Travel Tips for Bonaire, Updated Intl. Guide – Travel Medicine, Inc.
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Capital: Willemstad

Time Zone: -4 hours. No daylight saving time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 599
USADirect Tel.: 1
Electrical Standards: Electrical Current 220/50 or 110/50 (volts/hz). North American Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plugs A, D.


 Travelers to Central and South America and the Caribbean need to protect themselves against mosquito-transmitted viruses, such as dengue and Zika, as well as nighttime biting mosquitoes in countries where there is  the threat of malaria. I recommend all travelers use a combination of DEET or Picaridin repellent on their skin and Permethrin fabric insecticide on their clothing for greater than 99% protection against mosquito and tick bites.


World Health Organization
Travel Health Services
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information
Foreign Commonweatlh Office


• United States Consulate General
J.B. Gorsiraweg 1
Tel: [599] (9) 461-3066

Tel: [599] (9) 461-3066

• Canadian Embassy
Maduro and Curiels Bank, N.V.,
Scharlooweg 55
Tel: [599] (9) 466-1115/1121

The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are separate countries (within the Kingdom of the Netherlands), with separate governments, central banks etc. The southern group (the ABC islands - Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) lie within 50 miles of Venezuela while the northern group, consisting of St Maarten, St Eustatius (Statia) and Saba are some 600 miles to the north east, about 100 miles east of Puerto Rico. St. Maarten is the Dutch side of an island that is half French (St Martin).

• The nearest British Diplomatic Mission for the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) is the British Embassy in Caracas. There is an British Honorary Consulate in Curacao where passport, visa forms, emergency travel documents and general assistance can be obtained.
• Honorary British Consul
Netherlands Antilles
Tel: [599] (9) 747 3322
Fax: [599] (9) 747 3330

The Netherlands Antilles is part of the Lesser Antilles and consists of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea: Curacao and Bonaire, just off the Venezuelan coast, and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands. The islands form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and formed its own state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Two new associated states within the Kingdom of the Netherlands would be formed, Curacao and Sint Maarten. Meanwhile, Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius would become a direct part of the Netherlands as special municipalities. These municipalities will resemble ordinary Dutch municipalities in most ways.

The two island groups of which the Netherlands Antilles consists are:

The Leeward Islands, part of the Leeward Antilles island chain off the Venezuelan coast (along with Aruba):
• Bonaire, including an islet called Klein Bonaire (Little Bonaire)
• Curacao, including an islet called Klein Curacao (Little Curacao)

The Windward Islands, east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
• Saba
• Sint Eustatius
• Sint Maarten, the southern half of the island Saint Martin (the northern half, Saint-Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France).


HIV Test: Required by Aruba for intending immigrants.

Required Vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers >6 months of age arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise.
Note: The CDC does not recommend yellow fever vaccine for infants<9 months of age.


Passport/Visa: Bonaire is one of the Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Passport or proof of U.S. citizenship (i.e., certified birth certificate or voter registration card with photo ID) required. A visa is not required for stays up to 14 days, extendable to 90 days after arrival. U.S. Citizens traveling by air to and from the Netherlands Antilles must present a valid passport when entering or re-entering the United States. 

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: For information, travelers may contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch Consulate in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Houston or Miami. Visit the web site for the Embassy of the Netherlands at for the most current visa information. U.S. Citizens traveling by air to and from the Netherlands Antilles must present a valid passport when entering or re-entering the United States. Sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport (or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID). While a U.S. passport is not mandatory for sea travel, it is recommended since it is a more readily recognized form of positive proof of citizenship.


Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers who might be exposed to blood or body fluids from unsafe/unprotected sexual contact; from injecting drug use; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B.

Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.

Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.

Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers.

Yellow Fever: Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise.


Basic medical/surgical care can be provided on Bonaire. Good medical care is available on Aruba, Curacao, and Saint Maarten.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available; or be of unreliable quality.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. In the event of a serious illness or injury that can't be treated adequately in this country, you should be flown by air ambulance to another medical facility with more advanced capability. Evacuation to Miami should be considered.

• Hospitaal San Francisco
Kaya Soeur Bartola #2
Tel: [599] 717-8900

The Hospitaal San Francisco is a 60-bed facility that offers limited medical care. The hospital has an air ambulance service to Curacao and Aruba. A hyperbaric recompression chamber is located adjacent to the hospital and is run by a highly trained staff - admittance is via the emergency room at the hospital. The emergency phone number is 191.


AIDS/HIV: The Caribbean has a well-established HIV epidemic and the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the region is now second only to sub-Saharan Africa, making the region the second most affected in the world. The prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean is estimated to be between 1.1% and 2.2%; among young people 15-24 years of age, HIV prevalence is approximately 1.6% for women and 0.7% for men. The Bahamas and Haiti are most affected countries, with incidence rates exceeding 3%. Trinidad and Tobago•s national adult incidence of HIV exceeds 2%.(Source:
• The United Nations does not currently publish HIV/AIDS epidemiological fact sheets for the Netherlands Antilles and thus specific HIV/AIDS data are not available for this country.

The drug Truvada is now available for pre- and post-exposure use to prevent an HIV infection.

• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with the body fluids of another person or their blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.

Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit.
• The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.

Dengue Fever: Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness widespread in the Caribbean and is the most common cause of fever in travelers returned from this region. Many cases of dengue are reported annually in the Netherlands Antiles. In 2007, over 50 cases were confirmed and one case in Curacao was confirmed to be dengue hemorrhagic fever. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours.
• All travelers are at risk and should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. These measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.
A dengue fever map is at:

Food & Water Safety: All mains water on the islands is distilled from seawater, and is thus safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is widely available. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.

Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may be endemic, but levels are unclear. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals may serve as a viral reservoir. In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 3%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic but the prevalence is not determined. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Influenza: Influenza is transmitted year-round in the tropics. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 6 months.

Leptospirosis: Low risk. Leptospirosis is disease of considerable public health concern in the Caribbean. Transmission of disease is through skin contact with water during recreational water sports or from contact with moist soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Highest risk occurs in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Malaria: There is no risk of malaria on Bonaire or Curacao.

Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, and corals.
• Ciguatera poisoning is prevalent and can result from eating reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.
• SCUBA DIVING-Hyperbaric Chamber Referral: Divers' Alert Network (DAN) maintains an up-to-date list of all functioning hyperbaric chambers in North America and the Caribbean. DAN does not publish this list, since at any one time a given chamber may be non-functioning, or its operator(s) may be away or otherwise unavailable. Through Duke University, DAN operates a 24-hour emergency phone line for anyone (members and non-members) to call and ask for diving accident assistance. Dive medicine physicians at Duke University Medical Center carry beepers, so someone is always on call to answer questions and, if necessary, make referral to the closest functioning hyperbaric chamber. In a diving emergency, or for the location of the nearest decompression chamber, call the DAN Emergency Hotline:
[1] 919-684-8111 or [1] 919-684-4DAN (Collect).

Rabies: Bonaire is considered rabies-free, but stray and sometimes viscous dogs may be encountered. All unprovoked animal bites should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment.

Travelers' Diarrhea: Low to moderate risk. Food and water are generally safe on this island. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food (especially meat, fish, raw vegetables). Peel all fruits.
• Wash your hands with soap or detergent, or use a hand sanitizer gel, before you eat. Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin (Xifaxin), combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (except short-stay visitors and cruise ship passengers) traveling to or working in the Caribbean, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.

Yellow Fever: There is no risk of malaria in this country. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if arriving from an infected area.