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 $32USD per person.
A tip on flying into Flamingo Airport: try to get seats up front on the plane. We were the absolute last to get off of the plane. After disembarking there is a long line in the hot tropical sun as there are only 2 passport control windows, one for locals and one for visitors.
Bonaire's Airport is situated just a few km from Kralendijk. A taxi into town will 8 US$ 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.
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.
To get to Bonaire, you have to fly. If you're flying there from the States, you pretty much only have two options that I'm aware of. One is Air Jamaica, via Montego Bay. This is a preferred option, in my opinion, at least as far as timing of the flights goes. Air Jamaica flights usually leave US cities for Montego Bay in the morning, and the flight from MB to Bonaire gets you there by 4 in the afternoon, in time for an evening of relaxation and snorkeling on your very 1st day. By the way, Delta code-shares with Air Jamaica, so your flight may be listed as either.
The other option is via American Airlines. American flies through San Juan, Puerto Rico. Their flights tend to leave US later in the day, and don't get you to Bonaire until late in the evening. But it may still be more convenient for some.
And if you're flying from Europe, KLM has 2! DC10 flights from Amsterdam every day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.....
You've got to fly to get here... United flew me from San Francisco to Miami and had me spend the night there. Then I got on an Antilles Air (was that it?) flight to Bonaire the next morning.
Bonaire is 40 miles north of Venezuela -- very much the South Caribbean.
In general, my friends had a truck and they did most of the driving. However, I rented a moped after a couple days, and that was fantastic. I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry -- EVER -- so a moped was fun!
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.