Where is Bonaire and what's the weather like?
Bonaire is located in the southern Caribbean and is part of the "ABC" islands (together with Aruba and Curacao) located about 50 miles north of Venezuela. It is blessed with one of the gentlest climates in the Caribbean, with very little rainfall (less than 22 inches annually). Bonaire is 25 miles long and 3 to 4 miles wide. It has the legal status of a municipality of Holland. The Dutch control has produced a very stable infrastructure and one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean.
The temperature is approximately 85 degrees year-round, with a prevailing easterly trade wind that provides a cooling 15 mph breeze. Because Bonaire lies at an almost 90 degree angle to its trade winds, the island's western side is always calm and protected. The sun is almost equatorial so a high factor sunscreen is recommended.
Where is VINIBU Located?
VINIBU is apartment # 9 (3rd floor, corner unit) of the Bellevue Condominium Residence. We are located on the western leeward (sheltered) side of Bonaire approximately 3 miles south of the main town Kralendijk. The location is excellent for viewing the spectacular ocean sunsets.
How far are you from the airport? Is it quiet?
The condo is approximately a mile from the airport, about a 3 minute drive. Yes, it is very quiet. You will not hear the planes from any of the bedrooms. We enjoy watching the occasional arriving flights from our terrace as they approach Flamingo airport. Planes depart toward the opposite side of the island due to the trade wind pattern. Additionally, Bellevue is far enough from Kralendijk so the surge of passengers from the cruise ships will not adversely affect your enjoyment of either the island or the private beach in front of VINIBU.
Are mosquitoes a problem?
Mosquitoes like to congregate in low places, (e.g. under tables, by vegetation, etc.). We have never experienced a problem at VINIBU since we are far above all the vegetation on the ground level: just another advantage of an upper floor unit! Additionally, all window openings and sliding doors to the terrace have been outfitted with new micro-mesh screens to keep out even the smallest of flying insects. If you will be dining at one of the many outdoor restaurants on Bonaire, we strongly recommend using deet especially on your legs and feet.
Is Bonaire safe?
We have traveled the Caribbean extensively and one of the reasons we purchased the condo on Bonaire is the very low incidence of crime on the island. Additionally, our corner apartment is located on the 3rd floor, with a security intercom to allow access to the gated building. Not only is Bonaire very safe, you will never run into an unsolicited "beach vendor" trying to sell you something such as you find on many of the other Caribbean islands. Of course, use common sense, just like at home: lock the front door when you leave or retire for the night. At dive sites, the accepted rule is to leave your vehicle unlocked with the windows down and no valuables inside.
Are there good restaurants nearby?
There are many excellent restaurants on the way to and into town. We definitely recommend that you rent transportation.
We refer you to the following link for local dining establishments.
Is there a grocery store nearby?
We recommend Cultimara in town (Kaya L.D. Gerharts 13), Bonaire Warehouse (Kaya Industrial #24), and More For Less (Kaya Nikiboko Noord #56). All are no more then a 5 minute drive away. Street maps are available at the airport or at any of the realtors in town.
Are there dive shops nearby?
Buddy Dive at Belmar is about 300 yards away, less than 1 minute by car. They are a full service dive operation and can handle all your needs. For equipment repair, we recommend Bruce Bowker at the Carib Inn right next to Divi, about a 5 minute drive from VINIBU.
What rental car companies do you recommend?
We use Hertz, but there are many reputable rental agencies available. For two divers we recommend the Suzuki Jimny; for more than two, if shore diving, we recommend a truck. However, we advise checking the local web sites since many companies will run specials and, depending on your needs, one of the other rental agencies may have a better deal for you. Alternatively, our on-island agent can arrange auto rentals for you.
Are you on the beach?
Yes! The condo is right on the beach directly overlooking the Caribbean Ocean. It is a beautiful, private, sandy beach with a lively fringing reef. The drop off is approximately 75 yards offshore. Since our apartment is on the third floor, you will have an unobstructed million dollar view of the Caribbean and the mountainous northern part of Bonaire from both the seaside terrace and the living room. From your elevated vantage point, you can easily see the schooling bait balls and a myriad of fish in the clear Caribbean waters, as well as pelicans diving for dinner.
Is there good snorkeling nearby?
Yes! The fringing reef directly in front of the condo is an excellent place to snorkel. It is a combination of sand bottom and reef bottom, leading to the drop off.
Do you have high speed Internet?
Yes! There is free, high speed, private and secure ADSL Internet access in the living room. Just hook up your laptop and you're good to go. Surge protectors are also provided.
Do you have a pool?
We have a very nice, well maintained pool and spa that is used only by the residents and guests, which directly overlooks the ocean. Since there are only 10 units, you will find there are many times when you have it all to yourself. Hours for the pool are 8:00AM to 9:00 PM.
Do you provide beach towels?
Beach towels are in the apartment for your use.
Do you have beach chairs?
There are 8 lounge chairs in the pool area which you can also use on the beach. You are welcome to use these chairs as they are there for the condo residents and guests. If they are used on the beach, we request that they are returned to the pool deck, free of sand immediately after use.
Is there a blender, toaster, coffee maker, etc. in the kitchen?
The kitchen is fully equipped with a blender, toaster, coffee maker, electric kettle, microwave, electric convection oven, ceramic cook-top, full size refrigerator (with in-door ice and water dispenser), and dishwasher. There is ample cook ware, dishes, cutlery, etc. for just about any meal you can make.
Do you have a washer and dryer?
There is a washer in the closet located in the guest bathroom, and a drying rack. Posts for wetsuits (and hangers) are provided on the seaside terrace.
Do you have air conditioning?
The condo has split unit air conditioners in both bedrooms as well as a large unit in the living room. There are also ceiling fans in each room. We prefer to turn the air conditioning off and enjoy the Caribbean breezes when we are there. But by all means, use the air conditioning if that is more comfortable for you. We do ask that when you leave the condo you shut off all air conditioners to conserve energy which is four to five times more expensive on Bonaire than in the U.S.
Is there a telephone in the condo?
Yes. All local outgoing calls are free but the phone is blocked from making calls off island. Since we offer a free ADSL line in the condo, we recommend using SKYPE to make calls to Europe and the U.S.
Is there a television in the condo?
There is a television, stereo and free cable TV programming. The programming includes HBO, Cinemax, ESPN, US network stations, and local stations--a total of over 75 stations. There is also an IPOD docking station in the living room.
What types of payment do you take?
Payments can be made directly to our on-island agent using MasterCard, Visa or AMEX. Alternatively, the funds can be wired direct to their account.
Do you allow smoking?
The condo is a non-smoking unit.
Do you allow pets?
Pets are not allowed.
Is Bonaire on eastern time?
It's Atlantic Standard time (it is further east). One hour ahead of EST, and the same as Eastern daylight savings time.
Is it OK to plug my laptop & charger into the electrical outlets?
You should not have any problems. We use our laptop in VINIBU quite frequently. However, electricity on Bonaire is 50 cycles instead of 60 cycles as in the U.S. Consequently, things tend to run a bit hotter. Although we have surge protectors on outlets in our living room, we recommend that after use the laptop be disconnected and not left continuously plugged in.
Tell me more about Bonaire.
Information can be found on the following sites:
Besides diving, what else is there to do on Bonaire?
Too numerous to list here, but see this site; 50 plus activities: