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TOPIC: Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place?

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #1

  • Gregory
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I'm thinking about escaping Wisconsin cold/snow this coming February and spend a few days in Bonaire. Has anyone been there?
How was your experience?
What place do you recommend? Jibe City or Windsurf Place? Why?
Any other Caribbean windsurfing destinations worth considering?
Any other thoughts?
Thx.

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #2

  • Greg S
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I have been to Bonaire a few times and it is a fantastic flat water sailing experience with 80 degree temps for both air and water! Lac Bay generally has onshore winds with a large mostly shallow sailing area and is one of the best beginner intermediate places to learn in the world. There are a ton of advanced sailers here as well so expect to see some of the worlds best freestyle sailors. kumamovie.com/kuma-in-bonaire-2016/

In the past I've been in months of February, March, and April with winds typically high teens to low 20's. We've had days that are higher and one year that required dipping into the fleet of 7+ sized sails but mostly sailed between 5.5 and 6.6. I am about 190 lb and tall so I am typically on bigger gear than most. Check the wind by month charts to see data.

I went to Aruba twice before going to Bonaire and I think the sailing is better in Bonaire. Aruba has more to do in the evening and larger chain resorts, I think the Vela Windsurf place is right next to three different Marriott properties, but the wind in Aruba tends to be slightly offshore and little bit more of a trek in terms of getting out to the wind while bonaire is on shore wind which translates into more sail time!

Bonaire also has fantastic shore accessible snorkeling and scuba. Everyday you could drive to a different beginner friendly site and not need guide and still be able to see interesting aquatic life.

We've always rented from Jibe City which I think typically has slightly newer selection of gear and friendly staff. If you are teaching kids, I think the Windsurf place has better kids beginner gear as Jibe City only has trainer sails smaller than 4.0 while the Windsurf Place has some kids Maui Hot Sails rigs, but otherwise we favor Jibe City, but we've never tried Windsurf Place. The Windsurf Place site shows photos of some newer RRD gear. I don't think that was there last time we were here. We might be splitting hairs here since both shops gear is relatively new, but my memory is that Jibe City tends to refresh their gear more frequently so it tends to be slightly newer.

The more simple answer is that the sailing in Bonaire in February is going to be way better than the weather in Chicago!

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #3

  • Gregory
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Greg, thanks for taking the time to tell your experience. This is very helpful. Cheers!

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #4

I've had good luck with the Windsurf Place. Started out with Jibe City - no complaints but after trying the Place we've stuck with it the past several years and it's become friendly and familiar. Newer Boards are RRD Firemoves and SB Atom IQ. Also some brand new SB Kodes last year.

Yes, the sailing is amazing and great for learning/improving whatever level you're at. My wife learned to sail there and progressed from absolute beginner to (a thoroughly hooked) solid intermediate in a few years with very little sailing in between.

Even if you didn't sail or dive, Bonaire is pretty amazing place as long you're not into resort/restaurant/nightlife thing. Lots of rugged, beautiful and sparsely populated areas to explore. Be sure to visit the park.

It's getting to be kind of expensive but Lac Baai apartments are really nice and walking distance from the windsurfing beach. Again, I like it because there's really not much around. In the evening sitting on the balcony, you're surrounded by desert-y wilderness but also have a nice view of the bay/ocean. Last time we stayed there there seemed to only be a few other guests. There's a newish, cheaper surf hostel that we haven't tried that may have taken some of there business.

Also worth pointing out that though the weather is consistently warm, at least on the windy side of the island, the aridity and breeze keep things fresh and pleasant, particularly in the mornings and evenings. On the water, I've never considered a wetsuit and in many trips have never been even a little uncomfortable.

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #5

  • Gregory
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Thanks Chris. We like peaceful and quiet places. I don't need a party town for vacation! So Bonaire sound fantastic from all sides!

Has anyone stayed at the Sorobon Beach Resort? Worth the price? Online reviews are pretty good. Please share your thoughts! :)

I'm traveling with my wife who is not a windsurf addict and likes doing nothing (I.e. lounging and reading) and my 9 y-o son who might be interested in trying sailing. The place looks perfect: right on the lagoon, crystal clear water, white sandy beach, shallow water, and right next to the windsurfing centers. Looks too good to be real!

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #6

  • Chris
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Hi Greg,

My wife and I went to Bonaire two winters ago at the end of January and had a blast. If you're wife has ANY interest at all in windsurfing, it's a perfect place to learn. My wife loved it. We rented from Windsurf Place. Found their customer service to be better. Really friendly staff and they are locally-owned, unlike Jibe City. Jibe City is snazzier, but Windsurf Place is more organic and local, and we like that. Plus, it seems like they had tons more gear than Jibe City, so you're not always vying for equipment. Plus, windsurf Place has some really great guys on staff to teach kids.

We rented a small apartment through AirBnb and got a great rate (I think it was between $700-800 for the week). My recommendation would be to stay somewhere in town, as you will be closer to restaurants and grocery stores. Lac Bay is a bit removed from everything. Bonaire is a great place for all levels. Enjoy!

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #7

  • Staffan
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Have been happily renting from Jibe city twice now, lots of sails and boards in good condition.

If you want a cheap stay you can't really beat Bonaire Surfhostel, a bit of the beaten path and basic (need car). Basic rooms, dorms and access to communal kitchen. Stayed there this May, and back in 2014. When we stayed there the first time 3 of the top ten freestyle pro's lived in the room next to ours. :)

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 5 months ago #8

  • Greg S
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We are fans of Sorobon and stayed a few times (2 adults + 2 kids). You'll need to decide what you prefer to be closest, either restaurants and evening activities or the windsurfing site. My preference is to spend as much time at Lac Bay as possible which is a definite treat. There are more affordable options on the island, but it is difficult to beat the convenience of staying less than 50 yards from the sailing site especially with kids. The kids loved the little beach area and dock in front of Sorobon. For us the convenience of being able to take the kids sailing, drop them back at our unit, or let them play on the beach while I sailed was worth staying there.

Being at Sorobon provides a ton of flexibility to hang out and sail whenever. If you have a non-sailing spouse, they can sit on the beach in the shade or sun and there is a beach cafe that serves drinks and has a menu. There is also a restaurant at Sorobon and the Hang Out Beach Bar at the sailing site. We stocked the tiny fridge and made a lot of our meals in our unit and then ate onsite. If you must eat out beyond those options, then you'll likely need to drive to the other side which is about 15+ minutes depending on where you go.

Sorobon itself is nice but some american's consider it a little spartan for the price. I think the video on the website overplays the "spa" a little bit so I wouldn't oversell that with someone who is use to a nice resort spa. You can get a message, but it is outside on a covered porch. They've redone the units in recent years but keep in mind you are renting a cottage on the beach and so it can be difficult to keep everything tidy all the time. If you have the expectation that you are staying at the Four Season's you'll be disappointed but if you soak up the beauty of the location, the convenience of being on the beach, and the reality of being in small desert island then you'll enjoy your time there.

.

Bonaire: Jibe City or Windsurf Place? 1 year 4 months ago #9

  • Gregory
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Thank you all for the replies. I'm sold! :)
February 2017 is going to be fun! B)
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