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Family trip to Bonaire

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Joined: 08 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:43 pm    Post subject: Family trip to Bonaire Reply with quote

We just got back from a family trip to Bonaire that Ann Phelan helped organize and it was really nice. We have 2 kids ages 3.5 and 1. And we also had 2 grandparents. I wanted to do a windsurfing or sailing vacation and take the family. Since we have two kids I knew all activities would be limited. I was originally going to go to Aruba but after reading I windsurf I was skeptical. The wind seems a little iffy and we are not into all-inclusive. But with 2 kids we needed a direct flight. Then we started looking into Bonaire and they have a direct flight by continental. The hours are bad but it is direct from Newark to Bonaire. So I contacted Ann Phelan and started the ball rolling. She recommended Belmar Bonaire. When looking for a place on Bonaire there are a few considerations. Basically there is only one beach on Bonaire and that is Lac Bay where you windsurf. A few hotels have a beach but most do not. Also, most people going to Bonaire are going for Scuba or snorkeling and it is a Dutch island. Also there is only one or so hotels near Lac Bay and most are on the other side of the island about a 10-15+ minute drive. Most people rent pickup trucks or cars. There are also very few amenities and food near lac bay except the few beach bars. Belmar is water front and your porch has a fantastic view. They have a nice pool with a small kiddie section and a dock to snorkel and dive from. Snorkeling off the dock is nice. The place has almost a full kitchen. Just no stove and a big fridge. They had a nice high-chair for us and a pak and play for the baby. So all in all a nice place and we were happy. Grandparents had some trouble on the steps up to the place but not a big issue. I would be happy to go back. From Belmar to lac-bay was an easy 10 minute drive. You could drive the whole way without seeing another car.

Now about lac-bay. It is a really shallow bay with a small beach. There are 2 windsurfing places jibe city and the windsurf place. I know people argue about them in the forums. But they are very close to each other and I think they share a wall. Jibe city takes about 200 feet of beach front with a restaurant. Then exactly next to it is windsurf place. It reminded me of Archie Bunker with the split house and the neighbors do not talk. It seems like Jibe city is the more hard core place. But we did not go there for one reason. There was no place for the kids to sit and play. The sitting area at jibe city is tight and small. Windsurfing place has a bigger beach area next to it with lots of lounges. The kids could play much nicer in the sand. They even had a little pen with beach toys for the kids. So I chose where to site based on the kids. We traveled from Dec 6 to Dec 14. I first sailed Monday with a 6.6. Very nice. All beach starts. Once you get past the protected grass which is about the first 25 feet fro the beach the whole bay is shallow with a sandy bottom. Never wore shoes. Actually gets shallower as you go out. Next day was 5.0. Great. The next day was our surprise. The beach had been very quiet. We were normally the first ones to arrive (up early with kids). The beach was packed. There were 2 cruise ships docked and at least 200 people at the beach. It was so crowded we left. The kids could not play without getting walked on by a drunk brit. Jibe city still looked fine b/c cruise ship people do not go there. We found that big cruise ships come in about twice a week. If you ask the locals know the schedule. The rest of the week was light wind and we had one more cruise ship day when we avoided the beach. We went to see the donkeys. They kept the 3.5 year old happy. We also checked out a few other beaches but they have a lot of coral and no sand for the kids. So we would play by the pool.

We were not great about food. A lot of options that look good but our kids eat early. Ann gave us nice early options. You can also google food stuff and get reviews. We did pizza twice. It was fine. We went out to rum runners. Food is benign but a great place to sit. We cooked a few nights after buying from the warehouse. It takes a little patience to find food labeled in dutch but if you are careful about what you buy it is not that expensive. You can also bring some basics along if you have room. Driving is easy once you learn how not to get lost downtown. After a few trips few town it is easy. Since we had 6 people we rented a van. Not the prettiest vehicle but worked well. The last night we went to roomer’s. A really nice backyard to sit in a super nice people and the food was decent. Very kid friendly. We would definitely go back. Especially as the kids get older and want to windsurf and snorkel. There were family’s learning to windsurf together as we were there. It is kid friendly and easy.
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Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 312
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks was a pleasure...The winds are returning this week. Indeed the cruise ships mar our island IMHO. Smaller boutique lines would be welcome. The mega lines not. Avoid Lac Bay this week the 24th and 26th. The usually head to Bonaire Windsurf Place where there are chairs to accommodate them. The cruise ship passengers are not welcome at Hang Out Bar at Jibe City. If you sail early or late you can avoid them.

Come back Brian..see you soon..

Ann Phelan

Twitter: bonairebliss
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Joined: 09 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 7:27 am    Post subject: 录音卡 Reply with quote


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