Here at the Puffin we get a lot of direct email asking for recommendations regarding Bonaire this and Bonaire that. I'm hoping to refer everyone to one post based on our trip from a week ago, so here are some of my Best Bonaire Recommendations for Windsurfing Vacation (etcetera):
Gear rental: Shout out to Jibe City. I'm not saying Jibe City is better than Windsurf Place, but in the past I have said I thought Windsurf Place had slightly better equipment. No more...JC has stepped up its game! It's purely a coin flip between them now. The beach staff from both are outstanding. btw.
Restaurants: At Sea knocked it out of the park (I had the barracuda, and the amuse bouche were tres amuse.) Appetite is outstanding. Bistro de Paris moved, but it remains excellent. And the restaurant at Sorobon was surprisingly good. Old favorites we did not get to this year include Cappricio, Mona Lisa, and Casablanca.
Help with putting it all together: As always, it's Ann Phelan. Before every trip to Bonaire I get wound up about something and worry, but every trip she's got it all worked out just fine. Folks: she's a windsurfing travel agent who doesn't cost you a penny, and knows exactly what's going on there, week by week. Smartest move you can make...we've been using her for almost ten years now.
Beach Bar: Hang Out. More pirates than the other place, and perfectly situated between the two windsurfing rental centers.
Beer to order at Beach Bars: Polar. Like so many other things Dasher taught me.
Where to get taught things: Hopefully you're in an ABK clinic there with Andy Brandt, Brendon and company, but otherwise work with the mighty Caesar at Jibe City, or Elvis and his team at Windsurf Place. There is no place easier in the world to learn.
Thing to do if you want to take a break from windsurfing: Boy was this a surprise...Sally had to twist my arm to get me to do a guided nature tour of the mangroves (by kayak and snorkeling). We'd picked up a flyer for one tour outfit, but then someone told us "what you really want to do is go with Tina and Clear Bottom Bonaire (the kayaks have clear bottoms.) It was amazing. The kayak tour was wonderful by itself, and I was almost ready to (I can't believe it) skip the snorkeling at the end. As the kids say, OMG. Simultaneously easy and breathtaking, snorkeling just under the mangroves you find yourself with a gazillion fish, sometimes packing themselves tighter than a fishmarket, other times spreading out (giving the barracuda room...yes there were barracuda, like small stainless steel missles, but they don't bother you.) And when you leave the water at the end, there is blessed rum punch set up under a shady tree. We'll be returning for another paddle/snorkel tour with these guys next year.