Hike through Parke Sorsaka (Den Dunki) to the lagoon of Jan Thiel. 

Highlights of this hike:

  • Monumental bridge
  • Large well
  • Several waterworks
  • Forest with large trees
  • Salt pans
  • Flamingos (most of the time)

Parking

The cars can be parked just past the entrance of the parking lot of the pharmacy Sorsaka on either side of the road; the pharmacy is located at a side road from the Caracasbaaiweg (Road to the Caracasbay); parking in the parking lot is not allowed because you are not a customer of the pharmacy at this moment.

Description of the trail

For a map of the trail check the download link below under the heading "Trail map". Also the track is available for download there.

Before the actual start of the hike it is best to walk back to the entrance gate of the plantation house Sorsaka to have a good look at this plantation house. The plantation house was build in 1725 and restored or rebuild in 1876 byt the family Gorsira; at the same time the Swan Park was created as an area to entertain guests. This park is now known as Den Dunki of Parke Sorsaka.

Next the hike continues further on the same road to the entrance of Parke Sorsaka. This park is maintained by Uniek Curaçao and the area is also available for festivities. Next to the large palapa the phone number can be found to make a reservation in case you want to use this area for a private party.

Take a good look at the large publication board; it contains some historical information about this area and it shows a number of trails In this park, the first part of the trail leads you to a large historical bridge; in the past there was water under this bridge. To realize that a large wall (dam) was build to catch the water that was running from the hills in the direction of the sea. The water was lead along the dam to the half-circle well. From there it continued along the wall towards the sea. Currently the situation has changed and no water is flowing from the hills anymore in this area so only after heavy and long rainfall there can be some water found under this bridge. The bridge dates from the same time as the rebuild or restoration of the plantation house (1876). Currently a rope bridge is constructed nearby by Uniek Curaçao, that can be used as an alternative to cross the "water". Especially kids like to go over the rope bridge although adults seem to like it also, 

Next the trail leads to a large well that has 8 corners and had also some benches and small water tanks along the side. This is the oldest brick construction in this area and dates from before the bridge (probably 18th century).

The hike continues through a nice forest with large manzaliña trees. Instead of continuing straight through an option is to take the path to the right to another well and water tank; closeby a nice car wreck can be found; there are several routes through this part of the park marked with yellow stones, but our trail continues back to the main path and then to the next forest. This forest has mostly trees of a different kind and leads us to the large plain around the lagoon of Jan Thiel.

The continuation of the trail in the area around the lagoon is mainly dependent on the condition of the ground. Especially in the rain season this area can be very muddy. By staying close to the edges most of the time a reasonably dry path can be found. Feel free to choose your own route as long as you stay on the left side of the lagoon for this trail.

In the lagoon most of the time flamingos can be found, other water birds can also be seen in this area.

The hike continues along the lagoon and leads to several salt pans in this area. During the dry period crystallized salt can be found in these pans. This gives a snow-like effect which is very special in our tropical climate. Walk over the small dams of the salt pans in the direction of the small house on the side of the hill; this was the place where the salt workers in the second half of last century could hide against the sun, could rest for a while and eventually take a primitive shower. From the top of the stair you have a nice view over the salt pans.

After the visit to the salt workers house the hike continues along the salt pans and back to Parke Sorsaka. In Parke Sorsaka the same route is taken.

Track of this hike on Wikiloc

Link to the track of this hike on Wikiloc (opens in a new window).

The track can be downloaded but a better option is to install the Wikiloc app on your smartphone; when you click on the download link with the app installed on your phone the link opens in Wikiloc (can take some time) and you are able to follow the track.
It appears that this only works for the paid Premium version of this app.
As an alternative the free version of the Locus Map can be used. To use this app you need to download the track in GPX-format either from Wikiloc or directly from this page (see below under "Trail map").

Location

Trail map (download)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 10:50

Malpais

Hike from the parking place of Kokomo Beach at Vaersenbay to the area around Hofi Malpais.

Highlights of this trip:

  • Remains of two indigo tank systems
  • Pos di pia
  • View over the lake that disappeared (Lago Disparsé)
  • Visit to the ruins of milk factory
  • Hofi Malpais

Parking

The hike starts at the parking lot of Kokomo Beach / Vaersenbay; the beach opens at 8AM and from then on there is a guard on duty. Dont take up to much parking space because it can be busy especially in the weekend. Park close to the other cars and line up with the street or the side of the parking lot.

Description of the trail

For a map of the trail check the download link below under the heading "Trail map". Also the track is available for download there.

It can be difficult to follow the track based on the description only because not every path can be easily found. So the best way to hike this trail is with the help of a GPS or the Wikiloc / Locus Map app loaded with the track.

From the parking lot walk back to the road, cross that road and enter the (most of the time) dry saliña. You need to cross this saliña diagonally. There you will find the main dirt road into Malpais. In case the saliña is muddy you can follow the asphalt road and take this main dirt road into Malpais. Follow this dirt road till you see a yellow stone at your left hand side. There starts a small path through Malpais. It is also a MTB road although I have never seen a MTB-er there. Take this path. Soon you will see the old dam dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. Follow the pad next to the dam and sometimes on top of the dam. At a certain point the dam is blocked by a fallen tree. There you will find a path to the right that you can take. Follow that path; this will lead you to the indigo tank systems of Malpais. Check out these indigo tank systems where in the past between 1670 and 1720 indigo dye was produced from the indigo plant. There are two tank systems here and the pad continues on the other side of the second tank system.
Follow this path; it is marked with yellow stones. At a large cactus turn right; ignore for this moment the path to the left. Continue on this path till you see a sign that you are near the Pos di pia. Take the side road to find this Pos. You cannot continue here so you have to come back to the main path and then turn right. The path goes a bit uphill. When you reach the asphalt turn right to walk over the former Shell dam. This dam was constructed by the Shell to create a large lake with water for the refinery. Apparently this project was not very successful because the lake is now known as Lago Disparsé (the lake that disappeared). Enjoy the view here. If you want you can try to descend into the "lake" and walk over the bottom. When you reach the former pump installation you have to go back to the top of the dam. If you stayed on top of the dam you will see the former pump installation at your left.
Continue on the dam and then follow the dirt road to the left. Continue till you reach two ruins. The one on the left is the former magasina of the plantation house Malpais. The one on the right is the former Sisal factory that was later used as milk factory.

After checking out these two buildings you have to turn around and follow the dirt road till where you left the Shell dam. There you follow the dirt road to the left.

After a while you will see the entrance of the hofi. It is marked with yellow stones. Enter the hofi here. If you like you can take a rest here. Leave the hofi along the old palm trees. There is a path that you need to follow; at the fork in the road follow the right side; it leads you along an old Indju tree to the path through Malpais. Turn lright on this path; when you reach the large cactus that you have seen before take the path to the right. Follow this path; it leads to the same saliña where you started the hike. Enter the saliña and stay on the right hand side. This will lead you to the point where you entered the saliña at the start of the hike.
Cross the road and walk back to the car. This completes this hike.

Track of this hike on Wikiloc

Link to the track of this hike on Wikiloc (opens in a new window).

The track can be downloaded but a better option is to install the Wikiloc app on your smartphone; when you click on the download link with the app installed on your phone the link opens in Wikiloc (can take some time) and you are able to follow the track.
It appears that this only works for the paid Premium version of this app.
As an alternative the free version of the Locus Map can be used. To use this app you need to download the track in GPX-format either from Wikiloc or directly from this page (see below under "Trail map").

Location

 

Trail map (download)

Friday, 03 January 2014 08:43

Seru Jamanika

Starting 2020 this route will be offered by Hidden Trails of Curaçao; check their facebookpage for announcements.

Hike from the parking lot of Kokomo Beach / Vaersenbay through the area of Malpais to the Seru Jamanika and back via another route.

Highlights of this trip:

  • Nice small bay (Boka Uniko)
  • Nice nature in the area of Malpais (former plantation)
    For more information about the former Sisal plantation check this link (Dutch)
  • View over the lake that disappeared (Lago Disparsé)
  • View from the side of the Seru Jamanika

Parking

The hike starts at the parking lot of Kokomo Beach / Vaersenbay; the beach opens at 8AM and from then on there is a guard on duty. Dont take up to much parking space because it can be busy especially in the weekend. Park close to the other cars and line up with the street or the side of the parking lot.

Description of the trail

For a map of the trail check the download link below under the heading "Trail map". Also the track is available for download there.

With your back towards the entrance of Kokomo Beach there are yellow stones at the  left-hand side of the parking lot. There are two sets of stones; the first set is the entrance to the steapest slope uphill, the second set is the starting point of a more gradual climb uphill.

At the top of the climb via the first set of stones you go left and follow the path on top of the cliff. Via the second set of stones you reach the same path on top of the cliff. Follow this path till it goes downhill again. Descend carefully here; the underground is loose gravel and you easily slip. When you reach the crossing turn left to go to Boka Uniko. After enjoying this small bay you return to the crossing and continue straight on. You will walk through a kind of dry river bed. After heavy rain the water from the hill flows to the sea here. After a while you reach the asphalt road, the Weg naar Bullenbaai. Stay on the left side of this road and walk along the road till you see the entrance of Malpais marked with a sign (Binà trail). Cross the road and enter Malpais.

Follow the Binà trail till you reach a sign Seru Jamanika; there you go left following the direction on the sign. You walk through an area with a lot of gumb trees (Palu di sia and its cousing the Takamahak). After a short while you will see a lot of Sisal agaves. These are the remains of the former Sisal plantation here. Stay on the path. It will lead you ever closer to the Seru Jamanika.

Then you have to climb the mountain. It starts gradually but gets quite steep after a while. The underground is loose sand and rocks so proceed carefully.

After a short climb you reach a plateau where the path continues. It is not the highest part of this long mountain; you will not reach the highest point during this hike. At a certain point you cross an area of large and sharp rocks; be extra careful here because you don't want to fall on these sharp rocks.

Don't forget to look around; you have a nice view on the surroundings. After a while the path descends. Just follow the path. It will lead you after quite a while to the former Shell dam shortly after you pass another path coming from the right. That is the path that you would have taken when you did not follow the route to the Seru Jamanika at the sign but went straight on there. Maybe someting for another time.

At the dam you go left. You walk on some old asphalt. This dam was constructed by the Shell to create a large lake with water for the refinery. Apparently this project was not very successful because the lake is now known as Lago Disparsé (the lake that disappeared). Enjoy the view here. If you want you can try to descend into the "lake" and walk over the bottom. When you reach the former pump installation you have to go back to the top of the dam. If you stayed on top of the dam you will see the former pump installation at your left.
Continue on the dam and then turn right when you reach the broad dirt road . This dirt road leads to the asphalt road (Weg naar Bullenbaai). You can continue till you reach the asphalt road or turn right soon after you pass some old buildings at your left. That small path leads to a normally dry saliña. Cross that saliña diagonally to exit the saliña opposite the entrance to the parking lot of Kokomo beach. Cross the road and walk back to the car.

ATTENTION: this is a challenging hike. You should have a good physical condition; also you should have some climbing skills and not have fear of heights. The hike is less suitable for kids.

Track of this hike on Wikiloc

Link to the track of this hike on Wikiloc (opens in a new window).

The track can be downloaded but a better option is to install the Wikiloc app on your smartphone; when you click on the download link with the app installed on your phone the link opens in Wikiloc (can take some time) and you are able to follow the track.

Location

 

Trail map (download)

Friday, 03 January 2014 08:29

St Michiel's mountain

Hike from the bay in the small fishermen's village of St. Michiel to the top of the St. Michiel's mountain (105 meters high) and back along the shore of the saliña (saltpan). 

Highlights of this trip:

  • Remains of an old salt storage building (only part of the foundation left)
  • Remains of the old indigo tanks
  • sometimes lots of water birds
  • flamingoes
  • View from the top of the St. Michiel's mountain

Parking

The car can be parked in the parking place behind the former dive shop at the large bay of St. Michiel (Boka Sami).

Description of the trail

For a map of the trail check the download link below under the heading "Trail map". Also the track is available for download there.

You will need good walking shoes and sufficient water for the trip. Along the shore of the saliña the underground can be muddy; also most of the time part of the dam is under (shallow) water, so keep this in mind when selecting your shoes.

From the parking lot the trail starts along the shore of the saliña (salt lake). Depending on the water level in the salt lake it might be necessary to take a higher level path. After a while the higher path descends to the water level again. Follow the shore line; when the side is too muddy look for alternatives further in the back.

When you reach the large plain (often very muddy) that marks where the rain water from the hills entered the saliña, you have two options, either you go to the right if you want to visit the indgo tank system or you go straight on. Either way look around for crabs in this area. You have to be quiet to not disturb the crabs otherwise the only thing you get to see are their holes. 
To visit the indigo tank system you go to the right into the Manzaliña forest.Avoid the manzaliña forest if it is raining; it can give you blisters. in the manzaliña forest you see a stone structure. This is the former indigo tank system belonging to the plantation of Klein St. Michiel. Indigo dye was produced in this tank system from 1670 till 1720.
Return to the large plain that you left to enter the manzaliña forest and cross the plain.

If you didn't go to the indigo tank system cross the plain. Also there crabs can be found.

Follow the shore line of the saliña; when you are opposite the small island in the saliña you have to look for the start of the trail to the top of the mountain. For quite some time there is an old tire in the water where this trail starts, but it can be under water or removed so you better also look at your right for the path itself. Or you can just follow the GPS-track with a GPS or an app on your smartphone.

Take the path to the top. After a while you will reach the top. Enjoy the view and take a rest if needed.

Take the same path from the top for the first few meters till you reach a fork in the path; there you go left. Follow that path till you reach a point where you can descend along a steep path. To find this location a GPS-track certainly helps because it is not obvious. Descend there till you reach the path and continue on this path around the mountain. This will bring you back at the saliña near the dam that separates the part of the saliña along the road to Bullenbaai from the side of the saliña that you were walking along. Cross this dam. At the end there is a small bridge but sometimes the bridge is not sufficiently long and you have to go through the shallow water to get to the bridge and cross it.

Go left and start following the shore line on the Western side of the saliña. This will bring you to a wooden bridge that you have to cross to get back to the car. Also here sometimes the water is so high that you have to go through the water to reach the bridge.

This completes this hike.

Track of this hike on Wikiloc

Link to the track of this hike on Wikiloc (opens in a new window).

The track can be downloaded but a better option is to install the Wikiloc app on your smartphone; when you click on the download link with the app installed on your phone the link opens in Wikiloc (can take some time) and you are able to follow the track.
It appears that this only works for the paid Premium version of this app.
As an alternative the free version of the Locus Map can be used. To use this app you need to download the track in GPX-format either from Wikiloc or directly from this page (see below under "Trail map").

Location

 

Trail map (download)

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 17:21

Jan Thiel West

Hike from Jan Thiel bay to the entrance of the lagoon along the coast and then back via a different path
Highlights of this hike:

  • Ruin of the kiln with water tanks
  • Ruin of the old storage building for salt
  • Traces of the old pier
  • Old border wall
  • Nice views

Parking

The car can be parked on either side of the road between the roundabout in front of the Chogogo resort at the Jan Thiel bay and the barrier accross the dirt road.

Description of the trail

For a map of the trail check the download link below under the heading "Trail map". Also the track is available for download there.

After leaving the parking area the trail starts to the left before the barrier. There a small path starts in the direction of the bay. At the waterside turn to the right and continue along the shore. Sometimes during high water you could have to go through a bit of shallow water. Continue to the "doggy beach". That is a shallow water area shielded from the sea by a rif and surrounded by mangroves. You have to go to the right in the direction of the cliff. There is no predefined route here but you should be able to get to a large pool with mangroves at the bottom of the cliff. In this pool sometimes upside-down yellies can be found.
Go back in the direction of the shore and follow a small path along the shore till you see a small path at your right hand side going uphill. Take that path to the top of the cliff. Follow this path in the direction of the Jan Thiel lagoon.

After a while you reach a large plateau with a nice view over the sea. Enjoy the view but be careful not to go to close to the edge. Then continue downhill to the shore at the entrance (not really because there is no opening to the sea) of the lagoon. There several historical landmarks can be found. There is the ruin of the former salt storage building, the remainder of the border wall between the plantation Damasco (currently Jan Thiel) and Steenwijk (now part of Koraal Specht), there are some remnants of the former salt pier and at the most Easterly corner there is the ruin of the former lime kiln. A good place for a rest.

The track continues accross the kiln (don't take the broad dirt road but turn left opposite the lime kiln). Follow this path. Dont take the path to the right that you encounter after a while. Go straight on. Sometimes you have two options to continue but both paths come together after a short while so you can take either option.

After quite a while you reach the dirt road along the powerlines. Turn right and immediately left. That is a small path in the direction of the lagoon. When you reach the lagoon you continue along the shore till you reach a salt pan. At the salt pan you turn to the right and take the path uphill. Cross the broad dirt road and continue on the small path that leads to the backside of the Chogogo resort. Turn right and go around the resort back to the road where the car has been parked.

Track of this hike on Wikiloc

Link to the track of this hike on Wikiloc (opens in a new window).

The track can be downloaded but a better option is to install the Wikiloc app on your smartphone; when you click on the download link with the app installed on your phone the link opens in Wikiloc (can take some time) and you are able to follow the track.
It appears that this only works for the paid Premium version of this app.
As an alternative the free version of the Locus Map can be used. To use this app you need to download the track in GPX-format either from Wikiloc or directly from this page (see below under "Trail map").

Alternative tracks:
When you look closely at the map with the track you see a dotted line from where the hike starts to the area near the lagoon. That dotted line is a small path that you can take when you go left at the barrier and then immediately to the right. The presence of this path creates the option to walk through the inland and along the coast in two different hikes. Both options are available as separate tracks on Wikiloc:

  1. the track along the coast; this is a short hike
  2. the track through the inland; this is a longer hike than version one but still shorter than the normal hike which is in fact a combination of these two options.

Location

 

Trail map (download)