There is a lot to see and to do in the Caribbean. With more than 15 territories, there is no reason to be bored when in the Caribbean, including Bonaire.
Part of the ABC-island and BES-islands, Bonaire is one of the Caribbean's hidden gems.
Moreover, they are part of the Caribbean Netherlands, meaning that it is a popular destination for Dutch travelers, followed by Americans.
The thing is, international roaming is expensive, especially in the Caribbean. Caribbean Netherlands is not part of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that you should not expect to roam for free while in Bonaire (I am looking at you, those with Dutch SIM cards).
Luckily, you can buy a SIM card in Bonaire as a tourist.
Bonairian SIM cards are available for 14 USD with Digicel and 16 USD with UTS/Chippie in their stores. A data package with 2.5 GB of data is available for 8 USD.
Does that sound pricey? Maybe – even for Caribbean standards. But those rates will undoubtedly be lower than standard international roaming rates.
In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Bonaire. Let's go.
Original publication: 13th of March 2020. Last updated: 7th of February 2021.
Table of Contents
Can You Buy a SIM Card in Bonaire?
Anyone is allowed to purchase SIM cards in Bonaire, including tourists and short/long-term visitors.
However, you do have to meet the following requirements to buy and use a Bonairian SIM card:
- Get your SIM card registered with your personal information
- Have a device that supports the frequencies used in Bonaire
- Make sure your phone is unlocked (SIM-lock free)
Can You Use Your Phone in Bonaire?
The Bonairian operators use GSM for their networks. Moreover, they use frequencies that are used in many regions around the world (Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe, and Oceania – ITU Regions 1 & 3).
However, these frequencies are not used in the Americas (North-, Central-, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2).
The exception to this is UTS Bonaire's 3G network. One of its 3G frequencies is used primarily in the Americas, including most of the Caribbean.
If you purchased your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania, you can generally use your device in Bonaire.
If you bought your phone in the Americas and it is not a Tri-Band or Quad-Band device (supporting European frequencies – ITU regions 1 & 3), then you can still use UTS Bonaire's 3G network.
Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Bonaire
Bonaire has two mobile operators:
Bonaire uses the following frequencies:
- 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
- 3G: 850 MHz & 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 1800 (Band 3)
Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).
If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.
Best SIM Card in Bonaire
If you want to buy a SIM card in Bonaire, I would recommend going with either Digicel or UTS. Both operators have good coverage, offer similar packages, and have equally fast speeds. Consider going with Chippie for free data roaming in the ABC-islands (Leeward Antilles) and BES-islands (Caribbean Netherlands).
ALSO: Want to get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world, updated monthly? Sign up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter and get the excel sheet for FREE!
SIM Card Registration in Bonaire
SIM card registration with your passport information is mandatory in Bonaire. It will be done at the point of sale.
EU Roaming in Bonaire
Note that Bonaire is not part of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that EU roaming regulations do not apply in Bonaire. As a result, you should not expect to roam for free if you have an EU/EEA SIM card while traveling in Bonaire.
Although some European operators may offer free (data) roaming while in Bonaire, most operators do not. Make sure to explore your roaming options before you roam.
Currency in Bonaire
Bonaire uses the US Dollar as its currency. Prices in this guide will be listed in USD.
Bonaire Prepaid SIM Cards & Video Guide
- Background information
- Mobile coverage
- SIM card types, prices, and availability
- Recharge/top-up information
- Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs)
If you prefer to watch a video of what the Bonairian operators have to offer, be sure to check the video below AND also subscribe to my channel for more local prepaid SIM card guides, SIM card reviews (prepaid and international), mobile hotspots, and international roaming guides. You should still go through the guide after watching the video (I refer to it multiple times throughout the video).
With that being said, let’s see what Bonaire has to offer to us.
Digicel Bonaire, just Digicel, is the most popular operator on Bonaire. They ended UTS' monopoly and managed to capture more than 70% of the island's market share.
Digicel Bonaire Coverage
Digicel has extensive coverage in Bonaire.
Unfortunately, Digicel has no coverage map (anymore), nor can any reliable coverage map be found online.
You can take a look at UTS Bonaire's coverage map to get an idea what areas are covered on the island.
If you are staying in the busy areas, then coverage (and) speeds will be fine. Coverage in Washington-Slagbaai National Park and south of will be weak to non-existent.
Getting a Digicel Bonaire SIM Card & Price
You can purchase Digicel SIM cards for 14 USD with 10 USD in credit in the Digicel store called Digicel Kaya Grandi (number 26).
You may have to call 146 to activate your Digicel SIM card if it has not been activated by a Digicel salesperson.
Topping-Up Your Digicel Bonaire SIM Card
Digicel top-ups are sold in values of 3 USD, 5 USD, 10 USD, and 20 USD in the Digicel store and many other stores throughout Bonaire, such as kiosks, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Additionally, you can top up online with (international) debit and credit cards.
To activate your Digicel top-up voucher, dial *141*VoucherCode#.
For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *141*123456#.
You can check your Digicel balance by dialing *120#.
Digicel Bonaire Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers
Digicel offers two types of bundles. The Prime Bundles and the Quick Pick Bundles.
Digicel Bonaire Prime Bundles
Digicel has the new Prime Bundles, which are data bundles Any Use LTE Data and data allowances for select apps.
The following Prime Bundles are available:
|Price||Any Use Data||Listen More (Music) Data||Listen More (Radio) Data||Watch More Data||Play More Data||Share More Data||Know More Data||Store More Data||Validity|
|8 USD||1 GB||3 GB||3 GB||3 GB||3 GB||3 GB||3 GB||3 GB||1 day|
|13 USD||3 GB||7 GB||7 GB||7 GB||7 GB||7 GB||7 GB||7 GB||7 days|
|35 USD||5 GB||30 GB||30 GB||30 GB||30 GB||30 GB||30 GB||30 GB||30 days|
You also get unlimited Do More data, which is for the MyDigicel App
Prime Bundles can be activated on the MyDigicel app or by dialing *135#.
You can download any Prime Bundle app by visiting the links below:
- Listen More (Music) with D'Music
- Listen More (Radio) with GoLoud
- Watch More with PlayGo
- Play More with Sports Max
- Share More with Bip
- Know More with Loop
- Store More with Billo
Digicel Bonaire Quick Pick Bundles
The Quick Pick Bundles are bundles with data, unlimited WhatsApp Messaging, on-net minutes, and on-net SMS.
The following Quick Pick Bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *135#:
|Price||Data||Unlimited WhatsApp Messaging||On-Net Minutes||On-Net SMS||Validity|
|2 USD||200 MB||Yes||N/A||N/A||1 day|
|7.50 USD||750 MB||Yes||N/A||N/A||3 days|
|11.50 USD||1.5 GB||Yes||N/A||N/A||7 days|
|14.50 USD||N/A||No||Unlimited||Unlimited||7 days|
|20 USD||1.5 GB||Yes||N/A||N/A||14 days|
|24.50 USD||700 MB||Yes||Unlimited||Unlimited||7 days|
|32 USD||4.5 GB||Yes||N/A||N/A||30 days|
|39.50 USD||N/A||No||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
|55 USD||4.5 GB||Yes||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
You can check your Quick Pick balance by dialing *135#
Digicel Bonaire APN Settings
- Name: Digicel
- APN: web.digicelcuracao.com
The APN is indeed “Digicel Curaçao” – that is not a mistake. Leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
- Buying a SIM card in the Caribbean (All Caribbean nations)
- Buying a SIM card in Aruba
- Buying a SIM card in Curaçao
- Buying a SIM card in Trinidad and Tobago
- Buying a SIM card in Grenada
UTS Bonaire (Chippie Bonaire)
UTS Bonaire, also known as Chippie Bonaire, is the other operator in Bonaire. UTS' mobile brand is called Chippie, whose name will be used throughout this section.
UTS used to be the only operator until Digicel entered the market. Since then, it has lost a lot of market share.
Chippie Bonaire Coverage
Chippie has extensive coverage on Bonaire.
You may experience weak or no coverage in Washington-Slagbaai National Park and south of Bonaire.
Getting a Chippie Bonaire SIM Card & Price
You can purchase a Chippie SIM card for 16 USD with 10 USD credit in the UTS store in Kralendijk (Kaya Grandi 32).
Topping Up Your Chippie Bonaire SIM Cards
Chippie recharge cards are sold in values of 3 USD, 5 USD, 10 USD, and 20 USD in the UTS store and various top-up vendors, such as grocery stores, corner shops, and gas stations.
To redeem your Chippie Prepaid Card, dial *191*VoucherCode#.
For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *191*123456#.
To check your Chippie balance, dial #191#.
Chippie Bonaire Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers
Chippie Bonaire Smart Combo Bundles
The Combo Bundles are bundles with data, minutes, and SMS. The data allowance of your Combo Bundle can be used as free roaming data in Chippieland (Curaçao Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten (Dutch) & St. Martin (French)).
The following Smart Combo Bundles are available:
|Price||Data||Local & Chippieland Minutes||Local SMS||Validity||Activation Code|
|2.29 USD||80 MB||“Unlimited” (3000 minutes)||Unlimited||1 day||combod40|
|3.49 USD||200 MB||“Unlimited” (3000 minutes)||Unlimited||1 day||combod100|
|8 USD||2.5 GB||“Unlimited” (3000 minutes)||Unlimited||3 days||combo3d|
|15 USD||5 GB||“Unlimited” (3000 minutes)||Unlimited||7 days||combow500|
|79 USD||10 GB||“Unlimited” (3000 minutes)||Unlimited||30 days||combom2500|
|99 USD||20 GB||“Unlimited” (3000 minutes)||Unlimited||30 days||combom5000|
To activate a Smart Combo Bundle, text the Activation Code to 3434.
For example, if you want the 15 USD Combo Bundle, you would text combow500 to 3434.
To check your Smart Combo Bundle balance, text COMBO VAL to 3434.
The Smart Combo Bundles auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, text surf stop to 3434.
Chippie Bonaire Smart Surf Bundles
The Smart Surf Bundles are data-only data. You can use your Smart Surf Bundle data allowance in Chippieland, which consists of Curaçao, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten (Dutch) & St. Martin (French)).
The following Smart Surf Bundles are available:
|1.49 USD||100 MB||1 day||surfd100|
|6 USD||500 MB||3 days||3d|
|12 USD||1000 MB||7 days||surfw1000|
|18 USD||750 MB||30 days||surfm750|
|31 USD||3000 MB||30 days||surfm3000|
|52 USD||6000 MB||30 days||surfm6000|
To activate a Smart Surf Bundle, text the Activation Code to 3434.
For example, if you want the 1000 MB Bundle, you would text surfw1000 to 3434.
To check your Smart Surf Bundle balance, text SURF VAL to 3434.
The Smart Surf Bundles auto-renew. To cancel auto-renewal, text surf stop to 3434.
Chippieland Countries & Benefits
Chippie SIM cards with active Combo or Surf Bundle get access to Chippieland features, which include:
- Make and receive calls at the local rate of the Chippieland destination you are visiting
- You can be reached on your own mobile number
- No roaming costs will be charged
- Use the data in your active Surf or Combo bundle at no additional costs when traveling within Chippieland
The following countries are part of Chippieland:
- St. Barts
- St. Eustatius
- St. Maarten (Dutch Side)
- St. Martin (French Side)
Chippie Bonaire APN Settings
- Name: UTS Bonaire
- APN: premium
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Bonaire
However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the two local operators.
International roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling in other countries because you do not have to buy a new SIM card, have to deal with SIM card registration regulations, nor have multiple phone numbers to deal with.
However, international roaming has proven to be expensive in many cases, especially compared to buying local SIM cards. That is why many travelers are not fond of international roaming.
International roaming has its pros and cons. However, it is important to know how it works. This in-depth guide explains it all.
Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for Bonaire here.
Using an International SIM Card or Travel SIM Card
International SIM cards are SIM cards made for the traveler in mind. Using them is often cheaper than international roaming. However, they are almost always more expensive than using a local SIM card.
There are many other advantages and disadvantages of getting international SIM cards, which you can learn about here.
Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.
Using Free WIFI Networks
Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to stay connected because they are free. The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them, and they are not available on every corner in Bonaire.
Make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Bonaire
Getting a SIM card from either Digicel or UTS would be your only when considering a Bonaire SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Caribbean Countries
Visiting other countries in the Caribbean? Check out my Caribbean SIM card buying guide, covering other Caribbean nations, such as:
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences
Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:
Check Out My Resource Page
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling
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Learn About Your Phone Travel Options
You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally. Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.
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I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!
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