Washington Slagbaai National Park#5 in Best Things To Do in Bonaire
A veritable bird-watchers paradise, Washington Slagbaai National Park's 13,500-acre desert oasis plays host to about 203 different types of birds. The park also offers ample hiking trails suited for both amateur and expert trekkers. Hikers can choose between three routes. The 45-minute Kasikunda Climbing Trail—which begins at the park's Visitor Center—is a steep trek up a volcanic hill, but the views of North Bonaire are worth the effort. The Lagadishi Walking Trail, which also begins at the park's Visitor Center, is a less intense two-hour walk that provides a complete snapshot of Bonaire's native flora and fauna. Lastly, for a hike that offers unparalleled views of neighboring Curaçao—and on clear days, the Santa Ana Hill on Venezuela's Paraguaná Peninsula—take the Subí Brandaris Trail.
You'll find Washington Slagbaai National Park on the northwest tip of the island. Plan to start your hike in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat, and pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and food to keep you energized. The park welcomes visitors every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last admission at 2:45 p.m. Park entrance costs $25, but you can enter for free or at a discounted rate if you have already purchased a diving or a nature pass. For more information, visit the Washington Slagbaai National Park’s official website.
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#1 Diving and Snorkeling
As part of Bonaire National Marine Park, the island's entire coastline has been protected for more than 30 years, making Bonaire one of the Caribbean's best diving destinations. With 53 easily accessible diving spots dotting the entire leeward side of the island, Bonaire offers divers an abundance of places to explore underwater splendors. As one TripAdvisor user says they "Love that you can pull over, put on your scuba gear and within 5 minutes be on top of the most beautiful reefs."
Remember that you must be certified before you can plunge into the deep blue sea. Though many island resorts offer diving packages—which include PADI certification—training before your trip may cut down the overall cost and allow you to start exploring from day one. All divers are required to purchase the mandatory $25 nature tag, which you must attach to your scuba gear. The fee grants you one year of unlimited diving, and the proceeds help maintain Bonaire Marine Park.
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