THE JOURNEY OF A TRAVELLER BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP
You have decided to come to our beautiful island. Maybe you’ve even booked a trip. Congratulations! We look forward to meeting you. We would like to give you some useful tips and travel information for your stay. So you can enjoy your vacation as much as possible!
Until January 1, 2011 our currency was the Antillean guilder but after the breaking up of the Netherlands Antilles, we started to use US dollars. You can use your debit card at various ATM’s in Kralendijk, but expect a transaction fee. Although there is an ATM and a bank at the airport, it’s still advisable to bring some cash deposit, preferably in reasonably small bills for large are not accepted everywhere. If you need to exchange at a bank, bring a passport. To exchange at your hotel, you will pay extra charges. Credit cards can be used in hotels, restaurants, large shops and dive centers.
On Bonaire, there’s no daylight saving time, so the time difference with your home country depends on the season and o the time difference with your home country depends on the season and which state you live in America or Europe. In summer, Bonaire time is six hours earlier than in Europe, in winter that’s just five hours. Keep that in mind if you want to make a call, before you know it, you’ll wake someone up.
Calling and internet
Naturally, if you want to make a phone call on Bonaire, you can with your mobile. However, this is quite expensive. Enquire after the cost before you come to Bonaire. To save costs, you can buy a prepaid SIM card, but you must have an unlocked phone. Would you like to call Europe from a landline, you can do so from various phone shops. When you call after 10 pm or after 2 pm on Saturday or Sunday, you’re cheaper half off. Of course, you can call from your hotel, but that often is very expensive.
Our emergency numbers are:
911 police, 912 ambulance, coastguard 913 and fire department 919.
Our power is 120/127 volts. However, some hotels also provide 220 volts. If you want to use our power grid, you will need a plug adapter with two flat poles. If you cannot convert a button on your device to switch to a different voltage, you also need an adapter. Often, this can be borrowed from the hotel, but there also are many facilities to recharge batteries at dive centers and hotels. Because our energy prices have increased immensely, it may be that you have to pay for the use of your air conditioner.
If you take a trip, you should always bring a bottle of drinking water. That will be fine from the tap, because our water is purified by the WEB, our Water and Energy Company. Tapping water in Bonaire is very pure and of excellent quality so you can easily fill a bottle. Watch out for taps outside, because they’re often designed for watering our gardens or livestock and usually give less pure water.
If you come to our island, you do not have to be vaccinated for anything. We hope not, but of course you can get sick here. If so, you can always contact the medical clinic in Kralendijk, across from the San Francisco Hospital (Fundashon Mariadal), or contact a General Practitioner. Do you suffer after a dive? We have a number of doctors who specialize in the field of diving. Of course, there also are excellent dentists in Bonaire. Ask for addresses or phone numbers when you check with your hotel.
Newspapers and journals
Do you want to read our best newspaper? Try the Daily Herald, the best Dutch-language newspaper with news from the ABC Islands, the Netherlands and abroad. You can buy it one day after printing. Another great newspaper with news for tourists is the Bonaire Reporter. If you prefer a magazine, buy one at our larger supermarkets.
Unlike Europe or US, the smaller local shops are not open all day. Often opening hours are from Monday to Saturday between 8.00/ 9.00 am to 12.00 am and 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm. The larger supermarkets are open all day, from 7.30 am to 7.00/8.00 pm. On Sundays, most shops are closed, except when a large cruise ship arrived. The prices in our stores are pretty high. Almost all food has to be imported. When the boat does not come, many things are not available. Of course you can always visit our local markets.
When you go out to eat in a restaurant, you’ll usually find a charge on your bill by 10 to 15%, but that is not always. Are you satisfied with your meal and the service? The staff will be really thankful for a generous tip; they do not earn much. When you take a taxi, a tip is expected. The maid at the hotel will also be very pleased with a nice tip every day.
Bonaire has a tropical climate. The best clothes to wear are made of linen or cotton. In the evening, a t-shirt is warm enough but if you can, bring a thin jacket. It can be useful to bring a hat or cap to protect you from the sun, and swimming shoes are a necessity if you plan to stay on our beaches. Whatever clothing you bring, keep it nice and cool. But remember: in Kralendijk we do not appreciate people walking around with clothes that are too revealing or worse. ”No shirt, no service.” We like to keep things elegant.
If you come to our island, you should not forget to bring a good sunscreen and a bottle of DEET to protect yourself against mosquitoes. Of course, you do not forget to bring a snorkel kit that will make your stay a lot more fun!