The National Park “Washington-Slagbaai” is located in the north of the island. A beautiful park with a protected area of 14,000 hectares.
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!
In the park you can go hiking, mountain biking and climbing. The highest point of the island (mountain "Brandaris”) is also located in this park. It is all too much for one day.
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.
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.
The bays on the west side are ideal for water sports enthusiasts such as swimmers, snorkelers and divers. On the shoreline of the east of the park, the trade winds still have free play and let the waves burst with great force on the jagged limestone plateaus. The sapphire blue water here is also beautiful but due to strong currents and powerful waves, going into the water here is irresponsible.
Boka Slagbaai is one of the most beautiful inlets of the park and used to be the first port on the island. The name Slagbaai is a corruption of 'Slacht Bay'. In the past, goats were slaughtered, salted and shipped to Curaçao. The pastel-colored colonial buildings on the spot still witness that glorious past. Boka Slagbaai also has a white sandy beach and an azure blue sea that tempts you to swim or snorkel.
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.
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.
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