Between the town of Barber and the eastern coast of Curaçao lies a swath of land known as Patrick, named after a plantation house which used to sit roughly in its center. Rugged, isolated and mostly flat, this is a popular area for ATV tours, but you can also hike and easily reach the coast where there are a couple of impressive inlets.
Without a doubt, Curaçao’s most popular hike is to the top of the Christoffelsberg. Practically speaking, it’s the island’s only popular hike. But as we’ve learned, there are plenty of other trails which merit attention. One of the best is also within the National Christoffelpark: a rarely-used path which leads through a region called the Zevenbergen (Seven Peaks) and to the summit of Seru Bientu, where a unique type of palm tree grows.
Carved out over the course of millennia into the region’s limestone landscape, the Hato Caves are found next to Curaçao’s international airport. In the past, these caves served as a shelter for the Arwak Indians and a hiding spot for runaway slaves, and are now a popular tourist attraction.
The region north of Saint Joris Bay goes by the intriguing name of Koraal Tabak. “Tobacco Coral”? What could that mean? It was a mystery, and so when we learned about a hike in the area, we had to check it out. Spoiler: there was no tobacco.
In the rolling, undeveloped hills to the west of St. Martha’s Bay, we completed a long hike through the woods to a few isolated coves, including Boka Pos Spanjo and Boka Hulu. This same trail passes by both the Blue Room and Santu Pretu, but unless you’re prepared for a very long day, you’ll have to pick and choose which beaches you stop at.
A popular walking path connects the neighborhood of Otrobanda to Piscadera, up the coast to the north. We regularly drive by this path, and always see people walking their dogs or jogging on it. So we decided to join them on an otherwise lazy Saturday afternoon, for a much-needed spot of exercise.
We’ve been up in a Cessna, floated in a hot-air balloon, and even tried out paragliding, but neither Jürgen nor I had ever been in a helicopter. With colorful towns and diverse nature packed into a small area and framed by clear Caribbean waters, Curaçao is a perfect candidate for a helicopter tour. So we were thrilled when Blue Skies invited us on a trip around the island’s eastern coast.
The deserted section of coastline to the northwest of Curaçao’s international airport is known as the Hato Plains. There are no paved roads here, but if you have a jeep, this wide expanse of dry red earth trapped between the ocean and a set of inland cliffs is a fascinating area to explore.
Curaçao has a long history of cultivating aloe vera, since it’s one of the few plants able to thrive in the island’s dry and windy climate. We visited the Curaloe Plantation and Factory, near the Ostrich Farm and St. Joris Bay, to see how the plants are grown, harvested and processed. Or at least, that’s what we were hoping to see.
We carefully made our way along an overgrown path, which, according to my calculations, had last been used by the Arwak Indians sometime in the late 1400s. Our mission was to find the legendary Playa Hunku, a place rumored about in whispered conversations across the island, but which no living man or woman had yet laid eyes upon. Our expedition was fraught with danger (cacti! mosquitoes!) but after a wearying trek of twenty entire minutes, we saw it: the fabled beach of Playa Hunku. And it was ours… all ours!!