Outdoor sights in Aruba, Bonaire & Curaçao
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Covering the northwest portion of the island and comprising almost 20% of the land, Washington-Slagbaai National Park is a great place to explore. Roads are rough and all-but-impassable after a rain, but are well worth the effort. The terrain is mostly tropical desert, and there is a proliferation of cacti and birds. Entrance is about 5km (3mi) from Rincon.
Look for flamingos in the lowlands and parrots perched on shrubs near Pos di Mangel. Large bright green iguanas are just one of the many reptile species you might spot. You'll also see lingering evidence of the aloe plantation and goat ranch that used to be here - don't run over any wild descendants of the latter.
This large park was pieced together in the 1970s from three former plantations. You can drive through much of it (choose between the coastal route or the mountain drive), but the best way to see the park is via its short trails passing through rogue stands of mahogany, limestone terraces and Amerindian petroglyphs.
Connoisseurs of Baroque architecture can admire the landhuisen (land houses) of the old plantations, one of which houses the Savonet Museum, with exhibits on the island's natural and human history. You can also hike to the top of Mt Christoffel, which has a view of Bonaire on clear days.
Entry to the park is steep, so it's worth getting up early and making a…
Although the flamingo sanctuary is off-limits to tourists, lucky visitors with a strong pair of binoculars can witness the comings and goings of Bonaire's most beloved guests. For other flamingo-viewing spots, head to the Willemstoren lighthouse at the southern tip of the island.