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Notable for its flora, fauna, culture and history, the park includes three former plantations, Plantage Savonet, Plantage Zorgvlied and Plantage Zevenbergen, a mine complex, Newton, and the island's highest point, Christoffelberg (1,239 feet (378 m)). The park covers almost 2000 hectares and has been part of Curaçao's national park system since 1978.
Plantage Savonet in Christoffelpark is one of the earliest plantations to be founded on Curaçao.[when?] As of 2011[update] the irrigation system is still reasonably intact. Attempts were made to cultivate aloe, indigofera, sorghum, corn, cotton, and beans. Cows, sheep, goats and poultry were also farmed on the plantation.
The plantation houses of Savonet and Zorgvlied (situated at the mountain side of the park) were built on the island in the eighteenth century. Of Zorgvlied only ruins remain. About 100 metres (330 ft) west of Zorgvlied ruins is the house of the 'bomba', the slave in charge of other slaves, and a 'slave-pole'.
Roads in the park were bitumised in 2004.
Flora and fauna
Chistoffelpark has more biodiversity than elsewhere on the island. Flora present in the park includes three pillar cacti species (datu, kadushi, and kadushi di pushi), divi-divi trees and exotic flowers. Cacti in the park reach up to ten feet high, and several extremely rare orchids, such as the lady of the night and Humboldt's schomburgkia, can be found blooming on them. Plant species occurring only in Christoffelpark include Myrcia curassavica, endemic to Curaçao, and Maytenus versluysii, endemic to Curaçao and Bonaire.
Fauna notable in the park includes mammals like the white-tailed deer, the cottontail, and several species of bats, birds like the rare white-tailed hawk, an endemic subspecies of barn owl (Tyto alba bargei), hummingbirds like the common emerald and the crimson topaz, and the endemic yellow oriole. Reptiles and insects are also well represented.
There are eight hiking trails in the park, of which the Christoffel Mountain climb is the most challenging. Visitors are advised to attempt this climb early in the morning. There are four sealed road routes through the park. Organised park tours include a deer-spotting sunset tour, a pick-up safari, and the "Savonet history" tour.
- "Christoffelpark Curacao". Caribbean Research & Management of Biodiversity. Retrieved 21 February 2011.