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Shete Boka National Park Curacao

Shete Boka National Park: discover the spectacular north coast of Curacao

by Sabine
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Curacao is known for its beautiful beaches on the south coast of the island. On the north coast, however, Curacao looks very different. Here the high waves pound against the beautiful coral rocks and therefore it is not easy to discover. Fortunately, there is a place where you can admire this extraordinary sight: Shete Boka National Park. For me, an absolute highlight during my trip and perhaps the most beautiful thing I saw in Curacao. In this article I tell you all about Shete Boka, the sea turtles, what to see and practical tips. Do you love outdoors and rugged nature? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Shete Boka National Park Curacao

Right next to the famous Christoffelberg in the west of Curacao, you will find the Shete Boka National Park. ‘Shete Boka’ literally means ‘seven coves‘ in Papiamentu, and refers to the many natural coves and caves on the rugged northern coast.

Established in 1994, the national park consists of more than 10 kilometers of rugged coastline. The area is known for the sea turtles that lay their eggs in the inlets.


The spectacular north coast of Curacao

The coastline of Shete Boka in Curacao consists mainly of limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed by the accumulation of marine animal remains, such as shells and coral, that have accumulated on the sea floor over thousands of years. Under pressure and over long periods of time, these sediments turn into compact rock known as limestone.

The limestone cliffs of Shete Boka are the result of centuries of erosion by the powerful waves of the Caribbean Sea, which carved and shaped the rock into the unusual coves, caves and rock formations that characterize the park. It is this erosion that has led to the spectacular landscapes in Shete Boka National Park.


What to see in Shete Boka?

The rugged northern coast is completely different from the rest of Curacao, and that makes Shete Boka National Park a unique destination. You’ll find a mix of spectacular cliffs, natural caves and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and rugged coastline. Perfect for nature lovers and if you are looking for an unspoiled and less touristy side of Curacao.


The highlights

Boka Tabla

Boka Tabla is an impressive cave by the sea where you can watch the powerful play of the waves. The waves thrust forcefully into the cave, creating a spectacular show of splashing water and foam.

Boka Pistol

This inlet is known for the loud popping sound produced when the waves enter the narrow gorge. It resembles the sound of a gunshot, hence the name “Pistol”.

Boka Wandomi

I personally found this to be one of the most beautiful coves in Shete Boka. Crabs walk around you and the wild waves pound against the rugged limestone. A must-see.

Boka Kalki

This spot is a favorite among divers. It is an access point to the sea, surrounded by high cliffs, where divers can enjoy the underwater world. Even if you are not diving, it is a great place to enjoy the view and sea breeze.

Flora and fauna

In Shete Boka you can spot various species of sea birds, see lizards sunbathing on the rocks and possibly even encounter sea turtles during the nesting season.

Hiking trails

There are hiking trails in the park that lead you to various coves and viewpoints. Most people seem to visit the bokas by car, but walking is much more beautiful. From the hiking trails you have beautiful views of the coastline and it’s great to get a breath of fresh air in the strong winds. You also have beautiful views of the Christoffelberg.


Nesting area for sea turtles on Curacao

Shete Boka National Park is an important area for sea turtles, particularly as a nesting site for the Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles. These beautiful marine animals come ashore here to lay their eggs, making the park a vital role in the protection and conservation of these endangered species.

Facts about the sea turtles in Shete Boka National Park

  • Nesting sites: Sea turtles come ashore at night to dig nests and lay their eggs in the sand. The nests are shallow pits in which the eggs are laid, and after laying, the turtles cover the eggs with sand to protect them from predators and environmental influences.
  • Nesting season: Curacao’s nesting season for sea turtles usually runs from about April through October. This is the period when turtles come ashore to nest.
  • Protection and monitoring: Curacao authorities give great importance on protecting sea turtle nesting sites. Measures are being taken to prevent poaching and to monitor the nests to ensure their undisturbed nesting. Learn more at the website of Carmabi.

The chances of seeing sea turtles (laying eggs) are slim, but should you be lucky enough, keep in mind that it is logically forbidden to approach or disturb the turtles. Are you visiting the Shete Boka National Park in Curacao? Then follow these guidelines and help protect sea turtles.


How do you visit Shete Boka?

Where can you find National Park Shete Boka?

National Park Shete Boka is located here on the northwest side of Curacao, in Westpunt. Almost right next to Christoffel Park. By car, it is about an hour drive from Willemstad.

Entrance fees and opening hours

Shete Boka National Park is open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM. However, you are not allowed in after 4PM, and you must have left the park by 4:30PM.

Because of the heat, it is advisable not to go in the middle of the day, but a little earlier in the morning.

The entrance fee is $10 or 17.50 guilders. This includes parking fees. You can also immediately buy a detailed map of the park here, with hiking trails, car routes and parking lots.

View current opening hours and prices here.

What to consider

In Shete Boka, you will find virtually no shade. It is an open area with no trees, only on the side of Boka Pistol do you walk a little bit sheltered. So you are exposed to the bright and hot sun all the time. Prepare for this by bringing plenty of water, putting on a cap and applying proper sunscreen. I myself always wear a long-sleeved shirt with a hood and UV protection.

In addition, keep in mind that you will walk along high cliffs, get close to the raging sea and there is a lot of wind. This combination can be tricky, so pay close attention to where you walk and stay on the trails and lookouts.


What do you bring?

  • Sufficient water;
  • A cap or hat (which you can preferably keep firmly on your head with the strong wind);
  • Closed (hiking) shoes (even if you go by car, you still have to walk parts over rocks where you don’t want to walk on flip-flops);
  • Apply sunscreen.

By car or hiking?

In part because of the lack of shade and therefore the heat, the park has created a car route and parking lots on each side of the park. This way you can quickly and easily see all the coves without having to walk in the full sun. This can also be useful if you are traveling with small children.

However, you can also choose to walk the park. There are marked hiking trails that take you past all the bokas and from where you can get great views of the rocky coast and vast plains. If you hike Shete Boka you obviously spend more time, but you also see much more than from the car. I myself walked most of it and found it a wonderful experience. You are more at one with nature that way. And with the right clothes, sunscreen, plenty of water and a cap on, you’ll actually enjoy the wonderful sea breeze in the full sun. If you have enough time, I would definitely visit the park on foot.

At the entrance, buy a map showing the hiking and driving routes.

How much time do you need?

I found Shete Boka National Park to be one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Curacao. And so I took my time. If you do everything by car, you’ll be done after 30 to 60 minutes. If you are going to walk and take your time for each spot, be sure to set aside at least 2 hours. I myself spent about 2 to 2.5 hours there.


What to do on Curacao after visiting Shete Boka National Park?

I drove to the west of Curacao for the second time, especially for Shete Boka. Thank goodness, because I absolutely would not have wanted to miss this. However, you can also combine it perfectly with the Christoffel Park. Climb Mount Christoffel around 7AM and when you get back down you can drive in five minutes to Shete Boka National Park.

After seeing the spectacular north coast, drive just 20 minutes via Westpunt to the most beautiful beaches in Curacao. Think Grote Knip, Kleine Knip and Playa Lagun. All on the west side of Curacao. After the heat in Shete Boka, you will feel the need to cool off in the sea.

Before driving to the beaches, I had dinner at Playa Forti. Here you have the restaurants Blue View Sunset Terrace and Playa Forti. At Restaurant Playa Forti, you can jump down from the high cliff into the water. And from Blue View Sunset Terrace, you can witness that. From both restaurants you have beautiful views. I didn’t think the food in either restaurant was great, but the place is fantastic.


Shete Boka: an unmissable natural wonder in Curacao!


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