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Netherlands Antilles: Christoffelberg

Mission accomplished image

Christoffelberg | Netherlands Antilles | Americas

[Visited: July 2013]

After I had bought my entrance ticket, I was on my way up. I decided to walk from the visitor centre, supposedly an extra half hour one way. The trail runs through dry bushes, and according to the friendly lady of the visitor centre, there was an opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife here. In fact, I saw several warawara birds, in one case accompanying me through a tunnel of trees. Whenever the view opened, the goal of my hike was right ahead of me: the sharp contours of the peak of Christoffelberg, at 372 metres the highest point of Curacao. The going was still easy when I reached the parking lot. I was happy having walked the first bit, it had warmed me up for the climb ahead.

Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): Sweeping views from the summit of Christoffelberg

Quite soon after the parking lot, the trail went up at a steeper angle, and I started gaining height. Well signposted, walking up is pretty easy, also because you often see the summit above you. There were some great views on the way, but I decided to push on, and enjoy the views from the top itself. As I worked my way up, the vegetation climbed, and I especially loved the red centered bromeliads and tall cacti that covered the slopes of Christoffelberg. The very last part of the ascent involves some rock-climbing and scrambling over tree trunks. Here, a very welcome breeze was arriving to cool me down. I needed it: I had been sweating it out; I took off my backpack, sat on the highest rock, and soaked in the views 360 degrees around me while the wind was drying my shirt.

Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): The contours of Christoffelberg seen from the coastal area of Shete Boka

From the summit, I could see almost the entire island; the waves of Boca Tabla I had visited that same morning, the Grote Berg, the forest below, that looked like a sea of green, while down there, it had seemed much drier. I now had more time to have a closer look at the beard moss which I had seen hanging from cacti. Here, entire trees were covered in it - a sign of clean, moist air. More people reached the summit of Christoffelberg, a mountain named in honour of Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer. It was getting warmer, and after spending a pleasant hour on the summit, I retraced my steps. There are lizards everywhere, and I constantly heard the sound of one of them darting through the dry leaves on the ground. I circled the mountain car route, offering more views of Christoffelberg, the highest point of Curacao before heading to Westpoint. Finally, after having seen the mountain several times before, I was now able to say that I had actually climbed it.

Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): Looking up Christoffelberg with cactuses and rocks in the foreground
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): The rocks of the summit of Christoffelberg, with the sea in the background
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): Ruins of a small, old lighthouse near the Zorgvlied Ruins
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): Beard moss is common on trees around Christoffelberg
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): Christoffelberg dominating the surrounding landscape of northern Curacao
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): A red centered bromeliad, a common plant on the slopes of Christoffelberg
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): The view from Christoffelberg with the surrounding landscape and sea
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): Christoffelberg in the background of ruins surrounded by cactuses
Picture of Christoffelberg (Netherlands Antilles): One of the many cactuses in Christoffelberg Park

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