Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary#9 in Best Things To Do in Bonaire
As one of only four designated flamingo breeding grounds in the world, southern Bonaire's Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary is a sight to behold – but you'll need binoculars. To protect Bonaire's national bird, tourists are not actually allowed inside of the reserve. Luckily, these bright pink locals can be viewed from the road above the sanctuary and nearby Pink Beach. Upward of 6,000 Caribbean flamingos can be seen every year during breeding season from January to July, so you'll get the best views during these months. Once breeding season is over, some birds remain, while others migrate to Venezuela to feed for the remainder of the year.
Most vacationers enjoyed the chance to see Bonaire's flamingos in their natural habitat. Travelers can visit the sanctuary as part of a group bus tour, like Bonaire Vista Tours, or on their own in a rental car. To get the best photographs of the animals, many recommended bringing a camera with a long telephoto lens. Without binoculars or other zooming capabilities, some guests were disappointed by how far away the birds seemed to the naked eye.
Island tours including a stop at the Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary range from $30 to $90 per person, depending on the length of the outing, the number of stops and other factors. There is no cost to visit the sanctuary on your own. Though there are no set opening or closing times, some past visitors recommended arriving at the refuge around sunset for the best views of the flamingos. For more information, visit Bonaire's tourism 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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