BONAIRE WINDSURFING TRAVEL GUIDE 2023
Photo by Maddalena Gonzo
Windsurfers from all over the world are extremely attracted to this unique location. The constant offshore wind keeps windsurfers from being sucked into the ocean, the lagoon is shallow, and the sea water temperature is fantastic. All these elements combined make Lac Bay always top the lists of the best windsurfing spots in the world.
Beautiful Bonaire https://www.beautiful-bonaire.com/activities/windsurfing.php
The conditions are flat and bump and jump, but there are no real waves, so it is not a site for wave lovers. The windy season is usually from February to April-May, although it can be windy all year round. It is possible, outside the high season, to have no wind at all. In Bonaire I have sailed on anything from a 4.5 to 8.2 depending on the day.
Airline and routing to get there:
- Bonaire is not the easiest of destination to get to from Canada. One option is to take an early morning flight to US airports with direct flights to Bonaire (see below).
- Another option is layover for one night in the US, and to take the next day morning flight direct to Bonaire.
- Another option is to fly Air Canada to Curacao and take a 20-minute flight from Curacao to Bonaire with Divi Divi, EZ Air and Aruba Air. This option requires you to book your flight with the airline in Curacao separately. This option is not for the faint of heart as you sometimes end up in a very small plane for the short hop to Bonaire.
From North America
- At the time of publishing this guide, nonstop flights operate from Miami, Atlanta, Houston and Newark on America, Delta and United.
- KLM and other airline fly non-stop from Amsterdam on a regular basis. For more complete information click on the link below:
- There are numerous options for car rental, but I would say that a car is a "must" in Bonaire. Last time I took Avis, and it was 500 USD for the week for a manual pick-up truck. Pickups are popular in Bonaire because of the many scuba divers who need this type of vehicle. So, it is often the cheapest vehicle to rent. It is also a good idea as roads can be quite bad, particularly after heavy rains.
- Most of the major car rental brands are there , and compete with local brands. Some outfits have offices right at the airport while others have their stores a few kilometers from the airport. My experience is that prices are very similar across rental outfits.
- There is almost everything in Bonaire. We prefer to go through Air B&B or Booking.com to find what we need, but you can find hotels and resorts as well. Note that Bonaire is not a place with huge resorts and all many all-inclusive deals. We like small apartments with kitchen, etc. On our last trip we had a small one-bedroom apartment with a nice kitchen + terrace + pool (shared) for about 800 CAD per week. The supermarkets are very nice, with an incredible range of products. The tap water is drinkable, and everything is very easy to access.
- We like to stay around Belnem as it is close enough to the windsurfing spots and not too far from town for groceries, restaurants, convenience stores etc.
- We once rented a place more to the northwest of Kralendijk, and it was quite noisy with lots of roosters squawking and dogs barking most of the night. Places further out of town are often noisy at night.
Can you do Bonaire on a budget?
The answer is yes as you can find accommodation for two that is respectable and about USD $50 per person per night. However, you will likely have one room and perhaps a small kitchen outside. You can also rent a scooter instead of a car and you can really shop around for the best windsurfing deal. However, Bonaire is not really a back packer’s paradise. Restaurant prices are like prices in North America or Europe and flying to Bonaire can be expensive.
What about mosquitoes?
Like many tropical islands, Bonaire does have mosquitoes. This can get worse immediately after the rainy season in January, but it is manageable. The constant wind tends to diminish the impact of mosquitoes particularly if you have accommodation directly in the path of the winds. Apartments and houses are often equipped with mosquito nets etc.
Where to Windsurf?
The windsurfing spots are all in Sorobon Bay:
Please see this 2023 video I made for more information on 3 of the 4 windsurf rental outfits.
To see the spot-on Google map, click on the link below.
There are 4 big board centers on Lac Bay. Just to make it very clear, I am a friend and sponsor of The Frans Paradise, so I do have a slight bias!
Photo by Maddalena Gonzo
Vincent with Juvanni and Taty Frans
The Frans Paradise
The Frans Paradise Started operations on January 1, 2019. The place is run by professional windsurfers Tonky and Taty Frans. They now have Future Fly Slalom, freeride and foil boards as well as Tabou freeride and Starboard beginner boards and Gaastra sails. If you are a beginner, I suggest you take lessons with them. I was very excited to see my daughter and my wife learn from Tonky Frans who is a former European freestyle champion. Both have been on the pro circuit for over ten years and it's amazing how humble and kind they are. In recent times, the brothers have added staff including Juvannie, a windsurf instructor, and Dasher, a wing foiling instructor. The big difference between The Frans Paradise and the other centers in Sorobon is that the water is deeper than in the rest of the bay. This makes the location ideal for wind foiling and wing foiling. When the wind picks up at the Frans Paradise you will see pros like Taty and Tonky Frans, Kiri Tode, Youp Schmit, Amado Vrieswijk, Nigel Hart, Terence and Bimbi Clappers and many others practicing just a few meters from the beach.
This is probably the best-known spot and probably the busiest. The equipment is very recent and plentiful. There is also a bar/restaurant on the premises which is right on the water. Jibe city is a fun place to windsurf and socialise with friends. Jibe City carries Severne, Starboard, Fanatic and Duotone.
The Windsurf Place
The Windsurf Place, next door to Jibe City, is run by one of Bonaire's windsurfing pioneers, Elvis Martines. The place is much quieter, the service is excellent and very friendly, and the equipment is relatively new and plentiful. They have mostly RRD and Starboard with Hot Sails Maui. Two years ago, I took an unlimited package for the 7-day week (USD 420). Prices vary depending on your needs.
The Dunkerberk pro center
The Dunkerberk pro center is part of the Sorobon Beach Resort right next to Jibe City. I know less about this center, so you must ask before you go, as I think a lot of Europeans book the place in advance. They have Goya, Starboard, Simmer Style etc., and I think it's worth checking out before deciding.
Professional photo session.
For the photo sessions on the water, it is necessary to call upon the photographer Lorenzo Mittiga https://lorenzomittiga.com/ Lorenzo is a photographer recognized worldwide for his underwater photos and actions.
Photo by Lorenzo Mittiga of Vincent windsurfing in Bonaire 2019
An alternative to Lorenzo is Marc Van Swoll who runs MVSPhotostore. During the high season, Marc is in the water in front of the Windsurf Place from 10:30 am to 12:00. He will take pictures that he then posts to his website. You simply go on the website, choose the pictures you like, pay and you have nice action pictures from your time in Bonaire. You can access the site here.
Finally, we must mention Kuma Movie Bonaire. If you are at Frans Paradise, you will see Kuma taking videos almost every day.
Well, I think that covers it ;-)