Go beyond the beautiful beaches that dot the shores and add Christoffel Park to your list of ‘what to do’ during your visit to Curaçao. Christoffel Park is situated on what used to be four separate plantations which were purchased in 1978 by the government and merged into this breathtaking park of highlands and coastal wilderness.
Today it is a protected 4,000 acre space in the care of the CARMABI Foundation; alive with incredible wildlife, beautiful botanicals and outdoor activity to fill all your senses. Located at the west end of the island, Christoffel Park is about 40 minutes from Willemstad and proudly boosts the island’s highest point, Mt. Christoffel which stands a proud 1,240 ft.
The Savonet which is one of the oldest plantation houses on the island serves as the entry point to the park. It is now the visitor centre and home to the new Museum of Natural and Cultural History. For a small price you can purchase a guidebook of the park’s geological, botanical, and zoological features as well as roads, pull-offs and other attractions for hikers..
A Walk in the Park.
Get an early start and give yourself a few hours to fully enjoy the day before the heat of the sun rises. Hitch up your hiking boots and head for the trail of your choice or sign up for the guided mountain climb. Even though Curaçao is desert-like in places, the vegetation in the park is surprisingly lush and green, with giant cactus plants and mango trees. With a keen eye and a little effort you might even stumble upon some rare white orchids but they’re tough to spot if you don’t know where to look.
There are some fantastic biking trails, ranging in difficulty from moderate to highly technical. While you’re cycling along check out the great views of the unspoiled north coast along the east side of the road, open your ears to the sound of waves crash against the coral cliffs at Boca Grandi as they whoosh into the shallow bay. Continue along the trail clockwise and you’ll arrive at mid-sized caves, where you can view the ancient cave drawings done by the Caiquetio Indians, Curaçao’s original inhabitants.
Hitting the Heights
The more challenging mountain bike trails on the west side will take you past the old copper mine and beneath the towering peak of Christoffelberg which at 1240 feet is Curaçao’s highest point. The trail to the peak is only accessible on foot. Take your time to appreciate the giant cacti, several species of exotic flowers and divi divi trees that surround you, but watch where you step as you could cross paths with the small silver snake or the larger cat-eyed snake which are present but certainly not dangerous.
Spend the morning on a scenic safari tour and venture through underbrush, around hills and across sea swept bluffs that will exhilarate you with every breath, sight and sound.
Bird watchers and plain old fashioned nature lovers will be delighted by the sightings of the Caribbean parakeet, the yellow-winged parrot, the white-tailed hawk, and several species of hummingbirds in the trees and flying overhead. Everyone with a penchant for natural beauty will be charmed by Christoffel Park.
Pickup Safari: Reservations required. Monday through Friday and Sunday. Tours begin at 8:00 am and end at noon. Prices are $30.00 per person or $20.00 6- 12 years and includes a drink.
Deerspotting Sunset Tour: Reservations required. Thursdays at 4:15 pm – Prices are $30.00 per person or $20.00 6- 12 years and includes a drink and include, park entry fee, guide, car and watermelon.
Savonet History Tour: Reservations required. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Tour begins at 10:00 am and last 2 to 3 hours. $20.00 per person and includes a drink.
Guided Mountain Climb. Reservations required. tours run every Sunday morning at 7:00 am. $30.00 per person and includes park entry fee, 3 hour guided tour, bottled water and drink.
Ask about other activities not regularly scheduled such as animal presentations, cave excursions and the occasional full moon walk.