Since Bonaire is an island nation, you can't get there by road. You either fly or take a boat. We had dinner one day with a couple from Bonaire. They sailed their boat to the island and then liked it so much that they stayed and built a house there. Now they had sold the boat and the house and they were coming back to the island by cruise ship and were getting off to stay there in a house for a month.
There is NO ferry service of any kind between Bonaire and Aruba, Venezuela, or Curacao. They get about four cruise ships a week. We were there at the same time as Kristina Katarina. So the majority of people fly in.
Ships arrive at one of the main piers, just south of Kralendijk. It's a few minutes walk to downtown. If you choose to stay in Kralendijk, pick up a Historical Walking Map from the Tourism Office.
Taxis will be available as you disembark. Our taxi driver, unlike on many other islands, was not very good as far as providing any information about the island, sights, etc. If you want to do your own excursion, recommend visiting cruisecritic.com and getting recommendations of drivers from other cruisers.
Closest internet cafe is in the Harborside Mall.
Taxi's are not cheap here but hey..you're in paradise. Cab from our hotel the "Lizard Inn at oh god thrity in the morning was $20 for a local driver. Bargain and you might get the ride a bit cheaper or you could just *** off the driver.....
Changed from Turks to Bonaire 8 years ago and never was sorry UNTIL THIS PAST FEBRUARY. Crime has been on an upswing for the last year. Always rented a car from AB Carrental. That is year someone took a sharp object and ran down the right side of the car and stole a full tank of gas because of leaving the next day. Had to get a police report because car rental people would not. Police speak Dutch, another story for another time. The bottom line is AB Carrental changed for the repair of the car which they say they will have to repaint, and $92 for Loss of Use, and over $650 in addition to a two week rental which was over $550. Did not take the insurance which was the right thing to do. do. Credit card co. still working to get my repair costs back seven months later but AB Carrental not sending the forms they need. THINK TWICE before going to Bonaire....after going there for 8 years in a row, crime is on the up swing and don’t use AB Carrental if you do go!
Bonaire's Flamingo Airport (its even painted pink like the bird) Is served by most major US carriers ie: American, Delta etc..KLM also makes a stop here. For local flights to Curacao you have Insel Air which we flew, DAE and and a smaller carrier flying Britten Norman BN-2 ans Tiara Air with a Shorts 360....most offer non-stops to Curacao with connections from there to Aruba.
Airport is small with no jetbridges. There is a small gift shop and snack bar inside to catch a quick bite prior to flying out.
Unless you have your own boat if you want to get to Klein Bonaire (Little Bonaire) you will need to take the water taxi. It runs hourly and costs about $15 RT. The ride is 15-20 min each way and you pay for the ticket on the way over.
The Water Taxi runs between Bonaire and Klein Bonaire a few times per day. It's reasonably priced at between $15 to $20 (USD) for a round trip. You can buy tickets and catch the boat around the main pier and Boulevard Kralendijk. We bought ours from an operator in front of Karel's Beach Bar.
You can also rent a boat to take to Klein Bonaire or to various dive/snorkel sites along Bonaire's coast. There are a few places to rent from by the main pier and Marina and the cost was around $150 to $200 per day, which is a lot steeper than the taxi.
We were the only ship in port and we docked right in Kralendijk. Since we had a full day planned, we didn't have time to explore the city but if that is your interest then you can walk into town easily from the port. They had a craft/souvenir market set up by where the passengers leave the port in Wilhelmina Square.
Renting your own vehicle is the most fun and by far the most efficient way to get around Bonaire. We loved having the freedom to explore all around the island and visit multiple snorkeling sites in one trip. There are rental car places like Budget and AB Carrental Bonaire at Flamingo International Airport, and many accommodations offer packages that include rental of a vehicle.
Don't leave anything in your vehicle, and leave the doors unlocked to avoid a any needless break-ins. Driving in Bonaire is fairly straightforward and low-stress.
Taxis are unmetered. For a tour of the island you have to negociated a price.
At the cruiseship pier, we ( 5 ) took a taxi for $25, and the driver took us for a tour, and to the beach. Then we agree, for an extra amount, he went for us after four hours.
Due to the popularity of Shore Diving, getting around the island is pretty easy. Most people rent trucks to throw their gear in. The roads are mostly two lane paved with varying levels of repair needed.
On the interior, especially in the national park, you may find unpaved roads or closed roads due to weather.
There are no traffic lights or stop signs on Bonaire. You have to work together and it works surprisingly well.
Flamingo airport is a real cute little airport that is very easy to get in and out of.
It was all open air when we were there, with a small gift shop and a currency exchange booth.
The airport has gone through a remodel and looks great!
They have flights from Houston, Newark, San Juan, Amsterdam, Lima, Caracas, and a few other places.
They are raising the departure tax in 2007 to $32USD per person.
We were very surprised to discover that our rental car was a pick-up truck. They asked if we weren't going to dive? No.
Was we going to the National Park? Yes
Then we needed a truck.
So a truck it was, a red truck, just like everyone else was driving.
At the dive sites, don't lock your truck or even roll the windows up. Thieves will think there is something of value in a locked vehicle and break a window out to get in. Although I did leave a dive computer laying in the open bed of our truck at Carpata and much to my surprise, it was still there when we got out of the warer.
Bonaire's Airport is situated just a few km from Kralendijk. A taxi into town will 8 US$ daytime and 10US$ nighttime and on the way you will indeed see some flamingos!
Right now you just have five airlines serving the island: KLM for flights to and from Europe and South America, American Eagle to/from Puerto Rico, Air Jamaica to/from Montego Bay, Bonairexel to/from Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten and Divi Divi to/from Curacao.
There is a departure tax of 5,75 US$ for flights to Aruba and Curacao and 20US$ for all other destinations.
There is NO ferrry service between Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba or Venezuela.
To get around Bonaire it's best to hire a car, scooter or bike.