Christoffelpark, Curaçao

The Christoffel Park in the northwest of Curaçao holds an exclusive mix of tropical nature, spectacular views, secluded beaches, historical ruins and fascinating hikes.

Christoffel Park is the largest national park on Curaçao, covering an area of 1860 hectares, and is located right next to Shete Boka National Park. Both national parks are part of our Top 10 Sights of Curaçao.

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The Christoffelpark nature reserve was created in the 1970s when the government bought the three former plantations Savonet, Zorgvlied and Zevenbergen from the 18th century and signed them over to STINAPA, the nature conservation organisation of the Netherlands Antilles.

In cooperation with the Netherlands and the WWF, a nature park worth seeing with numerous historical and scenic attractions was created within a few years.

PICTURES: Christoffelpark

Flora and fauna in Christoffelpark

The flora and fauna of Christoffel Park are also impressive. In addition to three different types of columnar cacti and the divi divi trees, the ground is sometimes virtually littered with bromeliads. In between, rare orchids and other exotic flowering plants grow.

From time to time, white-tailed deer, hummingbirds, warawaras (a vulture falcon), hawks and barn owls can be seen in the thicket of the park, and lizards and iguanas constantly rustle in the undergrowth.

On the road in Christoffelpark

The entrance to Christoffelpark is directly on the road from Willemstad to Westpunt. The former Savonet country house houses the tourist information office, where tickets and road maps of Christoffelpark are available. It is also home to the Savonet Museum, which documents the history of the island through archaeological finds in Christoffelpark.

The roads of the three autoroutes through Christoffelpark are steep and narrow, but can be used by normal cars, Curaçao - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

Since 2004, the roads in Christoffelpark have been asphalted. They are still steep and narrow, but can be used by normal cars. All three car routes lead through the park in a one-way system and are limited by a barrier that can be opened with a chip from the Info Centre.

Places of interest on the green Autoroute

Hike to the Christoffelberg

To avoid the worst of the heat, it is advisable to reach the summit as early as possible and thus make the first stop at the Christoffelberg car park. The hike up the 372-metre-high, densely overgrown mountain leads along comfortable paths at the beginning, but turns into a strenuous climb through unpaved terrain towards the end.

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PICTURES: Christoffelpark - Hike

 

In the truest sense of the word, it is over hill and dale, along steep slopes and through narrow crevices. The tropical heat and high humidity are also hard on the circulation of the untrained. Although most of the way is in the shade of trees and there are usually clouds hanging on the flanks of the mountain, it can get almost unbearably hot - especially for Europeans!

Tip: When climbing the Christoffelberg, be sure to take enough drinking water (at least one litre per person) and sturdy shoes!

The ascent of Christoffelberg is a real adventure that leads through lush nature and ends at the summit with an absolutely fantastic view over the entire northern part of Curaçao. Again, caution is advised on the descent over the sometimes steep rocky passages!

Ruins of Zorgvlied

At the ruins of the old plantation house, one is greeted by an initially unspectacular terrace. Only behind the prickly bushes and huge cacti do the imposing remains of the former country house emerge, surrounded by a ghostly aura.

The ruins of the Zorgvlied country house in Christoffelpark on Curaçao exude a ghostly aura - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

A short walkway has been laid out around the stone ruins, which also leads to the so-called "Slave Post". Slaves were probably tied to this stone pillar in the past.

View Points

Via several viewpoints of the Boka Tabla on the rugged north coast and the Knip country house, which looks like a toy house ducked into the dense vegetation, we return to the starting point.

Places of interest on the yellow car route

The yellow route is a lot shorter than the green one. It leads to the Orchid Trail car park with its diverse plant and bird life, which will delight nature lovers in particular. White-tailed deer are also spotted here time and again.

At its end, two short hiking trails lead to other viewpoints with magnificent views over Curaçao's southwest coast and to the ruins of the Zevenbergen country house. From the first floor you can actually see the seven hills that once gave the plantation its name.

Places of interest on the Blue Car Route

For the blue route map, another stop at the entrance is necessary, as another barrier behind the Savonet country house has to be opened.

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Boka Grandi

After a vantage point on the "Big Bay", you also get directly to the picturesque Boka Grandi on the northwest coast of Curaçao. A steep path past gnarled trees leads down to the bay, which is mostly deserted. Along the idyllic sandy strip, you can wade briefly into the water, but swimming is not recommended due to the roaring surf.

At the entrance to Boka Grandi in Christoffel Park, the surf roars onto the northwest coast of Curaçao - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

A walk to the other end of the bay takes you through imposing cliffs that are clearly made of fossilised coral. The cliffs are populated by bats hiding in the dark recesses and are littered with crab shells that seabirds have dropped from the air onto the rocks to crack them.

Caves and rock paintings

The next detour on the blue route leads to two caves, one of which can be visited. However, it is pitch dark and anyone travelling without a torch should not venture far into the cave.

Most of the time, however, you don't stay long in the humid sultriness of the cave inhabited by bats and wasps anyway. From the cave, another path leads to some rock paintings of the Arawak Indians, which are between 500 and 2,000 years old.

Remarkable Tree and Rock Formations

The last attractions on the blue route are the Mata Piská, also called the "Remarkable Tree", which actually stands out from the surrounding vegetation, and some striking rock formations, the so-called Piedra di Janchi and the Piedra Largu, which can be seen from the roadside. On the latter, two warawaras are often on the lookout for prey.

The striking rock formations in Christoffel Park are easy to see from the road, Curaçao - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

In addition to the car routes, guided tours can also be undertaken through Christoffel Park, such as the Pick-up Safari, the Sunset Tour, a Full Moon Walk or Bird Watching Hikes.

Further links:

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Official website of the Cristoffel National Park on Curaçao (English)

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