Flamingo Airport has a runway of almost 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in length, long
enough to accommodate 747 Jumbo Jets. The airport's designation is BON.
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.
The Netherlands Antilles Guilder (NAF) 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.
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$35 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 12,50.
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.
DRINKING AGE, CASINO/GAMBLI
NG AGE, AND DRUG LAWS
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
Holland. Our drug laws are not lenient.
WATER The water is distilled from seawater and is perfectly safe to drink.
DRIVING LICENSE Foreign
and international licenses are accepted.
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.
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.
US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport and a return or ongoing
ticket. A Birth Certificate with a picture ID is also
Many people ask but unfortunately there is NO ferry services of any kind
between Aruba, Curacao or Venezuela and Bonaire. Scheduled travel between
these destinations are limited to air travel. It might be possible to
charter a boat for your own personal tour.
Wireless Internet access is available at your apartment. Bring your laptop. Alternatively Bonaire hosts several internetcafes like Michael's Chat&Browse and Harbourside Mall.
Papiamentu (local language), Dutch, English and Spanish.
50 miles (80 Km) north of Venezuela and 86 miles (94 Km) east of Aruba,
well outside of the hurricane belt. POPULATION +/- 15,000 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.
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.
TAXES. TIPPING, SERVICE
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$35 is levied for international destinations via the airport,
US$5.75 for other Antillean including Aruba. Car rental tax is US$3.50
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
stand at the airport at Tel. 8100
Direct dialing is possible from most resorts. AT&T, MCI, etc. can
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.
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
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
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.
Calender of events:
Bonaire Dive into Summer
28 Mr. Bonaire 2010
Bonaire Dive into Summer
5 Local Fishing Tournament
6 Bonaire Flag Day (legal holiday)
6 2-4-5 km Estafette run Bonaire Day Run
18 Underwater Cleanup, meet at Dive Friends @ Dive inn at 1.00 PM
Sailing race "Dia di Bonaire" at Kas di Regatta
2-4-5 km Web Run
3-9 43rd Bonaire International Sailing Regatta
Regatta 5 km runs ABN Amro Run
24 Bonaire Extreme Duio MTB Mountain Bike Race at 7.00 AM
29 44 km walk FBW walk 2 day run
1 Bari Festival Period
Road Race 54 km and 70 kam Rose Inn
4 Night of the Best 2010
5 Sinterklaar Birthday Celebration
25 Christmas Day (legal holdiay)
26 Boxing Day (legal holiday)
31 Firework shows in the streets of Bonaire
1 New Year's Day (legal holiday)
Even for a small island, there is plenty to see. However it does require
form of motorized transportation. If you do choose to rent a car, it will
necessary to produce a valid driver's license, be at least 21 - 25 years
of age depending on the rental agency and you may be restricted to the
type of vehicle you can rent as well,) and pay a deposit or use a credit
card for security.
Once you have secured a car, be sure to familiarize yourself with the
signs (a copy will be given to you) and the rules of the road. We drive
on the right, the same as in the States and most of Europe. Be aware that
if you rent a bike or motor scooter, the same rules that apply to cars
also apply to you. There is little public transportation, however, taxis
are reasonable and will be happy to give tours at an hourly rate. The
Tour Companies can also accommodate both large and small groups.
cars are manual/standard transmission.
• The pickups and minivans tend to be the best option for shore
• Your car insurance or Gold Credit Card may not cover your rental
• Yes, we drive on the right side of the road. Most signs are in
• Most rental policies prohibit you from entering Washington Slagbaai
going off-road except for jeeps and pickups.
• Gas Stations: Phone Location
Lisa Gas and Car Wash 717-6006 Kaya Industria 10
Mentor 717-4330 Kaya Korona 107
Pauw / Gas Xpress 717-7171 Kaya Tribon 1
Rincon Station Rincon
• Government Tax: $4 per day, plus 5% on rental fee.
• Like anywhere, always lock up your vehicle and take care with
However at dive sites, we recommend you leave your windows rolled down
and the vehicle unlocked using the security device provided by the rental agency.
Never leave valuables in your car!
• Minimum age 21-26 (varies from companies and depends on type of
• International drivers license or any valid license held for at
least two full
• The deposit can be anywhere from $350 to $550. No cash
deposit is needed when paying an accepted major credit card.
The same rules of the road apply to mopeds, scooters, and bicycles as
to do on Bonaire
1. Picnic & Snorkel on the deserted
island of Klein Bonaire ("Little Bonaire"). Depending
upon the water taxi ride, Klein Bonaire is located approximately 0.5 mile
750m off Bonaire's western coast. Try Skiffy or the Bonairean built Kantika
di Amor (which is also handicap accessible).
2. Windsurf at Lac Bay, situated on the windward side of the island. All
equipment is available for rent. Lessons for beginners and advanced wind
surfers also can be arranged.
3. Fishing is available from several boat charters to catch such fish
as marlin, sailfish, wahoo, dorado or tuna. Most of this fishing is done
within minutes from the shore of Bonaire.
4. Snorkel anywhere you can fall in the water on the West Coast and designated
areas in the Washington/Slagbaai National Park. Guided snorkeling trips
also available through most dive shops or sail charters.
5. Stroll through Kralendijk, the island's quaint capital. Shop for bargains
and one of a kind souvenirs
6. Hike in Washington/Slagbaai National Park to check out the birds, lizards,
goats, iguanas and more. Don't miss the museum at the Park entrance.
7. Sunset Sailing is most enjoyable in the Bay of Kralendijk. All hotels
shops have information on sailing times of the various charters who search
for the Green Flash at sunset.
8. Horseback ride at Kunuku Warahama (tel. 560-7949) and other small ranches.
9. Flamingo Watch at the salt company or near Willemstoren lighthouse
in the southern part of the island and also at Goto Meer. Bring binoculars
as the Flamingo Sanctuary is not accessible to tourists and these pink,
long legged creatures are very timid.
10. ENJOY a cold drink while sitting at one of our seaside bars, restaurants
or cafes and watch the colorful fish swim by. Some establishments often
features local bands at the weekends.
11. VISIT Lourdes Grotto for a quiet moment. This shrine is situated in
village of Rincon.
12. CLIMB Brandaris in Washington/Slagbaai National Park. This hill is
784 feet or 241 meters high. The route is clearly marked both up and down.
13. FIND the best homemade ice cream in the Caribbean at Prisca's in Rincon.
Just a few of the many flavors include mango, coconut, banana, rum raisin,
sap, chocolate and ponche crema. Also try some Colombo's at Harbourside
Mall or Lover's Ice Cream at Sand Dollar Resort when in town.
14. TRY your luck and score a jackpot gambling at the only barefoot casino
in the Caribbean located at the Divi Flamingo Beach Hotel. This casual
atmosphere draws both the serious and not so serious gamblers.
15. HEAD out to Lac Bay Cai on Sunday afternoon for local food, music,
dancing and conversation with the Bonaireans. The mountains of conch shells
found at Cai stand witnesses to an industry no longer practiced on Bonaire.
16. Mountain Bike around Bonaire with or without a guide. Your hotel can
arrange rentals and guided tours.
17. RENT a scooter or moped and explore the island going North and/or
South to see flamingos, lighthouses, obelisks, land houses (landhuizen),
slave huts, the tourist road, devils mouth, O'l blue and much more.
18. RELAX on beautiful Pink Beach. Early in the morning or at sunset sit
on the beach and watch the Flamingos fly to/from their nesting areas.
19. ENJOY the breathtaking panoramic views from Seru Largu overlooking
the Southern part of the island. This is a scenic spot for photographers
where, Klein Bonaire, Kralendijk, Lac Bay, the salt company and more can
seen. Great spot for stargazing.
20. DRIVE through the 13,500 acre or 5,463 hectors of Washington/Slagbaai
National Park. Take the "green" short route or the more scenic
"yellow" longer route. Bring along refreshments.
21. DANCE the night away at Karel's Beach Bar or City Cafe, located in
center of Kralendijk.
22. JOIN the parades at Carnival time in February. Dress up in crazy costumes;
enjoy the fun in Rincon then return to Kralendijk to continue the festivities.
23. FIND a comfortable seat on a dune by the salt flats and watch the
salt being loaded by conveyer belt onto a freighter. The salt is loaded
at a rate of 2,000 tons per hour. Fallen salt crystals can be found and
kept as a souvenir.
24. EXPERIENCE Bonaire's Sailing Regatta held in October. It is truly
spectator's sport with the action clearly visible from shore. The week
festivities include nightly entertainment in the streets of Kralendijk.
25. CHECK out the Indian inscriptions at Onima. They are over 500 years
old. Bring along some old bread to feed some of Bonaire's 16 different
species of lizards, the blue tail is particularly beautiful.
26. MARVEL at the oasis of lush vegetation at Dos Pos. The name means
two wells and is located on the road from Goto Lake to Rincon. Note the
fruit plantation and how many fruit trees can be identified.
27. SEE Bonaire's outdoor market situated by the old pier in Kralendijk.
quaint Roman style building is where fruits and vegetables are sold by
Venezuelans brought from their boats. Notice the historic government building
around Wilhelmina Park, the Customs House and the Old Fort close to this
28. Bird Watch and head for Pos di Mangel in Washington/Slagbaai National
Park.How many of the island's 190 species of birds can be identified?
29. FIND out about Bonaire's varied nature and culture by talking to George
"Cultura" (culture) Thode, the resident expert. George can usually
be found at the entrance of Washington/Slagbaai National Park where he
oversees the Park Rangers and makes sure all visitors are aware of the
Park's rules and regulations. Ask him about the flora and fauna, especially
the innumerable aloe and cacti.
30. EXPLORE the caves at Barcadera located north of Kralendijk across
the street from the Bonaire Caribbean Club. These caves are some of the
oldest on Bonaire.
31. VISIT THE DONKEY SANCTUARY where you can enjoy the beauty of this
ecological park and observe the donkeys in their natural environment.
32. Gain some knowledge of Papiamentu, the native language of the Netherlands
Antilles. Try saying a few words in one of the local shops or restaurants
and listen to how many languages are spoken on Bonaire.
33. Shop in Kralendijk for souvenirs to take home.
34. Take a walk on the wild side! Visit a restored Kunuku (farm), Rooi
Lamoenchi and take a walking tour of the flora and fauna of Bonaire. Ellen
Herera will lead you through an historic and informative journey into
our islands past. Or WALK the island's eastern shores for a refreshing
saltwater shower. The rough surf pounds the shore shooting spray twenty
to thirty feet in the air. Notice the artwork by Bonaire's mysterious
35. STROLL along Playa Pabou's water front towards town early in the morning
to watch the local fishermen heading out in their small hand made fishing
boats to fish for the "catch of the day".
36. LOOKING for a "Kodak moment"? Drive to Goto Meer, Bonaire's
land locked saltwater lake, where this beautiful viewing spot looks over
the lake towards the National Park. This is also a good place to take
pictures of the flamingos as they often feed or sleep close to the road.
37. Cruise around Klein Bonaire and the coast of Bonaire with one of the
38. ADMIRE the rock formations around the island. Find out what the rock
formations resemble. Where is the Iguana Head or Devils Mouth? Find the
Indian Head or the Piedra di Boneiru. At Boca Onima see the five "steps" of Bonaire and observe the wild donkey population.
39. ART GALLERIES are found in many locations. The galleries feature work
of local and Caribbean artists.
40. GO to Captain Don's Habitat to see the slide show given by the legendary
Captain Don himself. He has some amazing stories about Bonaire's scuba
diving history and his 30 years of living on Bonaire. All resorts have
weekly slide presentations check the weekly schedule "Update".
41. TENNIS anyone? There are tennis courts at the Plaza Resort Hotel,
Harbour Village, and Sand Dollar and in the center of Kralendijk behind
the Maduro & Curiels Bank.
42. CHECK out the shell collection at "Museo Boneriano" Bonaire's
Museum. Other items to see here are antique artifacts, old photographs,
archeology, island Mythology and much more.
43. COUNT the steps at 1000 Steps located on the tourist road going north.
Are there 1000 steps? This is an excellent place for snorkeling, exploring
picnicking. Imagine carrying dive gear plus a tank back up these steps!
44. PULL off the road at Para Mira, which coincidentally means "stop
and look" and enjoy the view over Rincon, Bonaire's Spanish missionary
45. LEISURELY walk around Rincon, the oldest village on Bonaire, with
highest goat population! The people are very friendly and some of the
homes are very old. Stop at Rose Inn for a refreshing cold drink and see
many birds feeding in the garden.
46. MOTOR or cycle to Lagoen for interesting beach combing. The ambitious
can walk or drive to Spelonk Lighthouse, which is a delightful old building.
47. SEAKAYAK through the mangroves. Kayaks can be rented from the windsurfing
places at Lac Bay and at a number of dive centers. Or snorkel in the mangroves
for a truly unique experience.
48. FIND Playa Frans by going past the oil storage terminal at Goto Lake.
On the return journey stop at popular Nucove beach for a picnic, snorkel
49. See what movies are playing at MovieLand Cinema Bonaire. (Kaya Prinses
Marie, Tel: 717-2400) or try your hand at the video arcade at Gameland
Cafe. Or maybe go bowling at Danilo tel: 785-7878.
50. STAR GAZE Wait until dark and turn your eyes towards the heavens for
one of nature's most popular shows.
51. Get adventurous and parasail, waterski, wakeboard, or bananaride.
seekers and families alike can enjoy these topside water sports from your
hotel or downtown at Karel's Beach Bar. Kiteboarders with their own equipment
can try Kite Surfing off the shores of Witte Pan, Pink Beach or even Klein
Kitesurfing is prohibited in Lac Bay at this time.
52. Appear live on one of Bonaire's web cams. The underwater ReefCam near
the Small Wall dive site and the StreetCam (on land) in Hato north of
the resorts. (4 web cams total)
53. Take a Walking Tour of Downtown (pick up a map at the Tourism Information
Office) and see some of Bonaire's history.
54. When in Rincon, be sure to stop at Fontein and bathe in the fresh
pools. Also visit Mangazina de Rei Museum and Botanical Garden or take a walking
tour with Soldatji Tours.
55. Test your fish IQ. How many can you identify? Pick up a check off
list at your favorite dive center.
56. Learn how to freedive. Take snorkeling to a new depth - learn how
to control your breathing with yoga respiration techniques with Big Blue
Freedive Bonaire. 57. Picture Bonaire with you in island dress. Get your picture taken in
front of a kunuku without getting your feet dirty. Located right in downtown
Or call Tropicana Apartments 701-0404 for more info.