Watamula and Playa Gepi
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.
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.
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.
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.