Soul Houses Bonaire is more than just vacation rental apartments. From the initial planning until you return home happy, we are at your service.
Your vacation time is important, and we help in many faucets of your vacation so that you enjoy your time on the island as much as possible.
A Tourism Corporation Bonaire program that recognizes visitors that have been coming to Bonaire year after year. Tourists that have made Bonaire their vacation destination for 10, 15 and 20 years (or 10, 15, and 20 consecutive trips) are honored with a medallion and a certificate. Visit the Bonaire Tourism Ambassador website for more details, and ask us how we do it Soul Houses-style!
The island enjoys a uniquely gentle climate. The sun shines practically all the time. The average midday temperature is 30°C (86°F) and 26°C (78°F) at night. Water temperature is generally between 26°C - 28°C.
During the winter months - October through February - there is a slightly greater chance of rain, but the average annual rainfall on the island is less than 60 cm (23 inches) and rain comes mainly in short, intense showers.
Currency & Banking
The US dollar is the official currency in Bonaire as of January 1, 2010. In fact, the US mint issued new one dollar coins to commemorate the Bonairian change over.
Most stores and restaurants accept Visa and MasterCard. Many establishments do not accept American Express and if they do they may also charge a surcharge.
Accepted banking networks: Cirrus, Maestro, or Cashnet
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 1:15 PM – 3:30 PM
Nearest location: Kaya Gob. N. Debrot 81 (2 minutes drive south of the villa)
Phone: +001 (599) 717-5220
Accepted banking networks: Maestro or Cirrus
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Nearest branch: Kaya Korona 15
Phone: +011 (599) 717-4500
Driving in Bonaire
Driving is on the right side of the road and follows international road signs. Drivers are urged to use caution when driving and obey speed limits of 40 kilometres per hour inside urban areas and 60 kilometres per hour outside urban areas. Cars share the road with pedestrians and cyclists. Be cautious of BonaireÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s animals, such as donkeys and goats, on the roadway too!
Getting Married in Bonaire
If you are considering getting married in Bonaire, we can put you in touch with a local wedding planner. They are experienced in their profession and can best advise you on the paperwork that is required and the procedures. The wedding planner knows the ins and outs of what is needed and will be able to help ensure that your special day is properly coordinated.
While there are many smaller stores scattered throughout the island, there are 4 main grocery stores that cater to North American tourists the most: Warehouse, Van den Tweel, More for Less and Tops. You may have to go to all four to get what you’re looking for, but it will most likely be here somewhere.
Van den Tweel and Warehouse are generally open from 8.00 AM until 8:00 PM, every day of the week (incl. Sundays).
Zong Kong Groceries is a 5 minute walk from Soul Houses Bonaire and is open daily 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM. It carries a very good selection of North American products and some of the best pricing on beer, wine and alcohol on the island!
There are four languages most commonly spoken on Bonaire today. Dutch is the official one (used in government and legal transactions), Papiamentu is used in daily exchanges by the locals, and English and Spanish are also common.
Bonaire has a 60-bed hospital (Hospital San Francisco) with a number of doctors. There is an ambulance service and even an ambulance airplane on call for emergencies. A hyperbaric recompression chamber is located adjacent to the hospital and is run by a highly trained staff.
The emergency phone number for the ambulance is 911.
Bonaire is said to be the shore diving capital of the world and the best snorkelling in the Caribbean. So, why not come prepared to enjoy it all to the fullest.
Air & Nitrox
Whichever you prefer, both are readily available throughout the local shops. With our partner dive shop - Dive Friends Bonaire - nitrox and air are available in 80 and 63 cubic ft. tanks. See our Dive Packages page for details.
We consider booties worn with open-heel fins mandatory items for entering and exiting the Caribbean Sea from Bonaire’s shores. Booties with firm/hard soles are best to handle traversing over the rugged coral beaches common on almost all dive sites on the island.
You can leave the dive gloves at home because they are not allowed anywhere in Bonaire’s waters unless you are a STINAPA certified lionfish hunter (feel free to ask us how you can get this certification). Divers who must wear gloves due to medical conditions will need to bring a doctor’s declaration, not older than 30 days, to the headquarters of the Bonaire National Marine Park to get a permit allowing them to use gloves.
Keep it safe and dry
The general rule on Bonaire is leave nothing in your vehicle when you're at the shore sites. For this reason, we suggest bringing along a watertight box (like an Otterbox Dry Case or small Pelican case) to keep your credit cards, money and keys with you while you're enjoying the sea. Just do an internet search and we're sure you'll find something suitable for you :)
Pack it if you’ve got it (but not in your carry-on luggage of course), dive knives are permitted in Bonaire.
The use of chemical light sticks is prohibited in the Bonaire National Marine Park.
Need a buddy?
For our single divers, we have a few recommendations. Firstly, as part of the Bonaire Marine Park rules, all divers must do a check-out dive. For this, most single divers hire a guide or take a course that includes a dive (Scuba Review or Peak Performance Buoyancy for example) the course dive would then be considered the check-out dive. Please see our Dive Packages page for rates and training options offered through our dive partner, Dive Friends Bonaire.
Once the check-out dive is complete, the diver could go on boat dives where buddying up with other divers is always a possibility (which may also lead to potential buddies for the duration of your vacation) or at the very least, the dive guide could be your buddy.
Dive Friends Bonaire also has a "Need a buddy" board at all 7 of their locations that you can write your name on once you get here, or ask us to have your name added the week prior to your arrival. Many divers also create “Looking for a Dive Buddy” posts on www.Scubaboard.com and www.BonaireTalk.com and have had great success.
If that's still no solution (and you are an experienced diver), just contact us; we might be able to dive with you.
Everyone has a different tolerance level for water temps. Expect the water temperature between December and March to be between 25-26°C (78-80°F) and from April to November 27-29°C (81- 84°F).
Bring the wetsuit that would be most proper for your comfort level. Most people will find that a 3 mm wet suit is appropriate, or perhaps a 2 mm for the warm blooded.
For snorkelers, we recommend rash guards (also commonly known as “skins”). These will protect you from the intense sun as well as from accidental interaction with rocks and corals.
Where are the Shore Sites?
As you drive along the seaside roads on the island’s west coast, you will see yellow rocks on the roadside with names painted on them. Each of these rocks represents the shore dive site and displays the dive site name.
Often at the dive site itself, along the shoreline there are additional yellow rocks indicating the entry / exit points of the particular site. We recommend using these points as they are the easiest and they confine the damage caused to the corals by divers treading in and out of the water.
The Soul Houses’ Library has the Lonely Planet Bonaire book as well as the Easy Guide to Shore Diving in Bonaire book written by an island resident. We also have island maps that you can take on your journeys.
If you would like to familiarize yourself before you your vacation, here are a few websites you may wish to look at:
We wish our guests to consider their vacation rental apartment as their home-way-from-home, and the more you know about your home, the more comfortable you are in it. If you have a question we haven't answered below or need more information, don't hesitate to ask us.
We have an iron and ironing board at your disposal.
Dive rinse and storage
We provide a rinse tank and outdoor shower for the rinsing of your gear though some of our guests find it easier to use the facilities at the Hamlet location of Dive Friends Bonaire. Whatever will work best for you, is best for us too.
We have appropriate wetsuit, BCD and gear hangers for you to hang your gear to dry in the ocean breeze in our locked yard during the day, and when night falls, we have a secure storage room to keep everything safe and dry.
We also have water bottles to take with you to the shore dive sites so you can give your gear and yourself a quick rinse between dives!
The apartments at Soul Houses Bonaire have standard North American three-pronged flat electrical outlets.
It is also important to note that Bonaire’s electrical current is 112-127V/50Hz. Many electrical devices (i.e. laptops, curling irons and hair dryers) are now manufactured for dual voltage/cycle. To see if your device is OK, look at the electrical rating; if it reads “110-220V/50-60Hz” you should be fine here.
Although the Bonairian winds do a fine job of drying one’s hair, we do have a hair dryer for our guests to use upon request.
Have you ever checked in to a vacation rental and the hand & bath soap is not provided? We have! We vowed never to let this happen to our guests.
In room entertainment
Each apartment has a flat screen TV with more than 70 cable channels (including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, BBC, ESPN2) and over 15 movie channels. The TV in Apartment 1 also has a built-in DVD player.
We have a secure wireless internet accessible throughout the property. The password and instructions will be provided to you upon check-in.
All of the kitchens at Soul Houses Bonaire have been stocked with stainless steel pots and pans, an array of beverage glasses, dishes to serve 4, glassware for baking / storing / serving, and over 30 utensils. A microwave, toaster, blender, full-size fridge, and 6 burner stove/oven are also in each kitchen. We even provide the basic necessities of aluminium foil, plastic wrap, coffee filters, dish soap, napkins, paper towels, salt/pepper, spices, sugar, trash bags, and a start-up supply of coffee and tea.
If your flight arrives in the evening and you'd like a few groceries to get started with when you arrive, just ask us and we will be more than happy to pick it up for you and add the charges to your account.
Soul Houses Bonaire does not offer personal laundry services or use of our laundry facilities. There are two laundry service companies on the island that offer a 24 hour drop-off service and self-service facilities.
Safes in the rooms
There are personal safes in each apartment to store not only your important documents but other valuables too. The interior measurements are 37 x 32 x 34 cm (14½ x 12½ x 13”) – large enough for most laptops. Directions on how to program the safe with your own personal code are provided in the suite.
Ashtrays are provided for smoking on the terrace as smoking is only permitted outside the apartments.
Stores and services in the area
A number of stores and services are within walking distance to Soul Houses Bonaire:
Telephone, fax and printing
There are no telephones in the apartments, however, our office telephone can be used by our guests for local calls.
For international calls, we offer the use of one of our laptops and our Skype account. Our Skype service package includes calling landlines and cellular phones in over 80 countries.
Our all-in-one fax / printer is available should the need arise. Please come and talk to us and we will work something out.
Though Bonaire enjoys high-quality desalinated drinking water, all water lines inside Soul Houses Bonaire pass through a filtration system. No need for bottled water, so bring your own reusable bottle if you wish.
Unlike many accommodations in Bonaire, we have ensured hot water lines are in all our bathrooms and kitchens.