Red Slave is one of the named dives furthest south. We encountered pretty stiff currents, but the wildlife was worth it. We saw all of the usual suspects including a Southern Stingray and multiple turtles. It seems most of the wildlife was at 25-30 feet. The turtles could be found underneath soft coral and were abundant not far from the mooring.
1,000 steps was our best snorkelling experience in Bonaire. We were fortunate enough to see an endangered hawksbill turtle a few metres in from the drop-off which was just amazing to watch. You can also see a variety of coral and gorgonian sea rods, and of course tons of reef fish. Entry into the water is right from the beach which is also really beautiful.
Built in 1968, the stone staircase down to the beach is actually only 67 steps, however was apparently given its name for how it feels like 1,000 steps when climbing up with scuba gear. The site is well marked and located along the scenic coastal drive, which was also a highlight and totally worth doing.
You can find butterflies from around the world ( more that 30 species)
open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM. Entrance fee is $12.00 per person for adults, and $8.00 per person for children up to 12 years old.
flat salt pans called saliñas are flooded with sea water , and then allowed to evaporate under the heat of the sun. This leaves the ocean's bountiful salt filling the pans, and then collected and moved, become pyramids of salt.
I believe this is the only National Park on the Island of Bonaire! Washington Slaagbai is located on the north end of the island and, like the reefs, is controlled by STINAPA. This national park has a couple of trails that visitors can take through the park. They run counter clockwise and end back at the visitor center.
During bad weather, the entire park can be closed because of the unimproved roads. When we visited, the park was closed the day before due to rain and the longer trail (that ran along the north coastline) was still closed.
Still, we saw parakeets, iguanas, and flamingoes. No Parrots but maybe next time!
The roads are dirt and sometimes rough in places. Watch your speed or you might hit an iguana sunning in the road. They aren't the Geico Gecko size either. They are BIG.
There are some great views of the western coastline to be found and the salt pond areas are neat to stop and look at.
Bring Water and sun protection if you plan to get out of the vehicle for any length of time. It can get VERY hot in the park with little shade from the sun.
TIP: If you are a diver and have your STINAPA tag for diving, it entitles you to free entrance in the park.
The Donkey Sanctuary is another topside place to check out on Bonaire. Donkeys were originally brought to Bonaire as work animals. The Donkeys you see are their descendents. Bonaire is very arid and the vegetation isn't suitable for feeding stray donkeys. In order to save them, they've been given a sanctuary where they are cared for.
There are quite a few on the sanctuary and there are other local animals to visit as well. You can drive around and park if you like. The Donkeys are VERY hungry and VERY friendly. They will come right up to you. My experience though was that they were docile and not interested in anything more than soem chow.
It's a nice excursion that will take an hour or so to finish. It can be very hot out in the sun so make sure you are prepared if you plan to stay awhile.
On the south end of the Island, Cargill has a large Salt Production Facility. They let seawater into evaporation pools and once the water has evaporated, the remaining salt is scooped up, loaded and sold. It's a huge facility and I've never seen anything like it before. I couldn't believe the size of the salt piles which are then loaded onto a conveyor that pulls it out to the water where it's loaded on a ship. The Salt Pier is evidently a great Dive as well but like the City Pier you need a permit to dive it.
You didn't think we would come all the way down to Bonaire without seeing what led us to go in the first place, did you?
It was amazing to see these beautiful creatures in the wild!
We saw a large number of them at the southern tip of Bonaire in the salt ponds.
Watch, but do not disturb!
Did you know?
A group of flamingos is called a "pat" or a colony.
Flamingo hatchlings are grey, but turn pink as they get older due to the diet of brine shrimp.
We just loved the Dutch architecture.
There are some great restaurants, a cinema, a disco, a grocery store, and some nice shops too.
It is easily accessible by car, with plenty of parking.
It is also fine to walk.
The nightlife is by the town pier area.
We were there on Ascension Day which is why it looks like a ghost town in the pictures.
This is the main reason people come to Bonaire.
Bonaire is consistantly ranked as one of the world's top dive sites.
We only did snorkelling which did not seem as good as the diving due to the steep incline of the shelf right off of the shore.
In my opinion, the best place to snorkel was at Klein Bonaire, which is a little island off of the Leeward side of Bonaire. We saw thousands of fish, bright coral reefs, and even an octopus.
Top dive sites include Town Pier, Salt Pier, and the wreck of the Hilma Hooker.
Pink beach gets it's name from the color of the sand, which is, you guessed it, pink!
It has a pink tint in it from the flamingos in the area that feed off of the brine shrimp.
The beach was totally empty when we were there and had some great snorkel sites.
The wreck of The Hilma Hooker is close by for some great diving.
You can get here by car or bicycle.
Have a drive around the Washington/Slagbaai national park - there are a couple of spots where you can see the flamingo's, but the track around the park is better suited to a four wheel drive!
The rental car we had collected quite a few scratches from the cacti and brush bordering the tracks.
You can have a look around in a couple of hours, it's not large, but take a pack lunch, nothing there other than goats and reptiles once you leave the visitors centre (and the flamingo's of course)
The drive along the west coast is one of the highlights of touring Bonaire. In places the road seems like it is carved from the cliffand overhangs almost cover the road. You will see some historical spots along the way.
From the lighthouse the road turns north to Lac Baai or Lake Bay. There is a pretty beach there and mangroves. On the north side of the bay is a small naturalists hotel and windsurfers school. The mangroves are a great place for birdwatching. Here on the beach is where we saw the piles on conch shells.
Just north of the lighthouse, the sea starts to become rougher. The rocky shores are full of driftwood, coral, and debris. The stone walls along the side of the road were built to prevent the surf from washing across the road.
Kaya Gobernador N Debrot 71, , Bonaire, Caribbean
Good for: Solo
E.E.G. Boulevard 10, Caribbean
Good for: Business
We really enjoyed this place and the good service that they provided. I have seen on their website...more