Curacao is one of the Caribbean islands where there are plenty of tourist attractions to take up your time when you want a break from the beach. Hiking, sightseeing and shopping are just some of the activities that will provide you with a true sense of the culture and the lifestyle of the island while giving you a glimpse into the past.
Christoffel National Park is located on the western tip of the island and is only a 45-minute drive from Willemstad. Rare orchids can be seen growing wild and there are groves of cacti and bromeliads. St. Christoffelberg is the highest peak in the Dutch Antilles. The reserve is home to grazing donkeys, wild goats and the Curacao deer. Birdwatchers can delight in the sight of the many species of birds that nest in this region. Near the two caves of the park you can see petroglyphs carved into the cliffs by the prehistoric natives of the island – the Arawak tribe. If you want to explore the great outdoors on foot, there are many marked hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty – one of which will take you to the top of St. Christoffelberg in about 90 minutes.
Have a mystical experience when you visit the Hato Caves. Here you can take a guided tour of the cave system that has been formed from coral reefs. Stalagmites and stalactites surround you and you will gaze in awe at the underground lake the mirrors some of the limestone formations under the ground. The Cathedral is a huge underground cavern and on the walls you can see petroglyphs from the earliest inhabitants.
The Curacao Se Aquarium is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. It is located at a site known as Bapor Kibra and contains more than 400 different species of fish and other sea creatures. Here you can have an encounter with sharks by feeding them through the feeding holes of a large window. However, this is only for divers and experienced swimmers. There is also a beach at this side where you can rest under the shade of palm trees and take in the full tropical experience of the Caribbean.
Divers and snorkelers will surely want to spend some time at the Marine Park. This is a strip extending about 20 km along the eastern point of the island where you can explore untouched coral reefs in all their glory. If you prefer to stay out of the water, you can still have a thrilling experience by taking a trip in a glass-bottomed boat.
This is just a sampling of what Curacao has to offer its visitors. In order to see everything the island holds you will have to make several trips.