Bonaire's Washington Slagbaii National Park opens early for groups

KRALENDIJK, Bonaire -- Washington Slagbaii National Park is ready when you are. Under the park's Early Entrance program, groups can start out as early as 5 a.m., upon special request. Earlybirds are charged a nominal fee above the $10 per person park admission. (The regular entrance fee for children under age 15 is $2.) The amount of the fee depends on the size of the group and the time of entrance. The park is regularly open for hiking, kayaking and biking daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, with the last entry at 3 p.m.

Visitors to Washington Slagbaai National Park will have ample opportunity to view the pink flamingos that congregate in the park's salt ponds. In other park news, the hiking trail up Mount Brandaris -- Bonaire's highest peak at 784 feet -- has been re-marked to provide a clearer route to the top. All trips must begin before 11 a.m., and a route plan must be submitted to the park's ticket office prior to departure. There also are two driving trails through the park: the 15-mile "short" trail, roughly a two-hour drive, and the 22-mile "long" trail, roughly a three-hour drive.

For information on Washington Slagbaai National Park, call (011) 599 717-8444 or visit www.bonairenature.com/stinapa/washingtonslagbaai.html.

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