I have a couple more posts about Bonaire, and then just like our vacation, it will soon be gone. As you know, we had a fantastic time, and did mostly diving. We could not dive on our last day however, because you have to wait about 24 hours or even more sometimes, after diving before flying. Because we could not dive on our last full day on the island, we took an island tour instead.
We started our island tour by going up to the northern part of the island and took the tour of the Washington Slagbaai National Park. Washington Slagbaai National Park was opened to the public on May 9, 1969, and was the first National Park in the Dutch Antilles. A veritable bird-watcher’s paradise, Washington Slagbaai National Park’s nearly 14,000-acre desert oasis plays host to more than 200 different types of birds. Several beaches, outdoor exhibits, and snorkeling and diving spots are also available. The park also offers ample hiking trails suited for both amateur and expert trekkers.
The views are incredible in Slagbaai. It truly is a place where the desert meets the ocean. The whole island of Bonaire is basically a desert, with dry, arid weather, but the northern part is even more of a desert. Big beautiful cacti are everywhere. Many of which were just about ready to bloom as well, and would have been beautiful to see, but we were a couple of weeks to early for that.
A large piece of driftwood we all liked.
At the entrance to the park there is a large skeleton of a juvenile Bryde’s baleen whale that had been impaled on a cruise ship in 2000. It was about 11 meters long and weighed about 13 metric tons before it met its unfortunate demise. A local youth group reconstructed it and it is now on permanent display at Slagbaai.
We saw lots of birds and here is where we saw the bulk of the flamingos too. Bonaire – Pink Flamingos
Other than the flamingoes, we also saw a couple of Bonairian ducks, I believe these are called Lesser Grebes, as well as some sandpipers too. I thought I had some pictures of the sandpipers, but apparently I don’t.
This is the lighthouse at Slagbaai, which is at the highest point of the island.
As we were driving around through Slagbaai, we felt as if we had been off-roading because of all the bouncing around we did on the bumpy dirt roads. Once we left the park region, we were on a mission to find a place to eat, of course still taking in all the sights along the way.
This is the Piedra Krus. Legend has it that as the island was emerging from the seas, a large coral T shaped cross was formed in the rocks. Villagers from nearby Rincon would come to worship at this cross, however in 1966, the original coral cross was destroyed by some drunken non-believers and the cross was replaced by a wooden cross, that is constantly maintained by the locals. The locals believe the non-believers who destroyed the original coral cross were struck down by a bolt of lightening and were punished right on the spot. The custom is to remove your hats and to make a sign of the cross as you pass by the Piedra Krus.
We also came across a land sailing course as we were driving down, venturing further south. This looks like so much fun. I would definitely do this.
Eventually, we found something to eat, back in Kralendijk. One of the local churches was having a big BBQ as a fundraiser, and the smells were so inviting, we just had to stop. So not only did we get a fantastic lunch, all for only $12, but we helped out for a local cause too. Our local feast was comprised of some Caribbean BBQ chicken and pork, a macaroni salad, rice and beans and a peanut sauce. It was delicious!
We took our street side lunch to our local beach and had a seaside picnic. This is our friend Nancy proudly displaying a big smile after lunch.
We were watching the local kids play in the water
as well as the birds feasting alongside us as we dined on our local delights.
After lunch, we were able to check into our hotel for one last night on the island. After checking in, we were off and running again, this time exploring the southern parts of the island.
Our last digs for the this trip. We stayed at the Ocean Breeze just for one night, but it was a beautiful little two-bedroom apartment located on the marina. I wish we had more time to to enjoy it.
I will end this piece here and continue on with more later. Believe it or not, you have already seen most of the southern parts of the island from my other pictures and posts, but I do still have a bit more to share.
Stay cool, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.