Coastal view of Boka Grandi at Christoffel National Park in Curacao.

Christoffel National Park in Curacao – A Complete Guide

If you are visiting Curacao, consider taking a day trip to Christoffel National Park, one of the incredible National Parks in Curacao. There are two National Parks in Curacao, Shete Boka National Park and Christoffel National Park. Both parks are adjacent to each other and located in the Northern part of Curacao. It is easy to fit both parks in one day, depending on the time you start and what you would like to see. Christoffel National Park in Curacao is definitely worth taking the time to visit.

About Christoffel National Park

Christoffel National Park is the largest National Park in Curacao. It is a biodiverse park perfect for nature lovers with many things to see and explore. There are several hiking trails, one of which takes you up to Christoffel Mountain, the island’s highest point. There are also two car routes you can take if you prefer to drive around Christoffel Park. At many of the points of interest, you will see spectacular views of either the coast, historical points, caves, or the incredibly diverse flora available in the park.  

How to Get to Christoffel National Park

Getting to Christoffel National Park is relatively easy. The park is located on the Northwestern side of Curacao towards Westpunt, about 45 miles from Willemstad. From Willemstad, take the road to Westpunt, Weg Naar Westpunt, and follow the signs towards Westpunt. During your drive, you will see signs for Christoffel National Park and Shete Boka National Park. You will come to Christoffel National Park first. 

Visiting Christoffel National Park

When you arrive at Christoffel National Park, you will see a parking area with ample parking. The visitor center is adjacent to the parking lot and is also the ticket office and where you will pay for your entry ticket. This is a great place to start and get any questions answered. You can also buy beverages and snacks if you would like to. The visitor center has bathroom facilities and tables where you can take a break and eat a snack or lunch. 

The visitor center at Christoffel National Park in Curacao
The visitor center at Christoffel National Park in Curacao

Opening Times and Entrance Fee

Christoffel National Park is open every day from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm. You are required to leave the park by 1:30 pm.

The entrance fee for Christoffel National Park will depend on whether you are a tourist or a local resident of Curacao. If you are a tourist, the entrance fee is $15.00 USD per adult and $2.00 USD for children ages 6 to 12. Children under 6 years of age are free. The local rate is FL 2.00 for anyone ages 6 and over. Children under 6 years of age are free. There is also a separate fee to enter the Savonet Museum of $3.00 for tourists and FL 2.00 for local residents of Curacao. Children under 6 years of age are free. 

Once you pay your entrance fee, you will receive a map that will guide you through the park and the points of interest. If you are driving, there are two routes that you can choose from: the mountain car route and the northern car route. Depending on the route you choose, you will receive a token that will open the gate to start you on your chosen route.

Hiking Regulations at Christoffel National Park

There are several points of interest to see at Christoffel National Park. You can drive through the park or hike in the park. If you do decide to hike, it is important to know that you will need to begin your hike early in the day due to the heat. The park opens at 6:00 am, this is to accommodate those that wish to hike. It can get extremely hot in the park and thus, it is advisable to begin early. The hiking regulations prevent anyone from starting a hike after 10:00 am. You should also bring lots of water for your hike. 

Visiting the Points of Interest at Christoffel National Park

There are a few ways to visit all the points of interest at Christoffel National Park. There are two car routes that you can choose from. The first car route is the Northern Car Route, which is 9 kilometers, and the second car route is the Mountain Car Route, which is 12 kilometers in total. You can shorten the Mountain Car Route to 7.5 kilometers and go straight towards Christoffel Mountain instead of driving the complete route. There are also eight hiking trails.  All of the trails are clearly marked on the map that you will receive when you enter the park. 

The road at Christoffel National Park.
The road of the Northern car Route at Christoffel National Park.

Points of Interest on the Northern Car Route   

On the northern car route, you will first make your way on a narrow road. The first part of this road is bi-directional, if you see a car approaching, you will need to move to the side in order to let the car get by or vice versa, depending on which way you are traveling. On this part of the road, you will see a rich variety of local flora and bird species.

There is one tree of interest on this road, the Manchineel tree. The Manchineel tree has delicious looking fruit, very similar to apples. They look rather juicy and tempting to pick. However, you should stay away from the fruit as it is poisonous to eat. You should not pick the fruit or even touch or climb the tree as the stems and leaves are also poisonous. In fact, if it rains, you should not stand underneath this tree at all.

The Water Tank

As you make your way on the road, the first point of interest you will see is the water tank. The water tank is a large stone structure that was used to irrigate crops. The water was pumped from hand-dug wells with windmills. There is also a dam visible on the other side.  

Northcoast Viewpoint

The road will turn into a one-way road as you make your way up the road. You will reach a viewpoint where you have a beautiful view of the north coast. The viewpoint parking lots are easy to miss as they are not paved. The parking areas are small unpaved areas that have been cleared of vegetation. If you see an area like this, it is more than likely a parking lot for a point of interest. 

The view of the north coast at this lookout is amazing. You will see Christoffel Hill, the plantation house which houses the Savonet Museum, and on a very clear day, you can see the hills of Bonaire, the B island of the ABC islands. 

View of Mt. Christoffel at Christoffel National Park in Curacao.
View of Mt. Christoffel at Christoffel National Park in Curacao.

Boka Grandi Viewpoint and Stairs

The next stop will take you to the Boka Grandi Viewpoint. There are several things that you can see from this viewpoint. From this viewpoint you can see Salina. This is a field of dry sand which used to be an inner bay. Over time, the bay was naturally blocked by coral and mud which closed off the ocean. During the rainy season, flamingos migrate here as the Salina fills with water. The Boka Grandi hiking trail crosses this car route and is very close to the Salina Trail.  

At this viewpoint, you will also have a closer and incredible view of Boka Grandi. If you like, there are stairs carved out of the rock that you can use to go down to the inlet and visit the beach area of the inlet. The shore break is very strong, and swimming in the water is prohibited. However, you can visit and get some amazing pictures of the inlet.  

View of Boka Grandi at Christoffel National Park.
View of Boka Grandi at Christoffel National Park.

The Caves

Another point of interest that you will see on the northern car route is the caves. There are two caves; however, you can only visit one as the second cave is closed to the public. The first cave has Indian drawings that are estimated to be between 500 and 2000 years old. The drawings can easily be missed as it takes time for your eyes to get used to the darkness of the cave. I looked for the drawing but was not able to figure out where the drawings were located within the cave. The cave is also home to different species of bats. The cave was incredible and had a few bats flying around but not very many. 

Entrance of the cave at Christoffel National Park
Entrance of the cave at Christoffel National Park
Inside the cave at Christoffel National Park.
Inside the cave at Christoffel National Park.

The second cave is closed to the public. I approached the cave and peeked in. It would have been interesting to be able to see the inside of the cave. 

Points of Interest on the Mountain Car Route

The mountain car route is 12 kilometers round trip and offers several points of interest to visit, including the option to hike Christoffel Mountain. This route is a one-way route. After you start, you will come to a fork in the road, if you go left, this is a shortcut to Christoffel Mountain and shortens this route to 7.5 kilometers. If you are interested in hiking the mountain, this should be your first stop. You will need to begin your hike early due to the heat. If you go right, you will come to the Boka Tabla viewpoint. 

The Zorgvlied Ruins

Before hitting the fork in the road, you will find the Zorgvlied Ruins. The ruins are of a former plantation house which is believed to have been established in 1716. 

Boka Tabla Viewpoint

Boka Tabla is located at Shete Boka National Park. However, from this viewpoint, you will have a great view of Shete Boka National Park. This is a distant view of Shete Boka National Park and the inlets. However, you will be able to see Boka Tabla as well as some of the other inlets located at Shete Boka National Park. 

The Plantation House of Knip

The next viewpoint you will see a great view of the leeward side of the coast. You will also be able to see the old plantation house of Knip that was built in 1693. You can visit the plantation house as it now houses the Tula Museum.

View of Mt. Christoffel and the plantation house.
View of Mt. Christoffel and the plantation house.

Christoffelberg – also known as Mount Christoffel

The next stop on this route is Christoffelberg or Mount Christoffel. At this stop you can take amazing pictures of the mountain as well as hike up the mountain.  Due to the heat, your hike should begin early in the day. Your hike up the mountain should begin well before 10:00 am. Hikers are prohibited from starting their hike after 11:00 AM. If you do hike, take plenty of water and have some sunblock on hand.

The Orchid Trail

The Orchid Trail car route is found after the stop at Christoffel Mountain. This car route will take you to the start of the Orchid Trail hike, where you can see unique flora, many species of birds, and a chance to spot the Curacao white-tail deer. If you do decide to hike the Orchid trail, your hike should start early in the morning as it will take about two hours to hike the complete trail.  

Flora and Cactus at Christoffel National Park
Flora and Cactus at Christoffel National Park

The Copper Mines 

At this stop, you will see the copper mines. The entrances of the mines are holes dug into the rock. The interesting part of this area is the rocks themselves. The rocks have a very noticeable greenish hue to them. The rock is called malachite and contains copper. The greenish hue on the rocks comes from the copper that is in the rock. 

Hiking in Christoffel National Park

There are several trails to hike in Christoffel National Park. Four trails are located in the northern section of the park, and four are located in the mountain section of the park. The trails vary in length and range from an easy 30-minute in-and-out trail to a 180-minute in-and-out trail. The longest trail is the hike up Christoffelberg, Curacao’s highest peak. 

Hiking trail at Christoffel National Park
Hiking trail at Christoffel National Park

Hiking Trails on the Mountain Route

The Zorgvlied Trail

The Zorgvlied Trail takes about 90 minutes to complete and is a moderate trail. You will hike to the Zorgvlied plantation to see the ruins and a panoramic view of the area.   

Christoffel Mountain Trail / Christoffelberg, Curacao’s Highest Peak

The Christoffel Mountain Trail takes approximately 120 to 180 minutes to complete, depending on your fitness level, and is a strenuous hike. Due to the heat, you must start your hike before 10:00 am and make sure you bring enough water with you. The recommended minimum amount of water to carry with you is 2 liters. When you reach the top of Christoffel Mountain, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the area.  

The Orchid Trail

The Orchid Trail takes approximately 120 minutes to complete. This trail is a moderate trail. You should start this trail early and bring plenty of water with you as it will get hot during the day. You will see the unique flora of the area, pass through several hills, and have a chance to see the white-tailed deer. 

The Sta. Cruz Rooi Trail / The Zevenbergen Trail

The Sta. Cruz Rooi Trail, also known as the Zevenbergen Trail, can only be done with a guide. If you are interested in hiking this trail, you will need to speak with someone at the visitor’s center regarding hiring a guide for this trail. 

Hiking Trails on the Northern Side

White-Tailed Deer Short Trail

The White-Tailed Deer Short Trail is about 30 minutes long and is a relatively easy trail with lots of shade. This is a short walk passing through the white-tailed deer sanctuary.

White-Tailed Deer Long Trail

The White-Tailed Deer Long Trail is about 40 minutes long and is a relatively easy trail. The trail passes through the white-tailed deer sanctuary and the deer observation tower. There is a picnic area on this trail.

White-Tailed Deer and Boka Grandi Trail

The White-Tailed Deer and Boka Grandi Trail is about 90 minutes long and is a moderate trail. The trail passes through the picnic area and the deer sanctuary. It then heads towards the North Coast and the Boka Grandi viewpoint. 

The Plantation Boka Grandi Trail

The Plantation Boka Grandi Trail is about 90 minutes long and is a moderate trail. This trail will take you past the Savonet Plantation House, the Salina, and then to Boka Grandi. There is an opportunity to picnic at Boka Grandi. 

Christoffel National Park – A National Park with a Lot to Offer its Visitors

During your stay in Curacao, a visit to Christoffel National Park is well worth it. There are many sites to see and explore at the park. If you are an avid hiker, there are many trails to hike, such as the challenging Christoffel Mountain hike. Christoffel National Park is also a very beautiful park and is a testament to the diverse and unique landscape that makes up Curacao. You will come away with wonderful memories of your visit to Christoffel and definitely some beautiful pictures of this amazing National Park.

If you are interested in exploring the Caribbean, you can read our posts about traveling to other Caribbean Islands, such as Grand Cayman Island.

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