In October I started a survey to find out if my current choices for hiking days and times were what my hikers prefer. I aimed at 100 responses and finally got 97 so it is time to report the results.
The survey was posted on facebook and was seen by 5510 people at least once and for most people twice. From these 5510 200 people clicked on the link to go to the survey (3.6%) and 97 actually filled out the survey (1.8%). Although these percentages seem low they are not uncommon for anonymous surveys.
The below mentioned results are based on the responses that I got; so they apply to the people that responded to my questions. Others may have another opinion but they passed on the opportunity to express their opinion (98%) or they never got the survey presented.
Which weekend day has your preference?
Sunday is the preferred hiking day in the weekend by 38% of the respondents followed by the Saturday with 32%. As the respons on "Either day is OK with me" shows another 26% that means that by staying on the Sunday I facilitate 54% of my respondents.
Which starting time has your preference in the weekend?
Clearly 7 AM is the preferred starting time for the choices that I offered in the survey. I got some responses in the open question that would like to start even earlier. But this result means that the starting time in the weekend stays 7 AM.
Which working day has your preference for hiking?
The most obvious result is that most of the people who responded are not able to hike during the week. And for the people that are able to hike during the week there is no clear preference although the current day, the Tuesday, got a slightly lower score than the Monday and Friday. So from January on I will move the Tuesday hike to the Friday. Monday would be an equally valid choice but that would mean hikes on two consecutive days.
What starting time has your preference on working days?
Clearly my choice to move the original starting time of 7 AM to 7:30 AM was not a good choice. So I will move back to a starting time of 7 AM. The problem for some people during the week is the fact that they can only hike after bringing their kid(s) to school. Even the starting time of 8 AM would not solve that problem completely because of the additional driving time on working days.
A number of people that answered the previous question with "I am unable to hike on any of the working days during the week" still responded to the question about the preferred time. If I filter out these answers the resulting preferred starting time is still 7 AM although with a smaller margin.
The last question was an open one. I got a total of 56 responses on this question. When I filter out the "no" and positive remarks the remaining 29 suggestions fall in the following catergories.
Other starting times or other days
I offered the Monday, Tuesday and Friday as working day options but got the request for Wednesday and Thursday. On these days I have other obligations so these days are not available to me for hiking.
Suggestions are also to start in the afternoon or earlier in the morning. As I want to be back at the cars before the sun sets afternoon hikes need to have a higher pace than the current morning hikes. Even starting at 4 PM (some asked for 5 PM or even later) means an end time of 6:30 or 7 PM, if I keep the current pace, and that is currently in the dark. As there are some organisations that already offer an afternoon hike I suggest to contact these organisations. I will keep my hikes in the morning. Currently Curaçao Footprint Foundation and recently also Hidden Trails of Curaçao and maybe others that I don't know of offer afternoon hikes.
Earlier in the morning would be an option occasionally.
Another suggestion is evening sunset hikes combined with a good glass of wine or night hikes provided the area and parking lot is safe. Interesting suggestions. I will think about these and maybe occasionally offer such a hike. The Malpais hike ending at Kokomo Beach would be a good location for a sunset hike combined with a glass of wine both at Kokomo Beach. Parke Sorsaka and the Jan Thiel lagune would be a good location for a night hike provided we take flash lights for the part through Parke Sorsaka.
Other locations / different hikes
Suggestions are to hike in parts of Curaçao unknown to most people or in the Christoffel Park or to offer more variation in my hikes. Or hikes near a beach or water.
Currently I offer 6 different hikes; 3 of these hikes are offered in 2 variants by choosing another route for part of the hike. I understand that some of you participated in all these hikes and would like something new. I am open to offer additional routes in the Band'ariba area provided they are interesting enough and there is a safe parking lot. The route at St. Joris is one I would like to offer but parking at the St. Joris bay is not a safe option.
Most of my hikes already are starting near a beach and/or water.
For the Band'abou area there are several organisations that offer hikes there already and there is no need for me to offer hikes there. The two organisations mentioned in the previous subchapter offer hikes there and also Mondi Addiction and Wandelen met Ans Bronneberg. So check their hikes if you want to hike in Band'abou. The Christoffel Park has its own rangers and hikes.
Provide more information and pictures about the hikes / monthly planning
Apparently a number of respondents don't know my facebook page and website. Each Wednesday I post the hikes for the next Sunday and Tuesday with information about the duration of the hike and a number of pictures. The website contains for each hike information about starting point (Google Maps), duration of the hike in hours, length of the hike in kilometers, difficulty level and other information. Also a number of pictures are shown there per hike. Required fitness level is not mentioned there but each person individually should be able to check based on the offered information if he/she would be able to complete that hike. If in doubt a question can be asked through the contact page of the website or via a message on the facebook page.
Through the newletter and the facebook page I publish a monthly schedule of the hikes. Also the website contains the planning for the current and following month with links to the information about each of these hikes.
So the requested information is readily available already.
Duration not longer than 2 hours
Two of my hikes have a duration of two hours or less; the hike around the saliña of St. Michiel takes about 2 hours; the hike at Jan Thiel West with the coastal return takes 1.5 hours. All other hikes are longer not because of the distance but because of the pace of the hike. I like to explain a lot during the hike and there is time to take pictures during the hike. These hikes are meant to be entertaining and not a training exercise.
Groups not larger than 15 people
My current limit is 20 people; as soon as I reach 20 adults I close the registration. The problem is that during the night when the registration is still open the amount can grow slightly over 20. But in 90% of the hikes of past year the groups are smaller than 15 people.
Lower price for locals
The fee for tourists is Nafl 18.00 of $10. Inhabitants of the Dutch kingdom get a discount and pay Nafl 15.00; kids of 12 years and younger pay half price. As far as I know this is the same price range offered by all the hiking organisations in Curaçao so I don't see the need for a further discount for locals.
Conclusion of the survey
- The weekend hike will stay on Sunday and will start at 7 AM
- The hike on Tuesday will be moved to Friday and will once again start at 7 AM.
- I will think about offering an evening or night hike occasionally
- The registration will be closed at 20 adults which means that occasionally the group will be slightly above 20 people
- The price will stay the same
- When I find a safe location for an additional hike in the Band'ariba area I will offer a new route; the Band'abou area I leave to the other organisations