Shete Boka National Park, Curaçao

Photo: Lswarte [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
The Atlantic hurricane season revved up early this year. Even though it technically didn’t begin until June 1st, storms started forming before Memorial Day weekend even arrived. So it’s not surprising that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is predicting that a lot of storms will form in the coming months. It’s time to tweak your Caribbean travel plans.

The ABC Islands—Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao—are popular year-round destinations since they sit outside of the hurricane belt. The three Dutch islands lie so far west and south that they generally aren’t affected by storms that develop in the Atlantic Ocean. That’s why you’ve explored Curaçao’s colorful capital, hidden beaches, and offshore scuba-diving wrecks so many times. This time, you’re adding a national park to your travel plans.

Curaçao has two national parks. Christoffelpark, established in 1978, is home to three former plantations and the island’s highest point (Christoffelberg). Shete Boka National Park wasn’t created until 1994. The smaller national park runs along just 10 kilometers of the northern coast. But it might be the more spectacular of the two.

Shete Boka means Seven Inlets in Papiamento, the Portuguese-based Creole language that’s spoken on the ABC Islands. The seven inlets, formed as rough waves crashed into the coral rocks, create a dramatic landscape. Hikers follow the trails, lined with coral fossils, in between the inlets. Scuba divers head below the surface to see coral formations obscured from above. Green, hawksbill, and loggerhead sea turtles use the remote area to breed. So do migrant brown boobies and Caribbean elaenias.

You’re going to Shete Boka to take photographs while hiking between the four accessible inlets. Boka Tabla, the easiest inlet to reach, is, of course, the most popular. Waves crash into its underground cavern; if you climb down into it, you’ll see an arch that looks like a huge eye. To the north, an hour-long circular trail over limestone bluffs leads to Boka Wandomi. It has another arch called the Natural Bridge.

In the opposite direction, you’ll pass Boka Kalki, the most peaceful inlet, en route to Boka Pistol. From the lookout point above the Shooting Pistol, you’ll see water spray high into the air, a fine mist, and, if you look closely, probably a rainbow. This is the boka that you can’t take your eyes off. Luckily, the perfect weather means that you don’t have to.

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