Bonaire is an island in the Dutch Caribbean that is truly a diver’s paradise. Nevertheless there are several pros and cons of living in this Caribbean island.
The pros of living in Bonaire are that the island is safe and peaceful with great access to major international cities. Alternatively, the drawbacks of living on the island are that it is small thus one has limited access to specialized products, a lack of job opportunities with high cost of living.
Read on for further details of the pros and cons of living on Bonaire during my visit to the island.
Pros of Living on Bonaire
Multi- Lingual Country
Although Bonaire is apart of the Dutch Kingdom, four languages are spoken around the island. These languages are Dutch, Papiamentu, English and Spanish.
If you are a Spanish or English speaker you will find it easy to integrate on the island. On the other hand, it is easier if you will like to learn other languages.
There are expats living on the island from Jamaica, other Dutch territories, Venezuela, Colombia and Suriname to name a few other countries.
Bonaire’s currency is stable
Bonaire became a special municipality of the Netherlands on October 10th, 2010. Despite this, the official currency of Bonaire the USD dollars.
Therefore, if you are moving to the island from the USA there is no need to worry about potential financial losses due to foreign currency conversion.
Easy Access to Major International Cities
Bonaire has easy access to major international cities. Being a part of the Netherlands KLM offers direct and non-stop flights to the Netherlands every week.
In addition with the introduction of American Airlines, there are now direct flights to Miami international.
Through Insel Air, there is also easy access from Bonaire to South American countries such as Brazil and Colombia. Insel Air also offers flights to several USA cities.
If you are relocating to Bonaire, Insel Air offers a great promotion on its anniversary and you can access great flight rates.
Low Crime Rate
Bonaire is an extremely safe country and therefore is suitable for solo female travelers.
Visitors can walk and take taxis safely. Nevertheless, due care must be taken as in any other country. Visitors should avoid walking in secluded areas at nights and take only authorized taxis.
A Beautiful Island
Bonaire is a beautiful island and truly a paradise for divers. Corals and various ocean fauna can be easily seen by just standing on a beach’s shores unlike English speaking Caribbean islands.
The island though small has great restaurants and recently the opening of Marriott added to its hotel stock.
The salt piles in Bonaire are absolutely breath taking!. There is a store in Kralendijk called La Placita where you can buy the sea salt including local bath salts.
There are days when the water turns pink where you can see flamingos flying and relaxing in the water. It’s so magical, it is difficult to put into words. A must see if you ever visit the island.
Washington Slagbaai Park is a national reserve located at the northern part of the island. The park is over 40 years old and you pay about USD$25 to enter per person.
There are two routes- the short route and the long route.
It is best to go with an SUV vehicle and be prepared to enjoy some scenes that look like pictures out of a magazine. It takes about 3 hours minimum to enjoy the park and its beauty.
In addition 1000 steps is a must visit. Actually when I counted it was a little over 40 steps but I must say 1000 steps is a great name for marketing this popular diving spot on the island.
I enjoyed looking at many beautiful sunsets at 1000 steps as well as sitting on the sand enjoying the view of the sea and Klein Bonaire in the distance.
The Threat of Natural Disasters is Low
Bonaire is a flat and arid country and not volcanic in nature. In addition, the island is located outside of the hurricane belt.
Unlike islands in the Eastern Caribbean, the threat of hurricane is extremely low which can cause serious devastation to your property and the island.
In addition, there are no volcanoes on the island so there is no threat of an effusive eruption
Despite these advantages, there are several cons of living on Bonaire.
Cons Of Living On Bonaire
Limited Access To Products / Services
There is limited access to products and services on the island. There are no big malls a and other facilities.
I remember I was looking for some fabric to purchase on Bonaire and I was told at the store that I needed to get it from Curacao.
I was also looking for a trophy can could not find it on the island as an example.
Bonaire Superstore is one of the best places where you can find a range of products but even the range there is limited.
Lack of Job Opportunities
There are limited job opportunities available on the island. If you are considering relocating to Bonaire, your options will be few. Most of the individuals are employed by the Government or within the tourism sector.
There is also an oil company on the island which is also a good place to be employed. However, there are not too many other opportunities available.
If you are considering setting up a business on the island depending on the industry, you may not be able to find a skilled person on the island.
Due to the size of the country, the infrastructure is adequate and better than other Caribbean islands but not as developed as an advanced country.
If you are working and living on the island, then you have access to free medical while on the island.
Though there is a quality local hospital named Fundashon Mariadal, persons with special medical needs usually seek assistance in neighbouring Dutch territories and Colombia.
There is no bus transportation system on the island, so you will need to rent a vehicle
Cost of Living Is High
Despite being a Dutch state, the country uses the US dollars as its officially currency. In addition the island is very dry and rain rarely falls thus making it difficult to grow agricultural products.
Therefore, almost all the food on the island is imported including items like fruits and vegetables unlike islands in the Eastern Caribbean where these are in abundance.
A one bedroom furnished apartment is about USD $700 per month excluding utilities.
The cost of electricity, water and internet each month will cost you around USD$200 for an individual.
The advantages of living in Bonaire are that the island has a low crime rate with a stable currency and threat of natural disasters is relatively low. On the other hand, the cons of living on Bonaire are that the cost of living is high with limited access to specialized goods and services.
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