A major reason why I chose to visit Curaçao is Mt. Christoffel. Curaçao is the only island in this part of the Caribbean that has a true mountain hiking experience.
Mt. Christoffel, also known as Christoffelberg, is a short but challenging hike with satisfying, 360-degree views from the top. I loved this hike and the views so much I spent a ton of time at the top taking it all in.
In this post, I give the complete breakdown of how to make this hike happen in the best way. From the best time to go to how long it'll take you, this is my hiking story and your guide to climbing the highest peak in Curaçao.
How Tall Is Mt. Christoffel?
Mt. Christoffel is over 1,200 ft (375 meters) tall, making it the highest point in Curaçao.
This mountain also marks the highest point in the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), making this hike a true highlight of the Dutch Caribbean.
Where Is Mt. Christoffel?
Mt. Christoffel is located in the Westpunt region of Curaçao to the Northwest of Willemstad.
I drove to the Christoffel National Park visitor center across the street (on the right if going NW on Weg Naar Westpunt road) from the entrance to the park (which is on the left).
How to Get to Mt. Christoffel?
There are two primary modes of transportation around all of Curaçao: Bus and car.
There is a bus system with stops all over including in front of the office for the Mt. Christoffel National Park. However, I would not recommend the bus because, not only is it a bit unreliable, it also means adding extra time to account for your walk to the trailhead from the bus stop.
Your alternative is either driving yourself or getting a taxi service to take you. I had a rental car. The drive took me about 35 minutes from the suburbs of Willemstad (near the airport). I traveled 15 miles on Weg Naar Westpunt to the ticket office. Then it’s about 10 minutes into the park to the trailhead.
How Much Is It To Enter Mt. Christoffel National Park?
There seems to be a steady increase in fees for most experiences around Curaçao.
At the time of writing this post, there was an entrance fee for adults (25 NAF / $14.50 USD) and children ages 6-12 (7.50 NAF / $4.50 USD). This was definitely more than I paid when I was there so make sure you check out the current rates.
You have to pay at the office to receive a receipt that you show at the entrance to the park.
What Is The Best Time To Climb Mt. Christoffel?
The park is open for entry all days of the week from 6AM to 2PM. But you cannot hike up to the peak after 10AM.
I prefer to hike when there are fewer hikers because I enjoy the solitude of nature so much. So I went on this hike on a Monday morning. While there were other hikers on a Monday, I like to think that I beat the weekend crowds!
Because of the afternoon heat and park closing times, the recommended time of day to hike the mountain is 6AM – 9AM. Regardless, bring lots of water to drink because it will still be very hot!
The park does not allow hikers to start climbing the mountain after 10AM. They do this in order to prevent accidents related to heat exhaustion. The 10AM cut off allows enough time to make it up and back before the park officially closes at 3PM.
I arrived to the park office around 8AM and began hiking by 8:30AM. I had to allow for that extra time in order to purchase my ticket and then drive into the park and park at the trailhead.
Note that I have heard of people showing up to the trailhead later and having a hard time finding a place to park!
People relying on the bus or taxi will have to walk in to the trailhead from the office. I spoke to a few people on the trail who did this. They said it took about an hour to walk to the trailhead from the office. Remember, it's very hot and the walk to the trailhead mostly consists of a winding, up and down road.
You will, however, be able to appreciate the peak of Mt. Christoffel in view at points during your hike there.
How Long Does It Take To Climb Mt. Christoffel?
Starting at the trailhead at 8:30AM, I hiked up at a steady incline for about 1 hour before reaching the top. This was with very minimal breaks and stops along the way. I took a few pictures and even saw a deer on the trail that made me stop in my tracks.
I paced myself during the last 15 minutes of the hike as I faced some steeper parts with rock scrambling.
How Long I Spent At The Top
I spent an obscene amount of time at the top of this mountain. Why, you ask? Well, the 360-degree views are one reason. I mean, this is so rare on a hike and so wonderful to have a truly full view.
Another reason goes back to my statement about enjoying the solitude of nature.
Reach the top of almost any mountain and you are bound to find other hikers up there hanging out. But wait around long enough and you'll catch those moments of solitary bliss.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate meeting other people on mountain tops—especially when they take (good) photos of me (always the best thing as a solo traveler!).
I stayed long enough that people left the top and it was well past the cut off time for allowing more people to climb the mountain again. That meant I would be among the last to descend.
I ended up with only a few people behind me. They were the last group to climb the mountain. This last group broke my solitude and motivated me to finally make my way back. I reached my car at around 12pm.
My Favorite Parts Of The Mt. Christoffel Hike
I loved so many aspects of this hike!
First of all, climbing while surrounded by enormous cacti shooting 10 feet tall was absolutely epic! The locals call the cacti here Kadushi. They make a really unique landscape to hike through. But be careful because they are very spikey!
There was some great wildlife on this hike.
Aside from the deer I spotted, there are also lots of iguanas and other lizards that scamper off the trail as you are walking through. There were also many birds on this hike of different types.
This hike had a great balance of shaded paths and sun exposure. I enjoyed walking through tunnels of vegetation that created a natural archway. There were also great spots to get out from undercover and catch some quick views in one direction or another.
It was also physically challenging in the heat but not too challenging and had some fun little rock scrambles.
It's so rare to go on a hike that offers not just great views but great 360-degree views! The rolling hills of this region in the Northwest was really unique. Plus, I could see the ocean, the parts of the island I had not been to yet—and planned to explore that afternoon!
I loved that from the vantage point of Mt. Chirstoffel's peak, I could see beaches to snorkel at in the distance. In the photos, note the spots along the coast featuring that beautiful, aqua-colored Caribbean water.
I had yet to go diving or snorkeling at this point in my trip. I wrote a bit about my diving experience in my last post. Next time, I will write about the amazing snorkeling experiences I had starting immediately after I went on this hike! Stay Tuned!