Curacao
Hofi Pastor
Look for iguanas and birds at this sanctuary run by the Friends of the Earth.

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Time: 45-60 minutes for each trail. Difficulty: 1. Trailhead: Located in the village of Barber, beside a large church, in the western part of the island. Admission fee. Open sunrise to sunset. Benches and picnic areas provided.

Hofi Pastor (Priest's Orchard) covers 12 hectares and is operated by the Friends of the Earth. It offers 2 different hiking trails.

Both start at a magnificent 300-year-old kapok tree with huge plank roots. It is surrounded by dozens of mature fruit trees.

The Yellow Trail passes through a forest of mahogany and calabash trees and the arid countryside, ending at the top of a hill with an excellent panoramic view of the surrounding area.

The Orange Trail goes through some of the island's largest trees. Of particular note is the surun di mundi tree with its large, light green leaves; it is almost extinct on Curacao. This shaded trail also ends at the top of a hill with a panoramic view.

Most of Curacao's hofis (orchards) have been neglected over the years and no longer yield fruit. This hofi was sold to a catholic priest, Father Nieuwindt, in the early 1800s. He became a thorn in the side of local landowners when he started holding weekly masses in the corn barn of a friendly neighbor.

Over 500 slaves attended each service, and locals were afraid they would rebel. After the governor stopped the weekly sessions in 1829, Father Nieuwindt received permission to build Barber Church, adjacent to the hofi.

In the late 1800s the hofi became known as St. Josefsdal but people today still call it Hofi Pastor.

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