Salt Pans of Jan Thiel

The Jan Thiel area in an IBA and can be accessed from five different sides. There are several trails in the area, due to lack of management however more and more trails are created, for mountain bikers, etc. destroying the vegetation. The trail is relatively easy but certain parts are eroded making it difficult to access the salt pans.

Flamingos in the Salt Pans (Photo by Michelle da Costa Gomez)

Many remains of the salt industry before 1863 are still present and the salt pan structures themselves offer a rich habitat for shorebirds and birds like American Flamingos and sandpipers/ plovers. The limestone vegetation offers a variety of plants flowering in the dry season, such as agave, and harbors hummingbirds like the Blue-tailed Emerald, Yellow Oriole, Venezuelan Trupial and many other birds. Crested Caracara’s and American Kestrel also breed in this area.

This site is easy to access, offers an wide variety of bird species and is in the heart of the tourist development at Jan Thiel.

Michelle Pors-da Costa Gomez

Brown Pelican (Photo by Michelle da Costa Gomez)

Getting There

The area with the highest variety of birds lies on the shore side of Jan Thiel. This is accessible by parking the car at Bapor Kibrá (also know for Seaquarium) or at the last roundabout in front of Chogogo Resort at Jan Thiel Beach. There are no entrance fees.

Hike along the fence surrounding the parking place of Jan Thiel/Papagayo Beach towards the shore and follow the trail up the limestone cliffs towards the salt pans. Curaçao Footprint Foundation offers regular birdwatching trips in this area as well as other areas. Contact Mr. Leon Pors or Mrs. Michelle da Costa Gomez at Curaçao Footprint Foundation for a personal trip, or take a look at the Facebook page Bird Watching Curaçao.

Snowy Egret (Photo by Michelle da Costa Gomez)

Additional Information 

The salt pans are historical landmarks with the remains of walls, as well as warehouses, still found in the area. Conservation threats include the continuing development of the Jan Thiel/eastern side of the island putting heavy pressure on the only existing road from this part of the island to the inner city. The government still has plans to build a highway trough the area.

Seasides Mangroves at the Salt Pans (Photo by Michelle da Costa Gomez)

Other conservation threats include: illegal building in the conservation area; lack of management to contain trail building; access by quads disturbing nesting shorebirds; and people walking with unleashed dogs during breeding of stilts and terns.

Salt Pans of Jan Thiel (Photo by Michelle da Costa Gomez)


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