Rif Mangrove Park is a unique city park that is a nature reserve for plants, birds and marine animals.

Rif Mangrove Park differs from other mangrove nature reserves because it is located inside the city of Willemstad and only 1.4 km (0.89 miles) from the city center. Its location makes it easy to visit both the city center and the Rif Mangrove Park in a single day. The park is a 12 hectare (30 acre) ecosystem that provides food and shelter for marine animals and is a habitat for many birds.

Mangrove Forest

As the name implies, the nature reserve consists of mostly mangroves trees. The park has three different species of mangroves which are the black, red and white mangroves. There is also a Buttonwood Tree which are commonly found in mangroves.

Near the coast green and brown algae grows along the mangrove trees and adds color and character to the appearance of the mangrove ecosystem.

Overwater Boardwalk

The elevated boardwalk guides visitors through the mangrove forest and has signs at various points to provide visitors with information about the mangrove. The 2 kilometer board weaves through the mangrove and takes approximately 40 minutes but if you are looking for local wildlife it might take longer.

Observation Tower

The observation tower provides an overview of the park where it is possible to spot some of the types of birds in the park.

Bird spotting hotspot

Many species of birds live in the Rif Mangrove Park. Some of the birds that can be seen in North America spend the winter in Central and South America and others birds in the park are year round residents of Curacao and South America

Some of the birds that I normally see in Texas are identified below.

Black-necked Stilt

Snowy Egret

Green Heron

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Tricolored Heron


Other birds that I have only seen in Curacao or South America are identified in the following photos.


Venezuelan Troupial

Brown-throated Parakeet

The Dust on My Shoes

Curacao is known for calm clear water, tropical beached, snorkeling and relaxation but the Rif Mangrove Park provides a place to discover one of the islands natural ecosystems and see some of the local wildlife.

I have never seen an easier way to experience a mangrove ecosystem. The overwater boardwalk is a really nice way to walk through the mangrove and see the mangroves without getting in a boat which is normally required when visiting natural mangroves. After spending a little time in nature it is just a short walk back to the city life in Willemstad.

Very seldom is nature and city life located so close together. Make sure to see both when visiting Curacao.

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