Tips for your vacation


Good to know when travelling to Bonaire


Bonaire's native language is Papiamentu: a Creole blend of African, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Arawak Indian. As Bonaire is part of the Netherlands, Dutch is the official language and the sole language for all administration and legal matters. However, according to the 2001 census, it is the main language of only 8.8% of the population. The most widely spoken language is Papiamentu, which is the primary language of 74.7% of the populace and is recognized by the government.

Historians believe that Papiamentu — derived from the Portuguese “papear” (to speak or converse) — originated in the 17th century as a means of communication between slaves, who hailed from various African regions, and their Portuguese masters. Unlike other Creole languages, Papiamentu is spoken through all levels of society and has become a major characteristic of the island’s identity.

  • Bon bini - Welcome
  • Bon dia - Good morning
  • Bon tardi - Good afternoon
  • Bon nochi - Good night or good evening
  • Kon ta bai? - How are you?
  • Mi ta bon, danki - I am fine, thank you
  • Kon yama bo? or Kon ta bo nomber? - What's your name?
  • Mi yama... or Mi nomber ta... - My name is...
  • Mi ta bini di... - I am from...
  • Danki - Thank you
  • Di nada - You're welcome
  • Te akiratu - See you later
  • Homber - Man
  • Muhe - Woman
  • Muchanan - Children

What to wear

For the most part, casual, informal summer clothing is the rule in Bonaire. Women may want to bring along a hat, the constant trade wind, while refreshing, is not compatible with a carefully arranged hairstyle.

If you plan to visit the island's elegant restaurants, night clubs or casinos, one or two dressier outfits would be appropriate. As for bathing suits, please remember that they're acceptable only on the beach, and not on the streets or most establishments.

Tap water

Tap water is distilled directly from the sea, tastes good, and is safe to drink.

Cellular phone. Wifi connections

Bonaire's country telephone code is +599. This is usually followed by a phone number with 7 digits. While Bonaire has cellular phone service (GSM), roaming services for other cellular company customers can be very expensive!

Solution: If your phone is sim-lock free, buy a PrePaid-sim card.

TIP!: Calling through Skype, WhatsApp, Messenger, or VoIP is cheaper when you have (Free) WiFi connection.

Cell phone reception is good almost everywhere on the island but some remote locations may have spottier service than downtown. Almost 100% of all accommodation options will have some form of wifi at the premises for you to use, and you'll find many open wifi networks.

Local travel

The public transport on Bonaire is very limited. We recommend you strongly to rent a car.


Taxis, although they are often very busy when large planes have landed, or when a cruise ship is moored, are available at the airport. From other locations, you can call the taxi stand at the airport: +5997178100.

The taxis on Bonaire don't have a fare meter, because the rates have been set by the government. For this reason, all drivers must give access to the price list in their car. At the airport, the fares are also mentioned on a special bulletin board.
All taxis on Bonaire have the letters TX on their license plate and it is unusual to call a taxi on the street on our island like we are used to in the US and large parts of Europe. On Sunday and public holidays, the taxi drivers charge slightly higher fares and also during the evening and night the fares are higher.


ATMs are widely available, dispensing US dollars and Netherlands Antillean guilders. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants.

The island's official currency is the US Dollars. Euros can only be used to exchange at a bank. Exchange rates may vary slightly at stores and hotels.

Credit- Debit Cards & traveler's check

The major two credit cards, Visa and MasterCard, are accepted at most establishments while personal checks are normally not accepted. A debit card is also widely accepted.

Traveler's checks aren't widely used and generally aren't accepted by most businesses.

Where to exchange?

You can exchange your currency at any of our local banks. There is also an ATM at Flamingo International Airport. Your hotel's front desk may also be able to exchange small amounts for you.


Tipping in Bonaire is common and expected. It follows the traditional tipping habits of the USA. In restaurants, you should aim to tip 10-15% but make sure the service charge isn’t already included!


Cash may be obtained with MasterCard, Visa, and American Express cards at credit card offices, banks, and in some casinos. Debit cards and credit cards are accepted by ATMs. ATM instructions are normally given in Dutch, English, or Papiamentu. 


Bonaire is on the list of very relaxing, safe place to go. Use normal precautions that you'd use anywhere. Leave the car unlocked and windows open (if weather permits.) Avoid remote areas at night. Don’t take valuables to the beach or leave any valuables in your vehicle. Under no circumstances should you discuss or agree to carry a package for anyone. General safety rules apply here like anywhere else: never leave your valuable possessions in sight or out in the open; bring them with you or keep them safe in a safe/vault at the hotel; also, keep an eye on your luggage at all times and never accept packages from strangers.

Driving Tips

  • On Bonaire, we drive on the right side of the road.
  • The speed limit within the urban area is 40 km/ph and outside of the urban area, it is 60 km/ph, unless otherwise posted. Please reduce speed while driving in rainy weather.
  • At T-junctions through traffic has right of way.
  • The horn is used for many purposes, mainly for greeting people. It sometimes means “thank you” or “you go first”.
  • Local laws prohibit moving your car in case of an accident. Always call Bonaire Security Force Service at +(599) 717-7711 or +(599) 795-7711 immediately if you are involved in a car accident. If you do not call, the insurance company will not pay for the damage to the car with the consequence that you are liable for the damage.
  • Do not expect people to signal for a turn. Always keep a distance of at least 2.5m.
  • Do not leave anything in the car. In some cases, it might be best to leave the car doors unlocked and windows open. 
  • At the roundabout yield to drivers in the roundabout, unless indicated otherwise by traffic signs.
  • Roads are often poorly illuminated in the evenings and street signs are often missing or not visible, so drivers should exercise additional caution while on the road.
  • Seat belts are required in Bonaire. Children under 12 years of age must travel in the back seat of the vehicle. Children under the age of 4 must also be in a child seat.

Still looking for information?

Please contact us at +5999 525 6895 (also on Whatsapp) or email us.

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