Mount Christoffel Hike
Enjoy the view from the top of Curacao.

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Mount Christoffel Hike


Mount Christoffel in the park of the same name takes about 1 hour to climb. Start from the parking lot at the base of the 1,230-foot high Mount Christoffel near the visitor center.  This is a moderately challenging hike.     

Begin early because of the constant sun/heat. In fact, no one is allowed the hike the peak after 11 a.m. The path --blazed in red--is on the lee side of the hill, out of the wind, so you don't have the benefit of the trades to keep you cool.

The trail follows a large rooi (overflow) bordered by numerous rubber vines and manchineel trees. In the rooi, birdwatching may be quite good: sparrows, bananaquits and warblers. You're more likely to hear than see the shy St. Christoffel pigeon that lives in the tree-tops. Its easily identifiable call is "roo-coo-coo."

Climbing gradually becomes more difficult. Keep a lookout for the juvenile green iguanas and the better camouflaged adults. As on Aruba, these are widely hunted with pellet guns or sling-shots for their meat.

You may also spot whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus murinus murinus); when the males run at full speed, they raise their tails and the front part of their bodies, looking like dinosaurs on the move.

You're also likely to see light brown lizards with a gray lateral stripe (Anolis lineatus) on tree trunks or twigs.

 If you start the climb early, you could spot tiny, very shy white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus curassavicus). They aren't much larger than a goat. Curacao is the only Caribbean island where deer were present before Columbus.

As you climb, the gradual transition to a more humid micro-climate becomes evident, with beard moss and other lichens and a definite predominance of large-leafed, thornless trees. A couple of fern species will also be evident in the rocks off to the left.

The hike ends with a scramble to the top, where the blessed trades cool you off. The view from here, the top of Curacao, is exceptional.

On clear days you can spot Aruba to the west, Bonaire and the distant mountain ranges of Venezuela to the east. Sit, relax and enjoy the view.

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