Electrical Plug/Outlet and Voltage Information for Bonaire

  • Primary wall outlet types: Type B (NEMA 5-15) and Type A (NEMA 1-15)
  • Voltage: 120-127 volts AC @ 50 Hz
  • This is essentially identical to the electrical systems in the United States and Canada, so travelers from North America generally need not concern themselves with adapters and converters and other gadgets. For the most part, North American items plug in and operate there just as they do at home.
  • The only potential incompatibility issues relate to whether or not the outlets present at a given location are grounded and/or polarized, as it may interfere with the ability of a plug to physically interface with the outlet. See below for a detailed explanation. Fortunately, these issues can be easily overcome with a simple plug adapter. Our adapter #EA5 is grounded but not polarized, and #EA6 is neither grounded nor polarized.

Wall outlets in Bonaire are Type B (NEMA 5-15) and/or Type A (NEMA 1-15) and supply electricity at 120-127 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency. Chances are you're reading this because you're traveling there from the United States or Canada and are bringing things that will need to be plugged in there. The good news is that the voltage of the power supplied there is basically identical to the electricity supplied by outlets in the United States and Canada. So there's a good chance you won't need any adapters or other gadgets, you may be able to plug in there just as you would at home. However, there are potentially two very important physical differences with "American style" Type A and B outlets abroad which may need to be taken into account, and remedied with a plug adapter.

Note: Travelers also report that most hotels also offer at least one 220 volt European Type C outlet in most rooms for the convenience of European visitors.

A note about frequency: The frequency of the alternating current in Bonaire is 50 Hz, which is different from the 60 Hz frequency in the US and Canada. This is basically irrelevant (or at least unimportant) to the operation of most devices and appliances, and you probably don't need to worry about it at all. It's not going to affect your phone, tablet, laptop or bathroom appliances. But don't bother bringing an alarm clock. Digital clocks and timers rely on the frequency to keep accurate time. A clock built for 60 Hz will "run slow" on 50 Hz. Overnight, an alarm clock will "lose" more than an hour!

Grounding and Polarization

A few words on grounding and polarization

Image 1 (top-left) is a typical US / Canadian wall outlet just like the ones in your home. It's both grounded and polarized.

Grounded refers to the presence of the third, round pin in addition to the two vertical blades. Polarization refers to the left vertical blade being taller than the one on the right.

All US and Canadian wall outlets are required to be both grounded and polarized, but plugs aren't. Some plugs have the round pin while others don't, and some plugs' vertical blades are the same height while others aren't. You're probably used to that. But since the outlets are all grounded and polarized, it doesn't matter what the plug is like. They'll be able to plug into the outlet regardless.

But things can get a little dicey abroad, where the outlets aren't necessarily required to be grounded or polarized. For example, image 2 shows an outlet which is polarized (the left blade is taller than the right) but not grounded (there's no receptacle for the round grounding pin.) So then, what if your plug has that third, round pin? You can't plug into the non-grounded outlet. Image 3 shows an outlet that's neither grounded nor polarized. In that case, even if your plug doesn't have the third, round pin, it still can't plug in if the plug's blades aren't the same height.

Other countries which are on "American style" electrical systems, particularly in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the South Pacific, often don't require that wall outlets be grounded or polarized. And many outlets aren't, especially in older buildings, and this can interfere with your being able to plug in. Fortunately, we have plug adapters for that. Our item #EA5 is grounded but not polarized, and our item #EA6 is neither grounded nor polarized. It could turn out that you won't need them, but think of them as a "just in case" fall-back option. If you discover that one or both of these issues is preventing your plug from being inserted into the foreign wall outlet, one of these adapters will solve that problem and allow you to plug in.

But aside from those potential issues, if you're traveling from the United States or Canada, by all means feel free to bring along any gadgets you like. The electrical system there is fully compatible with your devices and appliances as-is.