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Is Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Safe?

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba are generally safe for tourists, with low crime rates. However, petty theft can occur, so exercise caution with valuables. Natural disasters like hurricanes pose a risk during certain seasons. Travelers should monitor weather advisories and have an emergency plan. Medical facilities are limited, so obtaining travel insurance with emergency evacuation coverage is advisable. Overall, these islands offer a relatively secure travel experience with proper precautions.

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Safety & Security

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are generally considered safe destinations for travelers. However, it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks.

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime rates are low, petty crimes such as pickpocketing and theft from rental cars or hotel rooms can occur, especially in tourist areas. Remain vigilant and secure your valuables.

  • Scams: Be cautious of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, or individuals posing as officials demanding payment.

  • Civil Unrest: Although rare, civil unrest or protests can occur. Monitor local news and avoid large gatherings or demonstrations.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism is low, but cannot be ruled out entirely. Remain vigilant in crowded areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

  • Disputes: Disputes or confrontations with locals should be avoided, as they may escalate quickly. Exercise patience and respect local customs and laws.

  • Road Safety: Exercise caution when driving, as road conditions and driving practices may differ from your home country. Obey traffic laws and avoid driving at night if possible.

By taking reasonable precautions and being aware of your surroundings, travelers can minimize risks and enjoy a safe and memorable experience in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

Health & Medical

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are generally safe destinations for travelers, but there are some health concerns to be aware of.

  • Mosquito-borne Illnesses: Diseases like dengue fever, Zika virus, and chikungunya are present in these islands. Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves/pants to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Sun Exposure: The Caribbean sun is intense. Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and stay hydrated to avoid sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

  • Water Quality: Tap water is generally safe to drink, but bottled water is recommended for those with sensitive stomachs. Avoid swallowing water while swimming.

  • Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited, especially on the smaller islands. Travelers should have comprehensive travel insurance and consider medical evacuation coverage.

  • Vaccinations: Routine vaccines like measles, hepatitis A/B, and COVID-19 are recommended. Consult a travel clinic for personalized advice.

  • Animal Encounters: Avoid contact with stray animals, which may carry diseases like rabies. Use caution around marine life like jellyfish and lionfish.

Natural Disasters

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are located in the Caribbean Sea, an area prone to tropical cyclones and hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season from June to November. While the risk is relatively low compared to other Caribbean islands, travelers should be prepared for potential disruptions and follow local advisories.

  • Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are the primary natural hazards, with the potential for strong winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, and flooding. Monitoring weather updates and heeding evacuation orders is crucial.

  • Earthquakes can occur due to the islands' proximity to active tectonic plate boundaries. While not frequent, tremors may pose risks to infrastructure and trigger tsunamis.

  • Volcanic Activity is minimal, but the islands' volcanic origins mean the risk cannot be entirely ruled out. Staying informed about any seismic activity is advisable.

  • Drought Conditions can arise during prolonged dry periods, potentially affecting water supplies and increasing the risk of wildfires.

Travelers should familiarize themselves with emergency procedures, evacuation routes, and shelters. Purchasing comprehensive travel insurance and packing essential supplies is recommended for peace of mind during natural disasters.


Transportation in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba is generally safe and reliable for travelers. However, there are a few important considerations:

  • Driving: Roads can be narrow and winding, especially in rural areas. Exercise caution when driving and be aware of pedestrians and animals on the roads. Renting a car is recommended for exploring the islands.

  • Public Transportation: Buses and taxis are available on the islands, but services may be limited, especially on smaller islands like Saba. Taxis are a convenient option for getting around, but fares should be agreed upon in advance.

  • Water Taxis: For inter-island travel, water taxis are a common mode of transportation. These are generally safe, but services can be affected by weather conditions.

  • Scooter/Motorcycle Rentals: Renting scooters or motorcycles is popular, but exercise caution as roads can be challenging. Wear proper safety gear and follow local traffic laws.

  • Walking: In urban areas, sidewalks may be narrow or non-existent. Exercise caution when walking along roads, especially at night.

It's advisable to research transportation options and plan ahead, especially for remote areas or inter-island travel. Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and driving customs to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Cultural Norms

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are islands in the Caribbean with a rich cultural heritage. As a traveler, it's essential to respect the local customs and traditions to ensure a harmonious experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Dress Code: While beachwear is acceptable in tourist areas, it's advisable to dress modestly when visiting towns, villages, or religious sites. Avoid revealing clothing that may be considered disrespectful.

  • Religious Observances: The islands have a predominantly Christian population. Be mindful of religious holidays and events, and avoid disruptive behavior near churches or during religious ceremonies.

  • Local Etiquette: Greet locals with a friendly "bon dia" (good day) or "bon nochi" (good evening). Maintain a respectful demeanor and avoid public displays of affection, as they may be frowned upon.

  • Festivals and Celebrations: Participate in local festivals and celebrations, such as the Bonaire Carnival or the Saba Day celebrations, to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture. However, be respectful of traditions and follow any guidelines provided by organizers.

  • Environmental Awareness: The islands are known for their pristine natural environments. Respect local efforts to preserve the ecosystems by adhering to regulations and avoiding activities that may harm the environment.

  • Culinary Experiences: Embrace the local cuisine, which often features fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional dishes like funchi (cornmeal paste) and kadushi (cactus soup). Be open to trying new flavors and respect local food customs.

By respecting the local culture, customs, and traditions, you can ensure a more enriching and memorable travel experience in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are generally reliable, though capabilities may vary across the islands. The main hospitals are well-equipped to handle most medical emergencies for travelers. However, for serious or life-threatening conditions, medical evacuation to neighboring islands or the mainland may be necessary.

  • Medical Facilities: Bonaire has a hospital with emergency services, while Sint Eustatius and Saba have smaller medical stations with limited capabilities. Ambulance services are available on all three islands.

  • Tourist Police: Dedicated tourist police units are present on Bonaire and Sint Eustatius to assist visitors with emergencies, lost items, or general inquiries. They can be reached through the local police departments.

  • Fire Services: Professional fire departments operate on Bonaire and Sint Eustatius, while Saba has a volunteer fire brigade. Response times may vary depending on the location.

  • Coast Guard: The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard patrols the waters around the islands and can assist with maritime emergencies or search and rescue operations.

It's advisable for travelers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance, including emergency medical evacuation coverage, before visiting these islands.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba safe for tourists?

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba are generally safe for tourists. However, petty crimes like theft can occur, so it's advisable to exercise caution and keep valuables secure. The islands have a low crime rate, and the local authorities work to maintain a safe environment for visitors.

Is Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers can feel relatively safe in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. These islands have a low crime rate, but it's still recommended to take standard precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially at night or in isolated areas.

Is Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba safe for families?

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba are family-friendly destinations with a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of outdoor activities. However, parents should supervise children closely and take necessary precautions, such as using sunscreen and staying hydrated in the tropical climate.

Is Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba LGBTQ+ friendly?

While same-sex relationships are legal in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, the islands have a relatively conservative culture. LGBTQ+ travelers should exercise discretion in public displays of affection and be mindful of local customs and attitudes.

Do you need a visa to go to Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba?

Citizens of most Western countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, do not require a visa for stays up to three months in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. However, a valid passport is mandatory for all visitors.

Can you drink tap water in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba?

The tap water is generally safe to drink in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. However, some visitors may prefer to drink bottled water as a precaution, especially in rural areas or during periods of heavy rainfall when water quality can be affected.

What is the currency in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba?

The official currency used in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba is the United States Dollar (USD). Major credit cards are widely accepted, but it's advisable to carry some cash for smaller purchases or in remote areas.

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