Lac Baai on the south-eastern shore of Bonaire is the largest inland bay in the Dutch Caribbean. This shallow bay with dense sea grass beds is fringed by mangroves and separated from the sea by coral debris and red algae. The mangroves are an important nursery for conch and many species of reef fish and also a critical foraging ground for globally endangered juvenile green turtles and rainbow parrotfish. The Site is an important breeding, wintering and foraging area for waterbirds such as herons, egrets and pelicans. In 2021, the Site was extended to include a 500-metre buffer zone which covers part of the fringing reefs of Bonaire, where sea turtles sleep and practically every species of hard and soft coral of the Caribbean can be found.
Klein Bonaire is a small uninhabited coral island 800 metres off the west coast of Bonaire. Largely tourist-free beaches and saline lagoons provide an ideal stop-over point for many species of migratory birds and an important breeding area for terns, notably the regionally important least tern (Sterna antillarum). The sandy beaches are also the main nesting areas of Bonaire for the critically endangered hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles. In 2021, the Site was extended to include a 500-metre buffer zone, which covers part of the fringing reefs. With virtually every species of coral found in the Caribbean, the Site is one of the healthiest, most resilient and most biodiverse reefs in the region.
Washington Slagbaai straddles almost one quarter of the island of Bonaire. It encompasses six salinas, several fresh water springs and ponds, beach and dune areas, small patches of mangroves and pristine coral reefs, and tropical dry forests leading up to Mount Brandaris, the highest point on Bonaire at 241 metres. Most of the island’s animal and plant species can be found in the Site’s diverse habitats; many are endemic to Bonaire. Washington Slagbaai is a stop-over point for migratory wetland birds, an important foraging site for Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber), and a breeding site for terns and snowy plovers (Charadrius nivosus).
Het Pekelmeer includes a shallow hypersaline lagoon with saltpans and dikes, beaches and reefs separating the lagoon from the ocean. The sparsely vegetated Site hosts one of the most important nesting colonies of Caribbean flamingo. It also provides important nesting areas for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the endangered loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). In 2019, the Site was extended to include a 500-metre buffer zone, which covers part of the fringing reefs of Bonaire, one of the most biodiverse reefs in the region that provides refuge to several threatened species of fish and coral.