Almost everyone knows rickshaws, if not from one of your travels in Asia then at least from an Asian movie. The two or three-wheeled passenger cart, generally pulled by one man with one passenger, was invented in Japan around 1869. The traditional pulled rickshaw developed into cycle rickshaws and later into auto rickshaws also known as tuk tuks.
The auto rickshaw, called tuk tuk in Thailand, is a widely used form of urban transport in Bangkok and other Thai cities. The name is onomatopoeic, mimicking the sound of a small (often two-cycle) engine.
Environmental issues, of pollution and diminishing natural resources, awakened the need for a more environmentally friendly means of transportation and the electrical tuk tuk was invented.
The more environmentally friendly tuk tuks are a perfect fit for Bonaire, an island very concerned about economic development while taking the protection and management of the fragile ecosystems into account and who clearly understand the value of it.
The Bon Tuk Company brought the first electrical tuk tuks to the island in 2011. The environmentally friendly transportation was even embraced by the local government who in mid-2012 put the first charging point for electrical energy into use.
In the beginning of 2015, the Bon Tuk Company was transferred to new owners, Lara Abbink and Helene Knoester took over the business.
Lara & Helene
Lara came to the island for the first time in 2005 and repeated yearly visits turned into several times a year visits. By then it was clear that she was taken by the well-known “Bonaire virus” and she fell in love with this special place.
Lara, who studied Management and Organizational Sciences and had worked in the hospitality industry, wanted a change in scenery and for the first time entered into the Customer Service Center world the year she graduated. Her career gradually developed from a call center sales person, to team leader to contact center Customer Service & Quality management. After many years of experience, she wanted to pass on her knowledge of customer service, but also all the dynamics inside a contact center. She succeeded and worked with much passion and energy in the Customer Service world for 20 years when she started wondering if there was anything else for her in the world.
Helene stepped right into the work force after finalizing her school education. From working in a gas station and restaurants, she took a detour into a Customer Service branch [LA1] and developed into the Business & Process management division. Over the years Lara and Helene bumped into each other, became acquaintances, friends, life partners - and now the final step, business partners.
To go or not go
Both had talked over the possibility of moving to Bonaire, but after thorough calculation and reflection on their business ideas, they decided to not take the step. Then in 2014, they came across an advertisement for two tuk tuks for sale on Bonaire. With a new business and financial plan, there was no holding them back any longer and they took their first step as residents on Bonairean soil/rocks in April, 2015.
One year after their arrival, their life has changed in many ways. Ways that are most recognizable when they can compare themselves with friends who come for a visit. The slower pace, the outdoor living, being close to nature and the space make them more relaxed and able to enjoy the positives in life.
Lara and Helene are proud to own a company that suits the island’s[LA2] economic development with an eye towards the protection of its environment. The tuk tuks are perfect in this climate with their roofs providing the needed shade, but open seating letting in the breeze to cool you down.
The electrical tuk tuks are in contrast to their predecessors with a two-cycle engine. They are environmentally friendly and very quiet, giving the opportunity to really dive into a nature tour without disturbing the wildlife.
Bon Tuk has two 4 seat tuk tuks available and two shuttles that seat 7. They offer a variety of tours and below we have selected a few:
City Tour, historical Kralendijk (Coral dike)
A tour down town Kralendijk with the historical Background of the Island
This tour takes +/- 1 hour.
Tera Cora, past the Mangroves, towards Lac Bai, onwards to the wild south coast where the waves splash high against the coast to the salt flats, the slave huts and more!
This tour takes +/- 2 to 2.5 hours.
Discover Rincon and Gotomeer
Along the coastline towards the Gotomeer that offers beautiful scenery from the roads around the lake. Visit Rincon, the oldest settlement and the cradle of Bonaire's rich culture, and see how Cactusi liqueur is made at the distillery in the village and then stop at a local restaurant for lunch.
This tour takes +/- 2.5 to 3 hours[LA3] .
Birds, donkeys, iguanas, lizards, ospreys, herons, beautiful scenery, sunsets, wild ocean - all you can think of in the viewfinder[LA4] of your lens!
You are driven by electric Tuk Tuk, no noise to scare the wildlife away. You will be able to get really close and take that special picture!
VIP Transport and Airport Pick Up Service
A wedding or a special party, maybe you want to surprise someone at the airport or hotel/resort/apartment with a special pickup?
Something special to celebrate, your company/team met their targets, someone you want to feel special, or teambuilding activities accompanied by a professional trainer and coach to boost your team spirits?
All the teambuilding activities are coordinated by a professional team coach/trainer and can be customized to fit your company’s goals.
What’s new and coming?
Bon Tuk will provide a food experience of a different kind. You can book a tour to your liking with breakfast, lunch, brunch or early dinner. You can discuss whether you want to enjoy your food while driving or drive to a scenic spot. A custom made table will be installed where food and drinks can be comfortably placed for up to 4 people.
Freestyle Pop up goes Bon Tuk
Jana, owner of the Freestyle Pop up Restaurant, Helene and Lara will start a fun collaboration. The wonderful flavors of Jana’s Thai and Indian food are well known on the island. Jana, who cooks weekly at the Dive Hut and frequently invites guest to a special theme night, is also known to be at events in a food stall serving her guests the aromatic flavors of Asia.
It’s a match made in heaven. Thailand’s renowned items, the tuk tuk and Thai food, combined on Bonaire. Imagine yourself on an island tour enjoying great and delicious food.
Bon Tuk is discussing a collaboration with STINAPA to provide special Bird Watching Tours.
Not what you have been looking for?
Helene and Lara are open to any of your requests and welcome new ideas. Give them a call or send and email with your wishes and, if possible, the two ladies will make it happen for you.
T: 00599 7008745