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.
The hike starts along the water at the headquarters of the Fundashon Sint Joris Baai. On weekends, local kids can come here to learn how to windsurf for free, but we were visiting on a Tuesday and found the place deserted. We left our car and headed along the coast, immediately encountering the day’s most difficult stretch of hiking.
A steep hill runs right up against the water and, although there is a path to the top, it isn’t well-marked. We kept going off in the wrong direction, scrambling up rocks and through thorny patches, until finally reaching the summit. From here, we enjoyed a great view over Saint Joris and a strange, triangular rock formation called “The Pyramid”. The way back down was even harder, due to the loose, gravelly ground, and at one crucial point I slipped and sat down hard on a patch of thorns.
Luckily, once we got past the hill, the rest of the hike was a breeze. We walked up to the point at which the Saint Joris Bay meets the ocean, and then continued along the coast. This seems to be a favorite place for locals to hang out, and we saw various groups of people walking along the rocks, and watching waves crash against the shore.
Our path took us to the foot of another hill, and although my butt was still sore and bloody from my earlier fall, there was good reason to ascend. The cave of Koraal Tabak, at the top of the hill, was an exciting surprise — we had known about the existence of a cave here, but hadn’t suspected it to be so cool. This is a large, spacious cavern with multiple chambers, “doors” on either side and a few holes in the ceiling. You can climb up through one of these skylights for an incredible view over the area. If the Arwak Indians didn’t use this cave as a home, I’d be surprised. It was comfortable enough that I’d consider moving in myself.
From here, we had an easy, pleasant hike back to the car. The entire loop was six kilometers, and took us about two hours to complete; if you skip the initial ascent up the pyramid hill, it would be even faster. We’ve been astounded by the variety and beauty of Curaçao’s nature, and this is yet another spot which merits attention. Still confused about the name, though.