Nature of Curacao

Curacao has much more to offer than beaches and beautiful dive sites. There are several places with breathtakingly beautiful views of our island. Both above and below water, Curacao is something special. We all agree on that. Although the climate is usually hot and dry, this does not mean that nature on Curacao is not beautiful.

Climate and weather
Curacao stationed in the heart of a tropical climate. Our beautiful island is located a few hundred miles above the equator. Curacao is warm with a sunny climate all year round. The average temperature is around 27 degrees. Because of the location of the island in relation to other islands there is always a cool wind blowing from the east.


The rainy season starts in October and ends in February. During this period you can expect tropical showers that usually last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes. The average rainfall is around 570mm of water each year. This in combination with the sun shining the rest of the day constitutes the rainy season in Curacao. Many people think that Curacao suffers from hurricanes during this season. Fortunately, this is not the case. Curacao falls just outside the ring of the hurricane season which the Windward Islands have to deal with every year.

Geology and Geography
Curacao is divided into four geological sections. The Curacao Lava Formation, The Knip Group, The Middle Curacao Formation and the Limestone formation. The oldest rock is the Curacao Lava Formation. A layer which is 5000 meters thick and forms the lowest chalk layer of the island. The Knip Group forms the upper chalk layer of the island. It consists mainly of siliceous soil. This layer is probably thicker in the northwestern part of Curacao than in the southwestern part of the island. The middle Curacao Formation occurs mainly in the center of the island. The top layer, or Limestone formation of the soil lies most at the surface of the island. For more information about the geology of Curacao, check out this site.

Landscape
At first glance, Curacao looks like a barren island. This is partly true mainly because of the low rainfall on the eialnd . Limited plant and animal species can survive in this climate. But if you go a little closer to nature, you will be amazed at what Curacao has to offer in terms of flora and fauna. The total area of Curacao is 444 square kilometers. The vast north coast of the island can be described as rugged and impassable natural terrain. The cliffs formed over the years by the sea provide a breathtaking view if you are able to come here.

At the western end of the island you will find vast, hilly landscapes. The Christoffel Park encompasses most of the landscapes. Within the park you will find the highest point of 375 meters, Mount Christoffel.

The eastern side of the island consists of flat and mostly barren plain, with few settlements and a few secondary roads weaving in from and to the coast.

Plants
Local plants have ingenious mechanisms that allow them to withstand the dry desert climate, scarce precipitation and ever-present trade winds. These include wonderful adaptations of their roots, leaves and stems. The total vascular flora is about 450 species. Species composition varies considerably among the different geological formations. No group of plants is as well suited to the climate as the cacti, which are specially designed to limit the amount of moisture lost through evaporation. Their mean spines are actually modified leaves. The island has hundreds of species. Not all of the species on the island are harmless.

One plant you should avoid contact with is the manzaliña tree, also called the manchineel in other parts of the Caribbean. This tree has rough, dark bark and small green leaves. The fruits of this plant are poisonous and cause skin irritation and burning. One of the most characteristic trees of Curacao are the Dividivi trees. Recognized by the "wind form", caused by the trade winds.

Reptiles
Whiptail lizards, which are characteristic of Curacao, can be found wherever you go. The slender brown "lagadishi" are the females . The larger blue-green "blò-blò" are the males of his species.

Another pleasant guest, the Gekko feeds on the ever-present mosquitoes. The male Gecko, called "totèki" or "kaku", has an impressive bright yellow and orange neck lobe. This is used to impress the female sex and to chase away enemies.
Another species in the family is translucent yellow-brown in color. With bulging black eyes and suction cups on its legs, it has the ability to walk up walls. The locals call this species "plakiplak. Without a doubt, the iguana "Yuana" is the king of reptiles in Curacao. Iguanas soup is considered a delicacy in Curacao.

There are two types of snakes you will encounter in Curacao. Both are completely harmless. Four species of sea turtles the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, the "namaa" hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle. The first three in this series are found on a few small beaches in Curacao. These beaches form a protected area on the island.

Mammals
The island of Curacao has a total of 11 different species of mammals, these are some of them:

  • white-tailed deer
  • the field mouse
  • small rabbits
  • eight species of bats

The deer and bats are endangered species. Recent research has shown that bats play an important role in the terrestrial ecosystem . They are the main pollinators of columnar cacti. These coniferous plants are in turn an important source of food for many species during dry periods. It is not uncommon to see goats and donkeys wandering the streets, especially in the more rural areas of Curacao.

Birds
Whether you're sitting comfortably in a beach chair, taking a stroll along the scenic coast, or taking a brave trek through the undergrowth, you're sure to come into contact with some of Curacao's native birds. More than 168 bird species have been recorded in Curacao. At least 51 of these species are breeding birds, 71 are migrants from North America, 19 are visitors from South America and 19 are seabirds. The most common of the native birds are the Trupial, a black bird with a bright orange belly and white samples on its wings, and the Cuchubi, the Caribbean mockingbird.

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