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We will be in Bonaire in Dec. and are considering renting a truck/SUV to tour the Island. we arrive at 8:00 am and leave at 4:00 pm.
Has anyone advice on a self guided tour? Is it safe in Bonaire on our own? Are the roads always passable? Is 4 hours enough time to circle the Island with stops for pictures and site seeing?
Thanks in advance for any responses.
Travellers Beware of Voyager Events
I would like to share my recent experience with Voyager Events Car Rental and Tour Company on the island of Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles. In mid November 2011 I rented a truck from this agency. The first truck I was given was about 8 years old and rusted to the point of missing metal and compromised structural integrity. Mechanically, it stalled every time the air conditioner was turned on. We called the agency and they said they would change the truck for another. I went back 3 times that day and no one was there during the middle of the afternoon. Then the air conditioning quit entirely. The next day I went back 2 more times before I found someone in (they told me they were busy giving tours to cruise ship passengers). They said the carburetor needed to be rebuilt to prevent the stalling and it would take 2 hours. They wanted me to wait for it there. Finally they agreed to give me another truck to use until my rental was repaired. When I picked up the truck it continued to stall out. The next day they gave me another truck to drive. By this time I had wasted 4 hours of my vacation. This vehicle was also about 8 years old and rusted even worse than the first one- but it ran better. When I went to return the vehicle they said I was in an accident and damaged the left rear bumper. I told them I was never in an accident. They brought out the damage sheet and showed me the bumper had not been marked showing that it was damaged. The bumper attachment point was so rusted (photo attached-see competitor’s bumper to the right) that it was detached from sheer rust through aggravated by the pounding from the horrible roads on the island. They wanted me to pay $125 (cash no credit cards-even though they had taken a credit card for the deposit) to repair the bumper (it is unrepairable due to the rust situation). When I protested that I did not cause the damage they said they would call to police and I would be taken to jail immediately and I could not leave the island. I finally succumbed to this blackmail and paid the money in order to leave the island.
The moral of this saga is I would NEVER recommend this agency for either car rental or cruise ship tours due to the illegal, dishonest and underhanded coercion used the people there (I believe they were the owners). TRAVELLERS BEWARE OF THIS SHAM BY VOYAGER EVENTS!! truck2a.jpg
Unless you have an American Express Card you will have to get insurance on Bonaire. Most other credit cards cover rental cars not trucks. I have had good luck with AB Car rental in the plaza resort a bit of a walk south of the pier. Get a good map. http://www.bonaireislandinfo.com/
It is safe, just don`t leave any valuables in the car and don`t lock the doors. Most main roads are in good shape. Start off by going north. The road along the shore is one way(North) for a short distance. 4 hours is plenty of time. You can drive around the island minus Washington Slagbaai Park in a little over an hour, with no stops, depending on traffic,goats,donkeys & iguanas.Have fun.
Last week we had rented a car in Bonaire. Before we just grabbed a taxi for a short ride to the airport. This time getting off the ship all the taxis were lined up. We tried to get a cab to the airport. None of them would take us. They all wanted the full cab. We then tried to call the rental company to pick us up. We could not get thru to the company. We started walking knowing there were several resorts just down from the port. We stopped at theses trying to get a taxi. None were available. We ended up walking to the airport. It is only about a 3 mile walk in 80 degree weather.
The rental company did say that the taxi drivers are getting bad about airport runs when ships are in. Even with people arriving & trying to get to a hotel. Our fault was not knowing how to call in Bonaire. Once we got the car driving there is very easy. Getting back to the ship was no problem.