Hiking in Curaçao

Here’s what to expect and where to go hiking in Curaçao

hiking path near ocean

When we’re near land, Brian and I like hiking. We exercise, commune with nature and wildlife, and see the local views. After too much down time, we’re grateful to be healthy enough to hike and explore the island of Curaçao. Here are some tips and recommendations for hiking in Curaçao.

trail hiking in Curacao
A hiking trail in Curaçao

Be Prepared

Any time you hike, be prepared. Pack essentials like water, snacks, and bug spray. Wear good walking shoes (waterproof), a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen or clothes with SPF protection. Before hiking in Curaçao, read the following tips.

Know Before You Go: Hiking in Curaçao

Terrain

Curaçao is a tropical island with varied terrain. We’ve hiked through caves, salt ponds, coral and limestone, and mud. In the rainy season, many of the trails we tried were flooded. Sometimes we could walk around the edges, but usually it was knee deep in water and/or mud, which made for some adventurous hikes! I recommend wearing waterproof sandals or hiking shoes.

mud trail hiking Curacao
Wet trail in Curaçao during rainy season
Obstacles

Take care when hiking in Curaçao, as often there are obstacles in the paths. We have encountered thorns and cacti blocking our way, including underfoot. Both of us have jabbed our legs, hands and feet and it’s not fun. With all the thorns growing on this island, Curaçao could have an endless supply of Castles!

cactus in a trail
Watch out for cactus when hiking in Curaçao!
Thorns
Sharp thorns along the trails
cactus on a hike
OUCH! Brian got stabbed by a cactus!
Trash

Caribbean islands do not have the luxury of space for landfills, and in Curaçao, that leads to trash in a lot of places. You can try to bring a bag and pick it up, which we’ve done in some islands, but usually there is too much trash here to bring out ourselves. You’d need a big group of people and a truck to make a difference, sadly.

Anti littering sign in Curacao
Sign spotted in Curaçao.

Some hikes are not among my favorites simply because of the garbage all along the way. It’s depressing, smelly and generally unpleasant to walk in nature and see trash.

garbage dump
A garbage dump near a hike in Curaçao

Fortunately, trash is not everywhere and there are a lot of beautiful hikes in Curaçao.

Wildlife

Expect to see a lot of lizards and other wildlife when hiking in Curaçao. Lizards are everywhere, mostly the tiny ones who run across the paths when they hear you coming. They’re cute, and often colorful.

lizard
A lizard on a recent hike in Curaçao

In addition to the reptiles, we also see lots of birds, including parrots, which come in pairs. We also see goats, cows, dogs, a rabbit, mice and flamingos. Looking for animals is one of the best parts of hiking! As a general rule, leave them alone, don’t get too close, and only take photos.

cows on a hike
Cows along the trail

Where to Go Hiking in Curaçao

Curaçao is a big island with a lot of hiking trails! While I don’t claim to have done them all, here are some of my favorite hikes. For the non-hikers who still want to visit these scenic spots, many are accessible by car, or have a mix of driving and walking. I’ll let you know when driving is an option.

Top five hikes in Curacao
Five favorite hikes in Curaçao
Christoffel National Park

You can drive some of the trails in the national park, but we chose to hike when we visited Christoffel, in the northeast of Curaçao.

Christoffel Park map
Where is Christoffel Park?

Christoffel Park is the island’s biggest national park. One of the few places where you have to pay to hike, the $15USD fee is worth it for the huge array of trails. The park even has some pet donkeys and a museum near the entrance.

One hike is to the beach and the caves. The beach is pretty but buggy so you probably won’t stay long. You also don’t have to hike it – many of the places in the park, aside from the mountain, can be reached by car.

Muddy flooded trail in Curacao
One of our wetter hikes!
Christoffel Mountain

The other hike in the park, and the most popular one, is Christoffel Mountain. There’s something to be said for climbing the tallest mountain on the island. Hikers know what I mean!

View of Mount Christoffel
Mount Christoffel

If you want to hike the peak, arrive at the park early because you have to start this hike before 10am so as to avoid the extreme afternoon heat. Considering the park is at least 90 minutes away from our anchorage, this was one of our earlier mornings in Curaçao! Fortunately our good friends from S/V Starlight joined us on this and other hikes.

Park rules sign
Park rules Chrristoffel Park

Christoffel Mountain is one of the toughest hikes on the island because of the elevation and rocky terrain, but it’s mostly well marked. The trail is under 3K, and it starts from a separate parking lot in the park. We chose to hike from the main parking lot, which added another 1.5K total. While this sounds short, it is uphill and involves some climbing.

Mount Kristoffel hiking in Curacao
Hiking Mount Kristoffel
Christoffel Mountain at the top
Me and our friend Rokas atop Christoffel Mountain

The 360 views from Curaçao’s highest point are a reward for the tough climb.

Mount Christoffel view
View from Mount Christoffel

We went on a Saturday, and the trail was busy. We passed people on our way up and down, and saw plenty of folks resting at the top. The mountain hike took about 3 hours, including our lunch break at the top where we fed some cute but camera-shy mice.

Watamula Blow Holes

Watamula Blow Holes is a rugged coastal spot where the waves break hard against coral cliffs, forming several blow holes on shore. Watch your step and bring your camera because there are lots of cool geographic formations at this spot!

blow hole
Blow hole

The blow holes are fun to watch, but don’t miss the cool bubbles in the water along the way!

The bubbles at Watamula
blow hole Watamula
One of the Watamula Blow Holes

The hike to the blowholes is not difficult as it’s mostly on a lightly travelled road. It’s more difficult if you do a loop, hiking along rocks and precarious cliffs along the shore, but it’s much prettier. You can also drive most of the way on the lightly travelled road, providing you have a sturdy car.

ocean view hiking
Gorgeous views on the hike back from Watamula Hole

One of the best things about this hike is you can end it at a beautiful lodge with a cold beer. Just outside the lodge is a safe parking lot where we left the car.

Flowers at Kura Hulanda Lodge
The walk back through the lodge with beautiful flowers

The drinks aren’t cheap, but the atmosphere is worth it. We got lucky and had the whole place to ourselves at the end of our hike.

Kura Hulanda Lodge views
A beautiful place for a cold beer after the hike!
Watamula Hole map
Hike from the lodge (and parking) to the blowholes
Saliña Sint Michel

Possibly the easiest of my favorite hikes in Curaçao, this loop hike starts near the shore and includes a peak, salt pans, and birds, and finishes at a beach bar.

View of salt pans and flamingos
Views of Saliña San Michel

Located just west of downtown Willemstad, this is a 5K hike with a lot to see. By car, you can visit the beach, the cute town at Sint Michel, and drive along the road to see the flamingoes. For the rest, you must hike!

Saint Michel and Salinas hike Curacao
Saliñas “Flamingo Hike” location

Brian initially found this hike through geocaching, and we found a couple of fun caches here with lovely views. Watch out for cactus though! This hike takes you around and across the salt pans. It’s a relatively easy hike, mostly on well marked trails, except for a couple of boulders you climb and a rickety bridge at the end.

path hiking trail Salinas Curacao
Nice path on the Saliñas hike

The peak is actually a detour from the loop, but offers great views of the ocean, ponds, and the surrounding towns, including Willemstad.

Salt pan and ocean
Salt pan and ocean

My favorite part of the hike was the flamingos. We got fairly close to them to get some good photos, but they fly away when people are near, so have your camera ready! We learned most of the flamingos fly to Bonaire during the day and return before dark, so this is a good place to visit at sundown.

pink flamingos flying boka michel hike
Flamingos in flight

The second best part of the hike was the beach bar, which is newly opened and in a great spot. Plus, cold beer at the end of a hike is a welcome reward! Maybe you should go later in the day and you can drive away with the flamingos at sunset. After a hike, replenishment is important, so read what to eat and drink in Curaçao.

Niffo Bar beach bar outdoors
A beach bar at the end of the hike is a welcome sight
Map of San Michel hike
This is Brian’s Strava of the hike in Sint Michel
Turtuga Trail, Ascension/Turtle Hike

Turtuga trail is accessible by car and is an easy hike. It’s worth visiting if you’re in the area, especially if you’re a turtle fan, as Ascension Bay is a turtle nesting ground. Turtuga means turtle.

Where's Tortuga trail map hiking in Curacao
Where’s Tortuga Trail?
Steps Ascension Bay hiking Curacao
Part of the trail near Ascension Bay

You have a couple of options when you get near Ascension. You can park out by the main road and hike to the bay, or you can drive the dirt road to a parking lot near the water. The first one offers a 5-ish mile loop, and the second is walking along a path on the cliffs overlooking Ascension Bay. Either way, you have to walk the cliffs to try to spot turtles. The waves crash hard in this cove but turtles love it here! Spend enough time looking and you’ll see some turtles swimming under the waves.

Ascension Bay waves
Ascension Bay where the turtles play in the waves
Santa Cruz Bay

From Santa Cruz Bay, take a hike to the Blue Room Cave and back. The trail starts with steps from Captain Goodlife’s place up the hill and is marked with signs.

Santa Cruz Bay hiking in Curacao
Santa Cruz Bay from the start/end of the hike

This is an easy to moderate hike with options: an unpaved road or scrambling along cliffs by the shore. We did a little of both.

Santa Cruz Bay to Blue Room hike
Santa Cruz Bay and cave in Curaçao

Along the coast there are some pretty views and beaches. On the road there’s another geocache. It’s a very narrow “road” and I don’t think cars use it, but ATVs may.

Santa Cruz Curacao
View from the Santa Cruz hike

From the ocean path, you can walk down to a black sand beach, catch views of the gorgeous Caribbean water, and go for a swim in the blue cave. Bring your mask and snorkel for that part!

snorkel Caribbean sea
Snorkeling spot near Santa Cruz Bay
Many More Hikes in Curaçao

These are not all the hikes we’ve done in Curaçao, they are just my favorites. We use Wikiloc and Geocaching to find hikes wherever we go as these are easy to use apps with lots of well-marked trails. Share your favorite hikes and any tips or recommendations in the comments!

Hiking in Curacao
Watch your step! In dry season, the dirt crumbles under your feet
Hiking in Curacao pin
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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, scuba diver, cat parent, cyclist, blogger, love the water and exploring new places.

14 thoughts on “Hiking in Curaçao”

  1. There are so many beautiful hikes there. I love the blow holes and the color of the water. That littering sign is great!

  2. I’d love to hike to Watamula Blow Holes, and some of the other spots you’ve mentioned. It looks like there’s a lot of diversity, and of course, all that wildlife is fun to spot!

    1. Usually the rustle in the grass is a lizard, but sometimes we’re surprised by a rabbit or someone else. Looking for wildlife does make hiking more fun!

  3. Goodness what a massive difference between the rainy season and the dry season! The Curacao look fantastic (and so varied!) It must be nice to have moment out hiking after being at sea for a while!

    I especially love the look of the hike to the high point (those views!) and visiting the blowhole (they are sooo cool!)

  4. Ouch! That cactus spike looks painful! Mount Christoffel looks spectacular though! What a beautiful hike! I’d also like to see the Watamula Blow Holes, they look incredible! Thanks for the great guide!

    1. Thank you Nora. The cacti are hard to avoid! After some hikes we need to get out the pliers and pull them out of the bottoms of our shoes! ????????‍♀️

  5. Great destination for an adventure hike! There are so many things to explore here. The mountain, beach, and the Blow Holes are excellent for testing stamina, and endurance.

  6. Has anyone encountered a brick house on a cliff that has since fallen into the sea on their hikes? I’m trying to find the location. Thx

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