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Why gorgeous Curacao is a great destination for ecotourists

By: Jared Ranahan Special to USA TODAY 10Best

When it comes to ecotourism, the Caribbean is rife with iconic destinations, ranging from Puerto Rico’s lush El Yunque rainforest to the verdant hills of Dominica. However, one tiny island tends to fly under the radar for seasoned outdoor adventurers. Perched off the coast of Venezuela, the island of Curaçao is home to pristine beaches, picturesque national parks, and native flora and fauna.

While some of the Caribbean’s top ecotourism destinations are lauded for their lush jungles and humid climate, rain is a rare occurrence on Curaçao, even during its three-month wet season. Yet, despite its dry climate, the island is abundant with native wildlife.

There’s no shortage of places to explore in Curaçao, but perhaps the crown jewel can be found in its northern reaches: Christoffel National Park. Though only 4 square miles in size, it's the largest park on the island and serves as one of Curaçao’s top destinations for hiking and viewing flora and fauna.

A park with a view

For ambitious adventurers, the Christoffel Mountain Trail in the national park offers gorgeous views of the island. The hike takes roughly three hours and ends atop the 1,220-foot-tall Christoffelberg, the tallest mountain on the island. Due to Curaçao’s extreme heat, hikers must embark on this trail before 10 a.m. Those wanting to explore in the afternoon should check out the Plantation Boka Grandi Trail, which offers views of the park's salt marshes, mahogany trees and Curaçao’s….click here for the full article.