see species that are not easily found elsewhere
If you love the outdoors and our beautiful nature, you cannot skip a visit to the Christoffel Park!
It is the largest and most diverse protected nature area of the Leeward Dutch islands and gives you a unique perspective on our rich nature.
You will find the park teeming with local birds and plants, including species that are not easily seen elsewhere on the island. Examples of the lush nature of the Christoffel Park are found in the abundance of wild orchids, the native barn owl and the Curaçao white-tailed deer.
The rainy season (Sept – Jan) is the perfect moment to enjoy the large number of flowers, which decorate the trails and routes in the park.
Especially the bright orange flowers of the Lantana camara (flor di sanger) and the pink-purple flowers of Ipomoea incarnata (yerba di glas) live up the park with their bright colors and large flowers.
Smaller flowers, for instance Melochia tomentosa (basora kòrá), provide important ecological functions for the terrestrial ecosystems of Curacao.
During the dry season, the spectacular flowering of Handroanthus billbergii (kibrahacha) commences after a small shower of rain, lighting up the park with vibrant yellow colors.
You can find many bromeliads in the park. The Bromelia humilis (teku), a ground covering plant is well known for its pink flowers in a bright red heart and is often indicative of climax vegetation.
The plant protects soil from evaporation and therefore plays an important role in healthy and resilient terrestrial ecosystems.
The leaves grow in a rosette and bear sharp thorns.
Other bromeliads include the Tillandsia recurvata (Barba di kadushi) and the Tillandsia flexuosa (teku di palu), which both grow in trees and cacti, but after the livestock disappeared, now also cover the forest floor.
orchids & Lichens
You can find four species of orchids on Curaçao, of which two are widely spread throughout the park; the white Brassavola nodosa (orkidia blanku), which blooms from November to January and the purple Myrmecophila humboldtia (banana shimaron) which blooms in July and August.
The other two species, Oeceoclades maculate and Polystachya foliosa, only occur on Christoffel Mountain and surrounding hills.
Lichens are found on the higher hills and the Christoffel Mountain in the park. They thrive in these areas because the humidity of the air is slightly higher than at sea level because of the enforced ascend of the easterly winds. Lichens only grow in places with clean and fresh air.
Nine species of native reptiles can be seen on Curacao. The most well known reptile on the island is the green iguana (Iguana iguana). The animal speaks to the imagination of many people and often provides a nice photo opportunity.
Laurent’s whiptail (Cnemidophorus murinus) or bloublou can be seen on every trail throughout the day.
The elusive three-scaled ground snake (Erythrolamprus triscalis) can be difficult to spot, but it is sometimes possible to see after rain. This snake species is not poisonous and not aggressive.
The striped anole (Anolis lineatus) is abundant in the park. You can easily recognize this lizard by the bright orange/yellow coloured dewlap.
You can find a total of 12 native mammals on Curacao. These are the Curacao White Tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus curassavicus), the vesper mouse (Calomys hummelincki), the cotton tail rabbit (Silvilagus floridensis nigronuchalis) and 9 species of bats.
The White tailed deer is, despite being the largest mammal living in the park, not easy to spot because of its shy nature and small population. This endemic subspecies of deer is found only on Curaçao and Isla de Margarita (Venezuela) and differs in appearance and in behaviour from the species on the mainland. Population size is small and varies significantly between dry and wet years.
Bats fulfil important ecological roles for the islands; research has highlighted the key role of Nectivorous bats for the terrestrial ecosystem as the only principal pollinators of columnar cacti, which are a key food source for many animals during dry periods. Bats also pollinate agaves and other flowering plants.
In the park it is possible to see many of the 263 bird species, which have been recorded on Curacao. 57 are resident birds for the island. The others are visiting Curacao during their annual migration.
Resident birds, which you are able to spot regularly, are the crested caracara (Caracara cheriway), the blue-tailed emerald (Chlorostillbon mellisugus, a hummingbird species), the brown-throated parakeet (Aratinga pertinax pertinax), the tropical mockingbird (Mimus gilvus), the Venezuelan troupial (Icterus icterus) and the bare-eyed pigeon (Patagioenas corensis).
Less easy to spot are the barn owl (Tyto alba bargei), the white-tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus), the scaly-naped pigeon (Columba squamosa) and several species of tern (Sterna spp.).
The park is managed by the carmabi foundation
Find out more about their research and facilities in the Christoffelpark!