Mount Brandaris - The Highest Point in Bonaire
All my life I’ve been a sucker for scenic views. You recognize my type when you are driving behind one. All of a sudden he stops without warning and when you barely succeeded in your effort not to hit him, you realize that in a glance you saw this panorama from the corner of your eye. You just drive on, I am the one that stops and stares.
Bonaire has excellent spots to stop and stare. My number one favorite is Seru Largu, the hill that separates the lower part of the island from our “mountains” There is a monument on top, built in the year 2000 in honor of the Virgin Mary. When I came to the Island in 2003, her statue was still there. But vandalism took its toll and the statue disappeared. The panoramic view from the top is one of the best I’ve ever seen in my life. The hill slopes steeply down, almost vertical, so it feels like looking down from a plane. I love that feeling (that’s why I’m a pilot) and Bonaire has Seru Largu to provide it. The most spectacular part of the view is to the south, where you can see the whole coastline of the island, the mundi (waste land) with its kunuku's (farms), the town of Kralendijk, the islet of Klein Bonaire, the solar salt works 10 miles to the south. On clear days you can even see the table mountain of Curacao, 40 miles to the west. Go there at night when the skies are clear. No light pollution here. A perfect place to see the milky way with or without your girlfriend/boyfriend.
Another favorite is from the top of the 1000 steps stairs. A gorgeous vertical limestone wall protects a quiet beach. It is a very good place to snorkel too (not at the top of the stairs). When you drive in Rincon, you may see a sign to Gruta di Lourdes. Follow the sign and at the end of the road you find a small open air church backed by a huge rock. Walk around the rock and climb the stairs for a nice scenic view on Rincon and the windmills in the background. In the Washington Slagbaai national park it is a one hour hike to the 787 feet high top of Brandaris, the highest point on Bonaire. On a very clear day you can cover the 65 miles to Venezuela. Take your binoculars and peek on Chavez!
Many people say the best panoramic view is from a small airplane flying around the island. The BonAeroClub does flight seeing trips in a Cessna 172. See all of the above and more… As an individual passenger or with one or two friends or family members, the pilot takes you from Flamingo Airport around the island. You will see the impressive Solar Salt Works and salt mountains, the old slave huts, blue/green Lac Bay and the mangroves. You watch fishing boats at work, the old lighthouses, the huge waves breaking on the “wild” eastside. You will enjoy the beauty of Washington Slagbaai National Park, the Goto Meer with flamingos, the expanding city of Kralendijk with hundreds of different colored roofs and the unspoiled nature of the uninhabited island “Klein Bonaire”
By Wietze Koopman - Bonaire Seaview Apartments