Christoffel National Park, Curacao, is centered on Mount Christoffel, the island's highest point at 1,239 ft/377 m. It affords a panoramic view of all of Curacao, as well as nearby Bonaire and Venezuela.
Hikers can take one of eight different nature trails and see caves with ancient Caiquetio drawings. It's a lovely area, with 10-ft-/3-m-tall cacti, palm trees, flowers, whitetail deer and birds (orioles, troupials, yellow-breasted sugar birds and some parrots that a hurricane blew in from Bonaire). Roads in the park have recently been improved, allowing guided drive-through tours on three routes of varying lengths. Deer-watching is the most popular attraction, done in scheduled groups.
The park is open Monday-Saturday 7:30 am-4 pm; Sunday 6 am-3 pm. No camping is allowed. Admission is about US$12; guided walking tours US$20-$42; guided mountain climb US$30; horseback-riding tours US$40; Jeep tours US$20-$30. Advance reservations are required. Phone 864-0363 or 540-3604 for details on these and other excursions.
The 4,500-acre/1,800-hectare park also includes Landhuis Savonet, one of the oldest plantation houses on the island. It hosts nature-related exhibits and forms part of the park's visitors center. http://www.christoffelpark.org.
We consider the day we spent exploring the park the highlight of our Curacao stay. Excursion Guide to Christoffel Park, sold at the park and front desks of some hotels, is a worthwhile purchase if you plan to visit the park.
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