Latest update: 16 April 2021
Shete Boka is the rough, rugged national park of Curaçao. The wild sea is hitting the bare rocks here. The force of nature is overwhelming and soothing at the same time. You should not miss this beautiful part of Curaçao!
The seven+ coves of Shete Boka
At Shete Boka, time seems to stand still for a moment. It is a sweltering volcanic landscape where you only hear the sea; sometimes it sounds ominous, at other times relaxing. Shete means seven in Papiamento, and boka means coves, and those coves are the attraction.
Actually, the name Shete Boka is not quite right because there are more than seven inlets in this nature reserve. Here, on the edge of the Christoffelpark, are at least ten bokas. But when the first excursions to Shete Boka were organized, the people visited seven bokas, hence the name.
Shete Boka by car or on foot?
You pay an entrance fee (fl 17.50 p / p), and you will receive a ticket and map with the most popular bokas and routes. It is an option to hike everything. An option, yes.
There are two hiking trails: the Boka Pistol Trail and the Boka Wandomi Trail. Both take about an hour. The Boka Pistol Trail also takes you past Boka Brown, and this is one of the places where the turtles lay eggs. The Boka Wandomi trail passes chunks of lava rock and the natural bridge.
I’ve just finished climbing Christoffelberg, so my best friend and I drive through Shete Boka Park, always parking near the bokas. It is also a short walk from the parking spaces in the park to the viewpoints. The national park is about 200 hectares, and the coastline is more than 10 km long.
Haven’t arranged a rental car yet? Try Sunny Cars; it’s been my favorite car rental company for years because there are no hidden costs.
Would you like more background information about the volcanic past of Curaçao and the bokas, or don’t you have a rental car? Then a jeep tour might be something for you. Book it here.
Apply sunscreen and hydrate well!
The park has hardly any shade, and the rocky ground seems to reflect the bright sun’s heat. It is sweltering here, so apply sunscreen (read here why you should choose an eco-friendly sunscreen) and take enough water with you. You can also buy it at the entrance, where you will find a restaurant and a toilet building.
Trek ook goede schoenen aan, want de wandelpaden liggen vol gemene stenen en rotsen. Ik haal mijn voeten er in ieder geval al binnen vijf minuten aan open. Learn from my mistake. 😉
The turtles of Shete Boka
Anyone who thinks they can catch a glimpse of the turtles at Shete Boka is up for a disappointment. Although sea turtles like to come and lay their eggs in the area, the chances of seeing one are virtually nil. And that is a good thing; it keeps the breeding grounds of the three turtle species well protected. Do you want to contribute to protecting the turtles? You can make a donation on the site of Shete Boka.
The most popular bokas of Shete Boka
The most famous bokas are the ones that are also indicated on the map that you get at the entrance. If you want to visit the other bokas, you can, but you have to investigate the area yourself.
Boka Wandomi and the natural bridge
There are two viewpoints at Boka Wandomi. One on the parking lot’s side, and for the other, you have to go down the stairs, cross and go up again. Here, you can clearly see from above how people form words with stones on the lower part.
The natural bridge is simply a massive rock where the water has swept away parts of the rock at the bottom. Years ago, Aruba also had such a natural bridge. That was a real draw. It has since collapsed. Let’s hope that this one does not expect the same fate in Curaçao.
Boka Tabla and the cave
At Boka Tabla you can admire the raging water at the top, but you can also enter the cave. This is at your own risk, and on some days, the cave is unfortunately not accessible. On those days, it is simply too dangerous to enter. Even if it is allowed, it is still quite terrifying in the dark space in which you stoop to descend. The sound of the water is deafening; the swirling water is impressive.
To see Boka Kalki, you have to make an effort. From the parking lot you walk through the mangrove to the beach. It’s a short walk, but it’s hot, and the path is often overrun by water. I like it a lot because it’s different from the other bokas.
I think Boka Pistol is the most impressive boka of the bunch. Some say that the name Boka Pistol comes from the wild water’s sound against the rocks that sounds like a gunshot. Others claim that the name is due to the way the rocks shoot away the water. I can live with both explanations.
One splash of the water is more impressive than the other. Standing here like this, I try to gauge whether it will be “a good one” by looking at the bubbling, foaming water. What an overwhelming force of nature!
Visiting Shete Boka
The Shete Boka National Park is open every day from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. You are not allowed to enter from 4 pm. Because Shete Boka is far away in the West, it is wise to combine a visit with the Christoffel Park or a beach nearby.
Google Maps location Shete Boka