"They looked very cute holding little bits of cracker and chewing them with their sharp little teeth, bits flying, like toy dinosaurs come to life..."
Last week we hired a car and spent some time in and around the Curação area nicknamed ‘Williwood’. And yes, there is a Williwood sign! It perches on a similarly dusty and barren (if rather smaller) hillside than its Hollywood equivalent. The real name of the village is Sint Willibrordus. It started as a joke by locals, but has actually encouraged significant visitors to the area.
Next to the sign is a saliña, a salt water pool with leggy flamingoes awkwardly darting about in funny jerks. This whole area is on land that used to be a plantation where slavery was used and next to the saliña is a UNESCO monument commemorating the first battle against the slave owners. It is a large clenched fist on a column clasping a broken iron manacle to symbolise their victory over the slave owners. This revolt involved more than 2000 slaves and was led by the former slave Tula in 1795. There is a museum to him elsewhere in Curação, which we hope to visit before we leave here.
Nearby is Christoffel National Park where you can hike up Mount Christoffel, the highest point on Curação at 372m. The views from the top were stunning and while it was a steep hike from the beginning, it was pleasantly shaded all the way. There were also no parts that felt exposed or precarious, unlike when we climbed the top of the smaller Mount Brandeis on Bonaire, which involves some bouldering. There was a 360 degree panorama displaying the small undulating hills, built up areas and views out to the sea.
We also visited two beaches in this area. One was Daaibooi Beach and Playa Porto Marie. The snorkelling was incredible, particularly at Daaibooi and our next post will be about life under the water here. Playa Porto Marie is home to two portly pigs, named Willie and Woodie, who decided themselves to make the beach their home, by wandering there one day and never leaving. They were sleeping in the shade of some trees when we arrived and we didn’t see them on the beach itself or in the water. We were pleased to see that the car park here features the solar panel shades that have become compulsory in France.
The beach was absolutely packed. We may have mentioned it is incredibly hot here, it consistently feels like high thirty degrees. We walked the entire length of the long beach looking for shade. All of the sunbeds with parasols were taken. There were also double rows of sunbeds against the back wall which were shaded by trees. Every bed was taken. We walked to the very end of the beach and found two spare sunbeds. Inside a cave.
We shared our cave with lizards and iguanas. At lunchtime they all came begging for food, obviously used to being fed by tourists. We couldn’t resist. Each lizard imposed itself by size. The iguanas got all the food in the beginning as they were the biggest and chased off the lizards. The next biggest were the blue tailed. The smallest waited patiently and at last got their share. They looked very cute holding little bits of cracker and chewing them with their sharp little teeth, bits flying, like toy dinosaurs come to life.
Next time we’ll give you an insight into the amazing underwater world in the waters off Curação.
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