Curacao,  Experiences

Shete Boka National Park in Curacao – ultimate guide with map

Shete Boka National Park in Curacao is a place where you can witness nature’s primal forces at work. The Shete Boka National park is adjacent to Christoffel Park and located on the rocky north coast of the island. This is your chance to see a whole different side of the vacationer’s paradise Curacao. Not only can you see huge waves come crashing in on impressive cliffs but also other great natural wonders, like a natural bridge. So, if you are looking for a comprehensive guide before making your trip all the way out there, say no more. I have visited the park many times, and have collected all the important information about the Shete Boka National Park in Curacao for you in this post!

Table of Contents

Shete Boka Map
Shete Boka Map

What is the Shete Boka National Park?

The Shete Boka National Park is an area covering 10 km of exposed rugged coastal lines. The word Boka also means inlet, so Shete Boka is a translation for “the seven inlets”. The National park was established in 1993 as a protected area. There are about 10 bays where three different species of sea turtles lay eggs.

The formation of the rocks consist of the sedimentary skeletal remains of corals, forming terraces that were built and deposited in times of changing sea levels. The pocket bays, the so-called boka’s, have been eroded and shaped by rainwater from higher hills as well as the Christoffel Mountain. Some of the impressive limestone cliffs have been shaped by the crashing waves from the sea. 

Sea turtles usually return to their initial nesting spaces, therefore the beaches must be protected. The nesting season starts in May and ends in December. During that time, researchers of the so-called Carmabi foundation monitor the activity in the National park closely. Three different species nest in that area, the Hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead turtle, and the Green turtle.

Four of the inlets have special wooden viewing platforms for visitors. We found that the best time to go is either early in the morning (with nicer temperatures as well) or later in the evening. During the day, many people from day trips and cruise ships arrive and crowd the area a bit.

For more information about the park check its official website.

Opening times

09:00 am until 05:00 pm

Monday through Sunday

Entrance fee

USD 5,50 (approx. €5,07) per person

A basic map is given for free at the entrance
More in-depth maps with hiking trails are also available at the entrance

Parking is for free.

There are restrooms available at the visitor’s center.

What to bring

It is important to bring good shoes for your hike. You sometimes have to walk on uneven terrain or climb up and down natural steps. Make sure to bring sunscreen and something to protect your head from the sun.

The park is declared a no-drone zone, so sadly drone flying is not permitted. You can take pictures with your camera and your phone. Be careful though, the water might splash.

Bring some water or refreshments for your hike. Alternatively, you can also buy cold drinks at the visitors center at the entrance.

Make sure to dress appropriately for the hike. You do not need hiking gear, but solid clothing that can protect you from the sun is recommended. It is pretty windy in the National Park, so I do not suggest a sunhat, it might fly away.

View of Parking spots at shete boka and Christoffel Berg in the background
Curacao Travel Guide Book

How to get to Shete Boka National Park

From Willemstad coming you will head towards the west on the Weg naar Westpunt. The drive from Willemstad takes roughly 45 minutes and is very scenic. Right after the entrance to the Christoffel National Park you will find a small turn leading towards the Shete Boka National Park Visitors center.

You can also book a guided day trip from Willemstad that covers the park and combines it with other nice activities in the area.

Things to see in Shete Boka National Park

There are two main hiking trails around the Shete Boka National Park. Both the Poka Pistol Trail and the Boka Wandomi Trail take about an hour to hike. Both are equally impressive and we suggest planning about three hours for your visit to the park, so you can see both of them. We usually start with the Boka Wandomi Trail, because it starts right at the visitor’s center and you can leave your car parked there.

The Boka Pistol Trail
The Boka Pistol trail includes a 1-hour walk, leading through Boka Brown where sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs and Boka Pistol where huge waves burst into the sky with gunfire-like explosions and panoramic overviews from the flat limestone hills. You will also see Boka Kalki on this hike.

The Boka Wandomi Trail
The Boka Wandomi trail is a 1-hour walk along rolling lava hills down to Boka Wandomi and the limestone bluffs to a Natural Bridge. A short walk along the rugged north coast will bring you back to Boka Tabla. The first stop on this amazing trail is an underground Cave, where you can see the waves. We suggest starting the trail right from the visitors center at the entrance, so you can avoid the drive altogether.

Boka Tabla

Boka Tabla is one of the most amazing inlets in the Shete Boka National Park. You can walk up a wooden platform and see waves crashing onto the cliffs. The waves reach a height of roughly 40 feet there. Right next to the Boka Tabla is a small cave that you can walk down to. Wooden stairs take you to an underground platform so you can see the waves come in from the inside. This is pretty impressive and for me the coolest experience in the park.

A small trail of white stones will lead you to the next stop on the trail, Boka Wandomi, and the natural bridge. The walk is not too difficult and you have a super pretty view of the ocean. You can also walk through the inland, but I prefer this part of the trail.

Boka Wandomi

Lastly, Boka Wandomi and the natural bridge are another tourists favorite spot in the Shete Boka National Park. There are two nice viewpoints from where you can see the Natural bridge in all its glory. You can see the bridge from above, but also from downstairs (at eye level).

On the way from Boka Tabla to Boka Wandomi there is a super pretty small beach that is just as impressive as the natural bridge. Once you reach Boka Wandomi, you have the choice of walking back to the entrance and your car via the inland or along the coast. I suggest walking by the coast, it is far more scenic.

Boka Kalki

The Boka Kalki is a super picturesque little bay on the Boka Pistol Trail. There are parking spots right next to Boka Kalki if you don’t want to walk the full trail. The shoreline was formed by sedimentary skeletal remains of corals and you can spot lots of cute crabs crawling around the beach.

Boka Kalki in curacao
Boka Kalki

Boka Pistol

The impressive Boka Pistol is the last stop on your hike on the Boka Pistol trail. It is named after the loud sound the waves make when they come crashing onto the shore. There is a wooden viewing platform from where you can see the amazing waves coming in, but you can also walk up close to the shore itself. You might get wet though.

What can you do near Shete Boka National Park?

The drive out to the park takes a while, so naturally, you will want to combine the trip with something else in the area. Luckily, there are many amazing things that you can do out in the west. Personally, this is my favorite part of the island. Check my ultimate Curacao Travel Guide for more in-depth info about the area.

Here are my favorite things to do near Shete Boka National Park:

  • Hike up the Christoffel Berg (make sure to visit the Christoffel Berg first, because the Christoffel National Park closes at 01:00 p)
  • Visit a secret, hidden beach called Playa Gipy!
  • Snorkel with sea turtles at Playa Lagun, Playa Grandi, or Playa Kalki. All three of these beaches are extremely beautiful and I suggest you check them out when you are already in the area. With some luck, you might even be able to swim with some sea turtles.
  • Great restaurants in the area: Visit Bahia Lagun or Playa Forti restaurant for an amazing meal with a view
  • Visit the Savonet Museum
  • See the Watamula Hole
  • Go swimming at Grote Knip or Kleine Knip beach

Is the Shete Boka National Park worth visiting?

We have gone there many times and we find it worth visiting. The waves are extremely impressive and you can take such nice pictures. We found it to be a lovely change of pace from slow days on the beach. The hike was very nice and the area is well taken care of. If you combine visiting the Shete Boka National Park with other things in the area, it is worth the drive.

Do you need to book in advance to visit Shete Boka National Park?

No, you do not need to book in advance to see the Shete Boka National Park. You can simply drive there and buy your ticket at the Visitors Center at the entrance of the park.

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