Locked up! In... a National Park!

Christoffel Park - Curacao Travel Blog

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Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark

In our carefully composed week program we had planned a visit to the Christoffel National Park for today. The Christoffel Park is located in the north-western part of the island, about an hour driving from Willemstad. The park has several aspects, cultural, historical, and natural. The first two are reflected in the visitor's center of the park, in the former Landhuis Savonet. The nature aspect is everywhere in the park. This part of the island is unlike what one would expect from Curacao, packed with lush green hills. Many types of flora and fauna live here.

The heart of the park is the 375 meter (1230 ft) high Mount Sint Christoffel, the highest point on the island.

Our aim, Mount Christoffel, 375 m high
Despite the fact that both Sana and I had already visited the park and the mountain years ago we decided to making the ascend of the mountain the main course for today.

We left quite early, only with some stops for buying gas for the car, and a Batido (a fresh fruit milkshake) with a pastechi (a small cheese/ham/chicken/tuna pastry) which we, very idyllically, ate at a bus stop along the main road to the park.

Upon purchasing tickets for the park the ranger told us we were late and had to hurry. We had read something about admission after a certain point in time was not possible, so we assumed we were near that deadline.

Our huge rental car driving through one of the many fords
The ranger gave us a shortcut for which we had to drive the first part of the hike. A very cool road, through the park. It felt like being in a roller coaster, up-hill, down-hill, up-hill, down-hill, up-hill, down-hill, etc. on very steep roads. Fortunately the roads were paved, our "cookie-jar car" would never have made it on dirt roads....

The hike to the top of the mountain was beautiful and very surprising. The previous two times I climbed the mountain was in the dry season. Last night it had rained very much and the result was that we were hiking in a tropical rainforest like environment. Damp, moist, streams, and even roaring waterfalls everywhere.

The last part to the top was a bit tricky, due to the same rain, the mountain was really slippery, and we had to cross a few steep meters with a respectable abyss.

Great view from the top!
But, we made it en we were the two highes people on the island, and even of the country!

Our descent went steady and when we arrived at the car it was 15:45 hrs. We thought we were perfectly in time and we enjoyed some more roller coaster like roads, some smashing views, some nice ford like places in the road and then headed to the exit, we arrived at the exit at 16:16 hrs. And to our horror we found it.... CLOSED.... The automatic barrier opened but after that there was a unrelenting fence that was locked down with a very solid padlock... We were a bit puzzled, the park info map the ranger had provided us with did not mention anything about closures. I decided to climb the fence and headed to the visitor's center, whose fence was also closed. Fortunately another entry was still open. I managed to talk to somebody who lived on the site.

Trapped in the park, waiting for our liberator
This person did, however, not have any keys but was so kind to make some calls. After about 10 minutes he told me to go back to the car, a ranger was on his way, but he could not tell how long it would take.....

Sana and I sat down next to our imprisoned car and while eating chips, and water melon (our Caribbean version of Water and Bread) we waited. And yes, after abut 40 minutes a car showed up and a ranger (with a key!) appeard. He must have been really angry.. Stupid tourists! He did not say a word, but his facial expression told more than any word or phrase could have said...

More pictures below! Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare 

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Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
Our aim, Mount Christoffel, 375 m …
Our aim, Mount Christoffel, 375 m…
Our huge rental car driving throug…
Our huge rental car driving throu…
Great view from the top!
Great view from the top!
Trapped in the park, waiting for o…
Trapped in the park, waiting for …
Picknick at the Bus Stop
Picknick at the Bus Stop
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
At Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpa…
At Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelp…
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
Landhuis Savonet, Christoffelpark
On our way to the top
On our way to the top
Many small and larger brooks on th…
Many small and larger brooks on t…
When clambering, watch out where y…
When clambering, watch out where …
The top is getting nearer
The top is getting nearer
Almost like hinking in a tropical …
Almost like hinking in a tropical…
Standing on the top of Mount Chris…
Standing on the top of Mount Chri…
Great view from the top!
Great view from the top!
The highest point marked by the La…
The highest point marked by the L…
A parrot
A parrot
Lizard, one of the hundreds we saw
Lizard, one of the hundreds we saw
After the hike, Mount Christoffel …
After the hike, Mount Christoffel…
Water flowing on the mountain (pho…
Water flowing on the mountain (ph…
Your reporter in the stream (photo…
Your reporter in the stream (phot…
At the top, with a flag borrowed f…
At the top, with a flag borrowed …
Christoffel Park - Curacao
photo by: mdalamers