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Watamula Cliff Route

Shete Boka National Park West,

Curaçao, Netherland Antilles

     Watamula, found in the extreme northwest of the Caribbean island of Curaçao, offers the hiker a glimpse at a rugged, unspoiled coastline where iguanas, parakeets, frigate birds, and brown boobies carve out a life near three natural wonders—a sinkhole known as the “Eye of Curaçao,” a vent known as the “Breath of Curaçao,” and a wondrous natural sea arch.

     The area, now part of the newly formed Shete Boka National Park, is easily accessed from a parking area located near the end of the paved/dirt road that passes by Playa Kalki and the Lodge Kura Hulanda—once you pass the lodge the paved road turns to dirt, then just follow the signs to Watamula. As you make your way along the dirt road, scan the towering roadside kadushi cactus and acacia trees for parakeets who love to eat the fruit.

     From the small parking area, walk north along the dirt trail and out onto the jagged coral coast—look for a large boulder painted with the flag of Curaçao and a tree blazed with blue paint for reference. There are no marked trails, but finding your way is pretty easy—by using the flag boulder as a point of reference, just look to the west (left) for the blue blazed tree. Head for the tree for amazing views of the limestone cliffs, and then continue hiking west along the cliff’s edge—shortly, you will reach a vantage point where you can look back towards the east for a view of a spectacular natural sea arch.

     Continuing west, scan the cliffs for signs of nesting sea birds—patches of white, i.e. bird poo, is a sure sign that the birds have made a home. With binoculars or a telephoto lens, you should be able to spot a few brown boobies nesting on the cliff—your chances of sighting these sea birds increases during late afternoon and early morning.

     You can continue hiking west as far as you desire—eventually, you will reach the Lodge Kura Hulanda, the Indian Caves, and then Playa Kalki—we hiked as far as the cliffs with the brown boobies and then retraced our steps back to the blue tree.

     Back at the tree, we hiked east past the flag boulder until we spotted a yellow marker in the distance—the yellow post marks the site of the massive sinkhole known as the “Eye of Curaçao.” This geological wonder, where you can view the sea swirling about within the sinkhole, is a spectacle to behold—get too close and you will definitely feel the spray of the crashing waves.

     Further east along the coast, you will stumble across a pile of rocks marking yet another geological wonder—the “Breath of Curaçao.” The phenomenon gets its name from the action of the surging waves far below the honeycomb surface of the porous rock—as the waves surge in and out of the structure, air is forced up through the holes, making it sound as if the island is breathing.

     It is possible to hike nearly 3 miles (5 km) along the windswept coast of Watamula—the length of the trip is entirely at the hiker’s discretion. Just be sure to hike with caution on the rough, uneven terrain—a fall here would result in painful injuries.

     We opted to return to the car after exploring the three highlights, and we were perfectly satisfied with our hiking adventure—although, I am sure further exploration would yield even more highlights. Watamula is a wild place and definitely worth a visit, so do not miss an opportunity to explore Curaçao’s pristine northern coast.

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