Washington Slagbaai Car, bicycle, & hiking trails Mountains & blowholes

Washington Slagbaai National Park

The Washington Slagbaai National Park (WSNP) is more than 6,000 hectares and covers the entire northern head of Bonaire. By car, mountain bike or on foot it is possible to go see the geological, natural and cultural-historical attractions that the beautiful park has to offer.

The mountainous terrain with its cactus forests, aloe fields, rock formations, salt lakes, limestone caves, sand dunes, blowholes and crumbling lime terraces provides shelter for numerous special plants and animals.

Cacti in the Washington Slagbaai ParkThe cacti made quite an impression on us. How large can a cactus grow?

500 animal and plant species

In the park there are more than five hundred different species of animals and plants. Humanity has also left its traces in the WSNP over time. Recent scientific archaeological research has revealed that people were already living in the WSNP 3,600 years ago.

Washington Park Tour Bonaire

Tip! Washington Park Tour

To explore all the beautiful spots of Washington Slagbaai National Park you really need a day. During this day tour you'll be accompanied by a guide. You won't run out of things to see! Along the way large iguanas cross the dirt road, you pass enormous cacti, and you drive by protected water areas. The park also features pristine white beaches where turtles nest. We stop for a break at the Slagbaai beach, where you'll have the opportunity to snorkel. A beachside picnic lunch is served during this time. After this tour you'll be well-versed in everything about the park. Don't forget to bring your camera, as the park is a fantastic place for taking photos.

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What can you do in Washington Slagbaai National Park?

If you're a nature enthusiast, visiting WSNP is highly recommended. Below is an overview of the most enjoyable activities.

What are the opening hours? (2023)

The Washington Slagbaai National Park is typically open every day from 08:00 to 17:00. Access to the park is allowed until 14:30. Always check in advance for the accurate park opening hours, as they might be adjusted, for instance, after prolonged heavy rainfall.

Please note! Temporary park closure on Mondays. The Washington Slagbaai National Park will be closed on Mondays from April 3rd to November 27th, 2023.

Landscape Washington Slagbaai National ParkWashington Slagbaai National Park.

What are the entrance fees for WSNP (2023)?

You need a Nature Fee to access the park. This Nature Fee is also required in Bonaire if you're going into the sea for activities like diving, snorkeling, or swimming. In 2023, the Nature Fee costs 40 dollars for individuals aged 13 and older. Children up to 12 years old do not need to purchase a Nature Fee.

Tip! Be well-prepared!
To fully enjoy your time in WSNP, it's wise to bring along good hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, a bird guidebook, a plant guidebook, binoculars, sufficient drinking water, food, snorkeling gear, scuba diving equipment, and a beach towel. Also, consider the following:

Rainy season

During the rainy season, which runs from October to December, the WSNP turns into a green eldorado. During this period all plants and trees greedily suck up the water that is then in abundance. Moreover, beautifully colored flowers and fruits develop in the park. These ripe fruits are attractive to lots animals.

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Chogogo Dive & Beach Resort

New hotel! Superb!

As green as the view of Washington Slagbaai National Park is, the view from your ocean-facing apartment is equally vividly blue. The apartments at Chogogo Dive & Beach Resort have been open since December 2021, making them brand new! The location right on the beach is perfect, allowing you to stroll into the sea for a quick snorkel. Prefer a more leisurely pace? Drift along the lazy river at the resort. It's wonderfully relaxing, mirroring the atmosphere of the resort. An ideal accommodation for your vacation in Bonaire!
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Park Entrance

A few kilometers north of Rincon you'll find the entrance to WSNP. From Rincon, the road to the park is signposted with images of green lizards on the lampposts. It's about a half-hour drive from Kralendijk to the entrance (and exit) of WSNP. During the rainy season Bonaire can experience heavy rainfall, which can make the roads in WSNP inaccessible. The park is then closed for vehicles.

Entrance of the Washington Slagbaai National ParkEntrance of the Washington Slagbaai National Park.

What are the park rules?

Anyone visiting WSNP will notice that it's a beautiful and immaculately clean park. The roads are very well-maintained, and there is no litter on the ground. Additionally, everything is well signposted. Four rangers work daily in WSNP to keep everything in top condition. Of course, there are various rules in place in WSNP to maximize the protection of its flora and fauna.


The daily management of the park is done by the National Parks Bonaire Foundation (STINAPA Bonaire). This foundation is also responsible for the Bonaire National Marine Park. STINAPA's goal is, among other things, to bring the WSNP back to its original state. To achieve this, various initiatives are being developed, including the replanting of thousands of indigenous tree species in the park. STINAPA Bonaire is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA). The DCNA is a non-profit organization that was established to protect the vulnerable and unique nature on the islands of Bonaire, Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius.

Landschap Washington Slagbaai National ParkHWashington Slagbaai National Park is a beautiful natural area in Bonaire.

Visitor Center

At the entrance of WSNP stands a beautiful ochre-yellow warehouse that houses the park's visitor center. This visitor center features a lovely museum, a library, a gift shop, an overview of hiking trails, and an adjacent terrace serving refreshing drinks and local dishes.

The museum tells the story of the general history of Bonaire, the developmental history from former plantations to the current WSNP, life and work on the plantations, flora and fauna, and the geology and archaeology of the Caribbean island.

In front of the park entrance there is the prepared skeleton of a whale. The unfortunate marine mammal was once struck by a cruise ship off the coast of Bonaire. A bit past the entrance there is an authentically restored traditional Bonairean cottage. The cottage includes livestock enclosures and a limestone kiln used to produce lime for construction purposes.

What animals live in Washington Slagbaai National Park?

Common and easily spotted animals include swiftly darting lizards, stately iguanas, and a variety of colorful birds. There is also an extremely rare parrot species, locally known as "lora" in Papiamentu, that can be found in the park. Additionally, thousands of goats, hundreds of donkeys, and dozens of cows roam the WSNP.

Are there beaches in the park?

The park also includes several enchanting beaches that serve as important nesting grounds for the five different sea turtle species found in the waters of Bonaire. WSNP boasts a 15-kilometer coastline that seamlessly merges into Bonaire's other nature reserve, the Bonaire National Marine Park (BNMP).

Playa Chikitu Washington Slagbaai National ParkWe took this photo at Playa Chikitu in Washington Slagbaai National Park. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed here.

George Thodé 

George Thodé is the Chief Ranger of the WSNP and also an extremely charismatic and committed Bonairean conservationist. George Thodé is known by everyone with the name 'Cultura'. Cultura dates from the time that George Thodé founded a music band in 1981.

Cultura was born on Bonaire in 1963, but has lived in Curaçao for the first 7 years of his life. In 1970 he returned to Bonaire as a child and lived in one of the buildings at the parking entrance of the WSNP.

Cultura has the blood of Indians on the one hand and the blood of Spaniards through his body on the other. He was enthused by nature at an early age. On his 17th he got a job as Ranger in the WSNP.

From the very beginning until today, Cultura records all changes in the park. In addition to meteological measurements (precipitation, sun hours, wind force, wind direction, etc.), Cultura tries to collect as much data as possible about all plants and animals that occur in the park. On the basis of the collected data, an attempt is being made to develop a better management plan for the WSNP for the future.

In addition to protecting and managing the WSNP, Cultura also deals with natural healing methods. He makes ointments from different plants that can be used in various conditions.

Useful to know

Papiamentu often uses the words boka (inlet, mouth), ceru (hill), pos (pit), rooi (dry riverbed), tera (earth), etcetera. If you have any understanding of these words, the meaning of some geographical indications and names in the WSNP becomes much clearer.

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