Bonaire Travel Overview





Bonaire is the second largest island in the former Netherlands Antilles and part of the ABC Islands, which also include Aruba and Curaçao. The landscape is flat and rocky. Since there is little rain, the country is relatively dry. Opposite the island’s capital Kralendijk is the uninhabited island of Klein-Bonaire.


Constitutional parliamentary-democratic monarchy. Constitution of 1954. Bonaire was part of the Netherlands Antilles until October 2010, as were Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten. The former Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and the Netherlands, as autonomous regions with internal self-government, have the same status within the Dutch Kingdom. Bonaire is now an independent municipality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but without belonging to a province.

The Dutch queen is represented by a governor. Foreign and defense policy are decided by the Council of Ministers. The parliament (states) of the islands is responsible for domestic politics. The routine affairs of Bonaire are carried out by the Island Council (nine members) under the supervision of the Lieutenant Governor.

Head of state

Queen Beatrix, since 1980, represented by the Governor Glenn Thodé, since 2008.

Head of government

Wilbert Stolte, since May 2011.


127 V, 50 Hz.


Arriving by plane

There are connections from Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna via Amsterdam with KLM (KL) (Internet: also in cooperation with the national airlines. TUIFly (Internet: also connects Amsterdam with Bonaire.

Departure fee

US $ 22. Exceptions are children under 2 years of age (no seat of their own), transit travelers (within 24 hours) and travelers who have already paid the fee at another airport in the Netherlands Antilles within 24 hours.

Arrival by ship

A new ferry service exists between Bonaire and Curaçao. There is currently no ferry connection between Bonaire and Curaçao or to Venezuela. International cruise lines such as Silversea Cruises (Internet:, Princess Cruises (Internet:, Cunard Cruises (Internet:, Holland America (Internet: and P&O Cruises (Internet: call at Bonaire during the high season (December – April).


On the way by car / bus

There are taxis all over the island and their fares are set and controlled by the government. Between midnight and 6 a.m. a 50% surcharge is required A list of taxi prices is available from the Tourist Office (see addresses).
Various rental car companies have offices in the hotels, at the airport and in Kralendijk. Bicycles and mopeds can also be rented. The roads are pretty good. Jeeps are recommended for longer journeys, especially on trips to Washington National Park. A tax of US $ 3.50 per day and 5% of the rental price is levied on the rental price. Documents:The national driving license is accepted if the driver has been driving for 2 years. Otherwise international driver’s license. Minimum age: 21 to 26 years (depending on the specifications of the individual rental company).
Speed limits:
within built-up areas: 40 km / h
outside built-up areas: 80 km / h




1 US dollar = 100 cents. Currency abbreviation: US $, USD (ISO code). Banknotes are available in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 US $. Coins are available in denominations of US $ 1 as well as 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cent.

The US dollar has been the official currency of Bonaire since 2011. It replaced the Antilles florin (Antilles guilder).

Credit cards

Shops, restaurants, hotels and car rental companies usually accept all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, but mostly not Diners Club). In supermarkets you can also pay with credit card (sometimes even with American Express). There are ATMs on the island that can be used to withdraw cash in US dollars with a credit card. Details from the manufacturer of the respective credit card.


ec / Maestro card / Sparcard
cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted throughout Europe and worldwide. Further information from banks and credit institutes.

Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank customer card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the options for using their card from their bank prior to departure.

Bank opening times

Mon-Fri 8 a.m. / 8.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m. / 4 p.m. (sometimes with a lunch break). The MCB Bonaire branch at the airport is also open on Saturday mornings.

Foreign exchange regulations

The import of the local currency and foreign currencies is possible without restriction, declaration obligation. Unrestricted export of local and foreign currencies. The import of silver coins from the Netherlands and Suriname is prohibited.

Currency Exchange

Most major currencies can be easily exchanged. US dollars can also be exchanged in stores. However, one should carry banknotes in small denominations, US $ 50 and US $ 100 banknotes are not always easy to change.



The official language is Dutch. Papiamento (mixture of Portuguese, African, Spanish, Dutch and English) is a colloquial language. English and Spanish are widely spoken.




The following items can be imported into Bonaire duty-free (people aged 15 and over):

200 cigarettes or 50 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 150 g tobacco.

Either 1 liter of spirits or liqueurs with an alcohol content of more than 22% vol. or

1 l of spirits or liqueurs or sparkling wine or liqueur wine with an alcohol content of max. 22%.

and 2 liters of non-sparkling wines and 8 liters of beer.

Personal effects and gifts up to a value of US $ 500 (persons under 15: US $ 150).
If more than the specified amount is imported, the entire amount will be cleared.

Prohibited imports

Haitian leather goods should not be imported.


Business etiquette

Punctuality and prior appointments are important. Dutch and English are business languages. Business hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Bonaire Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chamber of Commerce)
Princess Marie-Straat, PO Box 52, Kralendijk
Tel: (0717) 55 95th

Business contacts

Bonaire Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chamber of Commerce)
Princess Marie-Straat, PO Box 52, Kralendijk
Tel: (0717) 55 95th



International direct dialing.


Sevtel NV operates a GSM 900 network throughout the Netherlands Antilles. Cell phones can be rented on the island from Cell Rent (Tel.: 09-5692244 / 6999) or CellularOne (Internet: The local network operator is Obersi Electronics (Internet: East Caribbean Cellular (Internet: offers an AMPS 800 and TDMA 800 network.


There are three internet cafés in Kralendijk and various internet access centers on the island. There is wireless Internet access between Flamingo Airport in the south of the island and Playa Lechi.

Post Office

Airmail to Europe takes 4-6 days, shipments by sea up to 6 weeks.


Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: to request.



The tax breaks of duty-free imports make perfume, jewelry and spirits inexpensive souvenirs.

Shop opening times:
Mon-Sat 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Larger supermarkets are open Mon-Sat 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., some also Sun 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.



The evening entertainment takes place mainly in the hotels and restaurants and consists mostly of dance, reggae or calypso music. There are also discos and two casinos on the island.




On Bonaire there are large hotels of international standards that offer good holiday and leisure facilities and also lend equipment. Advance booking is recommended. Information from the Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association (BONHATA), PO Box 358, Kaya Soeur Bartola 15B, Kralendijk, Netherlands Antilles. (Tel: (0717) 51 34. Internet: and the Bonaire Tourist Office (see addresses).



Mostly Roman Catholic with Protestant and Jewish minorities.

Social rules of conduct

Manners: The Dutch influence can be felt all over the island, but American customs and traditions are on the rise.

Clothing: Clothing may be casual, light cotton clothing is recommended. Swimwear belongs on the beach. In the evening, many visitors dress more elegantly. Tipping: Hotels add 5-10% government tax and 10% service charge to the bill. In this case, no extra tip is required. Some restaurants charge 10-15% service charge. Otherwise, a tip of 10-15% is expected in the restaurant. Taxi drivers get 10% and in diving shops they also tip 10%.


Best travel time

Very warm all year round with trade winds. Main rainy season from October to December. Average annual temperature: 28 ° C. The water temperature is 24 ° C.


Area code +599 Area (km2) 290 Population 17400 Population density (per km2) 60 Population in 2013 Member of the EU No main emergency number 114