Explore the Hato Caves located about 30 minutes from Willemstad, Curaçao. Formed below sea level millions of years ago, these caves were first inhabited by Amerindian people called Arawaks and then by runaway slaves. The slaves used the caves as a hiding place. Evidence of their stay is the black soot left behind on the ceiling from their fires, near the entrance of the cave.
Explore the Hato Caves
Guided tours about the history and nature of the caves are offered most days, every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. To reach the caves, you must first climb up 50 stairs. At the top of the stairs, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the ocean. Once inside the caves, a paved walkway winds though the various chambers. Embedded fossils can be spotted on the cave walls, left behind when the sea retreated.
The caves are inhabited by two types of bats; the long-tongued bat and long-nosed bat. The bats can be seen during the day, as they sleep in clusters, hanging high above your head deep in the cavern. Keep your mouth closed and wear glasses while viewing them, to avoid bat droppings (guano) and urine.
The Hato Caves property also offers a 20-minute self guided tour along Indian Trail to view typical Curaçao vegetation and 1,500 year-old drawings attributed to the Caiquetio Indians.
A variety of native cacti are found in the Cactus Garden along the walkway from the parking lot. Keep a lookout for two types of lizards and other small animals of the area.
Facts about the Hato Caves
• The cave opened to the public in 1991.
• Runaway slaves hid in the caves.
• Two types of bats live in the caves, the long-tongued bat and long-nosed bat.
• Amerindian are Indigenous people from South America and the Caribbean.
• Antillean Arawaks are a subgroup of the Amerindians and left the island before the Spanish arrived in 1499.
• The Caiquetio Indians came from Venezuela.
For more information about the caves and tours, visit http://curacaohatocaves.com/
Discover colourful Willemstad, Curaçao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site