Participants may also take part in Jan’s Art Workshops designed just for the Bonaire traveler, which can be arranged for “on location” paintings, as well as at the outdoor atelier at her gallery.  These workshops range from two to three hours and a complete painting can be finished in one session.  This is a great alternate activity for people who want to add something different to their Bonaire experience.  The workshops focus upon Bonaire’s unique nature, both above and below sea level.  Phone +(599) 717-5246.

Bonaire East Coast Diving has recently increased the number of dive sites they visit on Bonaire’s east coast to a total of five.  Besides Funchie’s Reef and the White Hole, they’re also organizing trips to Black Rock, Spelonk, and Ramon’s Reef.  On each dive, it’s common to see numerous turtles, tarpon, eagle rays and stingrays, and also sharks and manta rays on occasion.  Professional crews and the custom-built Zodiac boat make the east coast accessible to all divers.  Phone +(599) 717-5211.

Bonaire Wedding Pros is a consortium of several Bonaire companies who have joined together to assist those getting married on Bonaire. The participating companies are Suze’s Wedding Planning, Philip’s Cooking, Fish Eye Photo, Barbel’s Hair and Make-up, who together will make any wedding day “a dream come true!”

Bonaire Wellness Connections launched the Bonaire Mountain Bike Holiday Package, a cycling adventure which offers the perfect opportunity to explore and see the wonders of Bonaire from a mountain bike. Participants can discover numerous single tracks which were, in the past, used by goats and donkeys.  Follow the professional guides to learn more about Bonaire’s flora, fauna, and natural history.  Additionally, BWC will hold its next mountain bike race of the 2009 season on November 1st. For the first time, this race will offer a challenging race with a lot of single-tracks and climbing, plus a technical downhill section.

Bonaire Windsurf Place announced the renovation of their website, which provides many great links that will be of interest to the Bonaire windsurfing visitor.  Enjoy the live web-cam with two lenses that changes the view every ten minutes: one 90-degree angle and one telephoto lens, which look out over Lac Bay towards the east.  Current wind, temperature and other data are also displayed.  For more information, visit www.bonairewindsurfplace.com.

Bowalie Sailing has recently expanded their sailing/snorkel charters with a boat rental option (motor boats) and a water taxi to Klein Bonaire.  All excursions and rentals leave from Plaza Resort Marina.  Phone +(599) 701-5500 or +(599) 701-3300.

Lee’s Bar announced the new Thursday “Easy Listening” night with a relaxed atmosphere and music, played at a level where conversations can be heard.  The sports/music bar features NFL and college football, soccer, Formula 1, baseball, and other sports (upon request) easily viewed on three large screens.  At Lee’s visitors can view the Rock ‘n’ Roll Wall of Fame, where nearly fifty artists of the 1950s are honored.  And for those who want their moment in the spotlight, enjoy karaoke in a variety of languages!  Phone +(599) 700-3188.

Littman’s Jewelers offers a twist on fine jewelry shopping on Bonaire.  When planning a visit to Bonaire now through September 30, 2009, be sure to pre-qualify for up to a 20% discount on select items by emailing Steve, Esther, or Adam to let them know when you are visiting.  Be sure to reference “Bonaire Briefs” in the subject line.  Then, when in the store, simply ask for one of them to receive the discount.  For more information, visit www.bonairelittmanstores.com.

The Mangrove Info Center reports that management and staff have just completed intensive training and advanced education on mangrove restoration and management policies, so as to, in turn, better educate those visiting Bonaire’s mangrove forests.  The workshop they attended focused upon such important topics such as mangrove recovery and restoration, and the information received will be incorporated into all mangrove excursions offered in Lac Bay by the center, either by kayak or solar boat.  For more information, visit www.mangrovecenter.com or phone +(599) 780-5353.

The Massage Hut at Sorobon Beach (Lac Bay) announced the addition of Just Haircuts by Desiree, one of Bonaire’s most popular stylists.  Haircuts are available Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Additionally, Desiree offers body scrubs and bath salts made from Bonaire salt, along with jewelry made from objects found on Bonaire, providing wonderful opportunities for unique gifts or souvenirs.  Of course, these new services are in addition to the massage and body scrubs currently offered by Ann Johnson, the Massage Hut’s certified massage therapist.  For more information, visit www.massagehutbonaire.com.

Ocean Adventures will be hosting Rebreather Weeks in November, 2009.  The event weeks will include airport transfers, welcome drink, one week at Casa Bonito Apartments (double occupancy including room tax), one week rental pickup truck (double cabin with air-conditioning, two persons per pickup), free Internet access, unlimited shore diving open circuit (air or nitrox) for six days, a rebreather test diving with DRAEGER FGT5400 to be used as SCR or mCCR (guided dives only), a rebreather test diving MCCR kiss style “Ladies version” with ultralight CFK tanks (guided dives only), oxygen and diluents (air) for those who are using their own rebreathers.  Phone +(599) 717-2278 or 1-305-890-1608.

Delectable Dining:

Cactus Blue Bar & Restaurant offers a signature dish of Yellow Fin Tuna, slightly blackened with Cajun seasoning, seared on both sides and served sashimi style with coconut rice, freshly sautéed market vegetables, wasabi mayonnaise, and pickled ginger.  Pair that with one of their innovative cocktails, such as the Pink Cactus, and you will find a potion full of Caribbean flavors.  Cactus Blue has live music on Monday and Wednesday evenings with the sounds of the Caribbean, starting at 7:00 PM.  For more information, visit www.cactusbluebonaire.com or phone +(599) 717-4564.

Hilltop Restaurant & Bar’s signature cocktail offers a smooth, minty concoction of tropical fruit liquors, fruit juice, with just a hint of coconut.  Sip it slowly to savor the subtle blend of flavors, while you wait for the arrival of local stoba (stew) of choice.  Choose from beef, chicken, or goat, as the Hilltop is specially known for stoba!  Each Sunday guests are treated to an expansive “all-you-can-eat” Caribbean BBQ, while those dining on Tuesdays can enjoy the sumptuous Creole buffet, highlighting a wide range of local dishes.  For more information, visit www.caribbeanclubbonaire.com or phone +(599) 717-7901.

Lion’s Den Beach Bar & Restaurant at Buddy Dive Resort offers daily drink specials to keep you cool. Stimulate your senses with their Flamingo Salsa, Minty Rum Mojito, Mango/Guava Margarita, The Green Flash, Passion Fruit Mojito, Lion Queen, or Tropical Smash.  Dine on the daily entrée specials, or enjoy a theme night such as their famous Lobster Night, Tex-Mex, Seafood Lovers, Shrimp Madness, U.S. Burgers in Paradise, Italian Pasta Combos, or Roast Beef Sundays.  Phone +(599) 700-0892.

Paradise Moon Bar & Restaurant offers wonderfully breezy, harbor-side dining with Happy Hour daily from 5 – 6:30 PM with half price drinks!  If you stay for dinner, the fresh “Catch of the Day” is always available, as is a varied vegetarian menu.  You can start the evening with a Bikini Martini, a wonderful mix of coconut rum, vodka, and pineapple Juice—just the right touch to top off a day at the beach!  Then indulge yourself in their Yummy Fish Tacos--crispy fried fish filets served with a cool and creamy avocado dressing, all wrapped up in flour tortillas and served with Caribbean rice and roasted vegetables.  For more information, visit www.paradisebonaire.com, or phone +(599) 717-5025.

Sense / Eat, Drink, Dance is one of Bonaire’s newest eateries.  You can sit al fresco while you enjoy a Raspberry Mojito, one of their great signature cocktails. The Sense “shakerboys” are on-site to master all cocktails on your wish list.  You can then feast upon tenderloin with potatoes, pumpkin, and bok choy, served with a mustard-gravy, which is sure to please the palate.  An extra bonus for Sunday diners is the live music.  Phone +(599) 717-6666.

Sunset Bar & Grill, located at Den Laman Condominiums, celebrated their first anniversary on August 1st.  With daily liquid concoction specials such as Caipirinia, Sunset King, Dushi Bonaire, Lobster on the Rocks, Swimming Pool, or Yellow Fever, there’s no wonder the bar and restaurant is a favorite with many Bonaire visitors.  After one or more relaxing drinks, pick your favorite theme night and enjoy a fabulous meal: Seafood Sensations, Caribbean Night, Lobster Night, Seaside BBQ, Italian Night, or Steak Night.  Phone +(599) 700-0892.

Patagonia Argentinean Restaurant offers great waterfront dining for lunch or dinner.  Their new chef offers stunning presentations of a multitude of steaks, rack of lamb, chicken, pasta, or fish entrées.  Sandwiches and burgers are available for lunch, as well as the extensive dinner menu.  Live music will soothe the soul on Thursday and Sunday evenings, and their “all-you-can-eat” BBQ buffets on Saturday and Tuesday evenings are popular enough to recommend an advance reservation.  The restaurant offers fair trade coffee and a stunning wine list of the finest selections from the Rutini Vineyards of Argentina. For more information, visit www.patagoniarestaurant.com or phone +(599) 717-7725.

The Poolbar Bar & Restaurant, located at Buddy Dive Resort, offers a surprising special drink when they dare to mix Gin, Malibu, and Pasoa with passion-fruit juice, and then finish it off with draft beer! You can take the challenge and try their award-winning cocktail (Balashi Beer contest, 2007).  With a brand new kitchen equipped in April with all new Rosval equipment, you’re sure to enjoy any meal, but do be sure to take the time to enjoy the Buddy Club Sandwich—with a secret twist!  For more information, visit www.buddydive.com/index.php/restaurants or phone: +(599) 701-4548.

WattaBurger offers quick, economical, and great-tasting sandwiches and local stobas (stews).  They serve all the traditional Dutch snacks, and they use only the best 100% beef for their burgers.  Choose from over fifty French breads for your sandwich, and, while you’re waiting, cool down with a refreshing vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, or banana milk shake, made the old-fashioned way!  Phone +(599) 717-3547 or fax +(599) 717-3547.

Yachtclub Restaurant Bonaire is an intimate restaurant with only seven tables and is operated directly under the watchful eyes of the two owners, Kim and Rick. They will provide you with first class cuisine and exceptional, personal service. They offer European dishes with French and Italian flavors, and also spice them up with ingredients that capture true Caribbean flavor.  You are welcome to stop by, sit back, and experience the food, the wine, and personal service.  Phone +(599)-9-517-8228.

On the Hotel Scene:

Belmar Oceanfront Apartments announces the arrival of Mauricio Gomez, who has recently joined the dive shop team.  Originally from Costa Rica, he studied Tourism & Hotel Business Management, and after finalizing his studies he decided to pursue a career in the adventure travel and diving industry. Mau has been an instructor since 1999 and is currently a Master Scuba Diver Trainer, he has had the opportunity to teach and dive not only in Costa Rica, but also the Red Sea, The Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos and now Bonaire. He has also guided hiking, mountain biking and canopy tours in several countries.  For more information, visit www.belmar-bonaire.com or phone 1-888-655-0605.

Blachi Koko Apartments introduces affordable Caribbean luxury with the new Koko House.  A new extension of the popular Blachi Koko Apartments, the Koko House is located approximately 200 yards north from the Apartments, ideally situated for easy walking into Kralendijk’s main shopping area.  The new property provides the same look and feel, giving the impression of staying in a colonial Antillean home.  Koko House can accommodate up to six persons, with a minimum six-night stay.  The house features two bedrooms with king size beds, complete with large safes, one bedroom with twin size beds (can be made into a king), ceiling fans and air conditioning in every bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher, cable TV, wireless Internet, and more. For more information, visit www.blachikokobonaire.com or call cellular phone: +(599) 786-5466 or office phone: +(599) 717-2255.

Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn boasts of a completely new and much improved pier and walkway. Made of stainless steel framing, the pier is much more environmentally friendly.  Additionally, the popular resort has finished a complete makeover of its exterior with an all new color scheme and landscaping.  Interiors have not been forgotten—guests are enjoying all new items from linens to kitchenware.  For more information, visit www.caribinn.com or phone +(599) 717-8819.

Captain Don’s Habitat’s new dive center and new airlift on Insel Air are the latest causes for celebration at the Home of Diving Freedom on Bonaire. The newly built, state-of-the-art dive operation, rental, and retail center are receiving high praises from divers. This new, larger facility also boasts more spacious and modern conference area and classrooms, furnished with upgraded audio and visual equipment, and wireless Internet service. Conveniently located next to the restaurant and bar, it is just a few steps from the dock and shore diving areas. The dive operation is a SDI/TDI Professional Development Center and a PADI, NAUI and SSI training facility.  Phone 1-800-327-6709.

Caribbean Club Bonaire’s retail store has undergone a facelift, with the end result of the addition of more products.  Also, guests can now take advantage of their kayak diving tours and even partake in a PADI Kayak Diver Specialty Certification. Kayaking paired with diving have long been known around the Caribbean as an “eco diving” activity, but it’s been popular on Bonaire for many years.  Two new instructors, Jinny and Gaylene, have joined the team.  Jinny George is an Antillean instructor who will put a smile on your face from the time you start your class to the finish! Gaylene Gomez traveled half the globe after leaving Canada, but has settled on Bonaire.  For more information, visit www.caribbeanclubbonaire.com or phone 1-800-906-7708.

Den Laman Condominiums have begun stocking their condo kitchens with a number of small, but useful, amenities including salt and pepper shakers, paper towels, dish washing liquid, coffee filters, irons and ironing boards. A common area washer and dryer have also been installed.  Den Laman features 16 modern fully air conditioned studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.  For more information, visit www.denlaman.com or phone 1-800-382-1094.

Dive Flamingo Beach Resort’s Flamingo Balashi Beach Bar is bigger and better than ever, now that it sports an expanded bar and sitting area. The bar, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea, can now seat over thirty people and includes a drink rail.  The Flamingo Balashi Beach Bar is also Bonaire’s best Happy Hour spot with two-for-one specials from 6:00 PM until 7:00 PM daily with live music.  Fridays at Balashi feature a free Flamingo Rum Smash from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.  The Flamingo Balashi Beach Bar is open daily from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM and also offers beach chair service for drinks, a light lunch, or snacks.  Additionally, renovations on twenty new studio rooms were just completed. The resort also plans a special coral spawning package for October 6-13, 2009.

Harbour Village Beach Club’s new Executive Chef & Restaurant Manager, Juan Pablo Islas, joins the culinary team at La Balandra and Kasa Coral Restaurants. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in 2001, Chef Islas honed his skills in kitchens all over the world from Le Cordon Bleu’s restaurant “Signatures” on board the RSSC Mariner to French Bistro JLX in Sag Harbour, NY to Ocean Bar and Grill in Budapest and the Sivory in Punta Cana.  Phone +(599) 717-7500 or 1-800-424-0004.

Hotel Roomer continues with property upgrades and have just completed an extensive renovation of the hotel’s pool and cabana area.  For more information, visit www.roomerbonaire.com, phone +(599) 717-7488, or fax +(599) 717-7412.

Outdoor Bonaire is in the final stages of completion for their new eco-bush-lodge, Rancho San Minguel, and should be operational by early 2010.  The lodge will provide a place to stay fifteen minutes from town, but which will seem to be of another world.  The lodge is actually a restored horse stable, mostly made out of wood and local stones, in an agricultural and natural location.  This will be an ideal place for those wishing for peace and tranquility.  Great walks can be made in the direct vicinity, as well as to the wild east coast. A variety of birds and other interesting wild life can be seen in the area.  Phone +(599) 791-6272.

Perla Boneriano is a brand new dive resort, consisting of seven luxurious Caribbean-style villas, divided into 12 apartments. All the villas are situated around a beautiful pool and lush garden and are within easy walking distance of the Caribbean Sea. Four of the villas are already finished and the other units will be available soon. All the villas of Perla Boneriano have several ecological features: solar hot water panels, LED-lights for the pool, solar-powered evening lights, and septic tanks for re-usable water for the garden. For those looking for a vacation without the crowds of large resorts, Perla Boneriano offers luxury, privacy, and quality.  Phone +(599) 717-6955.

RE/MAX Paradise Homes’ rental department highlights several upgrades and renovations to the properties which they manage.  Hamlet Villa 10 has been renovated and has been re-opened for vacation rentals.  It sports a modern kitchen, beautiful tiling on the floors, new windows and doors with extra security and complete new furniture. Next door is Hamlet Villa 9 which has also recently been renovated, plans to make ongoing upgrades as well. Together these two villas offer great accommodations for any group which prefers villa living while vacationing. Hamlet 10 accommodates up to 12 persons, while Hamlet 9 accommodates up to two persons. 

Sand Dollar Condominium Resort is in the final stages of testing the installation of new services, including digital TV and property-wide wireless Internet access. Full functionality is expected by early fall.  For more information, visit www.sanddollarbonaire.com or phone 1-800-288-4773.

Tropicana Apartments and BonaireFun Apartments have recently improved their amenities and now offer free WiFi, as well as hot water showers.  Phone +(599) 701-0404.

(Source:  TCB-North America)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 15, 2009 at 4:16pm AST
Hotels and LodgingPotpourriRestaurants and DiningScuba DivingShoppingSnorkelingTourism AnnouncementsWindsurfing • (0) CommentsPermalink
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