Update Sep 2, 2021: It’s three months now since Bonaire reopened its borders to direct flights from North America. Since then, the island has really ramped up all areas of the tourism sector.
All the most popular resorts, hotels, dive shops, restaurants and shops are open regular hours. Most tourist-centric places don’t require masks, but you will still see some people wearing them here and there. For the most part, though, it is business as usual for visitors to the island.
COVID by the Numbers
The confirmed COVID numbers remain quite low. As of Sep. 2, Bonaire reported a total of less than 15 active cases. The COVID situation is very much under control, and tourists have little to worry about when visiting the island. But Bonaire is taking steps to be sure the Delta variant does not become an issue, limiting gatherings and implementing more stringent entry requirements.
Over 13,000 island residents have been fully vaccinated so far, with over 2,000 more having received their first injection of the two-dose Pfizer protocol. This represents over 80 percent of the island population. More information about the practical implications of this can be found on the Bonaire Crisis website.
COVID Testing Facilities Update on Bonaire – And Our Recommendation
Bonaire’s COVID testing facilities have had more than three months to fine-tune their services to travelers arriving and leaving the island. Bonaire Pros visited the island in June and our island team members keep us up-to-date, so we have first-hand experience with the testing options available. We thought it was time to take another look at how these testing providers are doing and offer our recommendation for U.S. travelers. Your resort or hotel may have testing protocols and services arranged for their guests; inquire with your front desk on arrival.
For U.S. travelers preparing to return to the United States, Covid Test Bonaire has become our preferred testing provider. This drive-thru testing facility is located directly across from Flamingo International Airport, behind Island Car Rental. They offer both the PCR (NAAT) test ($120) and an Antigen Rapid Test ($35). If you’re traveling with a group, they can also arrange on-site testing at your hotel, resort, or villa.
For U.S. travelers returning to the States, you will only need to show proof of a negative antigen test taken within three days of your arrival in the U.S. The email communication to set up your test is fast and easy. You’ll receive your antigen test results within 30 minutes and get a travel certificate to show your airline upon check-in.
You can email Covid Test Bonaire to schedule your testing appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can pay for your test with any credit card. Please note that using American Express will incur a 10% surcharge. You’ll also need to wear a mask when visiting the testing center.
Bon Bida Health and Hestia also offer antigen testing services. However, we found the drive-thru service at Covid Test Bonaire to be convenient and very reliable. It is also the least expensive among the three providers.
Testing Requirement Updates
The Bonaire government issued new COVID-related entry requirements for travelers visiting the island. The new arrangement categorizes countries by their risk levels. Visitors will have different testing obligations, depending on their country of origin and their vaccination status.
Currently, the United States and Canada are classified as a High-Risk country. This means that fully vaccinated tourists arriving on Bonaire from the United States must only show proof of a negative NAAT (PCR) test taken within 48 hours of their departure to the island (starting Aug 8), along with CDC proof of completed vaccination 14 days or more before entry. No antigen testing is required.
Non-vaccinated visitors will need to show a negative NAAT (PCR) test taken within 24 hours of departure OR a negative NAAT (PCR) test taken within 48 hours of departure (starting Aug 8) and a negative antigen test upon arrival on Bonaire. Antigen testing is available directly at the airport for arriving passengers requiring this test. Scheduling your test ahead of time is highly recommended.
All visitors still need to fill out and submit a completed Health Declaration Form upon arrival at Flamingo airport. Find out more about general testing and entry requirements in our previous blog post.
As with all things COVID-related, the situation changes rapidly. Stay tuned to our website for the latest updates to keep up with what’s happening on Bonaire.