Whenever I’m visiting another country, the first thing on my list is to find an awesome viewpoint. I simply love to gaze and lose myself in scenic landscapes, wild nature and endless ocean. And besides that, it gives me an idea of where I am and what’s surrounding me. Bonaire has some incredibly beautiful vistas to check out. You can easily reach most scenic views in less than an hour by car, although one special vantage point requires a bit more energy to reach. Here are some of the best views on Bonaire that are really (and I mean REALLY) worth a visit.
Seru Largu, or ‘big mountain’, is probably the most visited overlook on Bonaire. This mountain plateau is centrally located on the island and easily accessible. After a short and somewhat steep drive, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas including the salt works, Kralendijk and Klein Bonaire. Since the year 2000 a large cross with the words “Kristu Ayera awe Semper” (meaning “Christ, Yesterday, Today, Forever” in Papiamento) marks the viewpoint. Take a seat on one of the benches at the monument and simply enjoy the views. Oh, and just so you know: at sunset, Seru Largu is one of the most romantic spots on Bonaire!
Gotomeer (Goto lake)
A trip North along Bonaire’s coastline takes you to Gotomeer, the largest saltwater lake on Bonaire and an important breeding site for flamingos. The scenic roadside stop with ample parking and viewing benches is easy to find by car or bike (although it can get pretty hot pedaling the steeper stretches, so plan your ride early). The lookout point offers you a complete view over the lake, the surrounding mountains and unspoiled nature. Birds, lizards and iguanas are regular visitors. And once you’ve spotted the first pink dot in the lake, you’ll quickly lose count. If you’d rather see the flamingos from up close, continue the route along the lake, stop the car and wait. Flamingos are people-shy, but don’t seem to have any problems with cars. So sit quietly inside and wait for them to come near.
Toeristen route (tourist route)
The Queen’s highway is better known as the tourist route. The 6km road along the west coast of Bonaire will eventually bring you to Rincon. It’s by far the most scenic, but definitely not the fastest way to drive to this historic village. It’s been said that only a tourist would take this route, hence the name. But with good reason! As soon as you begin the drive you will be amazed by the view — crystal clear Caribbean water below to your left with rugged mountains and cactus towering above you on the right. There are several places along the route that make a worthwhile stop. 1000 steps, a famous dive and snorkel site, offers an amazing panorama perched above the ocean with water so brilliant and clear you might even see turtles swimming from the top of its stairs! A less known but even more romantic place is located between 1000 steps and Karpata. With a stone balcony jutting out above the sea, this hidden gem has been the setting for more than one marriage proposal!
Rincon is the oldest village of the island and is strategically located in a valley. In the early days, marauding pirates bypassed the island as the town was unseen from the ocean. Nowadays, this hidden valley offers visitors some of the most picturesque views of the island, surrounded by mountains and remarkable scenery. The most famous point is ‘Altamira Unjo’. This lookout, at the top of a hill off the tourist road between Karpata and Rincon, is well marked. A short dirt road brings you to the lookout point, surrounded by fascinating landscape and the town’s historic buildings spread below. The native flora is especially memorable from this viewpoint. Rincon has several freshwater springs, so vegetation is much greener here than elsewhere on the island. You’ll be able to see a large stretch of Bonaire from the southern salt pans all the way to Boca Omina on the northeast coast.
Photo credits: beautiful-bonaire.nl
Bonaire’s highest mountain (784 feet above sea level) guarantees the most majestic views over the island – sometimes as far away as Curacao and Venezuela! Located in Washington-Slagbaai National Park, the route to the top starts by hiking up the mountain’s flank via the Subi Brandaris trail before finally navigating a marked climbing route. I deliberately say CLIMBING, because the last part is a fairly rigorous scramble over rocks and boulders. You’ll want to be at the park gates at 8am when they open — it takes about half an hour to drive from the park entrance to the trail head where you start the hour long hike up. Guided tours can be arranged to lead first time climbers. If you are particularly keen to see a sunset from the ‘rooftop of Bonaire’, keep an eye on the STINAPA events calendar. They regularly organize guided sunset hikes to the top of the Brandaris. And I can assure you — it doesn’t get much sweeter than that!
Ready to discover these views on your next trip to Bonaire?
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