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Bonaire Travel Tips


Flamingo Airport has a runway of over 1.5 miles (2.88 km) in length, long enough to accommodate 747 Jumbo Jets. The airport's designation is BON.
BANKS Bonaire has a number of banks, all of which have ATMs located conveniently around the island. Banking hours are Monday through Friday 8 or 8:30am until 3:30 or 4pm. Some are opened during the lunch hour.
CURRENCY The Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAFl.) is fixed at the exchange rate of 1.77 to the dollar for cash and 1.78 for traveler's cheques. Most stores and businesses exchange it at 1.75. You can spend dollars everywhere, but will likely receive your change in guilders. Traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted. Be sure to have your passport or positive ID when changing Traveler's cheques at banks.
CLIMATE The average air temperature is 82º Fahrenheit (30ºC) and 75% relative humidity. Average water temperature is 80ºF (29ºC). Rainfall averages 22"  (52.8cm) per year. There is a constant trade wind that generally makes the evenings cool and comfortable. Average windspeed is 15 mph (25kph).
CUSTOMS Besides articles for personal use, visitors over 15 are allowed 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco, 2 liters of distillated beverages, 2 liters of wine.


International departure tax is US$20 per person, payable upon departure. This is usually not included in your airline ticket but some tour companies may include it. Domestic departure tax is Nafl 10,00.

DRESS CODE Casual (but no beach wear) downtown. Evening clothes are casual to casual nice. Topless sunbathing and nudity is prohibited on beaches except for Sorobon Beach Resort (a privately owned nudist resort). See our Religion page for appropriate church attire.


The legal drinking age on Bonaire is 18 for both beer and other alcohol.
The legal age for gambling in a casino is 21.
The Netherlands Antilles has its own drug laws which are not the same as Holland. Our drug laws are not lenient.

DRINKING WATER The water is distilled from seawater and is perfectly safe to drink.
DRIVING LICENSE Foreign and international licenses are accepted.
ELECTRICITY 127 volt, 50 cycle. 220 volt is also available at some resorts. Most U.S. appliances will work, however a bit hotter. Dive shops and resorts have stations for guest use for charging camera batteries, etc. It is recommended that you use them to avoid damage to delicate equipment.
EMERGENCIES Bonaire has the 60-bed hospital, Hospitaal San Francisco (Kaya Soeur Bartola #2, Kralendijk), and a number of doctors. There is an ambulance plane on call for emergencies. A hyperbaric recompression chamber is located adjacent to the hospital and is run by a highly trained staff - admittance via the emergency room at the hospital. The emergency phone number for the ambulance is 114.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport and a return or ongoing ticket. A Birth Certificate with a picture ID is also acceptable. See our entry requirements page for more details.


Many people ask but unfortunately there is NO ferry services of any kind between Bonaire and Aruba, Venezuela or Curacao. Scheduled travel between these destinations are limited to air travel. It might be possible to charter a boat for your own personal tour. If that is of interest, go to our Sailing page for contacts.

INTERNET Internet access is available through local providers as well as through an AT&T GlobalNet access number. A VIP hook-up can be arranged through BonaireLive. For arrangements and more information contact the vendor at 717-6040. There is also a public e-mail terminal at the Harbourside Mall and a cyber cafe, de Tuin, is located in the center of town.
LANGUAGE Papiamentu (local language), Dutch, English and Spanish.
LOCATION 50 miles (80 Km) north of Venezuela and 86 miles  (94 Km) east of Aruba, well outside of the hurricane belt.
POPULATION +/- 11,000 people
SIZE Bonaire is 24 miles long (38.6 km) and 3-5 miles (4.8 -8 km)wide, 112 sq. miles (180 sq. km) in area.
Klein Bonaire, an island off our west coast, is 1500 acres.
STORE HOURS Most stores are open Monday through Saturday from between 8 or 9 AM until 12 noon when they close for one to two hours, then remain open until 6 PM. Hours vary widely and some stay open during lunch hour. The larger supermarkets are open from 7:30 or 8 AM until 7 PM (may close during lunch) and some may be open on Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM.

There is a 5% tax on virtually all goods and services (NAOB tax). A room tax of US$ 5.50-$6.50 is also charged per person per day. A departure tax of US$20 is levied for international destinations via the airport, US$5.75 for other Antillean including Aruba. Car rental tax is US$3.50 per day.

Tipping is much the same as in the States. Some restaurants add a 10-15% service charge automatically, so if in doubt, ask.

Taxis - generally a 10% tip is greatly apppreciated. In dive shops, etc. 10% is also the norm.


Taxis are available at the airport. From other locations you may call the taxi stand at the airport at Tel. 8100 (See Taxi Rate page for fees)


Direct dialing is possible from most resorts. AT&T, MCI, etc. can also be accessed. The local telephone office, TELBO can also place calls to all locations. For on island calls, dial just the last seven digits.

For cell phone users, you can rent a cellular phone for the length of your stay with CellularOne 717-8787. If you have a TDMA phone, CellularOne can also offer local service, contact them for details. Telbo, the local phone company also offers a similar service - 717-7000. GSM phones are not supported on Bonaire.

TELEVISION Hotels offer 22 cable channel viewing  including premium movie channels, ESPN. CNN, Disney, Spanish and German language channels as well as the local station TV 11. Bonaire uses the NTSC system
TIME ZONE Atlantic Standard Time. Same time as the United States East Coast during Daylight Savings Time (mid-Spring to mid-Fall). Bonaire does not change time for Daylight Savings, as is the custom in the US and Europe.
TOURISM SEASONS High Season Winter/Spring: Dec. 15 - Apr. 14
Low Season Summer/Fall: Apr. 15 - Dec. 14
Windy Season: May - Aug, moderate wind Jan-Apr
Rainy Season: Nov. - Jan.


No vaccinations or preventative medications are recommended for travel to Bonaire. Yellow fever and Malaria are not a problem here. The Center for Disease Control in the the US offers updates and advisories for travellers.

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