Cactus stands tall in Christoffel National Park, with Mt. Christoffel in the background, Curacao. (Marjie Lambert/Miami Herald/MCT)

MCT via Getty Images

Christoffel National Park

Top choice in Curaçao

This 1800-hectare preserve is formed from three old plantations, including the Savonet Plantation, which is now the excellent Savonet Museum; combination ticket available. The park has two driving routes and eight hiking trails, which provide a variety of perspectives on the island's landscape, flora and fauna. It takes two to three hours to hike to the summit of Christoffel Mountain (375m), the island's highest point. To summit, you'll need to begin by 10am. Bring lots of water.

Attractions of the Mountain Car Route include an orchid trail, old copper mines, plantation-house ruins and fabulous views. The Northern Car Route – heading to the coast – is great for birding and Caquetío cave paintings. These routes are also popular among mountain bikers; you must bring your own bike and, again, get an early start.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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