If you’re a nature fanatic looking for a low-key activity with some moderate exercise level, visiting the island’s most popular cave formation is an experience you must try.
The Hato Caves were formed below the sea level millions of years ago. With the Ice Ages the water level dropped down and the island of Curaçao was formed. The Hato cave covers an area of 4900 m2, and is the home to the beautiful limestone formations, cave pools, waterfall and the famous Madonna statue.
The Hato Caves are known as one of the island’s top 10 tourist attractions and there are many reasons why; unlike other caves which are formed on the second terrace, these caves can be found on the third terrace of the island, making them the highest, biggest and most beautiful caves on the island.
Made publicly accessible in 1991, the caves are also the most visitor-friendly on the island. Do not forget your sturdy shoes at home however, as you will have to face 49 steps before reaching the entrance to the cave. Bringing comfortable clothes and water along for the trip is a must. Once inside it’s a relief to be out of the glaring sun, the heat however is more difficult to escape, the weather transitions from hot to humid as soon as you step inside. The guides are friendly and funny, you won’t mind being stuck in a cave with them along with other creatures of the dark. Two sorts of rare bats have made these caves their home; the long- tongued bats and the long-nosed bat, intruders must be wary as not to disturb them with much noise or light, the bats are harmless and will most likely hang upside down in formation or flee from the scene. Follow the guides into the many chambers and encounter natural pools, limestone formations covered in green and purple hues, rocks shaped like familiar objects and the icing on the cake: a room with an open ceiling hatch that allows natural light to fall into the cave.
Situated on the North side of the island, the Caves are just two minutes away from the Airport and are surrounded by a naturally rugged landscape. Take the time to walk in the small park on site, where you will get acquainted with several local plants and trees and can stop to admire the rock formations and over 200,000 year-old Indian carvings. Photos can only be taken at certain assigned spots in the cave, but you will have plenty to shoot outside so keep a good camera at hand.
Several local animal species can also be spotted on location;long-tongued and long-nose bats, iguana’s and chirping birds are common sightings on the “Indian Trail”.
Have a seat at their small cafe to catch your breath and order a cold drink or an energizing coffee. Parking and restrooms are available.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to catch up on some local history and culture, while admiring nature’s architectural designs!
The Hato Caves are open every day from 9 am to 4 pm, a small fee is charged for the guided tours.
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