Bonaire Travel Guide
Everything you need to know before you fly to Bonaire
Bonaire is one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean, but if you like to dive, you are sure to know about the island’s charms as Bonaire is considered one of the best places to dive in the world. An island filled with Divi Divi trees, flamingos, and pristine beaches, Bonaire has something to offer everyone who enjoys the outdoors. From windsurfing to kiteboarding, Bonaire’s amenities give the larger islands a run for their money. Bonaire embodies tranquillity, and those who visit understand that best.
Bonaire is located in the southern Caribbean near Venezuela. It is the B in the ABC islands (along with Aruba and Curacao). The island vibe for Bonaire is relaxed and the people are not rushed. They are even more relaxed the many other Caribbean islands are known to be. The food on the island is exquisite. Bonaire chefs take pride in both the presentation of the food and the taste. The local language, Papiamento, sounds like a synthesis of dialects and inflections. You could listen to people speaking for hours on end.
Take a cave walk and view stalactites and stalagmites. See the variety of exotic animals that dot the landscape. Enjoy the fresh air and the island’s untouched beauty.
If you are a diver, Bonaire has a host of treasures in store for you. The waters have been protected since 1979, which has resulted in unspoiled beauty. Coral reefs lie just past the shore. The east coast of the island is rough, but the leeward side offers fun in the sun and is an enjoyable beach experience. If what you are looking for is a relaxing trip to the beach, you can find it in Bonaire.
Where To Stay In Bonaire
Visitors to Bonaire stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Some of the best hotels in Bonaire include:
- Bellafonte Luxury Oceanfront Hotel Bonaire
- Belmar Oceanfront Apartments
- Courtyard by Marriott Bonaire Dive Resort
- Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino
- Eden Beach Resort
- Harbour Village Beach Club
- La Pura Vista Boutique Hotel
- Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire
Activities In Bonaire
Major tourist activities in Bonaire include:
- Diving and snorkeling in the Bonaire National Marine Park at one or more of the 100+ official dive sites
- Admiring the architecture and exploring the capital city of Kralendijk
- Hiking and exploring Washington-Slagbaai National Park which covers 20% of the island
- Visiting the Bonaire Botanical Garden to learn about medicinal plants, organic gardening and general principles related to permaculture
- Taking a day trip to Klein Bonaire, a deserted island with one of the most attractive beaches: No Name Beach
Facts About Bonaire
112 square miles
Dutch but also English, Spanish, and Papiamentu
onstitutional Monarchy, oversees region of The Netherlands
Telephone Country Code:
right side of the road
Goat (kabritu) stew
Flamingo International Airport (BON)
127v / 50Hz – plugs are US standard two-prong
Visa Information For Bonaire
Bonaire is a Dutch Caribbean island, and as such, immigration rules for The Netherlands apply. That said, visitors from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom do not need a visa to visit Bonaire.
All visitors to Bonaire must have a valid passport. Furthermore, all visitors must have a return or onward ticket plus sufficient means to support themselves during their stay in Bonaire.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Bonaire
With a valid passport and supporting documents, it typically takes two weeks for a Bonaire visa application to be processed by the nearest Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. An approved visa application grants entry to Bonaire for three months.
Is It Safe In Bonaire
In comparison to major American and European cities, Bonaire is relatively safe, but there is some crime. As such, it is though recommended that visitors be vigilant at all times, especially when away from the major hotels and tourist areas.
How To Get To Bonaire
Most visitors to Bonaire arrive via Flamingo International Airport (IATA: BON, ICAO: TNCB), also called Bonaire International Airport, located near Kralendijk.
From Canada, book flights to Bonaire via:
- Sunwing Airlines: Seasonal: Toronto–Pearson
From the United States, book flights to Bonaire via:
- American Airlines: Miami
- Delta Air Lines: Atlanta
- United Airlines: Houston–Intercontinental, Newark
From Europe, book flights to Bonaire via:
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: Amsterdam
- TUI fly Netherlands: Amsterdam
From within the Caribbean region, book flights to Bonaire via:
- Aruba Airlines: Aruba, Curaçao
- Divi Divi Air: Curaçao (Charter: Aruba)
- EZAir: Curaçao (Charter: Aruba, Baranquilla)
- Sky High Aviation Services: Santo Domingo–Las Americas
- Winair: Curaçao
When To Go To Bonaire
High Season for Bonaire in January through June. With the weather warm and sunny, hotels are booked far in advance, and everything is open. The low season for visiting Bonaire is October through December as while sunshine is still plentiful; there is an increased probability of intermittent rain.
Major events attracting visitors to Bonaire include:
- February – March: Bonaire Carnival
- April: Simadan Festival
- October: Bonaire Sailing Regatta
Weather In Bonaire
Bonaire’s climate remains a stead 82° year-round. The island is relatively dry, averaging a little over 2.5cm of rain per month. Much of this falls from September to early December. The Caribbean hurricane season typically bypasses Bonaire, but in recent years, January rains have caused minor flooding and muddied the water for divers. The high season for cruise ships runs October to April.
Getting Married In Bonaire
To get married in Bonaire, a special license must be obtained from the Registrar’s Office in Bonaire four weeks before the wedding date. A written request for temporary residency and permission to marry is also required.
In addition to the completed application for marriage and temporary residency permit, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
- certificates of no impediment or single status report
- Three passport photos each
Also, if applicable:
- divorce papers, i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
- proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
- proof of name change by Deed Poll, stamped and signed by a solicitor
Note: You should make copies of all documents before sending them and take copies of those documents to Bonaire. All will be in Dutch.
Ten days for either bride or groom.
The fee for the special marriage license is: US$150.
Two people are required. If foreign, they also must apply for temporary residency.
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