Island hopping the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) is easy but limited to precious few options. Bonaire and Curacao are two-thirds of the trifecta bathing in the Southern Caribbean Sea that is known also as the Netherlands Antilles.
Bonaire and Curaçao are not at all affected by hurricanes and are perfect for Caribbean vacationing all year around. Although Papiamentu is the local dialect, English, Dutch, and Spanish are widely spoken and understood throughout Bonaire and Curaçao.
As for local currencies, the Antillean Guilder or the Florin is used on Curacao while the US dollar is also used throughout Bonaire and Curaçao at a fixed rate of 1.78.
For those who are ready to leave the abundant wildlife and underwater attractions of Bonaire for the quaint architecture and colorful markets of Curaçao, this is how to do just that.
Since the option of a ferry service of any sort between Bonaire and Curacao, Aruba, or Venezuela does not currently exist, air travel is the only alternative for scheduled travel. Nonscheduled travel options however are available in the form of a privately chartered boat or yacht cruise.
The distance by flight between Bonaire and Curaçao is 46 miles or 74 kilometers. The flying time is 25 minutes. The airlines that service the route from Bonaire to Curaçao are Air Belgium, Aruba Airlines, Divi Divi Air, and EZ Air offering Economy, Premium Economy, and Business Class. The First Class option is not a non-stop option on this route.
The planes that hop the islands are the Airbus A330, De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, De Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8, Pilatus Britten-Norman BN-2A/B Islander, and Saab SF340B.
There are 109 flights from Bonaire to Curaçao per week, averaging sixteen flights a day. The earliest option of departure is 07:15 in the morning with the last departing flight leaving at 7.40 at night. Departure and arrival times do vary according to the r preferred date of travel.
Flights depart from Bonaire International Airport which is also known as Flamingo International Airport. This is in fact Bonaire’s only airport. Bonaire’s history of aviation took flight in 1936 when its first airport was in Tra’i Montaña near Subi Blanku.
No one would to day recognize the airport as it was as an actual airport, though. The runway was kept company back then by a solitary. Things have changed… Today, nonstop flights from Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Newark land here, operated respectively by American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines.
Passengers alight in Curaçao at Curaçao International Airport, known in the local language of Papiamento as Aeropuerto Internashonal Hato. The Dutch name for the airport is Hato Internationale Luchthaven which translates to its English name of Hato International Airport. This is the only airport catering to the island of Curaçao.
The airport is on the island’s north coast, just 7 and a half miles or 12 kilometers from Willemstad. Flights come in and take off from here from and for the Caribbean region, Europe, South America, and North America. This is also the main base for the following airlines: Divi Divi Air, EZAir, and Jetair Caribbean.
Sail Away on a Bonaire and Curacao Yacht Charter
Chartering a yacht is an exciting and fun way to get from Bonaire to Curaçao and quite a different option to the norm which is aircraft travel.
To sail between the two islands, passengers become acquainted with the yacht in the Harbor Village Marina in Bonaire.
Sail via the peaceful waters to what is barely more than an atoll, Klein Curacao. This uninhabited little island has an extent of just 0.66 square miles or 1.7 square kilometers. Get a close-up look at its abandoned lighthouse and explore the interesting shipwrecks off the white sand beaches. The Caribbean Sea off the coast is alive with local turtles and dolphins off of Klein Curacao.
The protected bay of Spaanse Water or Spanish Waters is a great option to head to next, being of the Caribbean’s most sheltered anchorages.
This town has a natural harbor and lagoon and lies to the east of Willemstad on the island Curaçao. It is home to Nieuwpoort which is a tourist resort, the village of Santa Barbara, and the Tafelberg. Spaanse Water is always tranquil, calm, and protected and has amazing beaches, cays, and inlets just waiting to excite the explorers who visit.
The exclusive Santa Barbara golf course and the Shore Seafood Grill overlooking the coastline are just two reasons among many to go ashore here.
Willemstad is the capital of the island of Curacao and boasts the prettiest waterfront in the world. The beautiful city dates back to the 17th century and its port is among the busiest in the Caribbean. Enjoy the old-world Dutch heritage obvious on the streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designated Old Town.
Ships of every description sail through Willemstad’s channel via the Queen Emma Bridge and watching them come and go is a great way to spend time here.
Punda is the place to visit for restaurants, shopping, and local specialties, with the added feature of being the oldest part of the capital, Willemstad. Duty-free boutique shops stock Dutch favorites such as Dutch Delft Blue figurines and wheels of Gouda and Edam cheeses. Local island produce that is a must is the original Curacao liqueur.
No matter how you get here, the islands of Bonaire and Curaçao offer visitors the pleasures of diving, snorkeling, exploring, enjoying the shallow coral reefs and warm waters, and simply relaxing in the always pleasant climate on the beautiful beaches.
Remember that Bonaire has a new Visitor’s Tax – the Bonaire Tourist Tax that took the place of the island’s Room Tax and Rental Car Tax in July 2022. This Entry Tax targets tourists only and somewhat alleviates the tax burden on the island’s residents. The tax has and will reduce the scars of over-tourism on Bonaire.
Curaçao charges a departure tax on all tourists over the age of 2 leaving on any international flights while departing for another island carries a nominally lower fee.