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Boka Pos Spanjo and Boka Hulu

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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.

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu

We were already familiar with the first kilometer of the trail, as it’s the same one we took from Santa Cruz to the black-sand beach of Santu Pretu. But after Santu Pretu, the trail continues inland. This is a wild region of Curaçao, and we didn’t encounter anyone for the entirety of our hike. For the next 90 minutes, we walked up and down deceptively large hills, suffering with the heat and occasionally winning a view over the area.

At the top of the biggest hill, we found the ruins of the old Bos Spanjo Plantation. This place must have been abandoned for more than a hundred years, because almost nothing remains apart from the foundation. We’ve seen more evocative ruins, but it was exciting to explore such an out-of-the-way, forgotten place.

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu

From here, it was an easy, downhill walk to Boka Pos Spanjo, whose name I’m guessing means “Spanish Rest.” The beach was full of coral, and the water was too rough to allow swimming, but we sat down to watch a pelican at work, and enjoyed the view across Santa Martha Bay.

The trail now continued on to Boka Hulu. By this point, we’d been hiking for well over two hours, and our energy was starting to flag. Two hours of exercise in Curaçaoan heat is no joke, and it’s important to pack more water than you think you might need. But arriving at Hulu lifted our spirits. After climbing down a set of stone steps to the bay, the scene awaiting us was just gorgeous. We spread out our towels in the shade of a low, rocky overhang, and stretched out.

As they had been at Pos Spanjo, the conditions at Hulu were too rough for swimming, but I was unable to resist after the sweaty hike. And I was immediately sorry; the jagged rocks were too shallow, the waves far too powerful, and I was lucky to emerge from the water unscathed. I think that when the waters are calmer, you could swim at Hulu, but I’m not sure about that.

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu

The rest of our hike brought us back north, past the jump-off point for the Blue Room and returning us to Santu Pretu. At a slow pace with plenty of breaks, this ten-kilometer loop took us about three hours. There are ways to make it shorter, though. For instance, you could stick to the coast and entirely skip the more grueling interior part of the loop; it’s pretty, but possibly not worth the effort.

Whatever you decide to do in this wild region west of the Santa Martha Bay, you’re almost certain to be doing it alone. We love excursions like this; I don’t know if it means we’re antisocial, but there’s nothing better than a day of hiking without seeing another soul.

Locations on our Map: Boka Pos Spanjo | Boka Hulu
Our Route on Wikiloc

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Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
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February 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm Comments (0)

Intrepid Explorers Discover Playa Hunku

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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!!

Playa Hunky Curacao

The best part about this story is, I’m only exaggerating a little bit. Playa Hunku really is a hidden gem on Curaçao. Despite being so close to the popular resort of Playa Porto Mari, relatively few people know about it. We’ve even met locals who weren’t aware of its existence.

I hasten to point out that Playa Hunku is on private land. The road which leads there is closed, with signs indicating that trespassing is forbidden, and this might explain why the beach is almost always empty. But we checked with a few quasi-legitimate sources, all of whom assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem to walk over to the beach via the short path from Porto Mari. The owners don’t really care if the occasional tourist finds their way here, but they don’t want to open the road and have it become popular on a larger scale.

The path to Playa Hunku begins at the back of Porto Mari’s parking lot, with a brisk ascent up the Seru Mateo. From the top of this hill, you can look back for a nice view over the Playa Porto Mari… and it looks so beautiful, you’ll be tempted to run back down the hill and jump into the water. But press on, audacious adventurer! After a short hike of about twenty minutes, you’ll reach the other side of the hill, and be rewarded with your first glimpse of Playa Hunku. Note that the descent to the beach is steep and requires some caution.

The beach is a dream; a beautiful patch of sand, larger than we expected, with excellent snorkeling. While I was out by myself, a massive fish swam next to me, easily six feet long. I only spotted it from the corner of my eye, and wasn’t able to identify it before it swam swiftly away. In moments like this, logic flies out the window… I know there are no shark attacks on Curaçao. I know that. But I also know there’s always a first time. So I went into panic mode, swimming as swiftly as possible to shore. Later, Jürgen dared to go in after me, and got a better look at the same fish… it was a tuna.

We had an incredible time at Playa Hunku, and are loathe to write about it, since the magic of the place lies in its mystery and seclusion. But you’re reading this, which means you’re cool, so we’re letting you in on the tip. If you do go, please keep in mind that you’re a guest on private land. Don’t show up with a huge party, and (although it hardly needs said) make sure to clean up after yourself.

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Location on our Map
Our Route on Wikiloc

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February 5, 2016 at 11:04 pm Comments (2)

Watamula and Playa Gepi

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Watamula, at the northern tip of Curaçao, is a windblown wasteland of jagged volcanic rocks. It’s not an area in which you’d want to spend a majority of your vacation, but it has a few geological features that are worth hunting down.

Watamula Eye of Curacao

Parking a car in Curaçao is an activity fraught with danger, as there is a serious possibility that someone will smash open the back windshield with a rock. Violent crime is not widespread on Curaçao, but vandalism and theft certainly are. And cars rented by tourists are a favorite target. During our trip to the Shete Boka National Park, we saw two cars with their windows smashed, their occupants standing around frustrated and upset, waiting for the police to arrive.

Watamula Eye of Curacao

It happens a lot and I mention it now, because as we pulled into the small Watamula parking area, I thought, “This looks like the perfect place for window smashing.” It’s secluded, far from any security, there are places for thieves to hide, paths down which they can escape and, crucially, the car owners are going to be hundreds of meters away, across a field of volcanic rock. Even if you were to hear your window being smashed, you’d never get back fast enough. My suspicions weren’t exactly unfounded; all around Watamula’s parking lot were piles of shattered windshield glass.

But a little foresight goes a long way. Before leaving our car anywhere, but especially in a place like Watamula, we would take everything out, and make a big show about it. And I mean “everything”: even trivial items like ball caps and sunglasses. We would leave the glove compartment open and the trunk uncovered, so that potential thieves could see there’s nothing there. No reason to smash if there’s nothing to grab.

Watamula Eye of Curacao

Once our car was emptied, we could get back to concentrating on the nature. Directly in front of the parking lot and close to the shore, is the Eye of Curaçao: an enormous round sinkhole through which you can see the ocean swirling around. “Careful, thieves,” I thought, looking back anxiously at our car, “Curaçao is watching you.”

We now turned toward the east, and came upon a patch of porous ground through which the waves beneath can be heard. This phenomenon is known as the Breath of Curaçao, and it really does sound like the ground is steadily inhaling and exhaling.

Following the coast west, we walked along the cliffs until reaching a small sandy cove called Playa Gepi. A path led onto the sand and we sat here for awhile, watching the waves crash ashore; this might be a good place to go diving, but we found it far too choppy and dangerous for swimming. Regardless, we liked Playa Gepi for its solitude. Besides ours, there wasn’t another set of footprints in the sand.

Locations on our Map: Eye of Curaçao | Breath of Curaçao | Playa Gepi

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December 27, 2015 at 1:52 pm Comments (0)
Boka Pos Spanjo and Boka Hulu 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.
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