In my quest to discover the Curaçao landscape I drove the Western part of the island. Most everyone lives in and around the capital city of Willemstad, so there is little out West. The video shows a fast-paced view of the landscape.
What I find interesting about Curaçao is the island is mostly desert. When I visited, there had been little rain so the shrubbery was void of any sort of vegetation. I found this to a bit disconcerting given the fact that I was on a tropical island. In fact, I almost felt as if I was in parts of West Texas or the American Southwest as there was little natural life.
Curaçao is divided in four geological units: the Curaçao Lava Formation, the Knip Group, the Middle Curaçao Formation, and the Limestone Formation.
The oldest known rock on the island is the Curaçao Lava Formation. It’s a 5,000-meter-thick succession of submarine basalts, formed in deep waters in the mid-upper Cretaceous. The Knip Group formed in the upper Cretaceous ages and consists of siliceous sedimentary rock. It’s noticeably thicker on the northwestern part of the island than in the southeast. The Middle Curaçao Formation is found principally in the middle section of the island. Its turbidite sequence, formed in the upper Cretaceous and or Paleocene age, consists of fine-grained conglomerates, mudstones, sandstones, and shales. The Limestone Formation can be divided in two units – the Seru Domi formation and the Quaternary limestone terraces. The Seru Domi Formation basically formed as a sub-marine reef talus slope, and the Quaternary limestone terraces were formed by sea level changes combined with tectonic uplift.
At first glimpse, Curaçao may seem a rather barren island. Due to the scant rainfall; I mentioned this earlier. There is certainly a limit to the types of plants and animals that can survive here. But on closer inspection, you’ll be amazed at the variety nature has to offer. What at first seems to be a monotonous desert landscape turns out to be terrain teeming with life. Curaçao’s total surface area is 444 square km.
The stretched northern coast of the island is characterized by rough limestone cliff formations set on top of an eons-old volcanic rock and weather-beaten terrain. At the western end of the island, you will find expansive, hilly landscapes. The Christoffel Park encompasses most of the landscapes. Inside the park, you will find the highest point on the island – the 375-meter-high Mt. Christoffel. The east end of the island comprises flat and mostly barren plain, with few settlements and some secondary roads weaving to and from its coastal inlets.
All in all the drive is enjoyable even if just to clear the mind. There are various beaches dotted around the west. Some beaches are worth exploring or if people watching is your favourite activity, you’ll be easily entertained.
Take a drive through the less travelled West Curaçao with the Gentleman Wayfarer. If you like road trips, you might also like A Road Trip Through the American West or A Road Trip Through the Sahara Desert.