Christoffel National Park#7 in Best Things To Do in Curacao
In 1978, three plantations near the northern tip of Curaçao merged to create Christoffel National Park. The park houses indigenous flora and fauna, such as barn owls, the rare and endangered Curaçao white-tailed deer and 450 species of plants, including wild orchids. While you can take a scenic drive through Curaçao's largest national park, hiking or mountain biking is the best way to experience Christoffel's rugged landscape.
Recent visitors said the view from the top of Christoffel Mountain is unforgettable. You can climb the peak and back in two to three hours, but due to the high temperatures and lack of shade, the park doesn't allow visitors to start their hike after 10 a.m., so make sure to get there early. Past travelers stressed to bring at least two bottles of water and comfortable shoes, as the terrain gets rockier the closer you get to the summit.
Along with two driving and eight hiking trails, the park offers safaris, a guided climb up the mountain, bird and deer spotting activities, as well as seasonal events geared toward families. Those looking to get more insight into the park's history should stop at the Savonet Museum. Housed inside one of the island's oldest plantations, the museum showcases history through the eyes of the area's former residents, including the slaves who worked on the Savonet plantation, and the Arowak Indians who called the park home almost 4,000 years ago.
The park is located about 25 miles northwest of Willemstad. You can arrive via rental car or bus. The Westpunt bus leaves the Otrobanda bus station every two hours. Christoffel National Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. (the ticket office closes at 1:30 p.m.). A one-day pass that includes admission to the park and the Savonet Museum costs $14.50 for adults and $4.50 for children ages 6 to 12. Admission to only the Savonet Museum costs $3 for adults and $2 for kids. For more information, visit the park's website.
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#1 Scuba Diving
If you really want to see some of Curaçao's best sights, you're going to have to get your hair wet. A fascinating world of delicate coral gardens, graceful stingrays, playful dolphins and even sunken ships awaits you in the depths of the Caribbean. The best way to explore it is with a plastic mask strapped to your face and an oxygen tank strapped to your back.
Many of Curaçao's specified dive sites are accessible directly from the beach – try Porto Mari or Blauwbaai – while others must be reached by boat. The enormous star coral formations of the Mushroom Forest are a must-see; afterward, you can take a breather in the sapphire light of the nearby Blue Room cave. You can also explore the coral-encrusted remains of the Superior Producer, a cargo freighter that went down in 1977.
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