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By No owner — last modified Mar 14, 2017 05:03 PM

bq.gif  Bonaire - Formalities

Clearance

No stop should be made before clearing in at Kralendijk.

Clearance must be made with Customs and Immigration during working hours. A zarpe from the previous port is required.

Working hours, although stated as 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, are often closed Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well as from 12:00 to 14:00 for lunch.

Immigration will normally provide clearance out of Bonaire free of charge. However, if one wants a Zarpe, or proof of exiting Bonaire, there is a fee.

Usually yachts are granted a stay of up to 6 months. Another stay may be granted if there is proof of having been out of the country (for example, clearance papers from Venezuela).

Note the currency here is US Dollars.

Last updated October 2017.

Immigration

All visitors require a passport which must be valid for at least 6 months.

Now Bonaire is a Netherlands Municipality, the rules are more inline with the Schengen Agreement. Visitors are allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period. After which they must leave for 90 days before returning. Although Bonaire is neither a member of the EU nor part of the Schengen Agreement Area.

You can buy an extension before the first 90 days expire. Approx. US$350 per person. If you buy an extension, be sure to have a police report from your home country that says you and any crew are not criminal, plus banking records, insurance etc. If you leave anytime during your extension period the extension expires.

Dutch and American citizens are allowed to stay for up to six months in a 12 month period.

Customs and Immigration are in the same historic yellow building which is located to the right of Karel’s Beach.

Last updated October 2017.

Customs

All firearms are impounded until departure, including flare guns and spearguns.

To either buy or import equipment duty free you must fill in a special form obtainable from the Customs office. Customs sometimes insist on inspecting the boat before departure to see that the item is still on board.

Last updated October 2017.

Health

No vaccinations or preventative medications are necessary.

The water is safe to drink.

San Francisco Hospital has 60 beds and is fully equipped. There are a number of medical doctors on the island and an air ambulance service is available.

There is also a Out of Hours Walk-In clinic (Huisartsenpost Bonaire) at Kaya Soeur Bartola 7. It is open 6pm until midnight (Mon-Fri) and all day Sat & Sun.

Hyperbaric/Recompression Chamber
For diving emergencies, Bonaire has a Hyperbaric Chamber located behind the Centro Medico Office which is accross the street from the San Francisco Hospital. It has trained medical personnel, on call 24 hours a day.

ZIKA VIRUS ALERT: There have been recent safety alerts from the US State Department, UK Foreign Office, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding travel to parts of Central and South America, Africa, southern Asia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific islands. Bonaire is an area of interest with multiple reported cases and active virus transmission. There is growing concern about the rapid spread of the ZIKA Virus and the impact of the virus on pregnant women and babies. ZIKA is transmitted by mosquitos in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and there is currently no cure or vaccine. This situation is evolving rapidly, so please refer to the CDC’s dedicated website if you are intending to cruise in one of the effected areas.

Last updated September 2016.

Fees

Marine Park fees: US$25 scuba diving fee (the Marine Park Tag) allows diving at all sites, and US$10 for all other users.

There are no Customs or Immigration fees, unless an exit zarpe is required.

Last updated October 2017.

Restrictions

Bonaire National Marine Park regulations:

Due to the marine park status of the island, spearfishing is forbidden and marine life of any description may not be removed or destroyed. Spearguns must be left with Customs for the duration of one's stay as it is illegal to have a speargun in one's possession.

The authorities are making great efforts to protect the marine environment. Anchoring is prohibited everywhere. 40 mooring buoys have been placed in the area between North Pier and Harbour Village Marina (who manage them for the National Marine Park). The charge is USD $10 + 6% tax per day, regardless of boat length, for boats up to 55 feet. Longer boats will be required to stay in the marina

Anchoring, except in an emergency, is an offence. The only exception is for boats under 10 ft (3 m) who may anchor with a stone anchor.

Cruising boats are now expected to have holding tanks and the discharge of any waste is prohibited.

There are mooring buoys on all popular diving sites. The marinas collect fees on behalf of the Bonaire National Marine Park. See www.bmp.org for more information.

Radio Use: Cruising boats are expected to use only VHF Channels 71, 77 and 88A, as most other channels have been allocated to local operators. Which channels to use as working channels should be ascertained when clearing in, as the use of unauthorised channels can lead to fines and confiscation of equipment.

Last updated March 2016.

Local Customs

Dress Code: Casual (but no beach wear) downtown. Evening clothes are casual to casual nice.
Topless sunbathing and nudity is prohibited on beaches.

Pets

Dogs - Valid Rabies and Health Certificate required

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Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 14, 2017 05:03 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Golden Glow.

During the daytime, Bonaire seems to be one of the best organized, cleanest and safest islands we've visited in the entire Caribbean. After dark, however, this appears not to be the case.

Two examples form our opinion:
1. We rented scooters for two days and the rental company insisted we check the bikes into their facility from 5pm to 8am. They explained that if we locked them up outside overnight, they would be stolen or completely stripped for parts by morning.

2. We are on a mooring ball right off Karel's Bar in Kralendijk, the small capital of Bonaire. Right in front of our boat, 100 feet away on the shore, is Divers Diner. We stopped there for happy hour between 5 and 7pm. We found out that between 12-1am that same night, a fatal shooting occurred in that bar/restaurant between locals who had "history and a grudge". So sad.

Ellen and Rand
Golden Glow
svGoldenGlow.com

tayl2017
tayl2017 says:
Jan 11, 2017 10:33 PM

To clear in to Bonaire, you must have an exit document from your prior port, in addition to passport and boat documents.

Ron Heyselaar
Ron Heyselaar says:
Mar 18, 2016 08:29 PM

We are about to leave for Cuba from Bonaire having been here for 4 weeks.
Excellent stay with the only issue being the lack of dinghy docks. We understand that Budget Marine is trying to obtain a permit to install a floating dinghy dock near the Yellow Sub dive shop. However, an ongoing discussion between STINAPA and the Bonaire local government about the construction of larger commercial docks is not completed yet.
Until this is solved, the best options are Karel's bar, the cruise ship pier (if no cruise ships are in port) or the marina. Only the first two are close to 'downtown'.

Regarding the mooring system, it is a bit of a weird system with two 'cheap' lines to ample sized concrete blocks. We did dive on the lines and did install an additional line so we could sleep well.

For diving this must be one of the best locations in the world for cruisers. We did multiple dives straight from our boat LILY. Amazing!! Other dives by using our dinghy. Plenty of perfect dive sites with good mooring system in place!

syGabber
syGabber says:
Apr 16, 2015 08:13 PM

Dear Bonaire cruisers,
There seems to be some misunderstanding about $1,- "service charge" the marine is charging. Nowadays the explanation is "mooring maintenance" but info from STINAPA (owner of the moorings) is not in line with that marina story: "By contract with the BNMP, Harbour Village Marina manages the moorings in the bay off Kralendijk. These are available, at $10 per night, to visiting yachts no more than 18 meters. Harbour Village Marina retains 35% of the collected fees to manage and maintain the use of the moorings as well as to collect the fees."
Read it: http://www.stinapa.org/ourincome.html
For your information, and enjoy the diving.

syGabber
syGabber says:
Apr 08, 2015 01:49 AM

Dear Bonaire cruisers,
As per 1st April 2015 Marina Bonaire is charging a $1 a day service fee for garbage drop off or use of there dinghy dock. A rise of 10%!
There is NO NEED TO PAY THIS FEE when you don't use these services!
Most sailors use Karels bar as a dinghy dock and the green containers on the street for garbage disposal.
So check your invoice when you pay the governmental $10 fee per day for the use of the STINAPA moorings.

Peregrina
Peregrina says:
Mar 31, 2015 11:45 AM

Mooring Line Parted. March 2015.
During the time we were in Bonaire (fantastic diving) our mooring line and another yacht's mooring line parted. Maintenance appears to be poor by the Marine Park Authorities. Suggest diving on your mooring block and, if needed, putting on your own mooring line.

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