AAA Editor Notes
Washington-Slagbaai National Park covers the northwest end of the island. The 13,500-acre (5,463-hectare) wildlife sanctuary—a tropical desert landscape of scrub plains, salt flats, beaches and caves—protects many bird and lizard species unique to Bonaire. Two rugged driving trails lead through the former Washington and Slagbaai plantations, which exported goats, cattle, aloe extract, charcoal, salt and divi-divi pods (used in leather tanning).
A hiking trail leads to the top of Mount Brandaris, and other options include the Kasikunda climbing trail and Lagadishi walking trail. Free maps are available at the park entrance. A visitor center features exhibits about the park's flora and fauna, plantation history, geology and archeology. Mountain biking, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities; several companies on the island offer transportation and guided tours.
Allow at least 5 hours for the 22-mile (35-km) driving tour, 3 hours for the 15-mile (24-km) tour. Vehicles should have high ground clearance and a spare tire; motorcycles are not allowed. During rain, the dirt roads may become impassable (four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended). Food is available on weekends.
Guided tours are available. Food is available.