What was once a stinking hotbed for mosquitoes has now been transformed into a masterpiece of Curaçao’s nature. The Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park has opened its doors, adding a lot of cultural and environmental value to our beautiful island.
The Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park is a natural mangrove forest along the coastline of the capital Willemstad. The park is located in the area of Otrobanda and consists of walking trails where you learn more about the mangrove trees and the animals that live in the forest.
Rebuilding the mangrove forest
I remember the mangrove forest before it faced its extreme makeover. Every time I drove along the Pater Euwensweg I got confronted with an unbearable smell and I saw how people used the forest as a dump for garbage. How could it be that such an important part of nature got so ruined by the interference of humans? The situation was beyond dreadful.
A newspaper article in the fall of 2019 brought news. The Mangrove Forest in Otrobanda would be cleaned up and rebuilt. It was one of the conditions of the adjacent Corendon Mangrove Beach Resort to open. A few years have passed and the Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park is a fact. The nature reserve was opened in the summer of 2022 and we went there to pay a visit.
Visiting the Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park
My first impression of the rebuilt Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park left me without words. It amazed me how resilient nature can be. What was once the exit point of Otrobanda’s sewage became the epitome of a clean and prolific ecosystem.
The mangrove trees look healthy and sparkle in the reflection of the backwater. You can stroll the wooden boardwalk that connects several parts of the Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park with each other.
You can take a seat on one of the benches along the way. This is a place to pause, enjoy nature and take in the wonderful surroundings.
The observation tower provides a wonderful overview of the park. From here you can spot different types of birds. Bird watchers and enthusiasts are in the right place in the Rif Mangrove Park.
The entire hiking trail has a length of about 2 kilometers. The walk will take you approximately 40 minutes. Because of all the splendor you encounter along the way, the route is over before you know it.
Kayaking at the Rif Mangrove Park
In addition to a relaxing walk through the Rif Mangrove Park, you can also participate in a kayak tour. Paddle along the roots of the trees and enjoy the exuberant flora and fauna while the ranger shows you the way.
I wouldn’t recommend taking the kayak tour if you get easily out of breath or have problems with your neck, back, or shoulders.
From the kayak you have a completely different view of the mangrove reef. You can observe the activities between the trees up close. Fish find their way in the maze of roots and birds fly from one branch to another. It’s an incredible view, especially if you still remember the history of this place.
A kayak tour consists of a maximum of 10 people. You can book the tour in advance via firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrance fee and opening hours
The mangrove park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Keep in mind that the last hiking and kayaking tours depart in the early afternoon. These are the prices for non-residents:
|Children 6 up to 12||USD 1.50|
|Children under 6||Gratis|
|Walking tour||USD 15.00|
|Kayaking tour||USD 20.00|
Local rates Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park
There are local rates for residents of Curaçao. The entrance fee for both adults and children costs 2.00 Nafl per person and there are special rates for the walking and kayaking tour. The local rate only applies when you show your Sedula at the cash register.
Why is the Rif Mangrove Park important for Curaçao?
Mangrove trees are one of a kind. Not only because of its imposing appearance but also because of its function.
Mangrove trees are also called the nursery of the sea. It is the birthplace of many fish. Birds find their nesting place between the shelter of the trees. The Rif Mangrove Park is also home to many lobsters, sponges, algae, reptiles, and amphibians. In short: there is much to experience in the densely vegetated water forest.
Mangrove forests form a natural barrier to the coastline. They provide protection from tropical storms and hurricanes. Fortunately, Curaçao is outside the hurricane belt, so we don’t have to deal with extreme weather conditions that often.
Why you should visit the Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park
The Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park is an educational and active tourist attraction in the middle of Willemstad. A visit to the Mangrove Park can therefore easily be combined during a walk through the capital.
Read: 30 Best Things to do in Curaçao
Everyone who loves the tropics and its ecosystem is in the right place here. You can completely relax and feed your brain with all the beauty around you.
The Mangrove Park is the place to be for social media enthusiasts. The natural scenery is the perfect setting to create content. You can find lots of beautiful photos and videos of the park on Instagram. Will you add something to your feed?
Visit the Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park with respect for people and nature. Only together we can keep the island beautiful and clean.