Bonaire - General Information
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Bonaire | General Information

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.

In Bonaire, ATMs are also called Bankomatikos or SuperKahas.

The main banks are Banco di Caribe (tel 599/717-7595), Maduro & Curiel's Bank (tel 599/717-5520) and RBTT Bank (tel 599/717-4500).

Banco di Caribe's ATM accepts MasterCard on the Cirrus and Maestro networks and dispenses Netherlands Antillean florins/guilders. It is located at Kaya Grandi 22 in Kralendijk.

Maduro & Curiel's ATMs accept American Express, Euro Card, Kompa Leon, MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Cashnet, Cirrus, Euronet and Plus networks and dispense Netherlands Antillean florins/guilders, as well as US dollars. Their ATM at the airport also dispenses euros. They are located at their branches (Kaya L D Gerharts, downtown Kralendijk; Flamingo Airport; Sand Dollar Condominiums Resort, Kaya Gobernador N Debrot in Hato; and the Kas di Hadrei building in Rincon), as well as Plaza Resort Bonaire, Divi Flamingo Resort, Mariadal Hospital (Kralendijk), Supermarket Karibe (Tera Kora) and Progreso Supermarket (Antriol). Additionally, an ATM will soon be installed at Warehouse Bonaire Supermarket.

RBTT ATMs accept any credit or bank card on the Cirrus and Maestro networks and dispense Netherlands Antillean florins/guilders, as well as US dollars. They are located at the Harbourside Shopping Mall, Kaya Korona 15 and the Tourist Office at Kaya Grandi.

Banco di Caribe:
Mon-Fri 8am-5pm

Maduro & Curiel's Bank:
- Kralendijk: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
- Hato: Mon-Fri 8am-12 noon and 1:15-3:30pm
- Rincon: Mon-Fri 9am-12 noon and 1:15-3:30pm
- Airport: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-12 noon and 1:15-3:30pm (closes at 5pm on Fri), Sat (for foreign exchange only) 10am-3pm

RBTT Bank:
Mon-Fri 8am-3:30pm

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Roman Catholic and Protestant, including Evangelical, Jehovah's Witness, Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist, are all represented.

The local currency is the Netherlands Antillean florin (NAF, NAf, NAFl, NAfl, NFl or Fl) also known as the Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG), which is divided into 100 cents. Paper money runs in denominations of NAFl 5, NAFl 10, NAFl 25, NAFl 50, NAFl 100 and NAFl 250 bills, and coins in 1¢, 2.5¢ (very rare), 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ (very rare), NAFl 1, NAFl 2.5 (very rare) and NAFl 5 pieces. US dollars are accepted everywhere, but most places will not accept bills larger than US$20. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept American Express, Kompa Leon, Maestro (debit card), MasterCard, Visa and traveller's cheques. Some accept Discover, but EuroCard and Diners Club cards are generally not accepted.

Note: In Bonaire, commas and periods in large numbers with fractional amounts follow the European standard. For instance, if the price of an item is 15,372 guilders and 25 cents, it would be written as NAFl 15.372,25.

To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.

American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 801/964-6665 (call collect)
Discover Card: 801/902-3100
MasterCard: 800/307-7309
Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect)
Western Union: Banco di Caribe, 717-8295

An international departure tax of US$32/NAFl 57,60 is payable at the airport prior to check in. You may pay in cash, by Maestro debit card or by credit card (Discover, Kompa Leon, MasterCard and Visa). If your final destination is Aruba, Curà?ao or St Maarten, the tax is US$6/NAFl 10. Children under two years old are exempt.

A valid passport is required for entry. American and Canadian citizens may also use, instead of a passport, an original birth certificate (or a certificate of naturalization for those born outside the US) plus official photo identification, such as a valid driver's license; and non-US citizens residing in the US may use a re-entry permit to the US, a valid non-quota immigration visa or an Alien Registration (green card) plus official photo identification, such as a valid driver's license. All visitors must also have an onward or return ticket.

For stays longer than two weeks, visitors must apply for a prolongation of their stay from the immigration office at Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar #7 (behind the Tourist Corporation Bonaire's office). Citizens of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and countries with whom the Netherlands has reached an agreement on visa requirements, may stay up to three months without requesting an extension.

Nationals of countries other than Canada, the UK and US may require a visa. Consult your nearest Netherlands consulate/embassy or the Immigration Office of Bonaire at 599/717-6880 or 717-8000.

As of January 23, 2007, all persons travelling by air, and as of January 1, 2008, all person travelling by land or sea (including ferries) to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport or other documents as determined by the US Department of Homeland Security to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.

Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.

Honorary British Consulate: 599-9/747-3322 (Curaçao)
Consulate of Canada: 599-9/466-1115 or 466-1121 (Curaçao), 58-212/600-3000 or 600-3042 (Venezuela; also for after-hours emergencies), 613/996-8885 (call collect to Ottawa)
US Consulate: 599-9/461-3066 (Curaçao)

As of July 19, 2007US$NAFl/ANG
British pound sterling2.050923.69166
Canadian dollar0.958461.72523
European Union euro1.379942.48389
Japanese yen0.0082010.01476
Swiss franc0.833311.49995
US dollar--1.80000

Hospitaal San Francisco (tel 717-8900), located at Kaya Soeur Bartola #2 in Kralendijk, is the island's only hospital. It offers limited medical care; however, it does have a hyperbaric chamber and an ambulance plane on call. Serious cases are transported by air ambulance to Curaçao and Aruba. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.

Pharmacies are called botikas. There are two pharmacies in Kralendijk: Botica Bonaire (tel 717-8905) located at Kaya Grandi 27 and Botica Korona (tel 717-7552) at Kaya Korona 180. There is another pharmacy in Rincan, Botica Rincon (tel 717-0130) located at Kaya Luis Pourier 10.

Emergency phone numbers:
Ambulance, 912 or 114
Police, 911
Fire, 919
Coast Guard, 913

Unlike Holland, the Netherlands Antilles imposes harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs. There are strict gun control laws and exporting pieces of coral and seashells is strictly prohibited.

For more information call the customs office (Douane Bonaire) at 599/717-8206 or 717-8320.

Dutch is the official language; however, English and Spanish are widely spoken. The native language Papiamentu, which is a mixture of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, English, Caribbean Indian and various African languages, is also widely spoken.

The post office (POST NA) in Kralendijk (tel 717-5127 or 717-8508), located at Plaza Reina Wilhelmina 11, is open Mon-Thurs 7:30am-5pm and Fri 7:30am-4:30pm. There is another post office at Kaya Rincon 73 (tel 717-6214) in Rincon, which is open Mon-Fri 7:30am-12 noon.

Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks.

Jan 1, New Year's Day
Mar/Apr (varies), Good Friday
Mar/Apr (varies), Easter Sunday
Mar/Apr (varies), Easter Monday
Apr 30, Queen's Birthday
May 1, Labour Day
May (varies), Ascension Day
Sept 6, Bonaire Flag Day
Oct 21, Antillean Day
Dec 25, Christmas Day
Dec 26, Boxing Day

Shops are generally open Mon-Sat 8/9am-12 noon and 1/2-6pm. Some are open during lunch. Supermarkets may stay open until 7pm and some open on Sun from 11am-2pm.

There is a 5% NAOB tax on almost all goods and services, a 5% government tax on car rental fees, and an accommodation tax of US$5.50-$6.50 per person per night.

The phone system on Bonaire is fair and cellular and Internet services are available.

The country code for the Netherlands Antilles is 599 and the city code for Bonaire is 7. Phone numbers have seven digits: 7 (Bonaire's city code) + a local six digit number. While on Bonaire dial the number starting with the first 7. Most land line numbers start with 717 or 715 and most cell phone numbers start with 780, 781, 785, 786 or 790.

Telbo (tel 717-7000), the island's telecommunications provider, sells prepaid calling cards. It's very expensive to make international calls on hotel phones or on the blue international public phones located around the island. It's cheaper to use the calling centre phones at Telbo (Kaya Libertador Simon Bolivar 8) in Kralendijk.

For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?

Digicel (tel 717-4400; Kaya Grandi 26) and UTS (tel 717-0117; Kaya Grandi H-26) provide cellular services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies. Chat 'n' Browse (tel 717-2281), located at Kaya Gobernador N Debrot #79 at the Sand Dollar Shopping Plaza, rents cell phones.

Telbo's Surf It prepaid Internet service (tel 9212) offers 14 high-speed hotspots around the island. Prepaid cards are available for one-, six- and 15-hour access. There are also a few Internet cafés on the island.

Temperatures vary between the high 70s to mid 80s with a monthly mean of 81.5°F. Humidity averages 76% throughout the year. While there is very little rainfall (on average 20.5 inches annually), most of it occurs Oct-Jan.

The island is on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter the time is one hour ahead. Bonaire does not observe daylight savings time.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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