Christoffel Park



Famous for its fine liqueur made from the sweetened peel of bitter oranges and for its sunny climate and secluded beaches, Curaçao has a rich and diverse history, which explains the international flavor of its culture and the curious mixture of Old and New World charm. The people claim descent from over 50 different ethnic backgrounds, and the native language, Papiamentu, is a creole mixture of Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, African, and some Arawak Indian.

Curaçao's strategic position at the base of the Caribbean has also made it an important crossroads for global commerce and connected the tiny island with many of the important persons and events in world affairs. Amerigo Vespucci, Alonso de Ojeda, Peter Stuyvesant, the notorious Captain Bligh, Simon Bolivar were all drawn into Curaçao's colorful past.

Today however, it is mainly the sun and the natural beauty that bring people here. With an average rainfall of less than 22 inches a year, the weather is almost guaranteed to be sunny all the time, and the constant tradewinds help to keep the island cool. There are 38 different beaches to choose from -- some that are sheltered by towering cliffs, others with deep caves created by the pounding surf, and still others with wide expanses and modern facilities.

Or for the more actively inclined, there are ample opportunities to experience the natural wonders up close. Curaçao has long been overlooked by diving enthusiasts, but the national Underwater Park is a 12.5 mile stretch of protected coral reef with many attractions for even the most experienced of divers and Klein Curaçao, a small uninhabited island off the eastern coast, is well worth exploring. The marlin, sailfish, tuna, and wahoo in the offshore waters provide excellent Deep Sea Fishing, and the wildlife in the preserve at Christoffel Park should be of interest to anyone who prefers to encounter nature on dry land.

Curaçao is also a great spot for bargain-hunters. The duty-free shopping makes for some of the best deals in the Caribbean on imported electronic equipment, china, crystal, jewelry, linens, and perfume. The capital city of Willemstad has an active social life with music festivals all year long, dancing at the popular discotheques, and gambling in the hotel casinos.


The largest and most populous of the Netherlands Antilles, located in between Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao lies some 35 miles off the northern coast of Venezuela and 800 miles north of the equator. The island is 38 miles long and varies between 2 and 8 miles in width. Spectacular beaches line the southwest, leeward coast. Geographically, it falls within the Atlantic Standard Time Zone, which is one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time and the same as Eastern Daylight Time. Its capital city is Willemstad.

The population numbers more than 170,000, most of whom are of African or mixed African and European descent. In all, more than 50 different ethnic backgrounds are represented here, and the people are very proud of the island's international flavor. The native language is Papiamentu, but Curaçaoans are multi-lingual, having learned to speak English, Dutch, and Spanish at school from the third grade on.

Curaçao lies well below the hurricane belt, so the climate is sunny and dry, averaging only 22 inches of rainfall per year. The rainy season occurs in November and December. Despite the almost constant sunshine, the average year-round temperature is only 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius) due to the trade winds that keep the island cool all the time. A hilly island of volcanic origin, Curaçao supports a large variety of tropical flora and fauna, most of which may be found in Christoffel Park, a nature preserve located at the northern tip around the island's highest point, Mt. Christoffel.

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