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Washington Slagbaai National Park


leftylisa24
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Hi! I found out about Washington Slagbaai National Park when researching Bonaire, but have a few questions. Has anyone ever been on a cruise and gone to the park? Can you only get to the park via rental car? Just how rough are the roads in the park? My cruise is in Bonaire from 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Do you think we would have enough time to see the park? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

 

-Lisa

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Hi Lisa,

 

I recently had friends take me to the park, but I've heard a lot of information from locals before so I'll share what I know with you,

 

The most emphatic advice is you need to rent a truck, a car will not do, and it's an all-day excursion.

 

Also, anyone who rents a car on Bonaire needs to check that the spare tire and all of the necessary tire changing tools are in the car before you leave the car rental place.

 

We found the local advice very appropriate. We left town at 8 am, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the park, but once you're in the park, the roads are very rough and it's slow going. There's a route along the coast and a more direct route, we took the coastal route and didn't make all the stops and still reached the snorkeling place in the afternoon. We took the direct route back to the park entrance, but the roads were REALLY rugged and it seemed to take forever to return. We got back to the entrance around 3-3:30 pm. We stopped to see Gotomeer Lake on the way back which was nice. I tried to find it myself before and got lost so it was nice my friends knew the way.

 

Other advice I'd heard is not to go to the park during the rainiy season because the roads can get washed out and people get stuck there. I had friends that got a flat tire in the park and discovered the spare was missing from their rental car, so I'd also advise bringing lots of water and bug spray just in case something does go wrong.

 

Lots of people have said that it was the best snorkeling on the island, but I've found great snorkeling all over the island. My suggestion would be to go snorkeling at Thousand Steps. It's a nice drive up the coast and you have a lot less risk of something happening that might prevent you from getting back to the ship on time. The last time I was at Thousand Steps, I saw seven or eight juvenile sea turtles. You'll also have enough time to check out some other sights.

 

~Jeyna

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All of the above is true about the park. 1000 Steps is a great place to see juvenile turtles in the shallows. You don't even need fins. Once you head down the stairs go far to the left and get in there. You will see the turtles coming up to eat the turtle grass that grows in about 1' - 2' of water there. I think a hidden gem for snorkeling is Andrea 1 & 2. Also on the way to 1000 Steps and easy entry and exit for snorkeling.

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