Curaçao’s countryside is full of natural wonders

When was the last time you did something for the first time? This question guided my journey when I arrived at Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean island. Before visiting, to be honest, I had never heard of this island. Sigh. When I told friends and family where I was traveling, I was asked one question: “Where it is !?”

“Oh, it’s a small island next to Aruba,” I said innocently. Unrecognizable beyond its size (the island stretches for about 40 miles (64 km) from southeast to northwest), There is nothing small about Curaçao. On the contrary, the island seems to burst with vibrant colors and energy. When I first set foot on the island, my eyes were wide with excitement as I made my way to the hotel. Glancing through the passenger seat window, I saw kaleidoscopic buildings, picturesque seas, and people flocking down the Queen Juliana Bridge, which is the tallest bridge on the island at 56.4 meters (185 feet) ).

Traveling to new islands, cities and regions that I had never heard of was one of my biggest motivations for seeing the world. It keeps my engine going when everything else in life seems to be going wrong.

People often want to see the seven natural wonders of the world: Northern Lights, Grand Canyon, Paricutin, Mount Everest, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Victoria Falls and Great Barrier Reef.

As I travel, I begin to ask myself: What natural wonders are there to unearth here? I’m mostly a city girl when I travel, however, when in Curaçao, I like to look for what to do outside of the main downtown area of ​​the city. So for a week, I traveled to the lesser known parts of the island to see how I could immerse myself in nature. Every destination I’ve visited, I’ve called a “natural wonder” as a way of illuminating the fun, unique and nature-based activities to experience in Curaçao that are sure to wow any visitor. feel refreshed.

One meaning of the word “Curaçao” is “healing for the heart,” and as I traveled around the region, I considered each of the natural wonders I discovered connected to my mind, body, and soul. I like. Taking this new approach to travel has allowed me to slowly immerse myself in a place, no matter how long the stay is.

I started my trip by visiting the first natural wonder: Den Paradera Herb Garden. The garden was once the largest in Curaçao and is located on the east side of the island. Dinah Veeris founded the garden known for its holistic healing methods for the community in 1991.

When I entered the garden and met Veeris for the first time, her smile was warm and reminded me of what a personified wisdom is. For decades, she tended the garden with an agile yet powerful team.

Every plant in this garden has a purpose, from treating earaches in children to digestive problems in adults. So I wasn’t surprised to learn that “Den Paradera” translates as “where you want to stay” because I never wanted to leave. Spending my morning in this garden filled my soul. I walk away with products like loose leaf tea, bath oils, and natural shampoos.

I leave this garden feeling rejuvenated and more connected to nature than I have ever experienced.

I make sure to reapply sunscreen when I go in Curaloe, an aloe vera plantation. The Curaloe Plantation produces organic Aloe Vera skin care products and describes itself as a “plant in a bottle.” I use aloe vera products all the time in my daily life to benefit my skin and hair, so it’s a treat to watch how this plant got its way into the bathroom cabinet. mine. As I toured the aloe vera field, I could watch the guide cut it right from the base as she continued her live presentation on how they harvest and produce the plant. Cutting with ease at the ends of the trees, our guide allowed us to take a bite of the clear gel. I was expecting a bitter and earthy taste, but it was as tasteless as it was obvious. The presentation was thoughtful and engaging and allowed me to think about where the products I use in my daily life come from.

Whenever I visit the Caribbean, I look forward to the beaches. This third natural wonder gave my mind much needed rest and served as the perfect day at the beach: Kenepa grandfather. Kenepa Grandi is a beach located in Westpunt or Bandabou in Papiamentu. To the naked eye, this rural area seems to be just a large vacant lot. However, 32 beaches occupy this side of the island. The drive to Kenepa Grandi is about 40 minutes from boutique hotel. The dirt roads are zigzag and full of hills. Getting to this paradise island is quite a process. The location out of the way of this beach makes it special. The beach is hidden and unsuspecting, you’ll drive right past the entrance. It wasn’t until the driver made a slight right turn that I saw a breathtaking view of rich turquoise waters. The beach is very quiet and there are not tons of people. I was able to soak in the peaceful sunshine! Rock formations line the beach, which makes for a perfect photo spot.

I spent the afternoon soaking in the invigorating azure waters, taking photos, and relaxing as the sun hit my caramel-colored skin. Relieved to have some time to sit still and recharge, I didn’t hop on the beach and instead spent the afternoon in Kenapa Grandi’s unique space. But there are several other beaches on this side of the island that I hope to visit next time I return, from the soft stretch of Playa Grandi to the more rustic and natural Keine Knip.

On the north side of the island one can find a place of beauty that captivated me but history made me stop as I soaked in all the history. Hato Cave is not what I expected to find in this tropical paradise. I assumed the cave would be cold, because, um, it’s a cave! Instead, it is warm because the cave is located 60 meters above sea level. Plus the coral stones that create the edge of the cave have the ability to retain heat for a long time.

The cave is full of stalagmites and stalactites that give it an otherworldly feel. But the cave also has a rich history. There are petroglyphs over a thousand years old, which are a reminder that life existed here before the colonists and their colonial buildings we find so captivating today. The caves were also where runaway slaves hid, a reminder that those charming colonial buildings were built with the wealth that came from human bondage. To this day, you can still see where the flames of their torches left burning marks on the cave ceiling. As I toured the cave, I took a moment of silence to remember and honor their lives.

The next day, it was time to put my body to work. So I jumped on an electric bike with Curacao step by step to experience the island in a different way. This art-focused bike tour took me around to see the vastness of the island and the beautiful murals that decorate the buildings and people’s homes. It didn’t come naturally, but this fifth walk made Curaçao incredibly energetic. The artistic murals, painted by local artists, show people’s talent and devotion to their country. Some of my favorite murals include intricate and rich paintings of Black women in headscarves, representing both power and beauty. One mural in particular stands out to me, as it poses a thought-provoking question for those who overlook: What do you want to do before you die? There is chalk on the ground for participants to write down their answers. After reading the other answers, I took a piece of chalk and spread on the wall my answer: Live Freely.

My mind, body and soul feel refreshed after leaving the island. Curaçao, of the week, is the cure my heart needs. Curaçao’s countryside is full of natural wonders


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