Looking for a challenge? I know just where you’ll find it! Mount Christoffel, on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, is one of the most challenging, most rewarding hikes I’ve ever done. I was definitely recalling skills from my college rock climbing days! If this hike is on your must-do list for Curaçao (as it should be!), there are a few things you’ll want to know first. So, here is your guide to hiking Curaçao’s famous peak. Just remember that you’ll need to start before 10:00am!
You can’t miss it–it’s the highest point on the island! The mountain is located on the northwest side of the island, about 50 minutes from Willemstad, 45 minutes from the Mega Cruise Port. The entrance to Christoffel National Park is on the north side of the road that goes around the mountain, and the visitor center will be on the ocean side of the road.
Read on: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips
Sign Your Waiver and Pay the Fee
The hike is strenuous, so don’t expect to saunter up at a leisurely pace in your sundress and sandals. When you drive up, you’ll be directed to the parking lot for the Visitor Center across the street from the road that leads to the trail. There are restrooms at the Visitor Center, as well as water and snacks for purchase if you need them.
You’ll be asked to sign a waiver that says you’ve brought at least two liters of water per person, brought sufficient snacks, and that you’re fit enough to hike the trail. The cost is $15 USD or 25 ANG. This price also includes the local museum onsite if you feel up for a visit after your hike.
Important: You will be required to start this hike no later than 10:00am. This is because of the heat and conditions on the trail. The National Park and hiking trail open at 6:00am, so be sure to start early!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Curaçao
Walk or Drive to the Base
There are two ways to start the hike. If you choose to drive to the parking lot at the base of the mountain, your hike will be about 2.5 miles round-trip. If you decide to walk from the Visitor Center, you’ll add about 1.25 miles each way, making your hike 5 miles round-trip. The trail to the bas of the mountain is a flat and easy walk through the woods, but use your own judgement for what you want to do! Our hiking time from the Visitor Center and back was 3 hours and 15 minutes, for your planning purposes!
Keep reading: The Top 10 Things to Do on Curaçao
So, a waiver, two liters of water, snacks, good hiking shoes, starting before 10:00am. It seems like a bit much, right? This isn’t the most treacherous hike in the world, but it is very exposed to the sun a lot of the time, and the last quarter mile or so is a steep climb that requires some scrambling.
The terrain is rock, dirt, roots, and boulders, so actual hiking shoes are a good idea. I always hike in a pair of cross-training shoes, but there were some moments when I definitely saw where there would be a benefit of sturdier hiking shoes. Pro tip: When reach out to steady yourself, be sure you’re not about to grab a cactus. Steve and I were both “stuck” off guard!
Even still, the views were worth it to us:
Read next: The Top 30 Trips to Take in your 30s
What to Bring
We had so much fun on this hike, all the way up and all the way back down. It’s absolutely beautiful, but you definitely want to be prepared for it. Here are my top recommendations for what to bring on this hike!
You’ll be glad you brought a sturdy pair. My cross trainers were not the perfect shoes for this. These are a great brand, but they also come in fun colors!
I love my foldable backpack. It folds into a little square, so it’s easy to pack, but it holds everything I need for a day out on an island, including a hike! Here are a couple of great options.
Read next: What to Pack for 5 Days on Curaçao
Want more? Check out my dedicated Caribbean Islands Page!
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