The Cliffs at Hanchi Spelonk
Every once in awhile, Jürgen and I will cross our fingers and embark upon an excursion which we know nothing about. Our trip to Hanchi Spelonk was one such adventure. There’s almost nothing on the internet nor in guidebooks about this little park, but we supposed it was worth a shot… if for no other reason than the excuse to say “Hanchi Spelonk” repeatedly throughout the day. Hanchi Spelonk!
We found the entrance to Hanchi Spelonk in the neighborhood of Souax, close to the Hato Airport. After parking our car in front of a tidy-looking house, we were greeted by the curious eyes of a small girl staring at us from behind the fence. Always mindful of Curaçao’s crime rate, we had been a little worried about leaving the car, but the girl seemed as good a guard as we were likely to encounter. Who would rob a car in front of a child?
The entrance to the park didn’t make us feel a lot safer. At the end of a desolate lot, there’s a chain link fence three meters high, plastered with warnings about entering. At your own risk. Danger lurks. Turn away while you can. Get your dumb tourist butt out of here. But the door was open, so we stepped through.
This was a desperately quiet park, and I had the feeling that we were the first people who had visited in a long time. Except, of course, for the rapists and muggers who were surely hiding behind every tree. But as we continued along the path, we eventually calmed down, and had soon arrived at Hanchi Spelonk, a set of limestone cliffs which time has worn into strange shapes. Hanchi Spelonk!
By now, we felt safe enough. As Jürgen pointed out, “If we were gonna get raped, it would have already happened.” We explored the cliffs, climbed around on top of the rocks, and followed signs leading to Mirador Berde, from where we gained a view over the airport and the entire park.
And then we heard voices. Instant panic. As silently as possible, we sneaked down from the Mirador, and approached the sound, using the cover of trees whenever possible. There was definitely a man speaking in Papiamento, yes, definitely a mugger. Soon enough, we spotted them: an older couple setting up a picnic in the park.
Sigh… in our defense, there’s a lot of crime in Curaçao and it pays to be safe. But this time, our extreme caution made us feel foolish. Luckily, we were able to back away without them discovering us lurking behind the trees, having unintentionally become the very creeps we were so afraid of.
Hanchi Spelonk is a gorgeous area, and it seems incredible that not more people know about it. It’s not anywhere near as popular as, for example, Hofi Pastor. You could enter from the scary chain-link fence in Souax, like we did, but I’d recommend coming in from the north, where you’ll be closer to the cliffs. If you’re looking for “off-the-beaten-path” Curaçao, you could hardly do better than Hanchi Spelonk. Hanchi Spelonk!