In Washington Slagbaai National Park you can find rugged mountains, enchanting bays, and surprising blowholes. The Brandaris (Bonaire's highest mountain), Boka Slagbaai (Bonaire's most beautiful inlet), and the Suplado blowhole (Bonaire's most spectacular blowhole) can all be visited in the park.
There are two different routes in this park you can follow by car, a short and a long route. Make sure that you rent an SUV, otherwise you may not enter the park. We had chosen the short route. This is already almost a full-day activity. The terrain is hilly with bays, beaches and stunning views. Halfway along the route you can find perhaps the most beautiful beach on Bonaire. Here you can also do some fine snorkeling. What is striking is that there’s almost nobody there, it was nice and quiet which was no problem for us!
The 241 meter high Brandaris is located in the park and is also the highest point of Bonaire. This mountain exceeds the second highest point of the island, the Yuwana (164 meters) with more than 77 meters, followed by the Ser'i Palmita (136 meters) and the Piedra Pretu (103 meters). At the top of the Brandaris you obviously have a great view and on clear days even is possible to see the contours of Curaçao and Venezuela.
Bonaire has a diverse landscape. The northern side of the island is predominantly mountainous.
Because the Brandaris is the highest point of Bonaire, the mountain used to be of great strategic importance. At the Brandaris, fire and smoke signals were given for the neighboring island of Curaçao at the moment that danger threatened.
Blowholes are geological names for a very spectacular natural phenomenon. At dozens of places along the jagged coastline of Bonaire, the ocean water is so enclosed by the coral rocks under high pressure that there is only one escape route for the sea water and that is up. The result is that you can witness spectacular meters-high water fountains.
The 'Suplado blowhole' in the Washington Slagbaai National Park is the most spectacular blowhole of Bonaire. The ocean water here is hounded to dizzying heights, resulting in a local rain shower of warm, clear water.
The impressive Suplado blowhole.
Tip! Hike to the Suplado blowhole!
Be sure to check out the Suplado blowhole; it's truly magnificent to witness. If you're hiking the Lagadishi walking trail, you'll pass by the Suplado blowhole. The starting point of this hiking route is at the park's entrance. Unfortunately, if conditions aren't optimal (too little wave action), you may not see anything. It happened to us once, but even then, the hike remains highly recommended.
The bays on the west side are ideal for water enthusiasts such as swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. On the east coast of the park the trade winds have more influence and cause the waves to crash forcefully against the rugged limestone plateaus. The sapphire blue waters are equally enchanting here but due to strong currents and powerful waves, entering the water here is unsafe. Below is an overview of the bays and beaches in the park.
Boka Slagbaai is one of the most beautiful inlets in the park and used to be the island's first harbor. The name Slagbaai is a corruption of 'Slachtbaai,' which means "slaughter bay" in Dutch. In the past this was the location where goats were slaughtered, salted, and shipped to Curaçao. The pastel-colored colonial buildings on-site bear witness to that illustrious history. Boka Slagbaai also boasts a pristine white sand beach and azure blue waters that tempt you to go swimming or snorkeling.
Boka Slagbaai has a stunning location within the park.
Boka Kokolishi (shell bay) is a beautiful bay. This bay, in the north of the park, is blessed with semicircular limestone plateaus that fill and empty themselves with ocean water. This rhythmic interplay between the beautifully cut limestone and the greenish water works enchantingly on the human brain.
The name Kokolishi means shell. Fans of fossils will enjoy themselves here. Shells of millions of years old are easy to find here. It is only a pity that nothing from Bonairian nature can leave the Caribbean island, not even a little shell.
At Boka Bartol and Saliña Bartol, bird spotters are completely excitied. This bay and the salt lake is a popular place for birds. Flamingos, American small egrets, brown pelicans and bigua cormorants can be observed here.
The inlet Boka Chikutu is located near Playa Chikutu, on the north coast of the park. If you want to witness the unprecedented power of the ocean, you should certainly take a look here. The meter-high waves, which are driven by the trade winds, crash into the erratic limestone plateaus with enormous power.
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