It is your responsibility to ensure you are fit and healthy for your trip.
You are unlikely to need any inoculations but we advise you to check with your GP.
There are two doctor’s surgeries/clinics and a very good physiotherapy clinic on Bonaire. These are not free.
There is a hospital on Bonaire, but medical insurance is a must (see below).
Volunteers are expected to cover the cost of their own travel to and from Bonaire.
Flights arrive at Bonaire International Airport daily from Amsterdam and via the USA (Houston, Atlanta, Newark and Miami)
Bonaire is a beautiful and generally very safe island that welcomes over 700,000 visitors every year form the Netherlands, USA and Europe. However, like anywhere in the world, you must be mindful of theft and other common crimes by taking usual safety precautions such as not flashing cash or leaving valuables in the open.
There are mosquitos on Bonaire which have a minimal risk of carrying Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika Virus, so we advise during dawn and dusk to wear bug spray and/or cover your skin with long loose clothes. Malaria medication is not needed on Bonaire
European honeybees and wasps are common on the island, so if you have any allergies please make sure to bring any necessary medication with you.
There are scorpions on Bonaire but they are quite elusive and their sting is not venomous, it will hurt as much as a bee sting. We suggest shaking out your shoes and towel but no other precautions are needed.
The biggest threat on Bonaire is heat exhaustion due to the high temperature, so ensuring that your fluid intake is high is essential to avoiding dehydration. Whilst you adjust it may be a good idea to bring some electrolyte powder to add to your water whilst your body adjusts.
You need a valid passport from your home country, and it must remain valid throughout your stay. Citizens of most countries in the world do not need a visa to enter Bonaire and can stay for up to three months without needing to apply for a volunteer/residency/work permit.
For Citizens of the Netherlands and the United States, you can stay in Bonaire for six months but may only volunteer for 3 months. If you wish to volunteer for longer you will need to apply for a permit to do so.
As of July 1, 2022, all non-residents will be required to pay the newly instated tourism tax at the cost of $75. The purpose of the Entry Tax is to both reduce the proven scars of over-tourism and to partially alleviate the tax burden on the island’s residents.
The national currency of Bonaire is USD $, credit and debit cards are accepted widely across the island and there are several ATMs for Mastercard and Visa.
Before you arrive on Bonaire you need travel insurance that covers your entire stay and any extra activities you may wish to participate in, you must provide Echo with the details of this before your departure.
Bonaire is known as Diver’s Paradise due to its stunning marine wildlife so diving and snorkelling locations are abundant across the island. In the south of the island, there are also plenty of water sports such as windsurfing and wakeboarding available.
If you prefer to stay topside, we have plentiful hiking trails for you to experience the diverse and stunning landscape that Bonaire has to offer.
For other island experiences check out Bonaire’s tourist website > https://bonaireisland.com/
Depending on the volunteer position you are applying for, your work week will look different so please see the individual role descriptions. However, all full-time volunteers are expected to work 40 hours a week over 5 or 6 days. While fieldwork schedules can vary, husbandry volunteers will start work at 8 am and then break between 11-2 from the heat of the day and continue till 5 pm.
Echo is an established organization with a history of successful conservation programs, the days can be long and hot but they are ultimately rewarding. We believe you will get out what you put in, and so we strive for high standards in all that we do. Having a positive, can-do attitude is important for a happy and healthy work place.
Accommodation: If you volunteer full-time for Echo, you are welcome to stay at the Echo Conservation Center for free. However, please note that it is basic, off-grid, communal-style living so you must be comfortable with being isolated in nature and everything which that can entail, such as intermittent solar power, limited cell phone data signal and no Wi-Fi.
If you would like to arrange your own accommodation, studio or shared apartments are generally available on the island starting from $700 a month, but please note you will need to arrange your own daily transport to Dos Pos. Our team may be able to support you in finding an apartment, but it is ultimately your own responsibility.
Food: On site, you will have access to a basic kitchen which has a fridge and stovetop to cook for yourself. You will arrange your own meals, and all groceries and consumables are at the volunteer’s own expense. We suggest a budget of around $40-$80 per week for groceries depending on your diet and tastes. Shopping can be done on a weekly trip to Kralendijk but small essentials are available in a mini-mart in Rincon.
Training: Everyone will receive full training from onsite experts so they can carry out their volunteer duties confidently and accurately.
Community: Echo works with a diverse group of people from all ages and backgrounds with a variety of different interests, but we all have one thing in common: a love of nature. We hope you will immerse yourself in the local community and even learn some local Papiamentu phrases!
Once you have been accepted, you will be provided with a full list of suggested items relevant to your position.
Although all usual amenities, food, hygiene products, and very basic homeware are availiable on-island, Bonaire has limited shopping and no guaranteed postal service. Certain items such as electronics and specialized clothes need to be brought from off the island.
Please keep in mind that your position will be physically active, and Bonaire is a Caribbean Island with temperatures that can reach 38°C (100F) and that rarely drop below 24°C (75F) with an average of 28 degrees Celsius (83F). It is humid all year round and although the island is known for being dry, when it does rain, it can pour especially in the “rainy season” (Nov- January). Bringing clothes you will be comfortable in is essential.
Echo is located on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Bonaire, about 80 km (50 miles) off the coast of Venezuela
The “off-grid” Echo Conservation Center is in the lush valley of Dos Pos, located 3km from the small historical town of Rincon and 20km from Kralendijk, the main town on Bonaire. Dos Pos is also a Birdlife International Important Bird Area, and a stone’s throw from the Gotomeer lake Ramsar site that thrives with Flamingos and shore birds, making it the perfect location to submerge yourself into nature.
The local language of Bonaire is Dutch & Papiamentu. However, English is spoken widely on the island.
We have a full welcome pack available for everyone, which we typically send once volunteers are accepted, that answers most frequently asked questions.
If you would like a copy to help you decide if you would like to apply or have a specific question you would like answered then please send us an email with the Subject line *Volunteer Question* to Info@bonaire.org with your query.
- Internet is not available at the Echo you can purchase data on your phone if you have a local KLA sim-card.
- There is also a local restaurant nearby Dos Pos which is open on most days of the week where free wi-fi is available. On the weekends you can use the internet at this same restaurant in Rincon or at various cafes in Kralendijk.
- There’s is limited phone reception when using KLA, other providers don’t have reception. Alternatively you can use Whats App or Skype to make calls when having KLA sim-card.