Four-day course (morning/afternoon classes) 29 h classes
Dates: 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 21st June 2019
Maximum student capacity: 12
The Island of Bonaire is rich in sinkholes and caves, many of them still unexplored. These natural beauties are, on one hand, invaluable reservoirs of natural resources, ecological interactions and ecosystem services; and on the other hand, a treasure of local traditions and cultural values. Contrasting with this privileged condition, caves and karst on the island are under constant threat, due to anthropogenic impacts (pollution, structural damage, rock extraction, vandalism, and disturbance of bat colonies, among others) and lack of protective legislation. They represent a natural and cultural resource in need of protection and a management plan for their sustainable use.
The aim of this course is to offer comprehensive training on cave tour guidance to tour operators with a license to operate as such on the Island of Bonaire. Topics include the caves and karst system of Bonaire, basic notions about their associated flora, fauna and ecology, caves and sinkholes in the Bonerian culture, cave guiding, cave safety, first aid, and a closing forum, in which the most relevant topics concerning the management of the new Bonaire Caves and Karst Park will be addressed. At the end of the course, students will be prepared to provide cave guidance under safe conditions, optimizing the use of caves as a recreational resource, and contributing to preserve their integrity and biodiversity. The Caribbean Speleological Society (CARIBSS) will grant certification as caves and karst tour guides upon full completion of the course. A key outcome of this training and forum will be the establishment of the Bonaire Cave Tour Guides Network, which will work in cooperation with the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB) to organize and coordinate the management of caves as recreational sites on the island and to generate the legal framework for their sustainable use and protection.