Windsurfing (Again)  in Bonaire: April 2007


We spent another week in Bonaire (April 7 – 14).  Our primary objective was again to get  in some windsurfing and perhaps get a little better at it. Since I did a full report of out January trip, this will just be a short “update” report.  

Getting there and back:

Travel arrangements were again made with the assistance of Ann Phelam (Caribbean Wind and Sun Vacations) , who is very knowledgeable of Bonaire, especially for windsurfers.    We again used Air Jamaica which flies out of Atlanta and connects in Montego Bay to and from Bonaire.  Our flights were comfortable and reasonably close to on time, typically ending up 15 - 30 minutes late.  It does seem like the Airbus aircraft have some of the most uncomfortable seats in the industry though.  Ann had reserved a car through AB Car Rental and they had a small, almost new Kia ready for us.  It had less than 2000 km on the odometer and was clean and functioned well.


We stayed this time at the “Blachi Koko”, a very new, small (8 unit), facility close to town.  It had a separate bedroom (air conditioned) and a living room with small kitchen facilities as well as a nice front ‘porch’ with tables, chairs and hammock.  There was not much of a “view”, but after being at the beach all day, we really didn’t need to look at the ocean any more.  Although in general the Blachi Koko was very nice, we did find two problems potential renters should be aware of.   First, the beds are very firm (at least, ours were).  I like a firm mattress normally, but these (two twin beds pushed together to form a pseudo-king) are somewhat firmer than what I like.  Others may find then just right.  Second, the windows were of a somewhat unusual construction, with screens (hinged) and wooden slats hinged to open and close, but no glass.  This resulted in a window that did not seal out the air very well, causing the AC unit to run more of the time (not really our problem, but somewhat of a waste) and also let more of the outside noise into the room.  Since these windows faced one of the main streets into town about 30 feet away, we got a lot of road noise during the night.  I finally figure out that I could fold up a towel in the shape of the window and close it into the window, providing a better air seal and also cutting down on the noise a lot.  I would suggest that anyone renting one of these units request a unit away from the road to avoid the noise issue altogether.


As usual, we were mainly interested in the windsurfing and returned to Bonaire WindSurf Place, where Rogér and Elvis again took care of us very well.  The wind was good, but not great for windsurfing.  I used sails from 5.5 m on the first day to 7.5 and 8 m later in the week.  The main problem this time was the very shallow water from an unusually low tide during the day.  Most of the afternoons the water was not deep enough to windsurf across much of the area unless you were on a full plane but going 20 – 30 mph while looking down at the water only 8 – 10 inches deep below you was a little “disturbing”.   If you drag the fin very much or otherwise take a fall, there is very little water to cushion you before hitting the bottom.  Susan took a fall Tuesday, hitting her lower back, which slowed her down for the rest of the week (and it takes a lot to slow Susan down very much).

We again ate most lunches at the Beach Bar, usually having their special or local food.  When in doubt about what to have, we would check to see what Elvis was having and told the order-taker “we’ll have what Elvis is having”. 

Other activities on Bonaire

Although most visitors come to Bonaire for the diving or windsurfing, there are numerous other activities.  On Saturday morning we drove through the large Washington Slagbaai National Park on the North/West part of the island.  Most of the island is very dry and the west end has the larger hills/mountains.  The park is interesting and has some very nice views along the water’s edge.  We didn’t have time to stop and snorkel, but there were several sites where it would have been nice. Most of the road through the park is unpaved and rocky; if you are not comfortable driving in these conditions, you may want to consider taking a guided tour of the park. 


We ate most breakfasts in the room, going out one day to the City Grill and one day to Papagayo (recommended).  We returned to some of our favorite restaurants, and visited a couple of new/different ones.  A quick review of each follows. .

Saturday: Bobbejan’s BBQ

Travel days tend to get us off-schedule and we just go for something simple.  This time we tried the very casual Bobbejan’s BBQ.  We got good ribs and side dishes for a very reasonable price.  Service was friendly but a little ‘spotty’ as the wait-staff sometimes seemed to disappear for extended periods.  The combination of price, good food, and reasonable service is hard to beat though.  A glass of wine out on Karels pier capped off a good travel day and we were prepared for the week ahead..

Sunday:  Capriccios

Capriccios has always been good on our previous visits, so we decided to go there on Sunday, which happened to be Easter Sunday.   We got one of the little alcoves in the inside dining room and the service, as usual, was very professional yet friendly.  They made the daily pasta special sound so good that both Susan and I had it and it was delicious.  They are also very good at recommending an appropriate wine (by the glass or bottle) to go with any dish.   Capriccios is on our ”must visit on each trip” list.

Monday: La Guernica :

La Guernica is another of our favorites.  Although some tables are very close to the street and traffic, it does offer very good views of the waterfront and is delightful just after sunset.  The tappas were tasty and both my Wahoo and Susan’s Dorado were delicious and nicely presented.  Service was very good and helpful   La Guernica is another of the “must visit” restaurants. 

Tuesday: Casablanca

On our last visit to Casablanca we had the “mixed grill” for two and decided it was intended more for “quantity”: than “quality”.  So we decided to visit again and try a “normal” meal.  We both ended up deciding on the sirloin steak.  As usual, I ordered mine medium-rare and Susan ordered medium.  When served, the steaks were about 2 inches thick and Susan’s had been “butterflied” to make it thinner so it could cook better.  Even so, her steak was barely medium rare (by our standards).  My steak was seared on the outside, but still “refrigerator cold” on the inside.  I doubt that it had cooked more than 2 minutes on the grill.  I asked that it be cooked some more and they butterflied it and cooked it so that it was probably what I would call rare, but at least it was not cold in the middle any more.  We tried their Sangria and it was a little on the bland side.  Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by El Gacho in Aruba, but I doubt that we’ll hurry back to Casablanca

Wednesday:  Windsurf Place Beach Bar BBQ

The BBQ offered your choice of three of the four available meats:  fish (Wahoo), chicken, sausage, and ribs along with rice and some salad.  At $15 (USD) per person, it was one of our least expensive meals and was all very good.  Of course, it does have a “unique” atmosphere: very open-air, sand floor, and picnic tables.  But for a bunch of avid windsurfers, it was just perfect.  We met Ann Phelam and some of her other clients at the BBQ this time and had a very nice visit.

Thursday:  Donna and Giorgio’s:

We felt like pizza and Donna and Giorgio’s had “thin crust pizza” at the top of the list in their promotional material.  When we looked at their menu (written on chalk on a large board moved from table to table), pizza did not appear.  We told the waitress that we had our stomachs set for pizza but she said they did not have any pizza that night.  We probably should have gone to Capriccio’s for pizza, but instead I ordered Spaghetti Pomodoro (spaghetti with fresh tomatoes in a very light sauce) and Susan ordered Lasagna.   Susan’s Lasagna was acceptable, but nothing special about it and instead of fresh tomatoes in a light sauce, I received a very standard cooked tomato sauce with ground meat.  Service was OK, but the wait-staff seemed to be “pretending” that the food and facilities were something special, which it certainly was not.  We won’t be in a hurry to return

Friday: “It Rains Fishes”

We had a larger than normal lunch today, so Susan wanted a lighter dinner and we knew “It Rains Fishes” had some nice salads.  She did have a very nice salad while I had fish (Dorado with a mustard sauce).  Both dishes were very good and service was friendly and attentive.  We’ll return here.


A very good trip, marred only by Susan’s fall that slowed her down.  Excellent windsurfing, good accommodations, enjoyable meals, all in a warm and beautiful environment… what more could you want?  We’re looking ahead to our next visit

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