5 beautiful places on Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius

The 12 most popular tourist attractions in Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius

Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, also known as the “BEC Islands,” are part of a trio of Dutch territories called the Caribbean Netherlands. Enjoyed by many nature lovers and ecotourists, all three islands have excellent opportunities for diving, swimming, snorkeling and hiking.

Bonaire, off the northern coast of Venezuela, not far from Curaçao and Aruba, is famous for its pioneering conservation efforts. Much of the island is protected and its marine park offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Bonaire’s diverse ecosystems include cactus-covered hills, salt marshes, mangroves, coral reefs and sunny beaches.

St. Eustatius , also known as Statia, lies east of Puerto Rico and is home to a dormant volcano, Hollow Shaft , This diverse landscape of the tiny island includes rainforests, rocky beaches and vibrant coral reefs. St. Eustatius was once a thriving port in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, the island works hard to preserve its natural and heritage sites.

Northwest of St. Eustatius, Saba may be tiny at only 13 square kilometers, but its volcano peak at 887 meters is the highest point in the Netherlands. Hiking is great on the slopes of the aptly named Landscape Mountain , and the marine park offers truly pristine diving spots.

1 Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire

Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire

Consisting of a system of fringing reefs, seaweed boats, mangroves, beaches and lagoons, Bonaire National Marine Park is one of the premier diving destinations in the Caribbean. The park surrounds all of Bonaire, as well as Klein Bonaire Island, and is known for its clear waters, calm seas, and diverse fish life.

Snorkelers can access some of the reefs from shore. The park is supported by a nonprofit nongovernmental organization noted for its pioneering efforts to conserve marine resources. It was the first marine park with a network of permanent moorings.

Official website: http://www.bmp.org

Accommodations: Where to stay in Bonaire

2 Mountain Hike, Saba

Hike in the Mountains, Saba.

Mount Scenery is an 887-meter high peak in the dormant volcano of Saba and the highest point in the Netherlands. The most popular hike to the summit begins in Windwardside , Saba’s second largest city. This challenging route involves climbing more than a thousand steps, some of which are slippery with moss and mud, but it is worth it. There is a misty cloud forest near the summit, and on a clear day you can stand on top and enjoy a panoramic view of Saba and its neighboring islands.

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3 Saba National Marine Park, Saba

Saba National Marine Park, Saba MagicOlf / photo modified

Saba National Marine Sanctuary surrounds this tiny island and is zoned for a variety of water activities with separate areas for fishing, diving, swimming and boating. Because Saba is volcanic in origin, divers will find hot springs and underwater lava tunnels around the island. All dives take place in a protected marine park under the guidance of dive instructors on the island, and permanent moorings mark approved sites.

Preservation of the park has insured minimal exposure to tourists, resulting in an uncovered seascape of colorful corals and sponges and an abundance of aquatic life such as sea turtles, stingrays and tropical fish. Saba’s shoreline is rocky with several beaches, but snorkelers will enjoy Torrens Point .

Official website: www.sabapark.org

4 Washington-Slagbaai National Park, Bonaire

Washington-Slagbaai National Park, Bonaire

Occupying about one-fifth of the island of Bonaire, Washington-Slagbaai National Park includes cactus-covered hills, mangroves, beaches, sand dunes and salt pans. The park is best traveled in a four-wheeler because of the rugged dirt roads. It’s a great place to see many species of birds on the island, including flamingos, herons and parrots, and the plant life reflects the island’s arid climate. Many species of cacti grow here, as well as mesquite and Brazilian trees. Other animals found in the park include sea turtles, donkeys, goats, and iguanas. Subi Brandaris , the highest point on the island, offers beautiful views of the surrounding area. On clear days you can even get a glimpse of the Venezuelan coast.

Official site: http://stinapabonaire.org/washington-slagbaai/

5 Klein Bonaire, Bonaire

Klein Bonaire, Bonaire

Part of Bonaire National Marine Park , Klein (“little”) Bonaire is a flat uninhabited island lying just 800 meters off the concave west coast of Bonaire. Stunned by white sands, turquoise waters and coral reefs teeming with sea life, this island is a favorite of divers and snorkelers. Large reef fish, many pelagic species, turtles and seahorses swim through these translucent waters, and many dive sites can be accessed from shore. No beach name here is one of Bonaire’s best beaches. Water cabs and submarines carry visitors through Kralendijk, but you need to bring your own food, refreshments and shade protection.

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6 Lac Bay, Bonaire.

On Bonaire’s eastern waterfront, Lac Bay (Lac Baai) is a windsurfing spot. The smooth waters and steady winds create excellent conditions for beginners and more advanced windsurfers. The shallow waters of the bay and the prolific marine life also make for popular boating and kayaking.Lac Bay’s mangrove forest is one of the best preserved in the Caribbean. In the waterfalls between the mangroves and the reef, snorkelers can see queens, stingrays, and lobsters.

7 Mangrove Kayaks Tours, Bonaire

Mangrove forests of Lac Bay

The Mangrove Information Center offers kayak and snorkeling tours of the pristine mangrove forests of Lac Bay , It is home to marine species such as shellfish, lobsters, rays, juvenile reef fish and green turtles, and the clear, shallow waters are perfect for snorkeling. As you walk through this fragile environment, you’ll learn all about how plants and animals are uniquely adapted to survive here. Tours are also offered on solar boats for those who prefer not to kayak.

8 Kralendijk, Bonaire

Kralendijk, which means “coral reef,” is the capital of Bonaire and its main port. The town is known for its Dutch colonial houses painted in bright pastel colors. On Breedestraat , the main shopping street, you can buy shells, local carvings, fabrics and clothes. There are also duty free stores in this area and fishermen sell their catch in the harbor every day. To learn about the history of Bonaire and the Caribbean, stop by the Teramar Museum. This interesting new attraction is in a restored historic building in the center of town. From Kralendijk, water cabs venture divers and snorkelers across the bay to the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire .

9 Hike to Killy, St. Eustatius

Hike to Killy, St. Eustatius Andrea Westmoreland / photo modified

Rising 600 meters above sea level, the volcanic cone of Quilly is the dominant topographic feature on St. Eustathius Island. The longest hike on this dormant volcano takes you to a small semi-evergreen seasonal forest in the crater of the peak. Shorter trails take hikers through a variety of tropical flora, including wild orchids, ferns, and fruit trees. The limestone formation known as White Wall lies on the south side of the volcano.

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10 Statia National Marine Park, St. Eustatius

Diving in the marine park is one of the most popular attractions in St. Eustatius. Consisting of northern and southern sanctuaries, Statia National Marine Park calls the island and is open to visitors accompanied by local operators. The dive sites are varied, with everything from volcanic crevasses and mini-walls to landings, summits and shipwrecks, and the marine life on the relatively healthy natural and artificial reefs is just as varied. You can see plenty of tropical fish, as well as sharks, lobsters, turtles, seahorses and octopus. Submerged jetties make it easy to access the sites without damaging the reef. If you prefer snorkeling, you can explore the three sites in the preserve, but divers and snorkelers must purchase a dive permit, which goes toward maintenance of the moorings.

Official website: http://www.statiapark.org/parks/marine/index.html

11 Oslo’s Bonaire Sanctuary

Even if you’re not a donkey lover, a visit to the donkey sanctuary in Bonaire will warm your heart and make you smile. Donkeys were first brought to Bonaire by the Spanish in the 17th century, but they were left to fend for themselves on this dry, barren island after they were no longer needed. The sanctuary rescues wounded and sick donkeys, cares for them, and cares for the health and abused animals.

Hundreds of these charismatic creatures swarm your car when you arrive, poking their heads through the windows and gently accepting the carrots that are available for purchase. Your entry fee and donations go toward the cost of caring for all the donkeys.

Official website: https://donkeysanctuary.org/en/

12 Oranjestad, St. Eustathius

Oranjestad, St. Eustathius

Oranjestad, the only town on Saint Eustatius, sits high on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean on the island’s west coast. This former trading center is divided into an upper as well as a Lower Town, you can explore some 18th century ruins in the lower area around the bay, with businesses and more recent developments in the Upper Town. Overlooking Lower Oranjestad, 17th century Fort Oranjestad retains its cannons and bastions.

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The historic St. Eustatius Museum in Oranjestad features household and maritime items and antiques, and the Dutch Reformed Church was in ruins as the roof was destroyed in the 18th century, but you can still climb its tower to get a clear view of the island. Near Oranjestad, on top of a hill, are the remains of the 18th-century Fort de Wint, with great views of the ocean to neighboring St. Kitts.

Accommodation: Where to stay in St. Eustatius

Other attractions

Diving and hiking are the best draws in the other Caribbean islands, as well as the BES islands. For more fantastic dive spots in the Caribbean, see our pages on the Cayman Islands, Cosumel, Turks and Caicos, Honduras, the Bahamas and Belize. Colorful coral reefs also vaporize the waters of the Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands. If you prefer terrestrial nature, hiking is excellent on islands such as Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Grenada, St. Lucia and Jamaica. For inspiration on other nature-based tropical getaways, see our article on the best tropical vacations.

Sightseeing in Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius

Bonaire, Saba and Sint Estatius

Tourists who come to the islands enjoy visiting the sights of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, whether they are colonial buildings or “gingerbread” houses, majestic cacti or a riot of tropics, the underwater world with its vivid colors or the equally colorful festive carnivals.

Tourists who come to the islands enjoy visiting the sights of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, whether they are colonial buildings or “gingerbread” houses, majestic cacti or a riot of tropics, the underwater world with its vivid colors or the equally colorful festive carnivals.

Unforgettable sights in Bonaire, Saba and Sint Estatius

The architectural sights of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are mostly concentrated within the capital cities. Underwater cities of caves, canyons and castles can be seen beneath the steep slopes of Sint Estatius, the lush tropical vegetation on the slopes of the extinct volcano is a national reserve and is under state protection. Famous coral reefs, which have become a haven for a large number of shipwrecks, etc.

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Bonaire is famous for the pink flamingo reserve and the National Park, which is also a diving park. The entire island of Saba is a national marine park on a volcano in the sea. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius have the whole complex of attractions that can arouse the interest of any tourist.

Entertainment Bonaire, Saba and Sint Estatius

Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius attractions

Inextricably linked to recreation and entertainment Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, in addition to hiking, diving, yachting, tourists are offered a whole entertainment infrastructure with cafes and restaurants, theaters and even casinos. Numerous characteristic of the Caribbean countries, various festivals and carnivals.

Interesting places Bonaire, Saba and Sint Estatius

Interesting places Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius

In order to save time, you may want to visit some interesting places in Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius. In Bonaire you must see the pink of flamingo wings at dawn and the slave huts that are still there today, in St Eustatius the underwater world of coral reefs, and in Saba the picturesque surroundings from the top of the volcano. The history of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius has preserved old buildings reminiscent of the Dutch cities.

Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius excursions

Tours of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius

In each of the interesting places for the guests will lead tours of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius experienced guides, draw attention of tourists to all the sights and help to look at the history of the islands in a more meaningful way.

Monuments of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius

Monuments of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Estatius

There is very little information that describes the monuments of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius , but the monument to the policeman on Saba Island, who died in a confrontation with drug dealers, is worth mentioning, which greatly shocked the residents. Since then, there has been a bust of the hero in the square in the center of the city.

Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius museums

Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Estatius Museums

The open-air museums of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are located under the islands. Fort Oranje offers a beautiful view from the loopholes of the fortress, with its toy-like cannons of the time. Natural attractions are collected in the form of National Parks, protected by the state.

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