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Practical Stuff

Destination Travel on msnbc.com published an article on safety, under the heading: "The safest destinations around the world. Where you can travel without worry, and feel super-secure". The article said  "…the Dutch ABC islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (are) on a list of the world's safest places to travel....the stats don't lie: Crime rates on the three islands are low, political unrest is virtually unknown, they're too far south for hurricanes…."   
Fun Travel "follow up" every holiday, to make sure everything went as planned. We are then well informed about any problems on the islands. Having sent many thousands of visitors to Bonaire, we have only had five incidents of petty crime. We do NOT rely on forums for our information - we get that from personal experience and feedback from our customers. The same advice about personal safety applies on Bonaire - as it does everywhere else in the world.  

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Essential Documents
Please ensure your passport is valid for up to 6 months after your return date. If you renew early, they will add any unexpired period to your new passport. There are no visa requirements for the Dutch Caribbean for European passport holders. If you intend to drive remember to take your driver's licence. If you intend to dive take your diving certification.  

With our booking code you can visit www.klm.com to check your booking and, after tickets have been issued, change or upgrade seats, buy extra luggage allowance and check-in online (within 30 hours of departure). You can check flight information on www.klm.com or the website of your UK airport. We will send full details with your travel documents. Minimum check-in time is one hour for the first leg (European) part of your journey and 3 hours for the return flight from the Caribbean. It is advisable to check flight information on the day of departure. Click The Journey tab above for more information.

There are no special vaccinations required for the Dutch Caribbean. We know of no major health issues on the islands. Each island has excellent medical facilities.  Bonaire's San Francisco hospital is a 60 bed hospital, in the centre of Kralendijk, the capital. The hospital also has a hyperbaric chamber, operated by trained professionals. Pharmacies cannot fill a prescription from a doctor not on the island, but they can advise on how to obtain one if necessary.  It is advisable to bring all your prescription medicine with you. If you have personal health worries you should check with your GP or NHS Trust. Another source of information is the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice Unit – telephone 020 7008 0232/3   fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo  
Drinking Water
The drinking water is de-salinated seawater. Although this does not sound appetising, the quality and taste of the local water is excellent. Speaking from personal experience we can say the water tastes a lot better than UK tap water !  Bonaire's water meets the highest quality standards of the World Health Organisation.
The island weather stays much the same all year - an average temperature of 29 ºc, with a soft cooling breeze.  October/November is rainy season, but Bonaire has only 22 inches of rain per year - short lived heavy downpours - 5 minutes later the sun is shining again. Bonaire is outside the hurricane belt.
Light, informal, casual wear is the only "dress code". Bonaire is a "shorts and T shirt" island. Don't forget a hat - and don't forget to wear sun screen. On public beaches "nude" is forbidden.  
Sun Protection
The cool breeze keeps you wonderfully fresh and comfortable, perfect weather for Europeans. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly and drink plenty of liquids. You will need sunglasses and a hat or cap.

Dutch is the official language and the local language is Papiamentu. Children on the island are taught several languages - English and Spanish in particular. Islanders speak excellent English. But try your hand at Papiamentu ! A few words of Papiamentu, the local language that might come in handy during your adventure.              
kon ta bai - how are you   :  bon dia - good day/ hello   :   bon tarde - good afternoon   :   bon nochi - good evening   :   ayo - goodbye   :  
- thank you   :   masha danki - thank you very much   :   un mas rom punch, fabor - another rum punch, please !
Bonaire is definitely on "island time" -  no rush  no fuss !
Officially however, Bonaire is on Atlantic Standard Time all year -  5 hours behind BST - 4 hours behind GMT.
The U$ dollar is legal tender on Bonaire. There are ATM cash machines around the island. Stores and restaurants accept major credit cards, although AMEX is not widely accepted. Credit cards have transaction charges between 4% and 6%. NB. $100 notes are not accepted in stores and restaurants. Take smaller notes or change large notes at a bank on the island.
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.

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If you have booked a transfer you will be met at the airport by a representative of our transfer company. It is small terminal and they will find you - if you don't find them first. We haven't lost anyone yet !  If you have arranged vehicle hire and collection at the airport, the location of the collection point and directions to your resort will be on your travel documents.  
Vehicle Hire

You may want to hire a vehicle to explore and enjoy this fantastic island. They drive on the wrong side - the right side. We can arrange vehicle hire, at a better price of course, as part of your holiday itinerary. If you intend to drive, you will need to show a valid driver's licence which you have held for at least two years, and be over 23 years old.  UK driving licences are accepted. A deposit - credit card "swipe" or cash - is required which is refunded/cancelled when you return the vehicle. If you have arranged vehicle hire the vehicle hire office is close to the terminal building at Bonaire Flamingo airport. Directions to your accommodation are on your voucher and the vehicle will have a map - but you cannot get lost on Bonaire!   Click "Getting Around" on the banner above - for more information about vehicle hire on Bonaire.  
Public Transport
There is no public bus system. Most people hire some sort of vehicle - lots to choose from - to explore this small island - and enjoy the shore diving. There are tour buses and taxis are very reasonable.  

Taxis on Bonaire do not have meters. Journeys have fixed (pre-arranged) prices.  

Voltage is 120V. Most appliances have a switch for 240 or 110 volts, if not, you will need a transformer, best purchased before departure. Some resorts have 220 volts – please check before plugging in. Plugs are flat pins – US style - or you will need an adaptor. It is usually possible to charge diving lights at your dive centre. Charging batteries for appliances will take longer than usual. 

Monday to Saturday from 09.00 till 18.00. Closed lunchtime 12.00 till 14.00, except for the major supermarkets. Major supermarkets are open Sundays from 08.00 till 13.00.  
Local Taxes

Local taxes are not always included in the display prices for goods or services on the islands, similar to the U.S.A. The sales tax is now 8%. The old airport departure tax from Bonaire is included in your flight ticket price. There is a $9 local departure tax for flights to other islands in the Dutch Caribbean. There is a $5.50 - $6.50 tourist tax on accommodation -  per person per night - not usually included in published prices on websites -added to your bill when checking out. Please be careful - when comparing prices - to compare like-with-like. We include this tax in our prices.  
High season:   Mid December to Mid April - mainly due to awful weather in Europe. 
Low Season:   Mid April to Mid December.  

Some restaurants include a service charge of 10-15% in the bill. If the service charge is not included, a tip of 10-15% is customary, but tipping is never "demanded ", as in some other areas of the world.

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Divers should contact the dive school at their earliest convenience (we know you will anyway) to arrange an induction dive, and they will explain the rules of the Bonaire Marine Park. Bonaire is dependant on divers and people who appreciate the environment. Everyone on the island will be happy to help you if they can.  Divers are asked for $25 and snorkellers $10 - as a contribution to the Bonaire Marine Park, for the protection of the reef and the ocean around Bonaire. Payable at your dive centre. Wear your tag with pride. Dive centres use A clamps. If you have a DIN regulator, you should take an adapter with you. If you don't have one - let us know.  Click "Diving" above for more information about the fabulous diving on Bonaire.  

Mobiles will work on Bonaire, but always check with your service provider before leaving. Pre-paid phone cards for the public phones can be purchased at the post office or at some shops. Our UK office number can be used as a contact, we are always in touch with our partners on the island. Direct calls can be made from most hotels / resorts. There are public phones around the island where you can make International calls. Some of these accept credit cards - do NOT use these phones - they are expensive !  
Legal Age
Drinking alcohol and gambling - minimum age is 18. Identification may be requested in either case.  

Please take them home. Bonaire has very limited facilities to recycle or dispose of them.  
Internet Access
Bonaire has wi-fi with hot spots around the island. Most hotels offer wi-fi (possible extra charge). If internet connection is important, please let us know and we can advise in more detail. There are internet cafes on the island.
Entry Restrictions

There are strict restrictions on bringing goods like : wines, spirits, tobacco money, fruit, vegetables, meat, soil, illegal drugs, firearms and ammunition.  
Getting Married

On Bonaire you need to be resident for just 4 days (including weekends). If you like the idea of an idyllic Caribbean island wedding - ask us for more information. We have organised several ceremonies on various Caribbean islands – including underwater ceremonies.   Conservation
The removal of corals from the sea, wildlife from forest and rivers and taking bark from trees is strictly prohibited.

There are mosquitoes in the Caribbean. Although not a major inconvenience, we recommend a repellent containing "deet" like "OSI" or "OFF" – both available on island.  Personal experience tells us that carrying a small anti-bite/sting spray with you all the time is worth its weight in gold. You can buy the dramatically named "jungle formula" bite relief sprays or sticks from chemists and outdoor shops. These are small and can be carried easily with you wherever you go. If you are unlucky enough to be bitten, spray immediately, forget the mosquitoes, and continue enjoying your holiday.          

We never have any problems - just the occasional "challenge"

Bonaire Fun Travel and our partners on Bonaire, do everything to ensure you have an enjoyable holiday. In the unlikely event you have any problems, please contact the management of your accommodation as soon as possible for a speedy resolution of your complaint. Although the island is relaxed, our partners are aware of their responsibilities, and keen to ensure you enjoy your stay. Please do not wait until you return home. It is not possible for us to resolve issues unless they have been registered on the island with the resort.