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To the Top of Christoffelberg

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Curaçao’s most popular hike, and perhaps its only popular hike, is the trek to the summit of Christoffelberg. At a modest 372 meters above sea level, this is the tallest peak on the island, and reaching the top requires an effort of about 90 minutes.

Christoffelberg Hike

Here on Curaçao, where life is about beaches and relaxation, a 90-minute uphill hike seems more strenuous than it probably is. We’ve raced up much higher mountains in places like Iceland and Idaho without thinking twice, but getting to the top of the Christoffelberg was hard! Maybe it’s the temperature. People are actually prohibited from beginning this hike after 11:30 in the morning, as the midday heat can be unexpectedly dangerous.

Christoffelberg Hike

This was the only hike we completed on Curaçao where we saw other people, and we saw a lot. In fact, we blazed past at least a dozen on the way up Christoffelberg. I’m not claiming that Jürgen and I are fast hikers (we’re actually rather slow, with all the picture-taking) and I don’t want to come off as a “know-it-all.” But honestly, what is with all the flip-flops? Who hikes up a mountain wearing flip-flops?! Maybe it’s the only footwear you brought along on your trip to Curaçao, and that would be totally understandable. But in that case, don’t climb the Christoffelberg! You’re going to be miserable. Just go do something else.

Christoffelberg Hike

Anyway, we passed by the suffering flip-floppers and made it to the top of the mountain in an hour and a half. The ascent is steady, and leads through some lovely forested areas. It only gets really difficult toward the end, where the mountain’s peak becomes rocky and more vertical. The view from the top was as wonderful as we had expected; the entire northern end of the island was visible, and it was fun to find and point all of the places we had visited.

To best enjoy the hike, arrive at the Christoffelpark as early as you can in the morning. The temperature will be better, and there will be fewer other people on the path. You have to pay entrance to get into the park, and then you can drive to the trailhead. The hike itself is uncomplicated, but you do have to be in decent physical condition, and make sure to bring plenty of water.

Locations on our Map – Trailhead | Summit
Our route on Wikiloc
Chrisoffelpark – Website

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February 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm Comments (0)

A Short Cliff Hike to Kokomo Beach

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After visiting Boka Sami and the dilapidated Fort St. Michiel, we found a trail which leads up the hill and along the cliffs to Vaersenbaai, which is home to Kokomo Beach. A short, mildly strenuous walk through the woods, followed by incredible views from high above the Caribbean, and then cooling off in clear blue waters? Sigh, if only all our hikes were like this!

Kokomo Beach

The trail begins at Boka Sami, after crossing a bridge over the inlet which feeds St. Michiel’s Bay. There is another hike which leads around this lagoon, where you can almost always see flamingos, but that’s for another day; today we’d be going up into the hills.

The great majority of the trail is uphill, through a dense forest. The path is well-worn, so there’s no need to worry about getting lost, but it feels almost forgotten. The only other living being we saw on the trail was a white-tailed deer, far up ahead of us; it spotted us immediately and darted off into the woods, before we could get a picture.

Soon enough, the trail reached the coast, giving us a view from the clifftops over the Caribbean’s crystalline waters. We walked along the rocks, discovering the paltry remains of Fort Vaersenbaai, which once protected the bay, and rested at a picnic table which has been set up for people to enjoy the panorama.

Kokomo Beach

We now descended to the beach, where we spent the rest of the day swimming, snorkeling, laying out and eating. Kokomo Beach’s restaurant is a great lunch spot. On the advice of Anton from Scubaçao, we ordered the nachos. It was a huge plate, and for a very reasonable price. As we were eating, a pair of fearless iguanas inched along the railing, ever closer to our table, before finally walking straight onto it. Who knew iguanas craved nachos?

We had left our car at Boka Sami, so after lazing about and stuffing ourselves, we had to hike back on the same path we’d come by. No problem; it’s just a couple kilometers long, and was a nice Verdauungsspaziergang (a fun German word we don’t have in English, but something like “digestion walk”). Overall, this had been an easy, trouble-free excursion, perfect for those who like to combine beach days with just a little exercise and nature.

Locations on our Map: Boka Sami | Vaersenbaai
Our Route on Wikiloc

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January 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm Comments (0)

Kleine Knip

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A couple kilometers south of Grote Knip, you’ll find its little brother, Kleine Knip. Grote Knip was the first beach we visited in Curaçao, and had already secured a place in our hearts. Would Kleine Knip be able to compete? In a word: yes.

Kleine Knip Curacao

“Kleine” is Dutch for “little,” but although this is the smaller of the two Knip beaches, it’s of a decent size. Even when there are a lot of people here, it’s easy to find a shady spot to sit, whether it’s under a tree or a palapa. The parking lot is right next to the beach, in the presence of a hot-dog stand which does brisk business, so it feels more secure than Grote Knip’s lot, which is more secluded.

The view, as we’re already learning to expect from our Curaçaoan beaches, is enchanting. I’ll never get used to the startling color of the Caribbean, and Kleine Knip doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It’s also a great spot for snorkeling; we checked out both the southern and northern cliffs, and found each one stunning.

As proof of our affection for it, Kleine Knip is the beach on which we chose to spend Christmas Day. We had already been here and, for Christmas, we wanted to relax and enjoy ourselves somewhere we knew would be great, without having to bring the camera and take pictures. Kleine Knip was the perfect choice.

Entrance to the beach is free, and you can rent lounge chairs for a small fee. Apart from the hot-dog stand, there aren’t any other services.

Location on our Map

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January 4, 2016 at 8:08 pm Comments (0)
To the Top of Christoffelberg Curaçao's most popular hike, and perhaps its only popular hike, is the trek to the summit of Christoffelberg. At a modest 372 meters above sea level, this is the tallest peak on the island, and reaching the top requires an effort of about 90 minutes.
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