Bonaire National Marine Park#2 in Best Things To Do in Bonaire
Established in 1979, the Bonaire National Marine Park is a 6,700-acre preservation area consisting of untouched coral reefs, preserved mangrove forests and white sand beaches. The park encompasses almost all parts of Bonaire's coastline and underwater territories, including the uninhabited islet of Klein Bonaire and treasured locales like Lac Bay. The Bonaire National Marine Park is managed by Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire), a nonprofit foundation that also oversees Washington Slagbaai National Park.
Activities abound within the park's pristine grounds. Recent visitors loved snorkeling and diving, noting the presence of turtles, sharks, colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs. (There are many dive spots to choose from across the island; check Bonaire's tourism site for a full list.) Travelers interested in mangroves should pay a visit to the park's Mangrove Information Center, where they can kayak, snorkel and boat through the ecosystem's channels. Or, you can simply load up on biodegradable, reef-friendly sunscreen, lay out on one of many gorgeous beaches and take in the views of the crystal clear water.
To access everything the Bonaire National Marine Park has to offer, you must first purchase a Bonaire nature tag. These tags cost $45 per person if you plan to scuba dive and $25 per person for all other activities. You can purchase a nature tag at all dive shops across the island, at the tourism office in Kralendijk, at any STINAPA Bonaire office or at the concierge desk of most hotels. Hold on to your tag and receipt, as you will need to provide proof of payment to enjoy Bonaire's many natural wonders. Note that any guided tours and other special activities are subject to additional costs. For more information on tags, visit the STINAPA Bonaire website.
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#1 Klein Bonaire
If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to live on a deserted island, hop on the next water taxi to Klein Bonaire. A small, uninhabited island about half a mile west of Bonaire's mainland, Klein Bonaire is an unblemished oasis protected from development as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park. This isolated paradise boasts pristine white sands and some of the island's best diving and snorkeling opportunities, thanks to excellent water visibility. Just keep in mind that there are no refreshment stands, changing areas or beach umbrellas on the island, so you will need to pack your own water, food, sunscreen, towels and any other supplies. Still, Klein Bonaire earns rave reviews from visitors of all ages and diving levels.
Caribe Watersport's water taxi departs from Karel's Beach Bar at 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. every day, and from the Eden Beach Resort at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is also a 9 a.m. departure time from Eden Beach. You can hop on the taxi back to Bonaire's mainland at 12:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m. or 4:45 p.m. Adult passengers will pay $20 round trip, while children 11 and younger can hop aboard for $10. For more information on Klein Bonaire, head to the Bonaire tourism website.
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