Christoffel National Park
The Zorgvlied Hike

The trail leads to the foot of Mount
Christoffel .

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The Zorgvlied Plantation Hike

The Zorgvlied Plantation Hike offers the option of hiking 4.7 miles or 7.5 miles. The short leg takes about 3 hours, the longer about 5 hours.No shade protection from the relentless sun. A hat and plenty of fluids are essential.

The green-blazed route explores the Zorgvlied plantation, which was merged with Savonet in 1830, making it one of the largest and most important on all Curacao in the 1800s. The trail leads to Mount Christoffel .

Like Savonet, the Zorgvlied Route is a botanical, geological and historical tour. The Dutch name Zorgvlied means a place "where worry flees."

No one has worried about the country house since 1832, when this plantation merged with Savonet, and it shows. Only the walls are still standing, though the porch is in decent shape.

Starting out, you pass one of those exotic-import ideas that went badly astray: the rubber vine, Cryptostegia grandiflora, brought from Madagascar during WWI to produce latex, which is made into rubber. The plant actually bleeds latex when pinched.

Unfortunately, the rubber vine and its whip-like runners thrived too well and soon overgrew the local vegetation. Officially considered a pest, it is too difficult to eradicate because the roots must be dug up to prevent the plant from sprouting anew.

Leaving the estate ruins, the road steeply descends to provide a good view of Mount Christoffel. If you go left at the T-junction, it will take you immediately to the foot of Christoffel, where you can begin the climb.

Ahead of you is a once fertile valley where millet was grown. If you're tired of the scenic tour and ready to really hike, go left to Christoffel.

Going straight ahead, the road descends into two more roois (overflow areas), then slopes steeply with two Z-bends and leads to a hilltop overlooking an area known as Rancho Grande.

The geology of the hill covers an incredible time span. The lower terrace facing the sea is an estimated 125,000 years old; low inland hills comprising the middle terrace are 510,000 years old.

Rocks on these hills are an estimated 100 million years old, part of the Curacao Lava Formation. The geology of the ABCs, obviously long and complicated, is well explained in the park guide for sale at the entrance.

The trail then goes along a ridge that is the most scenic part of the Zorgvlied Route. After a final steep descent, the route takes you to the foot of Mount Christoffel.

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