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Travel Tips–Everything you need to know about traveling to Bonaire.

Below is a table offering “Bonaire in a nutshell” – all the key topics we are frequently asked about.

BANKS

Bonaire has a number of banks, all of which have ATMs located conveniently around the island. Banking hours are Monday through Friday 8 or 8:30am until 3:30 or 4pm. Some are open during the lunch hour.

CURRENCY

The US Dollar is the official currency. Traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted. Be sure to have your passport or positive ID when changing Traveler's cheques at banks.

CLIMATE

The average air temperature is 82º Fahrenheit (30ºC)
and 75% relative humidity. Average water temperature is 80ºF (29ºC). Rainfall averages 22" (52.8cm) per year. There is a constant trade wind that generally makes the evenings cool and comfortable. Average windspeed is 15 mph (25kph).

CUSTOMS

Besides articles for personal use, visitors over 17 are allowed 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars, 125 grams of tobacco, 2 liters of distillated beverages, 2 liters of wine. Residents are allowed to bring half of each.

DEPARTURE TAX

Effective, December 1, 2008, the Departure Tax for all international destinations is $35.00 per person. Departure tax to the domestic locations of Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius is $9.00. This PFC (Passenger Facility Charge) is included in all tickets purchased for travel on or after October 1, 2010.

Additionally, an Airport Improvement Fee is in effect for tickets issued for travel as of January 1, 2016 and will remain in effect for five years until October 31, 2020. The AIF is $5.00 for passengers with international destinations, and there is a phased incremental implementation for passengers with a domestic destination (territories of the former Netherlands Antilles) with $2.50 beginning November 1, 2015, $3.25 beginning November 1, 2016, $4.00 beginning November 1, 2017, and $5.00 from November 1, 2018 through October 31, 2020.

DRESS CODE

Casual (but no beach wear) downtown. Evening clothes are casual to casual nice. Topless sunbathing and nudity are prohibited on beaches. See our Religion page for appropriate church attire.

DRINKING AGE, CASINO/GAMBLING AGE, AND DRUG LAWS

The legal drinking age on Bonaire is 18 for both beer and other alcohol. The legal age for gambling in a casino is 21. The Dutch Caribbean has its own drug laws which are not the same as Holland. Our drug laws are not lenient.

DRINKING WATER

The water is distilled from seawater and is perfectly safe to drink.

DRIVING LICENSE

Foreign and international licenses are accepted.

ELECTRICITY

127 volt, 50 cycle electric is the most the most common current provided. 220 volt is also available at some resorts. Most U.S. appliances will work, however a bit hotter. Dive shops and resorts have stations for guest use for charging camera batteries, etc. It is recommended that you use them to avoid damage to delicate equipment.

EMERGENCIES

Bonaire has the 60-bed hospital, Hospitaal San Francisco (Kaya Soeur Bartola #2, Kralendijk), and a number of doctors. There is an ambulance plane on call for emergencies. A hyperbaric recompression chamber is located adjacent to the hospital and is run by a highly trained staff - admittance via the emergency room at the hospital. The emergency phone number for any emergency is 911.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

US and Canadian citizens must have a valid Passport and a return or ongoing ticket. A Birth Certificate with a picture ID is also acceptable for entry into Bonaire. See our entry requirements page for more details.

FERRY SERVICES

Many people ask but unfortunately there are NO ferry services of any kind between Bonaire and Aruba, Venezuela or Curacao. Scheduled travel between these destinations are limited to air travel. It might be possible to charter a boat for your own personal tour. If that is of interest, go to our Sailing page for contacts.

INTERNET

Cyber Cafes and wireless Internet services are available in numerous locations, as well as several hotels and resorts. See our Technology page for the latest information.

LANGUAGES

Papiamentu (local language), Dutch, English and Spanish.

LOCATION

50 miles (80 Km) north of Venezuela and 86 miles (94
Km) east of Aruba, well outside of the hurricane belt.

MONEY

See CURRENCY above.

POPULATION

+/- 19,500 people

SIZE OF ISLAND

Bonaire is 24 miles long (38.6 km) and 3-5 miles (4.8 -8 km)wide, 112 sq. miles (180 sq. km) in area.Klein Bonaire, an island off our west coast, is 1500 acres.

STORE HOURS

Most stores are open Monday through Saturday from between 8 or 9 AM until 12 noon when they close for one to two hours, then remain open until 6 PM.Hours vary widely and some stay open during lunch hour. The larger supermarkets are open from 7:30 or 8 AM until 7 PM (may close during lunch) and some may be open on Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM.

TAXES, TIPPING, AND SERVICE CHARGES

There is an 6% tax on virtually all services (ABB tax), which is normally included in the retail cost of items or services.A Departure Tax of USD $35.00 for international destinations is due at the airport upon departure (see DEPARTURE TAX above).Tipping is much the same as in the States. Some restaurants add a 10-15% service charge automatically, so if in doubt, ask. Taxis - generally a 10% tip is greatly apppreciated. In dive shops, etc. 10% is also the norm.

TAXI

Taxis are available at the airport. From other locations you may call the taxi stand at the airport at Tel. 717-8100 (See Taxi Rate page for fees)

TELEPHONE

Direct dialing is possible from most resorts. AT&T, MCI,
etc. can also be accessed. The local telephone office,
Telbo, can also place calls to all locations.For on-island calls, dial just the last seven digits. For cell phone users, you can rent a cellular phone for the length of your stay, which are available from several different providers.Details of cell phone services and roaming can be
found on our Telephone page.

TELEVISION

Hotels offer cable channel viewing including premium
movie channels, ESPN, CNN, Disney, Spanish, and German language channels as well as the local station TV 11. Bonaire uses the NTSC system. Telbo provides digital TV with 100+ stations

TIME ZONE

Atlantic Standard Time (AST). Same time as the United States East Coast during Daylight Savings Time (mid-Spring to mid-Fall). Bonaire does not change time for Daylight Savings, as is the custom in the US and Europe.

TOURISM SEASONS

High Season Winter/Spring: Dec. 15 - Apr. 14
Low Season Summer/Fall: Apr. 15 - Dec. 14
Windy Season: May - Aug, moderate wind Jan-Apr
Rainy Season: Nov. - Jan.

VACCINATIONS

No vaccinations or preventative medications are recommended for travel to Bonaire. Yellow fever and Malaria are not a problem here. The Center for Disease Control in the the US offers updates and advisories for travellers.

Restaurant Reviews on BonReviews:

5/5

Fine dining at Sebastian’s Restaurant!  I had two wonderful dinners recently at Sebastian’s, one out on their private pier.  In my opinion Sebastian’s is the place to go whenever visiting Bonaire.  The ambiance is lovely, the service impeccable and the food outstanding.  It is in my opinion, the best place to dine on the island […]

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5/5

Fantastic fresh fish at Chibi Chibi.  We have now eaten the fresh fish special (mahi) twice on two separate trips (November and January).  The service is impeccable, the restaurant and bathrooms are very clean, and the food is amazing.  I struggle to understand why this restaurant doesn’t have better reviews on Trip Advisor.  It truly […]

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5/5

Excellent daily specials and “to die for” ribs at Joe’s Grillhouse!  Excellent casual place. Jessica and Bart, along with the staff, make you feel welcome and comfortable. We always visit Joe’s at least twice during our yearly dive trip to Bonaire. The daily catch special is always excellent while the ribs are “fall off the bone” […]

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5/5

Delightful evening at Bon Aroma! Be sure to include Bon Aroma on your list of fine dining experiences. The ambiance is lovely, the service impeccable and the cuisine delicious. The marlin and lionfish duo with its sides was outstanding. Dessert was a delight – apple tart with vanilla ice cream and a mixed berry cobbler […]

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5/5

Best tuna ever at Sebastian’s Restaurant! We visited Bonaire 06/16 & I have to say that our visit To Sebastian’s was one of the highlights. The tuna was some of the best I’ve ever had & was done to its rare perfection. Cut with a fork & melt in your mouth!!!! Of course washed down […]

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5/5

Fast and delicious.  Nice ambience, good service, delicious food at Cuba Compagnie.

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5/5

La Cantina is absolutely the best!   Great ambience! Great service and the food was absolutely stunning!!  Chef Cook Rick and his wife Kim did it again! They created a new food experience!  You can order a la carte or take a surprise dinner and watch how your food is being prepared.  You should definitely […]

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5/5

Good taste at Bon Aroma! The elegance of this small beautifully-appointed space provides privacy between the five tables and quiet from the street while breezes flow through the open walls encouraging relaxation and conversation. My meal of braised marlin and lionfish with mango and basil sauce, a medley of fine vegetables and Italian rice, finished […]

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5/5

Pizza, pizza at Rum Runners!  My second dinner upon arrival on Bonaire is going to Rum Runners and seeing my good friend TT and ordering two spicy shrimp pizzas and taking them home. Best pizza on the island. Well eating healthy I also order their Caesars Salad no anchovies with the pizzas. Note-TT is the […]

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4/5

Latin Vibe at Cuba Compagnie!  I was invited to dinner by friends. Previously, I had been to Cuba for cocktails but dinner was a new experience. We sat outside surrounded by a lively and bustling vibe. The wait staff are very friendly and helpful. They are very busy so it takes patience and some effort […]

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5/5

Great local flavor of the island at Mi Banana. We were directed to Mi Banana to a great surprise. Friendly and personable staff and food was great. Chicken and fish dishes were our favorites up until the dessert. The three leche cake was to die for. Don’t miss the dessert.

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5/5

A great experience at BonAroma! Excellent food and presentation, reasonable prices, great service and wonderful people.  Best dining we have had on Bonaire!

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4/5

At Sea Restaurant Accommodating to Vegans and Gluten Free Folks.  First off they have my favorite…Hendricks gin, but a steady supply of fever tree tonics is a must to enjoy its smooth flavours. An enthusiastic bartender willing to earn your praises is a great start to an enjoyable evening. I asked the waitress if chef […]

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5/5

My new sushi place…Osaka Japanese Fusion Restaurant. A friend recommended this restaurant for dinner and I had a great experience. I simply love this restaurant! Friendly staff, and amazing sushi! The fish is fresh and everything is very well made. I love the Volcano and Kamikaze roll!! Next time I’m in Bonaire, that’s the place […]

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5/5

Bon Aroma is fantastic in every way! Incredible food (in top 3 on island); impeccable and warm service, intimate ambiance – BonAroma has it all. We had asparagus soup with shrimp, tuna carpaccio, lion fish and tuna duo, all perfectly prepared and presented. Well balanced menu, vegetarians will be very happy. Good wine list. Delicious and […]

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5/5

At Sea serves works of art!  We dined at At Sea twice while we were recently in Bonaire. Both times we chose the Surprise Menu, and all of the dishes were beautifully prepared and delicious. The dishes were true works of art, decorated with beautiful garnishes and great imagination. Dessert one night was an underwater […]

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4/5

Al fresco dining at Cuba Compagnie. We loved dining at Cuba. The outdoor setting is casual and comfortable. It’s a lively vibe. Service is efficient and friendly. I typically order the fresh fish. I have also enjoyed the ceviche.  Cuba is a fun spot for a group of friends.

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5/5

Best pizza at Pasa Bon Pizza! Best pizza on Bonaire.  We look forward to getting that crisp crust and hot cheesy pizza served at Pasa Bon pizza every time we go to Bonaire. Try their Lion Fish pizza….it is good !!

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5/5

Jasmine Garden is a typical Chinese restaurant, where we had a delicious dinner. We ordered the Yeung chow fried rice and the Kung pao chicken, which were served by friendly staff. During our 2 week’s holiday in Bonaire, we went there 4 times to eat. Every time we were satisfied.

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5/5

Great breakfast and lunch at Between Two Buns! Nice salads and sandwiches. Don’t forget to try the home made pies!

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4/5

Good food, friendly service, reasonable prices at Diver’s Diner Bar & Grill.  Place looks very unpretentious, but the staff is very willing to please. The food is very good and very reasonably priced.

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5/5

Pasa Bon Pizza, Not your usual pizza place Third trip to Bonaire and this is our go-to place for dinner at least two nights each trip. Cozy outdoor place. Wait staff very pleasant. Lion fish pizza is awesome. Frozen Lime and Guava dessert is yummy and refreshing. Open Wednesday through Sunday (I think). I am […]

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5/5

Best Lunch Spot!  I am a tuna sandwich aficionado. I have sampled tuna sandwiches across Bonaire. Between Two Buns serves the best by far. I love their multi-grain bread with seeds and goodness. The salad itself is chock full of flavor. They put salty briny capers in their salad adding an extra flavor blast.  Wow, […]

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4/5

Good food and good friends at Diver’s Diner Bar & Grill!  We have been return customers every time we come to Bonaire. This is trip number 7. Try the walking sticks for sure and the dipping sauce. I could go on and on. Try it out you won’t be sorry.

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5/5

Fabulous Food in a Garden Setting at Wil’s Tropical Grill!  Chef/Owner Wil delights in serving delicious food that is also artistically appealing. He is a wizard at using spices that results in food that pleases your taste buds. His wife/hostess, Sue, greets each visitor with a welcoming smile. The garden ambiance is lovely. Throughout the […]

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5/5

Good food at Between Two Buns.  As an owner at Sanddollar, this is one great restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Very friendly owner and staff. I think that I order the same thing every time, great looking deserts and salads.

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5/5

Great lunches at Donna & Georgio’s.  It’s like stepping off Bonaire’s streets and into Italy. Wonderful food and great atmosphere plus air conditioning. Daily specials and mouth watering pizzas await you…..

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4/5

Love lunch at Zen’s Bar Café!  I am always impressed with the Lunch specials. They are as appealing to the eye as to the stomach and my pocketbook.

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5/5

Between Two Buns, Love this place! When we two Canadians visit Bonaire, we plan on almost daily visits to “Between Two Buns.” The sandwiches and salads are terrific and the staff very friendly! Sure fills the bill after a morning of snorkeling!

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5/5

Food is excellent @ Donna & Georgio’s, Donna always made me feel special. Great food and always a take out service.  As an owner at Sanddollar and full kitchen facilities makes their take out food a very good place to eat in or take out. Every trip to BONAIRE requires multi stops at this restaurant. For pizza […]

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4/5

Nothing is better than Seared Tuna at the Beach!  The Kite City food truck at te’ Amo beach near the airport is not to be missed. Fresh fish prepared just right in oh-so-many ways is one of the expected pleasures of coming to the Caribbean, and Kite City does not disappoint.  The beach dining is […]

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5/5

Bistro de Paris is accommodating for vegans and vegetarians.  We love going to Bistro because we know we can eat a fabulous meal for our vegan needs. Mary makes a mean veggie salad large enough for a meal. The rice bowls, carrot bourgenon is soo tasty, the potato terrine is to die for, so rich […]

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5/5

I have been coming to Bonaire for over 20 years. Without a doubt, Donna & Giorgio’s is our favorite place to dine. A husband & wife team, Donna is the hostess with the most-est and Giorgio is the fantastico Italian chef. Our favorite thing for dinner is to tell Giorgio to make us whatever he […]

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5/5

Tipsy Seagull – Best dinner ever! We decided to have dinner Friday night at the Tipsy Seagull at the Plaza Hotel and we couldn’t have enjoyed it more! The 3 course meal was fantastic and the music was so awesome.  The servers were so friendly and attentive and the food was wonderful. We will definitely […]

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5/5

Not a Typical Pizza! I’m a pepperoni and sausage pizza guy so I was skeptical when I saw pizza topped with shrimp on the menu.  I tried it, I loved it, and I’ll go back to Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet for more the next time we are on the island.  They offer […]

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5/5

Best food on Bonaire at Donna & Giorgio’s! We had 2 dinners and one lunch during our week in Bonaire. We loved the food, Donna, and her daughter. Everything we had was great! Be sure and call for a reservation.

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5/5

Gourmet burgers at King Kong Mobile Food Truck! Very convenient at bachelor’s beach. Great burger! Next time I will go for the Junk Yard Dog.

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5/5

Eddy’s Restaurant–Again, as an owner at Sanddollar you could not find a better place to eat. Friendly casual great food with a different variety. Family owned and run and will cook to your pleasure. Eddy is the cook, Sonia runs the front along with their children–another Sonia and Eddy!

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5/5

Hot Spot King Kong!   Bachelor Beach is er een stuk leuker en lekkerder op geworden. King Kong levert uitstekende kwaliteit. Verrassende smaken!

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4/5

Best Fries On Bonaire! I have been enjoying Bobbejan‘s weekend BBQ since 2001. Maggie and Robert run a tasty restaurant. My daughter loves the rib dinner. I enjoy the fish when it’s fresh. Their side cole slaw is garlicky and tasty. The reason I go so often is their french fries. They are the best […]

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5/5

Eddy’s is Excellent!  We love going to Eddy’s. The service is always great and the food is fresh and outstanding!

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5/5

Awesome burgers and fries at King Kong Burgers & Hotdogs!  I would eat these burgers 7 days a week if I could, but my wetsuit would not fit after awhile. They are wonderful and the area the truck is at couldn’t be better. Great job to the owner. Will be back next visit to the […]

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5/5

Sebastian’s Restaurant is an Epicureans Delight!  You have to try this seaside gourmet restaurant. The chef is known for combining foods and spices you will not taste elsewhere.

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5/5

Bobbejan’s is our first dinner upon arrival!  Upon arriving on Bonaire after food shopping my first dinner is always at Bobbejans. They have the best chicken Sate and ribs. Known as the best take out restaurant and they developed an outdoor dining area. Only opened Friday’s, Sat and Sunday’s but well worth the wait and […]

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5/5

Goat stew at Eddy’s Restaurant was the best meal on the island, so tender. The barracuda was excellent and the mojitos were special.

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5/5

King Kong Burger Food Truck. Find it on Bachelors Beach. Tuesday through Sat…I think. We have returned to these freshly made, gourmet burgers several times. The meat is fresh and tasty. Prepared when ordered and seasoned to perfection. Several special recipes to choose from. Our favorite is the French connection….so unique and tasty, paired with mosquito […]

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5/5

Sebastian’s Restaurant By the Beautiful Sea! You know the saying about saving the best for last?  Lorrie and I save Sebastian’s Restaurant for the end of our trip because we love the food selections, service, scenery, Sebastian and the friends that join us for our farewell dinner.  The restaurant offers a local menu with several nightly […]

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5/5

Service & Food  at Breeze ‘n Bites–OUTSTANDING We always make a point of eating here at least once during our trips.  Service is always friendly and the food is always tasty.

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5/5

Gio’s is an amazing place!  We go here every day we are on the island. We so love the Gelato and desserts! I think we both gained 20# in one week but well worth it! Amazingly tasty gelato! Thank You!

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4/5

Mezze is a great new spot!  They installed a makeshift wheelchair ramp so a bunch of us decided to try this new addition to the island’s many awesome restaurants. Loved the excellent lamb shank served with delicious vegetables. Started with the eggplant and fresh pita. Decent prices too. We’re heading back soon.

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5/5

Sebastian’s Restaurant is the best all around!  I’ve eaten at Sebastian’s maybe five times in the last three years and it’s always been a unique experience. From the greetings that make you feel welcome to the creative menu and exceptional food to the natural ambience of water and sky–there’s nothing to match it on Bonaire.

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5/5

Capriccio Ristorante is wonderful!  This was a nice surprise! We were greeted with a welcome drink and a wonderful basket of bread and fresh pita chips. We had scallops and pasta which was wonderful and bolognese was nothing to brag about. Staff was pleasant and welcoming. Reservations (highly recommended) were for 6pm for party of […]

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4/5

My wife and I had a wonderful meal at Ingridients, but I have to say that the waiting staff did pressure us to select items we did not want.  Don’t hesitate to eat here because the food is excellent…just be prepared to say no to serving suggestions.

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4/5

Don’t miss Mezze while on Bonaire! We visited Mezze with friends and had a delicious meal. “Mezze” like “tapas” means “small plates” and all of the apps were outstanding: hummus, falafel, tabouleh, and baba ghanous, which we lapped up with homemade pita, forks and fingers. The concept of “small” evaporated when the entrees were served, especially […]

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2/5

Pizza needs work at Blue Garden Brazilian Grill & Pizza Gourmet. The mojitos are great Service started off OK, then once I got my food, I never saw the server again, so never got any more water. The pizza needs work. The crust is about 2mm thick & is heavy & still not totally cooked. […]

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3/5

Cuba Compagnie Going Downhill We have been here a few times before. I went there tonight with my son and the service was unresponsive and when I said something I got a rude smart mouth response from management. The food is generally good. But don’t order the sodas. You get a small glass full of […]

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Buy the Pure Bonaire 2018 Calendar now.

Upcoming Events

  1. Nos Zjilea Cultural Event

    December 23 @ 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
  2. Christmas Day Holiday

    December 25
  3. Boxing Day Holiday

    December 26
  4. New Year’s Eve–fireworks over Bonaire

    December 31, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - January 1, 2018 @ 1:00 am

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