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Friday, December 30, 2011

Changes for 2012 in Washington Park Entry Fees

As always, Washington Slagbaai National Park will be closed on Sunday, January 1st, and will re-open for entry on Monday, January 2nd, when a new fee structure will be introduced.

For international visitors with a valid $25 SCUBA diving tag, entrance to the park is free of charge.  Please present the receipt of purchase together with a valid picture ID (or a copy of a valid picture ID) or a certification card at the entrance of the park.  For international visitors with a valid $10 Nature Fee tag, the entrance fee to the park is $15.  Please present the receipt of purchase together with a valid picture ID (or a copy of a valid picture ID) or a certification card at the entrance of the park.  Please do not forget to bring the proof of purchase of the tags together with a valid picture ID (or a copy of a valid picture ID) or a certification card at the entrance of the park.

For international visitors without the SCUBA diving tag or Nature fee tag, the entrance fee to the park is $25.
All children, 13 years and younger, enter the park free of charge.

For residents with valid sedula, the entry is $3.00 per person per day or $15.00 for the calendar year.

For more information please contact the manager of the park, Mr. Junny Janga, at telephone 786-5229 or email washingtonpark@stinapa.org(Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 30, 2011 at 2:03pm AST
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Bonaire Named One of the World’s Top Ten Island Escapes

Many visitors to Bonaire “catch the bug"--that undefined magic that ensnares nearly all visitors to the island, and it is the reason that most of Bonaire’s tourists return time and time again.  And now, travel blog Global Grasshopper has named Bonaire in the top ten list of most tropical and beautiful island escapes from around the world. 

Bonaire is the only Caribbean island named to the list, sharing the honor with other destinations off the coasts of southeast Asia, India, Africa and Hawaii. The Global Grasshopper article cites Bonaire’s marine sanctuary and beautiful coral reefs, along with iguanas, flamingos, salt flats and rock art as reasons why its beauty never fails to charm its visitors. And, it goes without saying that the popularity of Bonaire as a destination for world class diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing is unequaled.

Global Grasshopper is known as a highly rated travel blog and resource for independent global travelers, and it promotes discovering and researching new destinations. They provide travel news, advice, top ten lists, unusual hotel guides and photography.  (Source: Global Grasshopper)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 19, 2011 at 5:43pm AST
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bonaire’s First Bachata Festival Announced

This coming weekend December 16 through 18, 2011 will mark the first bachata festival to be held on Bonaire. Bachata is a type of music and dance that originated in the Dominican Republic in the beginning of the 20th Century, which is guitar based with traditional Latin and Caribbean rhythms. Bachata popularity has spread to other parts of Latin America and Mediterranean Europe and it is now as popular in many areas as salsa and merengue.

The festival which kicks off Friday night will feature world famous professional dancers Troy Anthony and Jorjet Alcocer of Houston, Texas and three live bands including Esquema from Aruba, Los Reales from Curacao and JR Latino from Bonaire. A welcome registration happy hour will be held Friday at City Cafe from 5:00 to 7:00 PM featuring the JR Latino band. The fun then moves to Sense with a workshop at 8:00 PM held by Bachata Troy and Jorjet and a workshop at 9:00 PM with Rueda de Bachata ClubFiera Bonaire. A party featuring the band Esquema and DJ Robert 2 will conclude the evening from 10:00 PM until 2:00 AM.

Activities on Saturday move to Karel’s Beach Bar with workshops mixed with dancing from 8:00 through 11:00 PM with Bachata Troy and Jorjet. The evening will conclude with performances by the bands Esquema and Los Reales from 10:00 PM until 3:00 AM.

The festival finishes Sunday at Spice Beach Club starting at 2:00 PM with a Zouk workshop by Pachanga from Aruba, followed by chill out time on the beach. At 6:00 PM another workshop will be held by Bachata Troy and Jorjet. A BBQ dinner will be held at 7:00 PM and the festival will conclude with a bachata show by Troy and Jorjet at 8:00 PM followed by performances from the bands Los Reales and JR Latino from 8:15 to 10:00 PM.

Ticket prices vary depending on the events chosen to attend. A full pass including six workshops and three parties is $100. A pass with four workshops and two parties is $80. A party pass to attend three parties is $30 and a pass for one workshop only is $22 and one party only is $12. The BBQ dinner on Sunday is not included. Tickets are available for sale at City Cafe, Sense Restaurant, Karel’s Beach Bar, Spice Beach Club and Bonaco. (Source: Dance for Fun and Fitness Bonaire)

Posted by Ann Johnson on December 14, 2011 at 1:36pm AST
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Options for Holiday Dining on Bonaire

The holidays are fast approaching and, for those who are looking for holiday dining, Bonaire’s restaurants are offering a variety of options. The Bonaire Insider has put together a listing of just some of the possibilities from which to choose. It is also important to note that Christmas Day, Boxing Day (December 26), and January 1st are all legal holiday on Bonaire, and some restaurants may not be open, so be sure to check availability. Reservations are always highly recommended during the holiday season.

Hotel Restaurant Roomer is open for a special Christmas Breakfast Buffet for early arrivals and early divers on December 24, 25 and 26 from 7:00 to 10:00 AM. The price per person is only $16.50. For reservations, phone 717-7488 or email info@roomerbonaire.com.

Casablanca Restaurant will have a Christmas menu on December 25th and 26th. There will be three options from which to choose with prices ranging from $30 to $40 dollars per person. In addition, groups of ten adults will receive a 15% discount, whicle children between the ages six and twelve will pay 50%, while children under age six will dine for free. For reservations call 717-4433 or email casablanca@telbonet.an.

Cactus Blue will feature a festive menu Monday through Friday of Christmas week, including popular favorites such as lobster and pumpkin bisque and a special appearance of lionfish fritters with mango sauce. A special dessert will be served. The kitchen opens at 5:30 PM and reservations can be made by calling 717-5464 or sending an email to info@cactusbluebonaire.com.

Posada Para Mira is offering a special Christmas day menu, which includes a buffet, welcome drink, and dessert for the cost of $35 per person. Posada Para Mira is also offering a Premium Bar where attendees may choose from various beers, wines and rums for $20 per person. Please call 701-7060 for reservations.

Sunset Bar & Grill has several specials holiday dinners planned. December 24th is Lobster Night, with December 25th featuring a traditional Christmas dinner, followed by Boxing Day Specials on December 26th. New Year’s Eve will be feature a three course menu followed by Happy New Year Creations on New Year’s Day. Their regular menu is served every day except New Year’s Eve. For reservations phone 788-2698.

(Source: Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 13, 2011 at 5:43pm AST
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Bonaire Oceanfront Villa Offers Value-Added Incentives for Guests

Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 is pleased to announce the launching of its value-added incentives, which will enhance the vacation experience of those electing to stay at the villa.  Since the villa can accommodate up to ten persons, a family or group of friends can enjoy economical oceanfront living while enjoying all that Bonaire has to offer, including vouchers for three different activities.

For new bookings for travel between January 7 and October 31, 2012, each person staying in the villa will receive a voucher, worth $25.00, toward one of three activities, guaranteed to enhance their stay.  Guests may elect to take a free one-hour kayak tour with The Mangrove Info & Activity Center, or use the voucher to upgrade to a longer tour, including a snorkel, in the mangroves.

Or, enjoy a day at Bonaire Butterfly Garden, where a voucher worth $25.00 can be used toward entry into the Butterfly Garden, and/or lunch at KishiKishi, the peaceful oasis cafe on the grounds of the garden. 

The third choice is a voucher worth $25.00 which can be used at Sunset Bar & Grill toward lunch or dinner.

Vouchers are per person, and can be mixed and matched within a group or family to help defray costs of additional activities on Bonaire. 

Upon confirmation of a new reservation for the effective travel period, guests may make the choice of which voucher each person would like, and the vouchers will be delivered to the villa upon arrival.  When making a reservation, please reference “Value-Added Incentives” to receive your voucher invitation.  All reservations must be booked online through Paradise Rentals, by clicking here, confirm online payment policy, and new reservations are subject to availability.

Located at Hamlet #9, Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 offers the ease of diving from your own property, as the famous “Cliff” dive site is only 100 feet from the property’s beach.  Two diving facilities are within a short walk of the villa: Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet to the north, and Captain Don’s Habitat to the south.

Bonaire Oceanfront Villa 9 is one of Bonaire’s premier oceanfront properties offering villa-style vacationing.  It offers affordable accommodations for any Bonaire visitor, but especially caters to those coming to the island to dive.  For additional information or to check availability, visit their web site at www.bonaireoceanfrontvilla.com, or e-mail: info@bonaireoceanfrontvilla.com(Source:  Bonaire Oceanfront Villa)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 12, 2011 at 3:54pm AST
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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dive Friends Bonaire Produces Five More PADI Instructors

Dive Friends Bonaire is pleased to announce the successful completion of their semi-annual PADI Instructor Development Course.  The island of Bonaire now boasts five more PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.

The IDC commenced on November 22nd with an international crew of divemasters.  The candidates were from Holland, Germany, England and the United States.  Over the next ten days, they worked very hard under the direction of Course Director Thommy Kurtz and IDC Staff Instructor Patrick van Hooijdonk.  On December 3rd and 4th they were put to the test during the Instructor Examination by visiting PADI Instructor Examiner John E. Land.  The candidates all passed their written exams, classroom presentations and confined and open water skills with flying colors.

The graduation celebration was hosted by Dive Friends @ Yellow Submarine with barbecued lionfish.

Dive Friends Bonaire will be offering their next Instructor Development Course (IDC), which will begin on May 3rd and continue through May 13th, 2012. The Instructor Exam conducted by PADI will immediately follow on May 14th and 15th.

Costs for the IDC and related courses are: 

• IE Prep Course, FREE
• Full IDC (no E-Learning), $1,200
• E-Learning IDC, $1,080.00
• Emergency First Response Instructor, $270.00
• Staff Instructor, $650.00
• Master Scuba Diver Trainer, $650.00 (five specialties)

All candidates are also eligible for two days of free unlimited air for shore diving after the IDC.

Dive Friends Bonaire can assist with on-island arrangements, including special IDC rates for accommodations and/or vehicle rentals. Those interested in participating in the IDC may visit http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com/idc.html for additional information, or contact Dive Friends Bonaire directly by emailing by clicking here.

Dive Friends Bonaire is one of Bonaire’s premier diving facilities offering full diving and snorkeling services while still providing personal attention. Three retail stores are available in Kralendijk, in addition to four diving facilities.  (Source:  Dive Friends Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 10, 2011 at 4:22pm AST
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Year-End Festivities Begin with Two Exciting Events this Saturday, December 10, 2011

December on Bonaire is always filled with a wide variety of fun events, and this Saturday, December 10th, 2011, brings two annual favorites to attend, when Antillean Wine Company presents the Beaujolais Nouveau at El Mundo Restaurant, and Bonaire’s Animal Shelter will also hold their fund-raising Indonesian Dinner and Auction at Sense Restaurant. 

El Mundo will present a special French menu ($45.00 per person, including wine), French music, and a very special surprise act, all as support for the launching of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau by Antillean Wine Company.  Everyone is invited to come and celebrate the event, and those wishing only to come for the wine, or to share a bottle with friends, is also possible.  The evening will begin at 7:00 PM, with the official opening of the first bottle at 8:00 PM.  For additional information or to make a reservation (seating is limited) call the restaurant at 717-4601.

Or, those looking for a fun evening and an opportunity to help the Animal Shelter at the same time should plan on arriving at Sense Restaurant this Saturday for the Animal Shelter’s annual Dinner and Art Auction.  Dinner will be served from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM.  Tickets for the Indonesian-themed dinner are $35.00 per person, and are available at the Animal Shelter.  The auction begins at 8:30 PM and admission is free to the auction. All proceeds of the dinner and the auction will go to the care of the dogs and cats at the shelter.

Either event promises a good time!  See you there!  (Source:  Antillean Wine Company and Animal Shelter Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 08, 2011 at 12:33pm AST
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Changes in Supermarkets on Bonaire

Those visitors who enjoy shopping for groceries while on Bonaire to prepare their own meals should be aware of some recent changes in shopping options.

After many years, we say a fond “ayo” to Cultimara Supermarket in Kralendijk, which has unfortunately closed their doors.

However, there are exciting new options for shopping with the opening last week of the new Van den Tweel Supermarket, the first type of such supermarket on Bonaire, and an extension of a Dutch chain market.

Van den Tweel offers a large variety of Dutch products, including specialty meats, cheeses, produce, and bakery items.  There is a large selection of convenience foods as well, and even rotisserie chicken.  Van den Tweel is open seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  Check them out on your next visit--they are located at the newest traffic rotary on Kaya Industria.  To view a listing of all outlets for groceries, click here(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 07, 2011 at 2:01pm AST
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Club Roomer Bonaire Presents Christmas Market on Sunday, December 11, 2011

Everyone is invited to Club Roomer’s Christmas Market this Sunday, December 11, 2011, from 2:00 PM through 6:00 PM, featuring arts, crafts, and holiday gifts from a wide variety of local artists and craftsmen. 

Unique covered booths will be open in the rear garden of Hotel Roomer where that special gift for family and friends will surely be found.  There will be jewelry, paintings, carvings, statuary, toys, and games, all available for purchase.

And, to get everyone into the holiday spirit, Hotel Roomer will also provide Christmas cheer by sponsoring a Happy Hour from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.  Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase and fair-goers can relax and listen to the sounds of local singer, Roli Casimiri. Roli will render his versions of popular Christmas songs and Bonaire’s own favorites around the pool area.

All proceeds from booth sales are solely for the market participants who have created the sale items. Club Roomer is a charitable organization, now in its third year of existence. The group’s aim is to provide activities and events to raise money which is then given back to Bonaire’s elderly, handicapped, youth, etc., in thanks to the island inhabitants for welcoming everyone to their island.  For more information about Club Roomer Bonaire, click here.

So, please show your support for Bonaire and Bonairean residents this holiday season with a visit to the Club Roomer Christmas Market on Sunday.  Hotel Roomer is located at EEG Boulevard #97, in Belnem.  (Source:  Club Roomer Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 07, 2011 at 9:45am AST
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dutch Antilles Express Moving Forward with Plans to Reinstate Service to Bonaire

There’s more regional airline news today as Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) has announced that the new management has reached an agreement with lessors to return the same aircraft that previously had been used to transport passengers between Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba.  Until the ATR42 arrives and is re-introduced into the fleet (planned for January), DAE continues to provide route service between Curacao and Aruba with its Fokker 100 jet. 

With the January re-initiation of service between Curacao and Bonaire with the ATR42 aircraft, DAE will begin with two daily flights between the islands, as well as two daily flights between Curacao and Aruba.  Plans call for the flight frequency to be increased to four daily trips between Curacao and Bonaire and between Aruba and Curaçao once the additional crew returns from training in mid-February.

The interior of the ATR42 has been fully refurbished, as part of the effort and commitment of the new Dutch Antilles Express to improve the experience of its passengers.  Dutch Antilles Express will increase its fleet of ATRs to a total of three, with two additional ATR42, from the same lessor, arriving in April, 2012.  Plans also call for many new routes and increased flights and destinations, but the general focus will remain on quality transportation between the islands of the Dutch Antilles.  (Source:  Dutch Antilles Express)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 06, 2011 at 11:18am AST
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