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Bonaire Friends

Celebrating the Best Part of Bonaire

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What is Bonaire Friends?

In celebration of the people of Bonaire, we’re inviting you to share positive stories about locals you’ve met on the island. Did someone help you enjoy a new experience, point you towards a new favorite restaurant or simply lend a helping hand? Tell us about it and we’ll reward your Bonaire Friend with a $250 prize.

How Does It Work?

Each week, the Tourism Corporation of Bonaire will select the top 3-5 submissions, then the Bonaire Friends Review Committee (comprised of the TCB team and BONHATA team) will score those submissions to determine a winner. The scores will be based on story uniqueness and passion of the local.

It's In Our Nature

Celebrate Your Bonaire Friend

In Video or Text, Tell Us About Your Positive Experience With a Local On Bonaire

Bonaire Friends

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Winners will be awarded a $250 prize via bank transfer.
All permanent residents of Bonaire are eligible to win.

Bonaire Friends Winners:

December 29, 2023


Alberto’s kindness shone through when he went out of his way to assist a visitor locked out of their rental car trunk. His willingness to provide transportation to retrieve a spare key and offer ongoing support exemplifies the genuine sense of community found on Bonaire.

December 22, 2023

Rick Aguilar

Rick is a staunch advocate for conserving Bonaire’s delicate reef systems. His unwavering commitment to preserving the island’s diving resources is truly commendable. His efforts resonate with fellow divers and water enthusiasts in California, reinforcing the importance of protecting these natural treasures.

December 15, 2023

Artie de Vries

Mr. Artie’s selfless dedication to various volunteer activities, including mangrove conservation, assisting those in need, coastal cleanup, monument preservation, and more, showcases his commitment to Bonaire’s well-being and is noticed by our visitors. His multifaceted contributions make a significant impact on the island’s community.

December 8, 2023

Israel Gil

Israel’s talent as a filmmaker and photographer and his passion for showcasing Bonaire’s natural wonders both above and below the water’s surface is truly remarkable. His willingness to share hidden gems on the island, both on land and underwater, adds an extra layer of excitement to every visitor’s journey.

December 1, 2023

Esperanza Sanches

Esperanza, living in Bonaire for over 29 years, represents the friendliness and warmth of the people of Bonaire. The guest experience is greatly enhanced by her attentive service at Sunset Restaurant and her advice on the island. Her expertise and hospitable manner make a lasting impression on our visitors.

November 24, 2023

Jamie Erkelens

Jamie’s presence at Mezze is nothing short of exceptional. She radiates warmth, friendliness, and hospitality, creating an unforgettable dining experience. Her attention to detail, personalized service, and thoughtfulness, such as personalizing take-out boxes and remembering repeat guests, make her a true Bonaire ambassador and a gem to cherish.

November 17, 2023

Martijn & Sabine

Martijn and Sabine offer a warm welcome to Bonaire, sharing a wealth of tips and recommendations for exploring the island’s wonders. Their cozy and inviting hospitality instantly makes visitors feel at home, and their valuable suggestions ensure that every visitor can fully experience the beauty that Bonaire offers.

November 10, 2023


Valerie’s quick thinking and dedication came to the rescue when one of our visitors encountered an issue with their luggage. She tirelessly assisted in contacting the airport and ensuring that necessary medications were retrieved from the misplaced bag. Her swift actions truly made her a lifesaver.

November 3, 2023

Baukje Wassenaar

Baukje not only excels as a diving instructor but also extends her hospitality by offering valuable recommendations for exploring the island. Her patience and willingness to answer countless questions greatly enhance the experience for our first-time visitors. Her warm welcome and guidance have left an indelible mark on Bonaire.

October 27, 2023

Emma Sint Jago

Emma and her friends are outstanding hosts who share the rich cultural heritage of the Chich’i Tan house with enthusiasm and respect. Their storytelling and musical performances, such as Tutti Frutti, provide an engaging glimpse into Bonaire’s history and traditions, leaving visitors enchanted.

October 20, 2023

Joan Obispo

Joan’s dedication to preserving Bonaire’s pristine environment is truly commendable. “Joan showed my wife and I how great the Bonairean people are and really took care of us and our whole group all week.” Not only does she excel in providing diving orientation, but she also actively promotes policies such as “Red, Orange, Green” system for reef conservation. Her customer service, hard work ethic, and genuine passion for the island’s well-being exemplify the kind of employee every business dreams of having.

October 13, 2023

Ginella Martinus

Ginella is synonymous with outstanding service and a wonderful personality. Her commitment to ensuring an unforgettable holiday experience is well-noticed and appreciated. Ginella consistently goes the extra mile to cater to every visitor’s needs. Her infectious smile and extensive knowledge of Bonaire contribute to the guests’ warm welcome.

October 6, 2023

Nicole Pourier

Nicole Pourier: Nicole’s generosity and local insights touched the hearts of visitors, making their Bonaire experience truly unforgettable. Her sincerity and hospitality shone through despite challenges.

September 29, 2023

George Kultura Thode

George Kultura Thode Stinapa’s Chief Ranger at Washington Park: Mr. Thodé’s commitment to protecting Bonaire’s environment, educating youth, and preserving the island’s beauty was revealed during a chance encounter at the national park, inspiring all who met him.

September 27, 2023

Claydrick & Rona

Claydrick Clarenda: As the welcoming face at Bonaire Flamingo Airport, Claydrick’s warm greetings and profound knowledge of Bonaire’s culture and history have left an enduring impression on countless visitors.

Rona Aguilar: Visitors have been treated to an unforgettable experience by Rona’s exceptional service and attention to detail, earning her high praise for ensuring memorable stays on Bonaire.


September 7, 2023

Helen Thode

Nominated by one of our Ambassadors, Helen’s welcoming and informative approach left a lasting impression on visitors. Her dedication to sharing the latest events and happenings on Bonaire created a sense of belonging for our visitors. Helen’s personal touch and warm engagement make visitors feel like honorary Bonaire friends.

September 1, 2023

Rowan Beenakkers

Captain Rowan’s warm welcome and informative guidance have left a mark on cruise passengers visiting Bonaire. His passion for the island, coupled with his extensive knowledge, has made him a standout figure in the tourism industry. Rowan’s commitment to preserving Bonaire’s natural beauty while providing exceptional experiences to visitors sets a shining example for all.

August 25, 2023

Jessica Semeleer

Jessica’s exceptional hospitality played a pivotal role in transforming a snorkeling vacation into a life-changing Bonaire experience for one couple. Despite unforeseen circumstances preventing scuba diving, Jessica’s guidance, tourist insights, and warm hospitality turned their trip into an unforgettable adventure. Her dedication to ensuring visitors have the best possible experience embodies the spirit of Bonaire’s hospitality.

August 18, 2023

Darcy de Lannooy

Over the past decade, Darcy has been the welcoming face that greets divers at Dive Friends locations. His infectious smile and enthusiasm for helping divers with their equipment needs have made him a beloved figure in the diving community. Darcy’s passion for Bonaire is evident not only in his work but also in his social media presence, where he proudly showcases the island’s beauty.

August 11, 2023


For two decades, Dora has been the friendly face that visitors look forward to encountering upon arriving in Bonaire. As an integral part of the Budget rental car service at the airport, Dora has consistently greeted visitors with a welcoming smile and unmatched kindness. She has played a pivotal role in ensuring that the first encounter with Bonaire is one of warmth and positivity. Dora’s upcoming retirement marks a milestone in her remarkable service journey, deserving of a heartfelt celebration for her years of dedication.

August 4, 2023

Fra Aziz

In the midst of a heart-wrenching journey, Fra exhibited extraordinary empathy and support to a grieving family. During a difficult time, Fra extended a compassionate hand to a visitor who had come to Bonaire to bid farewell to a loved one. Her understanding, empathy, and thoughtful conversations provided solace and renewed hope.

July 28, 2023


Zoey, a dynamic and enthusiastic staff member at Ocean Oasis, has captured the essence of youthful energy and exceptional service. During a dining experience at Ocean Oasis, a guest had the pleasure of encountering Zoey’s remarkable attentiveness and genuine care. With enthusiasm, Zoey not only delivered impeccable service but also created an engaging and enjoyable atmosphere. Her dedication to enhancing guests’ evenings through her genuine interactions and service reflects the kind of hospitality that makes Bonaire’s experiences truly memorable.

July 21, 2023

Farid Ayubi

Farid Ayubi, the dedicated owner of Sunrise Tours Bonaire, has been a pillar of support and assistance to visitors for over two decades. In an extraordinary act of kindness, Farid went above and beyond when he came to the aid of a couple in distress. Leslie Howell, who had suffered a severe ankle injury, found herself stranded on a Bonaire beach. Despite not being a part of Farid’s tour, he selflessly halted his tour bus, assessed the situation, and promptly organized an ambulance. Farid’s caring actions extended beyond the ordinary; he provided comfort, ensured safety, and exemplified the genuine warmth that defines Bonaire’s community.

July 7, 2023

Ryan Augusta

Ryan Augusta is a true Bonaire Ambassador; he is not only an exceptional kitesurf instructor at kite city but also a proud ambassador for Bonaire. With his extensive knowledge, remarkable teaching skills, and genuine passion for the island, Ryan has become a sought-after figure for visitors seeking an unforgettable kitesurfing experience. His respectful attitude towards nature, wind, sea, and people truly embodies the essence of Bonaire. Ryan’s teaching has left a lasting impact on countless visitors, including a 52-year-old mother of three who described her time with him as nothing short of incredible. Ryan’s presence as Bonaire’s “face” has attracted visitors back to the island time and time again, and his warm and genuine nature enhances the holiday experience for all. His dedication and expertise make him an outstanding Bonaire Friend.

June 30, 2023

Gerarda Dirksz

Gerarda Dirksz owner of Kunuku Spa was described as a Haven of Modern Relaxation. Gerarda Dirksz has been recognized for her exceptional service at Kunuku Spa, a modern and tranquil oasis on the island. Visitors were captivated by the serene atmosphere and the top-notch service provided by Gerarda. Her dedication to ensuring a memorable spa experience has earned her praise from visitors, who have described Kunuku Spa as a must-visit spot.

June 23, 2023

Tirzo Thomas

Tirzo Thomas has been an integral part of the tourism industry for over 20 years, providing exceptional service at Rum Runners. His friendly and helpful nature, coupled with his deep knowledge of the island, ensures that customers have an unforgettable experience.

June 15, 2023

Davide Chiarlo

Davide Chiarlo, Dive Friends instructor, passion for teaching diving and his love for Bonaire have made a profound impact on those seeking to explore the underwater wonders of the island. As an instructor at Dive Friends, Davide has gone above and beyond to make newcomers feel comfortable and confident in their diving journey. His patience and attentive approach have eased the fears of visitors, such as a 48-year-old first-time diver, who commended Davide’s extra efforts and personal attention. Davide’s commitment to teaching, along with his recommendations for local restaurant and attractions, reflects his deep-rooted affection for Bonaire and his desire to share its beauty with others.

June 14, 2023

Dirk Blaas

Dirk Blaas, an excellent bartender at Rum Runners, has impressed the visitors with his extensive knowledge of drinks and his outgoing and fun personality. His professionalism and top-notch service has left a lasting impression on guests, ensuring that they have a memorable experience.

June 9, 2023

Agnes Joosten

Agnes Joosten, a dedicated employee at Multishop, a local art and gift shop, has been recognized for her exceptional dedication and support. She consistently goes above and beyond to assist individuals, offering kindness and assistance despite her other responsibilities. Agnes’s commitment to providing outstanding service has endeared her to many and showcases the true spirit of Bonaire’s hospitality.

June 2, 2023

Pepe Mastropaolo

Pepe Mastropaolo, Dive Operations Manager at Great Adventures Bonaire, has been commended for his kindness, sincerity, respectfulness, and generosity. He played a crucial role in fulfilling a family’s heartfelt wish to scatter their late husband’s remains at sea. Pepe, along with Alfonso, a beloved divemaster and captain, exemplified the warm and friendly nature that Bonaire is known for.

May 29, 2023

Jonathan Paulina

Jonathan Paulina, who works at Belnem House, has garnered praise for his open-mindedness, helpfulness, and positive attitude. Despite being born in Curaçao, he is regarded as a local by visitors due to his love for the island and his dedication to making the visitors stay on the island as pleasant as possible.

May 26, 2023

Tanya Deen

Tanya Deen, from InfoBonaire, has been instrumental in providing reliable information and peace of mind to visitors planning their trips to Bonaire. Her friendly and helpful manner, along with her wealth of knowledge, has simplified the planning process for many visitors, leaving them confident and excited about their visit to Bonaire.

May 15, 2023

Ronald Bernabela

Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) is pleased to announce Ronald Bernabela as the latest winner of the Bonaire Friends program. Kevin Winter from the Netherlands nominated him for his outstanding service and dedication to the tourism industry.

May 5, 2023

Boy Rozendaal

Boy Rozendaal was acknowledged for his exceptional dedication and the service he provided, which left a lasting impression on visitors.

April 27, 2023

Junela Nicolaas

Junela Nicolaas was recognized for making a significant impact on visitors to the island, exemplifying the great service that the people working in the tourism industry are providing to visitors.

April 20, 2023

Dee Pedersen

Dee Pedersen was nominated by Tom Darrow, a long time Bonaire Ambassador, for her outstanding contribution to the tourism industry on the island.

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