Climbing the Bara di Karta Hill.
Many repeat visitors look for new activities when visiting Bonaire, but do not know about Bara di Karta. A relatively easy climb, the summit provides a 360° panoramic view of Bonaire, but with very little time or effort expended! Bara di Karta is an excellent alternative to climbing Brandaris, Bonaire’s top rock, which takes at least a half-day to climb.
There are two trails to the summit of Bara di Karta.
The fastest way to the top is on the back end of the hill, and it’s a straight upward scramble to the summit, taking only a minute. But this route should be reserved for those in decent physical shape as there are steep areas.
The second, and (in the opinion of this writer) the more pleasant route, is to take the designated trail found just off the driving route of Bara di Karta. This route traverses upward with mostly gentle switchbacks. The dirt trail begins with a gentle slope but does become steeper and more obstacle-laden nearer to the summit. Even so, it’s only a six-minute steady climb, or a little more if you take it easy and enjoy the walk. Most likely some of the island’s parakeets (known in Papiamentu as prikichi) and some local goats will accompany you on the trail, so be on the watch for them.
All one must do is follow the pink-painted rocks or stones along the route, which point out which trail to follow. Nearing the top, hikers will encounter tree roots and rocks which almost form a natural staircase.
Once achieving the summit, you’ll have endless vistas overlooking much of Bonaire’s kunuku (farm or ranch land) area. Stop and take a few moments to enjoy the views before beginning your descent.
The best way to do the climb.
As with any hiking activity on Bonaire, it is best to get an early start just at sunup to take advantage of cooler temperatures. My favorite way to do the climb is to pack a thermos of coffee, grab some pan dushi (raisin breakfast rolls), and throw them in your backpack. Don’t forget water, reef-safe sunscreen, and bug spray! Plan to begin your climb about 6:30 AM, and even if it’s a bit early for sunrise, you’ll have plenty of light to see the path. You’ll be able to watch the sunrise along Bonaire’s eastern coast while enjoying your coffee and breakfast rolls! Even better, you’ll be back in time for your day’s activities, be they diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, or kiting, or just plain relaxing on the beach! And the best part is crossing off another Bonaire Bucket List Adventure from your “must do” activities and while having explored a part of Bonaire that you didn’t know existed!
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Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.