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Travel Tips

Everything you need to know about traveling to Bonaire.

Below is a table offering “Bonaire in a nutshell” – all the key topics we are frequently asked about.

Travel TipsInformation
BANKSBonaire 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 open during the lunch hour.
CLIMATEThe 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).
CUSTOMSBesides articles for personal use, visitors over 17 are allowed to bring a certain amount of cigarettes, cigars, and alcohol. See additional details about import regulations for visitors.
DRESS CODECasual (but no beach wear) downtown. Evening clothes are casual to casual nice. Topless sunbathing and nudity are prohibited on beaches. See our Religion page for appropriate church attire.
DRINKING AGE, CASINO/GAMBLING AGE, AND DRUG LAWSThe legal drinking age on Bonaire is 18 for both beer and other alcohol. The legal age for gambling in a casino is 21. The Dutch Caribbean has its own drug laws which are not the same as Holland. Our drug laws are not lenient.
DRINKING WATERThe water is distilled from seawater and is perfectly safe to drink. Please consider bringing a reusable bottle. Buying bottled water is not necessary.
DRIVING LICENSEForeign and international licenses are accepted.
ELECTRICITY127 volt, 50 cycle electric is the most the most common current provided. 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.
EMERGENCIESBonaire has the excellent Hospital Fundashon Mariadal (Kaya Soeur Bartola #2, Kralendijk), and a number of doctors, including specialists. 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 is via the emergency room at the hospital. The emergency phone number for any emergency is 911.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTSUS and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport and a return or ongoing ticket. See our entry requirements page for more details.
FERRY SERVICESMany people ask but unfortunately there are 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.
INTERNETWireless Internet services are available in numerous locations, as well as most hotels and resorts. See our Technology page for the latest information.
LANGUAGESPapiamentu (local language), Dutch, English and Spanish.
LOCATION50 miles (80 Km) north of Venezuela and 86 miles (94 Km) east of Aruba, well outside of the hurricane belt.
MONEYThe US Dollar is the official currency. Credit cards are widely accepted. Be sure to have your passport or picture ID with you, as you may be asked to provide it.
PHONEDirect 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 and/or SIM card for the length of your stay, these are available from several different providers. Details of cell phone services and roaming can be found on our Telephone page.
POPULATION+/- 21,000 people
SIZE OF THE ISLANDBonaire 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 HOURSMost 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 8 AM to 1 PM.
TAXES, TIPPING, AND SERVICE CHARGESThere is a 6% tax on virtually all services (ABB tax), which is normally included in the retail cost of items or services. A Departure Tax of USD $35.00 for international destinations is normally included in the cost of your airline ticket (see DEPARTURE TAX above). 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 appreciated. In dive shops, etc. 10% is also the norm.
TAXITaxis are available at the airport. From other locations you may call the taxi stand at the airport at Tel. 717-8100 (See Taxi Rate page for estimated fees).
TELEVISIONHotels offer 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. Telbo provides digital TV with 100+ stations
TIME ZONEAtlantic Standard Time (AST). 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 SEASONSHigh 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.
TOURIST TAXAs of July 1, 2022, a tourist tax of $75 per visit to Bonaire applies to all non-residents aged 13 and older. Children up to the age of 12 who are not residents and residents of the former Netherlands Antilles pay $10 per visit to the island. There is an exemption for Bonairean students who study abroad. The tourist tax can be paid online in advance or upon arrival. The tourist tax will replace the 'room tax' and 'car tax' from previous years.

As of January 1, 2023, the tourist tax for cruise passengers of $10 per person will apply.
VACCINATIONS & COVID-19No 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 travelers.

See additional information regarding current regulations for entry to Bonaire during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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