Hurricane Irma and Jose- What Now?

September 11, 2017
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View of Klein Bonaire

The storms have passed and no doubt, Hurricane Irma was  one of the most  devastating storm that has hit so many islands.  The fury of Mother Nature left a bold reminder of the fragility and vulnerability of the islands. In the aftermath, social media has allowed us a first hand glimpse into the chaos along the Eastern Caribbean island chain. Barbuda, a small island of about 1600 is uninhabitable. Anguilla has lost many business and homes. Sint Maarten and St. Martin are both incredibly impacted. Other islands significantly impacted include but are not limited to Saba, St. Barths, The BVI’s, Cuba, Puerto Rico and St. John and St. Thomas. The visual images reveal mass destruction. It is clear, restoration will take time. In some case, months.

As tourism is the primary income of the islands, one cannot worry about the future of so many that rely on the hospitality industry for their livelihood.   What next?  Donate to a charity or rebuilding effort of your choice.  Plan a trip! Yes, some of the islands, whilst damaged will be able to welcome tourists soon.   The Caribbean is one of the closest international tourist destinations to the US. Come back and come back soon.  Foliage will return to it’s original splendor and properties will be re built.

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations is offering discounted vacations for all new bookings for those who require a rebooking from an originally planned vacation. If you had a vacation planned with another company, have them contact me and I will be happy to re book on Bonaire.   For inquiries contact ann@bonairecaribbean.com today.

May all the islands restore and revitalize soon.  The people of the Caribbean will demonstrate resilience and grit during this very difficult time. Lend them your support. Come back soon.

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Bonaire – Is It Safe to Travel To Bonaire

September 8, 2017

First and foremost, thanks everyone for checking on my welfare. I am fine, actually on Cape Cod for my annual fall respite. Bonaire has not been impacted by Irma. Allow me to share a bit about Bonaire.

Bonaire is outside the hurricane belt. Located north of South America, the three island chain of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao rarely see hurricanes. As a result, they are also quite arid.

As we read about the devastation from Hurricane Irma, it is important to know, whilst many islands were impacted, there are a group of Caribbean islands typically not impacted by hurricanes. They include but are not limited to:

  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Curacao
  • Grenada
  • Barbados
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The Grenadines

The Caribbean islands rely on tourism. Continue to visit the islands prepared for tourism. Keep the Caribbean vibe alive. For those islands that have suffered devastation, fear not, they will rebuild. As of press, Antigua is open and ready for business.

For questions on Bonaire, contact ann@bonairecaribbean.com

Hurricane Irma – Relief

September 8, 2017

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Barbuda Pink Shells

My love affair with the Caribbean began in 1987 on my first trip to Antigua. I was captivated by the people, the music, the smells, the sounds. After a week’s stay, I returned to a cold and dreary landscape in the US. I always knew I would return, and I did, to later move to Antigua. There, I met a man, fell in love and had a child.   My experiences included visiting many of the islands in the chain, including my favorite Barbuda. I loved the people and was astounded by a 17-mile pink beach.  I have life long memories of my time in the Eastern Caribbean. Later in life, I shifted gears, became a windsurfer and eventually found Bonaire.  Bonaire is outside the hurricane belt, above the coast of Venezuela. Most people know Bonaire’s neighbors, Aruba and Curacao.  The climate and culture is vastly different from my former home. There is a strong Latin influence and a dry climate. Bonaire has it’s own beauty.

For the past thirty years, I have followed every storm that has passed through the islands. I have lived through some of the storms. Some that come to mind include Hugo, Gilbert, Luis, Marilyn, Floyd  and more recently, Omar. Each wreaked havoc on the islands. Still, I have never seen anything with the magnitude of Irma.  Irma has left a path of devastation through so many islands. Please know, my source of information is from social media, dialogues with friends and news sources and not first hand.

The devastation on Barbuda is massive. Nearby Antigua, got off easy. As they say in Antiguan dialect, “Barbuda took licks”. The damage is so bad, I am told, many if not all are being relocated off island.

Up the chain, Sint Maarten and St. Marten, the dual nation community suffered severe damage to homes, hotels, businesses and industry.  Visual images reveal devastation.  A friend posted a video during the hurricane revealing her roof gone and the storm washing into her living room.

Reports from friends are much the same on Anguilla. I am told most roofs are gone. Images of the much loved Pumphouse reveal it is completely flattened. Rebuilding on Anguilla will take months. The entire infrastructure is impacted.

I could go on and on about each island. What I really want to say impress in this post is, the expansive impact on so many islands is like nothing I have ever seen. The Caribbean community is going to need help in so many ways. Some of the islands have the support of their mother lands. Such will be the case for the USVI’s and BVI’s. Other independent nations will have little support.   There are many sources of information where to donate. Storm Carib has been a resource for me for many years. Some folks are posting crowd funding sites there.

One site I do recommend, is a group spearheading an effort to save the animals that will soon be abandoned on Barbuda.  I am not personally connected to any so do your homework. Here are three sites to consider.

Lastly, I strongly recommend you continue to visit the islands that were not impacted by the storms. Tourism is the main economy in the islands. Keep the Caribbean vibe alive. The islands hit will rebuild. Caribbean people are resilient. If you find a worthy relief effort to share, do let me know.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/barbuda-hurricane-animals

http://stormcarib.com/

https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto

www.rebuildsxm.com

Sorobon Beach Club – Expansion and News

September 6, 2017

Sorobon Beach Resort has announced news of an exciting expansion. The owners of Sorobon have recently acquired the former Lacbai Resort.  The new name is Sorobon Apartments.  This expansion adds 10 apartments, connecting two properties both in the center of the Bonaire windsurf scene. Specializing in windsurf vacations, Sorobon is synonymous with island -style hospitality. Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations is proud to collaborate with Sorobon in providing windsurf and wellness vacations. 

The 10 Lacbai apartments were renovated  in 2015 with new flooring, beds, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room furniture and fixtures. The setting is at the end of windy Lac Bay. Enjoy comfortable cooling trade winds as you watch the windsurfers glide on the bay. The property is surrounded by nature so is conducive to rest and relaxation.  On site is an amazing restaurant, Foodies. 

Sorobon Apartments is situated 1 km from Sorobon Beach Resort and full use of ALL facilities of Sorobon Beach Resort & Wellness are included when booking @ Sorobon Apartments.  There are plans for a Magna pool and in the future, expansion of new apartments. 

Included in new reservations:

–       Full american breakfast at Sorobon Beach Resort

–       Free use of the Magna Pool at Sorobon Apartments (completion expected by winter 2018)

–       Free access to all the Sorobon Beach Facilities including WIFI

–       Free use of our Beach & Beach Chairs

–       20% discount on our windsurf Gear and rentals

–       Free shuttle service between Sorobon Apartments & Sorobon Beach and back several times daily

 

To book your winter stay or to inquire of rates, contact Ann Phelan. Ann has been booking both properties since 2001 and inspects rooms on a regular basis. She will create the perfect windsurfing vacation. Ann specializes in family vacations as well as groups. For those seeking to learn to sail or hone their skills, lessons  are available. News regarding the expansion of a windsurf center will be revealed soon, so watch for updates. To contact Ann, email ann@bonairecaribbean.com or Contact Ann Phelan

 

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Photo Courtesy of Sorobon Beach Resort

Jibe City – Windsurf News

September 5, 2017

uire Kralendijk

Jibe City is expanding. Monique and Robert, owners, are excited to announce an additional location at Delfins Beach Resort: a brand-new resort on the West Coast of Bonaire. I just inspected this property. It features modern rooms, the largest pool on the island, top notch diving facilities with Dive Friends, and a beautiful sandy beach. Delfins will also feature  a fantastic restaurant manageed by renowned Dutch couple Jonnie and Therese de Boer who gained worldwide fame with their restaurant, Librije. The property is slated to open Nov. 1. I am accepting new reservations and will personally select an amazing room. 

This location is best for intermediate and advanced sailors. Foils will be perfect here and rentals will be available as well as lessons.. There will be a rescue boat and GPS trackers due to the slightly side off wind conditions.  The shop will be a Severne Pro Center. There will be a shuttle to and from the Lac Bay shop so you can sail at either stop. 

Please contact me for the new 2017/18 rates.  As always, I will offer discounts on your gear when booking a hotel / car package. All the rates are including use of kayaks, SUP’s, free use of harness and lockers.

Thanks for your business.  I appreciate the opportunity to plan your trips. Your business allows me to continue to enjoy my Bonaire Bliss.  Bonaire continues to be one of the best destinations to learn to sail or hone your skills. Come on back soon. 

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Luxury Bonaire Wellness Vacations

August 26, 2017

Bonaire Wellness Luxury – Luxury vacations with an emphasis on spa and restorative services. Imagine a luxurious villa on the sea. Next, consider a lovely Thai head and shoulder massage as you hear the water, lapping against the coral. Picture yourself immersed in mindful meditation as the sunsets. Later, a chef prepares your healthy meal incorporating fresh local fish and vegetables. Be pampered, be spoiled. Recharge and reset on the pristine, unspoiled island of Bonaire.

Contact Ann Phelan, Bonaire Destination Specialist at ann@bonairecaribbean.com

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Aventure B and B – Boutique Bliss

August 23, 2017
stay·ca·tion
ˌstāˈkāSHn/

noun

informal
  1. a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
    avbb
    Photo Courtesy of Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations

avbb2.jpgPhoto by Aventura B and B

 

I had the lovely privilege of spending a staycation at Aventura B and B, on the sunny island of Bonaire. Located in the quiet neighborhood of Punt Vierkant, Aventura offers a relaxed escape for those seeking an unspoiled vacation.   There are six lovely units furnished tastefully with comfortable amenities. All feature a fridge, AC and WIFI. The property is nestled amongst mature tropical foliage including shady palm trees. There are several palapa’s offering shady options as well as sun beds. Every attention to detail insures comfort and rest.

Prices start at 92.00 USD and night and up.  Breakfast can be arranged for an additional 17.00 per day.  Each breakfast comes with a smoothie, tropical fruit, delicious breads and savory treats. Roy, the manager, is the consummate professional.

Most units accommodate two while Sensacional, sleeps 5.  This unit also has self-catering options. Prices include free Concierge Services. Wellness, Kite Surfing, Dive and Windsurf Packages available. For more information contact ann@bonairecaribbean.com

Bonaire Travel Tips

August 21, 2017

Welcome soon to Bonaire.  Bonaire is unspoiled with pristine waters, protected by STINAPA as a Marine Park. The island is protected to preserve the beauty and nature that tourists and locals have come to love.  A few mentions to support your visit.

  • Do drink the water. The island de-salination plant provides delicious water throughout.
  • Purchase a Marine Park Tag to access the waterways of Bonaire. 25.00 for divers and 10.00 for others (snorkeler, windsurfers, kites surfers). Available at all sport shops.
  • Drones are prohibited in Bonaire air space.
  • ATMs are located throughout the island. USD is the official currency.
  • Wear sunscreen – we are close to the equator and the sun is very strong.
  • Look but do not touch – it is prohibited to remove shells, coral, sand and sea life from Bonaire.

Sources

http://www.bonaireinternationalairport.com/2017/02/think-twice-before-packing-your-drone-for-bonaire/

http://stinapabonaire.org/bonaire-national/

 

 

 

Villa Azure – Bonaire Bliss

August 21, 2017

13510928_1064168373660384_6187337411262214014_n.jpgWelcome to Villa Azure, the newest listing in my Platinum Plus villa listing.  Villa Azure was built with a dream to provide a high-end luxury villa experience in true, casual Bonaire style.

The villa can accommodate up to 12 people. The location affords stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Trade winds cool the public areas but AC is available in the bedrooms, for sleeping comfort.  The villa features a mature tropical garden with lush flowers and trees. There is a non-chlorinated pool with Jacuzzi, sunning deck, shady palapa’s and lovely loungers.  Divers will appreciate the rinse tanks and storage.

The main floor features a living and dining area with amazing wood furnishings. There is a gourmet kitchen for meal preparation. Prefer someone to create meals for you? Our services include private chef services.   There are 4 bedrooms on the main floor with en suite bathrooms. There is a laundry room and ice machine. There is also a air conditioned gym on the lower floor.

On the second floor, two bedrooms share a bathroom, private living space  with TV and lounge as well as a and opening up to the sea.

Photos Courtesy Villa Azure

Pricing
April 09 – Dec 16                  Dec 17 – April 8

Persons
Per week
Persons
Per week
up to 2
up to 4
US$ 2100.00
US$ 2380.00
up to 2
up to 4
US$ 2275.00
US$ 2625.00
up to 6
US$ 2660.00
up to 6
US$ 2975.00
up to 8
US$ 2940.00
up to 8
US$ 3325.00
up to 10
US$ 3220.00
up to 10
US$ 3675.00
up to 12
US$ 3500.00
up to 12
US$ 4025.00

– rates are excluding tourist tax of US$ 5.45 per person per night for persons 13 years and older
– rates are excluding US$ 300.00 cleaning fee
– rates are based upon 2 persons per bedroom

Rates include WiFi, pick-up service from Flamingo International airport to the villa, cleaning once a week and final cleaning, cleaning of swimming pool once a week, property manager at your service during your stay in the villa. Ask about off season specials.
Wellness services are available at your home including massage, pedicure and manicure, Reiki, yoga and meditation.  Come be pampered and nurtured.
To book Villa Azure, contact ann@bonairecaribbean.com or call 001 508 737 5245.
Bon Bini
Bachelor's Beach

Bachelor Beach – Photo by Ann Phelan

ABK Boardsports Windsurf Camps 2018

August 10, 2017

Have you ever wanted to get on a windsurf and experience gliding across the deep blue? Are you a beginner and cannot seem to get past the uphaul stage? Do you dream of nailing that jibe or tack? Or, are you a free -style wanna be and want to learn how to heli-tack or how about riding switch stance?  Those in the know, travel to Bonaire for Andy Brandt’s annual ABK Boardsports camps. Bonaire is the windsurf Mecca thanks to gin clear water, waist deep and on shore steady trades. It’s heaven.

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Photo Courtesy of ABK

There is one camp remaining for 2017, on Dec. 11.  2018 dates include:

Jan. 22 and 29

Feb. 5 and 26

March 5, 19 and 26

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations, a proud sponsor of the 2018 tour has special packages including gear, lessons, vehicle and accommodation. Ann Phelan, owner, is a former PWA Event Coordinator. She also sails when it’s 4.0 conditions (talk about a wind snob).  Ann personally inspects all properties and knows all about the island, having been a resident since 2003. Email ann@bonairecaribbean.com for details. Prices inclusive of gear, lessons, car and accommodations start at 1310.00 pp based on a double.

0 Photo Courtesy of ABK