Work and Travel in Netherlands Antilles

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The Netherlands Antilles, or the Dutch Antilles, as they’re known, are a selection of islands that are still under the jurisdiction of the Netherlands.

These island paradises are a popular destination for travellers. They’re expensive, but nowhere near as expensive as some other Caribbean islands. Plus, there’s a real backpacking culture here.

It should be noted that the Netherlands Antilles as a country doesn’t exist, but for all intents and purposes this is what they’re called, unless talking about a specific island.

If you want to work in the Netherlands Antilles, this is the place to be. Our travel guide to the Dutch Antilles will show you everything you need to know about the volunteer opportunities available here.

1. Conservation Projects on Sint Eustatius

On the eastern most island of Sint Eustatius you’ll find conservation projects available for volunteers. It’s one of the best volunteer opportunities in the Netherlands Antilles because you’ll get to go where other travellers don’t and make a difference at the same time.

Conservation work involves caring for the jungles, mangroves, and swamps of the less populated part of the island. There’s a big need for volunteers and you don’t have to be a professional conservationist to join in with these projects.

2. Work Hard on a Farm in the Dutch Antilles

Another option for work and travel in the Dutch Antilles is to work on a farm as part of a homestay. Small farms in the countryside face unique challenges on tiny islands like these. You’ll be expected to help with everything from harvesting sugar cane to managing the animals there.

It’s a great opportunity to mix with locals and get a real feel for what it’s like to travel in the Netherlands Antilles.

3. Work in a Surf Camp on Bonaire

Bonaire is one of the most popular islands in the Dutch Antilles for everyone from budget backpackers to the rich with their private yachts. And if you travel to Netherlands Antilles you’ll soon see that surf camps are incredibly popular. Some of them are independent operations combined with eco lodges and others are part of huge five-star island resorts.

As long as you have experience in surfing instruction, you can find a job here. Some of these positions are voluntary and others are paid.

Work and travel in the Dutch Antilles can be extremely lucrative if you find paid work.


Work and travel in Netherlands Antilles is simple. You can either enter visa free or you have to apply for a visa. There are no exceptions, such as eVisas or other complex requirements. First of all, you should take note that entry to the Dutch Caribbean doesn’t cover the European area of the Netherlands.

And entry to the Netherlands Antilles will also entitle you to enter the independent Dutch islands, such as Aruba.

All of Europe, apart from Ukraine and Belarus, can enter without a visa for 90 days in a 180-day period. This also applies to citizens of North America, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

South Africans and Russians must apply for a formal visa.



For the seasons in the Netherlands Antilles, there needs to be some separation due to the huge geographical area covered by the islands.

In all the islands you can guarantee pleasant weather up until June at the earliest. This is considered to be the high season and you will be able to pick up any work related to the tourism industries, including becoming a surfing instructor, diving instructor, or simply working at one of the resorts.


This is the worst time to travel to the Dutch Antilles in all cases. It’s the rainy season and huge rainstorms can hit at any time. It’s also the middle of the hurricane season, so certain islands will be off-limits, particularly after the hurricane season of 2017.

However, if you do still want to travel to the Netherlands Antilles, choose Bonaire as this is away from the hurricane path and receives no more extreme weather patterns than slightly severe rainfall.

But don’t bank on finding much in the way of volunteer work throughout the summer.


The start of the autumn season is much the same as the summer. Until October, the rainy season persists and the risks of hurricanes in the northern Dutch Antilles are still apparent.

But after October your options begin to open up on all the islands again. You have two main options at this time of year.

The first option is to begin applying for work in the resorts in time for the start of the high season. The other option is to engage in conservation work. Most conservation projects limit operations during the rainy season and start up again when the dry season comes around.


Winter is when the majority of visitors arrive to travel in the Dutch Antilles. This is when you can find work in anywhere from a small eco lodge to a huge resort. But, as mentioned in the previous section, make sure that you apply well in advance of the start of the season.

Generally, you’ll need prior experience to work in resorts, but most eco lodges are always willing to take on volunteers for the season.


Work and travel in the Netherlands Antilles is your chance to take advantage of an island paradise. You’ll find many of the locals actually came from all over the Western world and now make up a significant part of the population. So you can find all sorts of people here.

But, on the whole, the people of the Dutch Antilles are open to foreigners because so many of their own people are/were foreigners at one point.

If you’re ready to pack your bags, do you have what it takes to work and travel in the Dutch Antilles?

Recent Contributors

  • Edited on May 22 2018 by

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