Travelogue Vacation Bonaire 2023 (4/4)

Hiking in Washington Slagbaai Park

Today we also wanted to visit Washington Slagbaai Park. The park is a magnificent part of Bonaire and the cacti here are so enormous! You can drive two routes with your car and there are also various hiking trails to explore. When we arrived at the park it was a lively scene! There was live music, food and drink stalls, and it was pleasantly bustling. Although we had visited the park before we had never seen it like this. When we asked what was going on we found out that it was the park's birthday - it was celebrating an impressive 54 years on that very day!

Cactussen in het Washington Slagbaai ParkThe cacti in Washington Slagbaai Park are enormous.

The park ranger asked us about our plans, and we told him that we wanted to go for a hike. He took note of our description to know what we looked like. The park is vast, and there can always be unexpected events during your stay. It's reassuring for the park staff to know that those who enter the park will also exit safely. This way they can also go home at the end of the day with a sense of peace.

Tour at the Washington Slagbaai National Park Bonaire

Tour at the Washington Slagbaai National Park

Day tour!

Don't you want to explore the park on your own but prefer to have a guided experience? During this tour you will visit Washington Slagbaai National Park and venture off the beaten path. With a 4x4 vehicle you'll reach the most beautiful and rugged spots of Bonaire! You'll witness the enormous cacti that grow in the park, encounter wildlife, and visit stunning secluded beaches and blowholes. Of course a knowledgeable guide will provide you with all the information about the park. You'll be picked up and dropped off at your hotel and drinks, snacks, and lunch are included. The tour lasts approximately seven hours, promising a day full of adventure!More info & book

Lagadishi walking trail

Today we went hiking the Lagadishi walking trail. This flat hiking route takes about two hours and a significant part of it runs along the coastline. The deep blue sea is wild here and the white foam on the waves crashes against the rugged rocks, creating a beautiful scene. You definitely need good hiking shoes as a large part of the trail is on petrified coral; it used to be the seabed and you must watch your step carefully. In my opinion the most stunning part of the walk was Playa Chikitu; this section of the beach looks like it's straight out of a movie set, truly surreal and beautiful! The snow-white sand almost hurts your eyes and the contrast with the various shades of blue ocean and the rough rocks is almost too beautiful to be true. Yet another perfect photo moment!

Playa Chikitu BonaireThe beach Playa Chikitu is a gem. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to enter the sea here.

It was hot. Thankfully we had enough water with us and this turned out to be not a luxury but a necessity. While the long stretch along the coastline provided a delightful breeze there were also sections where we walked out of the wind and the sun beat down directly on our heads. During these moments the hike became quite challenging. After about two hours we heard the cheerful sounds of Caribbean music again and arrived back at the park's entrance where the celebration was taking place. Locals were playing dominoes, people were dancing to the music, and food and drinks were being enjoyed. We ordered a refreshing drink, savored the music for a little while longer, and decided it was time to wrap up the day. We checked in with the park rangers so they knew we had left the park safely and then drove back to our hotel. It had been another beautiful day!

Feest in het Washington Slagbaai ParkCaribbean music created a festive atmosphere in Washington Slagbaai Park.

Day 9: Klein Bonaire and Departure

The last day on Bonaire, how time flies! Since our flight wouldn't depart until 8:50 PM in the evening we had asked our hotel on the very first day if we could keep the room for the entire day. Now that we only needed to check out in the evening we had a whole day left on the island to do fun things.


Tip! IIs your return flight in the evening? Then definitely consider checking out later at the hotel. At Chogogo Beach Resort this costs 50 dollars (2023). We found it to be very convenient. Make sure to arrange this upon arrival so that there is a higher chance of availability.

We decided to go to Klein Bonaire. The water taxi was scheduled to depart at 9:00 AM and we were at the boat by 8:45. We could already board and shortly after us an American couple and three people from Belgium arrived. Besides the skipper, a Dutch man who lived on the Dutch island Schiermonnikoog until five years ago, there were also two German girls doing an internship. What a nice place for an internship!

Watertaxi Klein BonaireWith the water taxi you can reach Klein Bonaire in about 20 minutes.

There were three options for snorkeling at Klein Bonaire:

  1. You disembark at the beach and enter the sea from there.
  2. You disembark at the beach, then walk to the yellow pole and enter the water there. Through a passage in the coral you swim to the backside of the coral and then you snorkel along the coral back to the beach.
  3. You snorkel via a drop-off. The water taxi takes you to a beautiful spot just off the coast of Klein Bonaire. You enter the water from the boat and then snorkel back to Klein Bonaire.

Since the third option would lead to a later return to Kralendijk and we still had to pack our suitcases we opted for the second option; snorkeling from the yellow pole. On the boat we struck up a conversation with the American couple, Tim and Val. We immediately hit it off and chatted away. As we were nearing Klein Bonaire they asked if we wanted to snorkel together. The couple was a bit older and they preferred to have some people nearby for added safety. Safety always comes first for us so of course, we agreed. Snorkeling with multiple people allows you to keep an eye on each other.

Coral Klein  BonaireWhile snorkeling in the sea at Klein Bonaire, we saw stunning coral and the most beautiful tropical fish.

Once we disembarked, we walked to the yellow pole a little further ahead. And soon we spotted the path through the coral where we could swim without touching it. This is very important because coral is incredibly delicate and can cause serious injuries if touched, which can be painful for days. The underwater world at Klein Bonaire is fantastic. The small island is worth visiting anyway because the beach is stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately we didn't see any sea turtles while snorkeling. But nevertheless, it was definitely worth it.

Snorkeling Klein BonaireKlein Bonaire is a paradise for snorkelers.

Just in time, we spotted another sea turtle

As we were back on the boat, heading towards Kralendijk, one of the other passengers exclaimed "Look, a turtle!" And there it was, a sea turtle surfacing to take a breath. And it wasn't just any turtle; it was a really big one! So we still got to see a turtle after all! Back at the hotel we took a refreshing dip in the pool and had lunch at the beach bar.

All good things come to an end.

We received a message that our flight had a two-hour delay, so we were picked up from the hotel two hours later than planned. This gave us some extra time to enjoy the hotel, the weather, and the island. But then, the time came for us to say goodbye once again, and it was not easy. This island feels like a second home to us, and this certainly won't be the last time we'll be here. Due to the delay, our travel agency provided us with vouchers at the airport to spend on food and drinks. Everything was well arranged. The flight went smoothly, and after eight hours and forty-five minutes, we landed at Schiphol Airport. It had been a wonderful trip once again!

Landcape BonaireWe took the photo above in Washington Slagbaai Park. As you can see in this picture, Bonaire is blessed with a beautiful landscape. This is one of the reasons why we love being on Bonaire so much.

Conclusion

Bonaire is still one of our favorite islands. The island is a true paradise for nature lovers, water sports enthusiasts, divers, and snorkelers, as well as those seeking a wonderfully relaxing vacation. Even after visiting the island five times we are still impressed by its landscapes, sea turtles, flamingos, pelicans, and the laid-back island life. Bonaire's tourism is still developing but you won't find mass tourism here. However, it has become busier compared to when we first visited the island. Hotels are mostly low-rise and you won't find towering skyscrapers here. The locals, known as Bonairians, are very friendly. Even after this trip, Bonaire holds a special place in our hearts, and we will definitely return!

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Tip Snorkling Tour Bonaire

Do you want to go snorkelling on Bonaire with a guide? You will see the most beautiful colorful fish and maybe even a sea turtle. Snacks, drinks and snorkeling equipment are included! Book this tour with Viator. Rated with 5.0 / 5.0 stars. More info and reservation

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