Watamula: the end of the road
Barren, bleak and beautiful. Watamula is a combination of sight, sounds and discovery that is captivating.
Provided you are already on the west end of Curaçao, one of the top things to do in Curacao is to visit Watamula. This is an excursion which requires very little effort, and is highly rewarding.
The name “Watamula” comes from the Dutch word “Watermolen” (not to be confused with “watermelon”) and is translated into English as “water mill” because of the way the turbulent currents from the north side of the island collide with the softer currents from the south.
The drive to Watamula is part of the adventure and may cause you to wonder if you took a wrong turn somewhere.
From Westpunt, turn west at the cemetery and drive further west past Playa Kalki and the Dive West shop and pier. A minute or two past Kura Hulanda Resort, the road changes from pavement to a dirt, sometimes rocky, often pot holed trail; but don’t worry, you have not taken a wrong turn. Follow the signs and you will come to the parking lot for Watamula. I am not sure the rental companies would appreciate their cars being driven on this road shortly after a rain, but while dry it is passable.
The first impression of Watamula, with its rough lava rock, towering cactus and blowing wind is deceiving. Despite the desolate, barren appearance, there are wonders to be explored. You will soon be impressed with the breathtaking and awe-inspiring scene of pounding waves spraying high and gouging crevices and caves in the sheer rock face.
There are multiple sites to explore while here. We began at a large rock that has been painted with the emblem of the Curaçao flag and walked left towards the cliff. As you are approaching the cliff, watch on your right for a small hole in the rock (with a rusted iron grate covering it) where you can see the surging waters below. What you will not realize until later is that you are standing on a natural bridge.
When you get close to the edge of the cliff the view of the coast is incredible. Waves continually beat at the limestone cliff creating caves and inlets. Following a trail to your left along the edge of the cliff, be sure to look back for a view of the natural bridge created by the surf.
We followed the cliff edge until we came to Playa Guepi, a small inlet and beach. This has got to be the smallest playa on Curaçao. To reach the tiny, beautiful, sand beach, go inland following the edge of the inlet until you see some tree trunks painted with yellow or blue. This is where you turn down into the inlet and head back towards the ocean. You will discover a small, private, secluded part of paradise with sand that is a fine, soft powder. This small strip of paradise seems out of place among the cliffs, rocks and pounding surf. Though the blue water beckons, swimming in not recommended; we saw two tiger sharks a few hundred meters from here.
After returning to the starting point of the flag rock, walk directly towards the ocean. Without any difficulty you will find a large “sink hole” connected to the ocean by an underground cavern. Watch as the water rises and falls with the wave action from the ocean. This is called the “Eye of Curaçao.”
The third part of the experience is hearing “The Breath of Curaçao.” Walk further to your right, listen carefully, and at about the time you think you must have walked too far, you will literally hear the island sighing and rumbling to itself. Small holes in the lava rock act as air vents for the waves beating against the shore. Take time to explore. There are several holes where you can feel the air rushing out, in other places air bubbles are visible in pools of trapped sea water.
Along this stretch of coast the waves against the rocks are spectacular and if the tide and wave action are right, you will see numerous blowholes.
There are no services available at Watamula – you are on your own here. Though we wore flip flops, more sturdy footwear is suggested.
Because this is a secluded area, is it recommended that you leave nothing of value in your car and consider rolling down the windows and leaving the car unlocked.
Watamula is, without any doubt one of our favorite locations.