Daaibooi Beach and surrounding natural area, since 1999, 110 hectares
Daaibooi Beach, located in the Western part of the island is a public beach loved by tourists and locals for its clear waters, pristine beach and its friendly snackbar owner Kees.
Although many see only the beach as a recreational area, the natural richness of Daaibooi and its surrounding cliffs and very interesting historical artifacts make this an ideal area for more than swimming.
Loggerhead turtles are known to nest on this beautiful beach.
Hikers can walk on several trails in the area on both cliffs enclosing the beach and in the so called Saliña, a dusty gray landscape in the dry period and wetland in de rany period full of birds and other characteristic animals.
Daaibooi was used in the past as a harbor for small ships, which cam e to collect salt from the surrounding “salt plantations” of Jan Kok, Rif st. Marie and Portomarie. The small vessels were loaded by the hands of slaves, and sailed back to the inner harbor of St. Anna in Willemstad to load the salt on larger ships going to Europe. Because of its economical importance the bay was protected by a group of Dutch soldiers, who also constructed several artifacts like a fortress wall and a communication pole, of which small parts can still be found.
There are also some remains of buildings constructed by American soldiers in the Second World War, to patrol and protect Daaibooi and the island in total from possible German attacks.
The Saliña has an interesting geological story to tell. A couple of hundred ago this area was till an inner bay. Closed up by coral colonies growing in the entrance/exit of the bay and debris assembled in the bay by erosion of the hills laying at the back of the bay, the salty seawater still inside evaporated, leaving the salt behind in ground material that was very fine.
Now only in a good rainy season will the Saliña fill (partially) with water providing a rich environment for water birds like flamingo’s and several species of ducks and herons, crabs, and much more.
The salinity of the water in the Saliña is often much higher than that of the seawater a couple of meters away, making its name all the more logical (Salt is salu in Papiamentu, the local language).