What are the costs of living on Bonaire?

The costs of living on Bonaire are on average 30% to 40% higher than in The Netherlands, while wages are a lower than in The Netherlands. The transport cost of the products is often seen as the reason for the high prices. Most products come largely from Netherlands, America and Curacao, a small portion comes from Venezuela. 

Virtually everything is available on Bonaire, but sometimes you have to search a bit or wait for new supply to arrive, but most products are here for sale. Because everything has to be imported, oftentimes shelves in the supermarkets are empty, especially when it comes to fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Flowers are also often scarce and not for sale everywhere.

In the Netherlands you first make up your mind on what you want to eat and then you go to the supermarkets, on Bonaire you go to the supermarket to see what's available and that’s what you eat that day.

When in the Netherlands on the fresh foods department something is not available you just go to another supermarket to get it there, this is also different on Bonaire as when fresh products are sold out in one supermarket, they will most likely be sold out in other supermarkets as well and you would just have to wait till the next week.

Supermarkets are about the same as in Netherlands, in Bonaire the 3 best known supermarkets are Van den Tweel, The Warehouse and Bondigro.

In addition, you also have many Chinese supermarkets. These are stores that are fully stocked and they sell almost everything from Food and beverages to toys, electronics and more. The 'Chinese' is the preferred store if you want to cook with local herbs and spices.

On Bonaire there is no market as we know in the Netherlands, where salesmen sell fresh vegetables’, fruit, fish, cheese etc... The market that we know here is limited to market stalls with souvenirs, clothes and prepared meals and snacks mainly focused on (cruiseship) tourists.

When it comes to eating out, prices are about the same as in The Netherlands, but you must also remember that the wages here are lower, so in the end eating out is pricey for the residents of Bonaire, but as a tourist, you will not notice it, because you're used to these prices. The price of a glass of wine is around US$ 6 a $ 7 Dollar while a bottle of beer is around the US$ 4 Dollars. Happy hours are here very common, so if you have a bit of a look around, you can drink for half the price between 17.00 and 19.00 including DJ or live music.

Bonaire has plenty of good and cozy restaurants where you can have a good meal, the price of a meal, of course depends on the choice of the restaurant, but from around US$ 18 Dollars you will have a nice meal. You can also choose to eat or have take out at the local “Snek” then you will have more than enough to eat from US$ 10 Dollars

Finally: Shoes and clothing. Actually, I can be quite brief about that. Don't expect shopping streets full of clothing and shoes shops of the well-known chains and brands. If you will go out for a day full of shopping, at the end of your shopping journey you will end up having still a large part of the day left. The Centre of Kralendijk is very cozy and has a number off (souvenir) shops, including shops that sell clothes and shoes there you can buy what you need. Nobody cares about fashion on Bonaire and that's actually quite liberating, basically the only thing you need here are shorts t-shirts and flip-flops!