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Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

Durham, North...
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Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

We will be in Bonaire from 2-10pm on a Wednesday in November 2016. Can anyone recommend what to do, where to go or not go? 1st time there. Thank You :)

Bonaire
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1. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

Hi,

Your arrival time in midafternoon will give you at most 4 hours till the sunset, depending on when you are able to get off the ship (in November the sun sets between 6 and 6:10 PM.) It will also be too late to take a ferry to Klein Bonaire to spend some beach time on this deserted island.

To maximize your daylight hours, I'd suggest taking a snorkeling tour through the ship. Although there are tours you can take without going through the ship,. if you have a tour booked you'll be in the first group to be let off the ship. If you're not a snorkeler and want to hang out at a nice beach, one of the closest is Te Amo by the airport, any cab can take you there, it's free and there is usually Kite City food truck parked there. Bring plenty of water, and there are no bathroom facilities. Or, you can go over to Sorobon Beach and rent a beach chair and there are bathrooms, restaurants, etc. You could try windsurfing there too.

You can also ask your driver to to take you the long way around to Sorobon and see the salt flats, salt mountains and slave huts on the southern part of the island. There are usually kite surfers in the air on some of these southern beaches too. You'll likely see some flamingoes on the drive over the salt flats or near Sorobon.

If you don't want to take a cab, Divi Flamingo Resort has a small beach area where you can rent chairs, with restaurant and bathrooms, less than a 10 minute walk south of the cruise ship pier.

If you want to visit shops in Kralendijk, they close at 6 PM normally, but a number of them in the cruise ship area will stay open later when a ship is docked. During the day, there is an open air market in Queen Wilhelmina Park that is an easy walk from the ship, with local crafts, foods, art, etc.

Once the sun goes down - there is one casino in Bonaire, located at the Divi Flamingo Resort. There are also lots of good restaurants and bars downtown. For a lively time, Little Havana and Karyl's Beach Bar come to mind, both downtown and walking distance. For meals, Capricchio (Italian) and At Sea (fabulous gourmet) are on the southern end near the pier, both are high-end with exquisite food. For more casual food, if you're not eating on the ship, try La Cantina (new restaurant) or any of the downtown cafes and eateries.

Without knowing your interests, I just gave a general overview, but if there is something specific you're interested in, please post again.

I hope you enjoy Bonaire!

Kate

Croydon, United...
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2. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

Hi Kate

Have noted a couple of your posts before - found post-Matthew stuff very useful; Matthew warnings came up on the news just a few days after we'd booked - much to our consternation! We get to Bonaire next week; 1st visit there, but widely travelled in Caribbean etc. & very many other places world-wide.

Particularly interested in your restaurant comments re Capriccio & At Sea. Before booking, I checked many restaurant's website 'sample' menus & had decided that we weren't in for any serious gastronomy on Bonaire, but that's OK - we weren't expecting it & we're hugely interested in good local food when abroad. I'd made a mental note that maybe we could consider trying these places, but hadn't felt particularly excited by either menu.

Capriccio's no different from very many, even UK, Italian restaurants; & 'At Sea' 's menu is very limited (I do understand why that is) but there were no main courses on the sample menu, that I would want to order.

So I'd like to ask 2 things. 1) Why do you rate these 2 restaurants especially & why do you say 'fabulously gourmet' about 'At Sea'? 2) Can you recommend local places where we can eat good local dishes - not restaurants that cater for US divers or those off the cruise ships?

I should explain. We're Brits, living just south of central London, but half my family are French-Italian & my grandfather was a top-level head chef in big London hotels. I cook extensively at home & I'm not a food-snob. We've had superb meal experiences - from food off stalls in the Night Market in Beijing; & freshly caught sardines, barbequed in front of us with olive oil & herbs in Itilio bay on the Mani Peninsular, Greece, for example; to eating in some very up-market places in London & around the world.

BTW - I also did a Uni degree in Hotel & Catering Mgt & worked in the industry for many years.

Would hugely appreciate your comments & suggestions.

Cheers Michele

Bonaire
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3. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

Hi Michele,

Thanks for the kind words about prior posts. Bonaire is actually known as a foodie destination now, so I think you will indeed be surprised by the incredible food on this island. The restaurants don't actually cater to cruise ship passengers as you suggested, since most passengers tend to eat dinner on the ship. And as far as wanting to know about restaurants not catering to US divers, well, that includes me, a US diver. :) Not sure how that would make a difference. The restaurants I mentioned are popular with many of us who live all or part time on the island as well as repeat visitors to the island (of all nationalities.)

At Sea has a tasting menu that changes constantly (so not spelled out on the menu) and is hugely inventive. The presentations are eye catching and unusual. (VERY unusual, some dishes appear to be other than what they are.) It's very unique.

Capriccios has some of the best Italian food I've ever had, even in Italy, which makes sense since the owners are Italian. Of course, your mileage may vary, and it sounds like you are more interested in unusual local food, so here are a few:

Try Bobbejan's for local barbecue (only open on weekends, not sure what day you'll be docked). Try Kite City food truck at Te Amo beach for lionfish burgers (when they have them) and amazing fish quesadillas. Try Ingridients (not a misspelling, based on "Ingrid and ingredients". )

There are also other great restaurants on the island, I'll let the others on the forum chime in with their favorites for local food. I don't think you'll have time to get to Rincon, where there is local cuisine also.

Hope you enjoy your day in Bonaire!

Kate

Edited: 18 October 2016, 19:57
Marietta, Georgia
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for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
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4. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

Kate is absolutely correct about At Sea and Capriccio and there are several other excellent restaurants on the island. At Capriccio, besides the excellent fresh made pasta and seafood, they have one of the very best wine lists/cellars in the Caribbean, making Wine Spectators list of about the 500 best in the world. Chefs from Bonaire have won multiple awards in international competitions. Wil's Grill is another small restaurant with inventive offerings. Both At Sea and Capriccio are close to the cruise ship docks. If you want unique and interesting food, to to At Sea. If you want excellent Italian and an amazing choice in wine, try Capriccio.

Boise, Idaho
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5. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

At Sea restaurant has been great in the past but I'm withholding further recommendation until I see how it fares under the new ownership.

Rick and Kim were the dynamic duo that made this restaurant so special, just like they did with their original restaurant in the courtyard at Yacht Club Apartments circa 2009.

More info on the sale here if interested:

caribjournal.com/2016/…

Pa.
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6. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

I have to say in all my trips to Bonaire, I have never had a memorable meal, other than Cactus Blue and Kite City food trucks. The price at the finer dining places has never matched the quality and I don't mind paying for a good meal (hate paying for a bad one). I usually ship my own food down to eat for most of the week and try a few new places each trip, hoping to strike gold one day! Until then, I will continue to bring my food.

I looked at Capriccios several times, but I also didn't feel excited by the menu. Maybe I will try it one year and see. My DM suggested Wils as well, so I think we will check it out next trip. He also suggested Mi Banana for good local food and Divers Diner for a casual hangout.

Newburgh, Indiana
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7. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

Snorkeler-6 how do you ship your food? And is it expensive? We just bought a house in Curaçao and were wondering how we could get our meat over to the island. Thanks!

Pa.
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8. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

I pack a small carry on cooler with me. I have my crabcakes premade and frozen. I prep all my frozen veggies with spices/butter/etc. and put in a freezer bag. I make spaghetti sauce and a meal of Thai chicken that I freeze in bags and put over pasta there. I bring fried chicken that reheats crispy in the skillet. I will make my veal ragu next time to put over pasta as it will pack easy. I grate cheese and bring it. I have a shop that sells the best smoked turkey...freeze it, make a cranberry aioli and freeze and get cheese, bread and arugula there and I have sammies done! I usually bring a pie from my favorite bakery. I will pregrill hamburgers and hot dogs, freeze and pack. They reheat so easy and still have the good flavor. There are only two of us and I fit all this in my little cooler. Pack very tight and fill any voids with newspaper. It is still pretty frozen when we arrive. I used to alternatively check a cooler, but if it gets lost, all my food is gone and I will suffer LOL!

There are many other things you could premake and freeze, but these tend to be my go-to items for vacations.

I pack my favorite pasta in my bag, along with coffee, tea, sweetener, condiments, baked beans, cereal, English muffins, etc.

It requires some extra prep/planning, but is so worth it since I like to eat well wherever I am. Hope that helps!

9. Re: Cruising to Bonaire in Nov. Any suggestions on what to do?

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