Curacao, North-coast, Christoffel National park, landscape, nature, Bok
Walter Bibikow / age fotostock
It gets so hot in Curaçao that you’re not even allowed to hike the island’s highest peak—1,239-foot-high Mount Christoffel—after 11 a.m. But you can explore seven other walking paths in the surrounding park, or follow a marked trail to take in the island’s diverse flora and fauna. Rent a mountain bike, sign up for an affordable sunrise or sunset safari, or roam the park by yourself, wild and free. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the native and endangered Curaçao white-tailed deer. Not a nature enthusiast? History nerds can tour the Savonet Museum, a former plantation now dedicated to artifacts that reveal how the people of Curaçao used to live.
While the beach resorts and the culture, dining, and shopping of Willemstad are major draws of Curaçao, the island has a wild side too. The best place to explore it is at Christoffel National Park, the island’s largest park covering roughly nine square miles in the northwest of the island. The park stretches from sea level up to the peak of Mt. Christoffel (with an altitude of 1,227 feet). Every type of flora and fauna found on the island can also be found there, from cacti along the arid east coast to orchids at higher elevations, and both the ubiquitous green iguana to some of the 168 bird species that live on Curaçao, either seasonally or year-round. There is also an 18th-century plantation house that now operates as a museum while eight walking trails make it easy to explore every section of the park. If you are going to follow the trail to the peak of Mt. Christoffel, start early in the day to avoid the midday sun.