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How to experience dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

This morning, as I settled in behind the computer, I came across a beautiful blog post, written by Louis Shoultz. It’s all about the special awakening of the natural fauna in Bonaire’s forest areas at dawn.

Bonaire has a certain something–some intangible essence–that reaches out to all whom step foot on this island. For repeat visitors and those who make Bonaire their home, we feel it immediately upon the opening of the plane’s doorway when the trade-winds caress our faces. First time visitors may not feel it upon arrival, but during their visit, this essence insinuates itself into their hearts and souls, so that, by departure time, it has become part of them. It’s the reason why nearly everyone returns to Bonaire.

Dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

As I read Louis’ wonderful blog post, it occurred to me that her writing clearly communicated that special essence–that elusive something–that is why we love Bonaire:

Just before light chases them away, geckos chirp their farewells from tree to tree and branch to branch. As the blackness of night dissolves in to the brightness of day, the first bird begins to sing. The Northern Scrub Flycatcher without fail, is first to wake, starting the day with short, but loud tweets. At around fifteen minutes later, the Venezuelan Troupial joins in, whistling to the sun, encouraging it to rise. Then, as if the Troupial said it’s all alright, the ornithological orchestra commences.

A lizard wakes up with the dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

As the sky begins to burn with the colors of fire the cold blooded reptiles arise from their hideouts. The endemic Bonairian Anole, scampers up a sapling to flare his yellow throat. In a rather robotic fashion, he juts his head up and juts his head down, until he is quite suffice. Suddenly he darts back down, as though he’s just proudly raised the flag of his nation. The last of the nocturnal hermit crabs, late back to bed, scuttle across the floor like drunken youths out on the town.

Five locations to experience dawn in the forests of Bonaire.

Next, I started pondering on the many hidden areas of northern Bonaire where one can sit quietly in the island’s dry forests and watch the awakening of creatures getting ready for their days. These are my favorites:

Dos Pos

A Blue-tailed Emerald Hummingbird rests for a moment.

Blue-Tailed Emerald Hummingbird

Just outside the gate of Echo Conservation Centre, you’ll see and hear many loras (parrots) squawking as they wake up and begin to feed. But don’t just look skyward; watch carefully around you for hummingbirds as well; you’ll find Blue-tailed Emeralds and Ruby Topaz.

Hiking Trails of the Rincon Valley

For those who don’t mind walking a bit, there are two hiking trails (follow the pink markers) which are available, both starting at Dos Pos. The Montaña Hiking Trail which borders Echo’s Conservation Centre, and the Dos Pos Hiking Trail. You don’t need to hike the entire trails (1 to 1-1/2 hours), but just head down the trail a bit before you stop for dawn.


Bonaire's lora, the Yellow-Shouldered Amazon Parrot

Bonaire’s lora, the Yellow-Shouldered Amazon Parrot

It’s a bit of a drive on dirt roads to get to the dive site, Nukove, but along the way you’ll have vegetation on both sides of the road, and you’ll be passing a wetland area which attracts many species. At Nukove, pull in and sit quietly waiting for the dawn, and you’ll be amazed at what occurs around you. You’ll find loras (parrots) in the forest area, as well as waterbirds on the shoreline and you’ll be comfortably ensconced between the two. The Crested Caracara will be active early at dawn.

Gotomeer Scenic Overlook

Often considered one of Bonaire’s most scenic locations, the Gotomeer Scenic Overlook offers the convenience of a parking area and benches on which to sit, and you’ll be surrounded by vegetation with all sorts of animals that will be very curious about you. Don’t forget to climb the concrete stairs for even a better bird’s eye view of dawn.

Seru Largu

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Closer to Kralendijk, but still with easy access, is Seru Largu with panoramic views of both coastlines of Bonaire–eastern and western, choose your view! Even with sweeping vistas, you’re still positioned in forest, and, in fact, this location is one of Echo Conservation Centre’s reforestation projects. Keep your eyes peeled for the Pearly-Eyed Thrasher!

Do you have a special place in Bonaire’s dry forests where you experience dawn?

(Source: Wildlife Articles)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan 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. 

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