CARMABI makes it easy for us to explore the nature that surrounds us in this west. The Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity is a non-profit organization that focuses on nature research, conservation and education, and is the island’s authority on the management of many of these sites. Initially founded as a marine research institute, through the years they have expanded their scope to include the management of many of Curaçao’s protected areas. This includes Christoffel National Park and the Shete Boka National Park, both of which are natural habitats to an exotic and diverse array of flora and fauna. Another important part of their mission is to provide education on Curaçao’s biodiversity and environment to over 12,000 local school children each year. CARMABI conducts extensive research on the island’s unique ecology and marine life at their research institute located in Piscadera Bay, overseeing several important conservation projects on the island.
Crossing over the bridge from the east to the west, we venture into a landscape with abundant nature. Fondly known as “Banda Bou” the western part of the island takes us back to a time of picturesque simplicity with its old “Landhuizen” (estate homes) dotting the countryside, gorgeous beaches, unique natural sites, historical museums and much more to discover.
There’s no better way to explore Curaçao’s nature than with the island’s authority on all things environmental. CARMABI offers several different tours, activities, and special excursions at some of their major parks.
Discover some of the amazing scenery in the west on an exciting off-road Safari Tour and learn more about the exotic flora and fauna that is native to this island and its unique climate.A Sunset Safari Tour is another chance to explore the land and also photograph one of the many incredible sunsets of Curaçao.
CARMABI’s largest nature reserve is Christoffel Park. With 2,200 hectares of unspoiled terrain, it is Curaçao’s foremost nature park and is home to Mt. Christoffel and the Savonet Museum. There’s something for everyone in the family, whether it’s a relaxing stroll through any of the 8 scenic hiking trails or a more challenging hike to the top of Christoffel mountain. The mountain is open for climbing from 6:00am – 10:00am. We recommend you take this challenge early in the morning to capture the sunrise and before the heat kicks in. There are also scenic car routes throughout the park offering stunning vistas of the windswept hills on the northern coast, and beautiful inland wooded areas offering a closer look at some of the wildlife. Join a deer spotting tour to see if you can spot the elusive Curaçao white-tailed deer, or a birdwatching tour where, if you’re lucky, you can observe the rare native barn owl. During the rainy months, you can encounter natural springs cascading down the mountainside with wild orchids coming into bloom on one of CARMABI’s guided park tours or join them on an occasional full moon walk. You can also check out the Savonet museum, situated in one of the island’s oldest and most beautifully preserved plantation houses featuring an extensive display of artifacts that portray Curaçao’s rich history and the history of this plantation.
Shete Boka Park
As you venture further west nearing the westernmost tip of the island, you will find Shete Boka Park on the wild northern coast. Your exploration begins at Boka Tabla, where the power of the ocean collides with the rugged terrain as you experience the deafening roar of the sea crashing into an underground cave. Then as you ascend to the cliffs above, take a moment to capture the impressive view and nature’s force all around you. As you head along the coastline further into the park, with the waves crashing into the cliffs spraying a majestic white tower high above, you will discover a natural bridge carved out of the limestone by the pounding surf.
by Helen Griffith