Take a walk, drive or a guided tour on the island’s wildest side to witness nature at its finest far from the crowds.
Did you know that Christoffel National Park and its sister Shete Boka National Park comprise of over 12,00000 acres of protected nature reserves on Curacao? The island’s national parks host the highest peaks for hiking with all kinds of fascinating flora and fauna secreted within and the wildest, most picturesque windswept coasts are also within protected park confines. Christoffel park is the largest national park of Curacao and a must see for everyone.
There are eight hiking trails in the Christoffel Park, allowing the visitor the choice between an easy stroll or for instance, a challenging hike to the top of the Christoffel mountain (recommended for early morning). Scenic car routes take you through underbrush, around hills and across sea swept bluffs. The park also organizes special tours including park safaris, deer watching tours, bird watching tours and guided hikes.
CHRISTOFFEL NATIONAL PARK
Hike to mountain top
A strenuous hike and climb; up and down the Christoffel Mountain, starting from the visitor’s center it will take approximately three hours. From the foot of the mountain it will take two hours. Look for interesting geological formations, Roi Berú (a dry riverbed), lichens, beard moss, bromeliads, and orchids along the way. Spectacular views of the island reward you at the top. The Christoffel Mountain is open for climbing between 6 AM – 10 AM.
Of course, you’re free to explore the parks on your own- on foot or by car- however, first-time visitors will really benefit from a guided tour through the park. All tours need to be reserved. Guided hikes can be reserved for small groups and customized to suit your comfort level.
Guided safaris in an open-air land cruiser are a great way to explore the wilds with informed park rangers who will introduce you the wonders of the park. There must be a minimum of four people and reservations are required.
There are also sunset tours to help you get incredible photographs in the wild. Enjoy the mystic of the Christoffel park at sundown. This special tour takes you to secluded parts of the park. This includes Seru Bientu and Seru Grasia, where you can enjoy the Sabal palms which only grow in this part of the park. You will experience a spectacular panoramic view of the east side along with the sunset.
Let us give you the comfort of a guided hike. We offer guided hikes on several hiking trails in the park such as the Mountain trail and the Boka Grandi trail. We also offer a special guided hike; the Orchid trail hike from June to September.
Deer Spotting Tours
Did you know that there are beautiful white-tailed deer hiding in the park regions? They can be very exclusive but taking a guided tour on foot or by land cruiser is your best chance of seeing them. Curacao white-tailed deer is a local sub-species that has adapted its behavior to the island’s harsh climate in several interesting ways. Experienced guides will take you to the best locations for deer spotting. Along the way, you will enjoy beautiful sceneries and experience the varied flora and fauna of the island.
Bird Watching Tours
Serious birders will enjoy adding many new species to their “life lists” like the rare native barn owl and amateur ornithologists will also enjoy the large variety of local and migratory birds that frequent the park. You’ll also see other wildlife when you take a guided birdwatching tour.
SHETE BOKA NATIONAL PARK
Adjacent to Christoffel Park on the rocky north coast is Shete Boka National Park where you can witness primal forces of nature at work. Boka stands for inlet and the translation of Shete Boka National Park is actually “seven inlets”. In the national park you will find 4 bokas provided with specially built wooden viewing platforms, from where you can see what the power of the water does to the coastline: See the natural bridge of Boka Wandomi, follow the hiking trail to the beautiful beach of Boka Kalki, experience the shooting sound of Boka Pistol and enter the famous Boka Tabla cave.
Parking places are available at all viewpoints and you can walk to the boka in a few minutes. Especially with the hot and burning Caribbean sun, it can be more comfortable to grab the car between the bokas but this is not necessary. You can also choose to walk from boka to boka, along the marked trails.
Sea Turtle Conservation
The Shete Boka national park was established in 1994 to protect important nesting areas for sea turtles. Sea turtles are known to return to their place of birth to lay eggs again, indicating the importance to protect the beaches of the Shete Boka national park. Throughout the nesting season of sea turtles, running approximately from May to December, researchers of the Carmabi foundation monitor the Shete Boka beaches for signs of nesting sea turtle activity. The research that is conducted by Carmabi is vital to understand the behavior of the sea turtles nesting at the Shete Boka national park.
The Shete Boka National Park has approximately 10 pocket bays where three species of sea turtles are known to lay eggs at in the park. These three are the Hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead turtle and the Green turtle. The Leatherback turtle, the largest of the sea turtles, is no longer nesting on Curacao. A detailed map of the pocket bays is available for purchase at the entrance of the park.
If You Go
To book a tour call: +5999 864-0363 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both national parks have an entrance fee and proceeds go to the park conservation. Savonet Museum has a stand-alone entrance fee but is also included in the Christoffel Park price.
For information visit: www.christoffelpark.org
CARMABI (Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity) is responsible for the ongoing preservation and protection of both parks.
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