Curaçao is well-known for many things: A world-class scuba diving destination, pristine beaches and clear waters full of marine life. But there’s a lot more to see on this Caribbean island! Curacao offers a couple of interesting National Parks that are worth visiting. Whatever you’re up to – a photo trip by car or in search of a hiking trail – you will find it. We have visited two of the most exciting places for you: National Parks Shete Boka and the Christoffel Park, home to the Christoffel Mountain
A turtle sanctuary and a perfect place to kick back and let yourself be swept away by the power of the ocean waves rolling in from the northeast. It is located on the northeast coast, a very different part of Curacao compared to the west coast. It is rugged and all made of rock, and Atlantic waves are penetrating their way into the bedrock, forming caves, caverns, and natural bridges. One rather big cave can be seen at Boka Tabla, just beside the entrance and visitor center. If you stand outside the small, hidden entrance to the cave, you can suddenly hear a roaring thunder sound coming from within. When you enter, you can see where this sound comes from. Massive waves break into the cave from its mouth open to the sea and collapse against the cave walls, producing a deep, thunder-like roar.
This new national park is very well kept and has easily accessible walking paths and wooden viewing platforms. My favorite spot is on top of Boka Tabla where they have put two benches in front of the ocean viewing platform. It’s a place to unwind and relax entirely naturally with the power and sound of the ocean waves.
You can walk over the lava hills or take the car to the left, and reach Boka Wandomi in a few minutes. It features a natural stone beach, where turtles hang out frequently to breed, as well as an impressive natural bridge where waves break from within. There is a wooden viewing platform that takes you down near the bridge. Be sure to watch your step, it’s slippery, and for sure you’ll get wet!
Entry fee is about $5 per person.
The Christoffelpark is worth spending at least a couple of hours, if not a day. It is the island’s most visited nature park and located in the northwest of Curacao, near Boka Tabla, between the villages of Barber and Westpunt.
Be sure to arrive early in the morning, so you can go by car to the base of the Christoffelberg mountain and then climb the hill (it is only about 1100 feet high). You can also just take the scenic car route (1.5 hours) that takes you on a beautiful, paved road around the hills in the national park, permitting spectacular views on both the east and west coast and the landscape around.
In the park and its many hiking trails, you will find rare species of plants and animals, among others some beautiful colored birds as well as a type of whitetail deer. There is an own hiking trail dedicated to these rare animals (about 250 of them are left), so keep your senses alert and watch out, maybe you’re lucky!
If you want to climb Christoffel Mountain, go early. It takes about 3 hours, and you need good shoes. The last part of the climb is rather steep, but the breathtaking view reward you for all the work!
Entrance fee is $10 plus $1 for the map.
Don’t forget to get a good travel guidebook like Frommer’s Portable, which will give you directions to find all the sweet spots on the island!