15 Best Things to Do in Curaçao All the brands 2022
Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean island, is known for its beaches tucked into coves and its expansive coral reefs rich with marine life. The capital, Willemstad, has pastel-coloured colonial architecture, floating Queen Emma Bridge and the sand-floored, 17th-century Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue. It’s also a gateway to western beaches like Blue Bay, a popular diving site.
- Capital: Willemstad
- Dialing code: +599
- Currency: Netherlands Antillean guilder
- Continent: South America
- Population: 1.55 lakhs (2020) World Bank
A slim, slender tadpole of an island that forms the midpoint of the ABC, Curaçao is a Caribbean destination with a difference.
Surrounded by dreamy beaches and rugged headlands lined with the occasional bloom of palm trees and seagrasses, prickly cacti, and divi-divi groves, the terrain is not your usual jungle and soft sands.
It’s a little more chiselled than that, with hidden coves like Playa Lagun sheltering sunbathers between its duo of rocky outcroppings and salt-flecked Shete Boka Park, just a glimpse of the wild tropics.
Add to that the vibrant and fascinating capital of Willemstad, which clings to its cove on the southwestern tip of the island, and you’ve got a historical and cultural dimension to boot.
There are old Flemish townhouses and pontoon bridges, historic forts (Amsterdam’s namesake no less), and fascinating museums here.
1. Yes, there is a lot to do in sunny Curaçao! Check it out. Witness the natural wonders at Christoffel National Park
Bats flit through the branches of the divi-divi trees at sunset, as the glare of the Caribbean sun descends behind the mighty outline of Christoffel Mountain, looming on the horizon like the chiselled Matterhorn of the tropics.
Yes, this national park spread over a whopping 4,500 acres of land in the north is truly impressive.
Travellers can come and hike the rocky hiking trails and conquer the massive stone peak, a hike that takes about two hours from the bottom to the top.
Others will want to seek out the rare guinea pigs and deer, the scented Lady of the Night (a gorgeous orchid), and the wealth of beautiful hummingbirds in the air.
2. Stroll through Otrobanda and Punda in Willemstad
The historically rich area of Otrobanda is the undisputed focal point of the island’s capital is Willemstad.
It has a natural charm, labelled by UNESCO for its great wealth of elegant Dutch houses and pastel-painted terraces of Flemish-style terraced houses.
Come and stroll here and past the beautiful stretches of Brionplein, alongside the courses of St Anna Bay, see the painted colonial houses of the Hoogstraat.
Across the water is the Punda area.
Here, you’ll discover the elaborate façades of the 1708 Penha building, along with the palm-dotted lawn of Wilhelminapark.
3. Delve into the island’s history at the Savonet Museum
Located in the middle of the beautiful Christoffel National Park, where the great peak on the north side of the island rises to a ridge above the jungles, the Savonet Museum is one of the go-to places for travellers interested in the history of Curaçao and the ABC Islands.
It is housed in a restored plantation building, once the Savonet plantation and one of the oldest on earth, and features collections chronicling the long life of human habitation in these parts.
Expect stories of Arawak Indians dating back four millennia, tales of piracy on the high seas, and a look at the symbiosis of Curaçao’s tropical nature and its people throughout the centuries.
4. Attend the Curaçao Carniva
Get ready for a kaleidoscopic explosion of colour and creativity at the Curaçao Carnival.
Developed over centuries, the grand cultural celebration is one of the most immersive in the region.
Held every year in early spring, it brings groups of local samba dancers to the streets, their clothes infused with bright and bold Caribbean colours.
There’s also loads of Calypso and the island’s Tomb music, along with quirky masquerades and dance processions.
It is also an opportunity for travellers to see the ritual burning of King Momo, whose giant effigy bursts into flames and fireworks at the end of the festivities.
5. Sea turtles in the coves of Shete Boka National Park.
Joined at the hip to the much more famous Christoffel Reserve, Shete Boka National Park cascades from the cactus-clad hills on the island’s north side to where the wild Caribbean Sea crashes into the coves.
Famous for several small inlets, the region is a popular nesting site for turtles.
People come from far and wide to see the endangered green sea turtle and other shelled ocean creatures.
Others will come to conquer the sheer cliffs and barnacle-spotted headlands on foot, following the maintained Wandomi Trail or Pistol Trail.
6. Cross the Queen Emma pontoon bridge
Connecting the two historic halves of Willemstad, Otrobanda, and Punda, this series of pontoon walkways in the middle of the capital has become a symbol for all of Curaçao.
Initially built in 1888, the structure began as a toll bridge.
Today, travellers come to walk across the wooden planks and enjoy great views of the colourful mansions and Dutch-style houses that line the water’s edge.
Wait and watch as the bridge swings to one side to allow ships to enter and leave the harbour; it’s one of the landmark’s curious minor features and the reason it’s affectionately known as ‘Our Swinging Old Lady.’
7. Sunbathe between the cliffs of Playa Lagun
Be sure to pack your snorkels, sunscreen, and swimming gear for your trip to Playa Lagun, on the northwestern tip of the island.
A small quiet, and hidden enclave of Caribbean sand, it occupies a privileged position between two colossal rock promontories.
Coral reefs out at sea are teeming with herds of squid and pipefish, while a sprinkling of reclining chairs and sun loungers on the beach makes it an ideal place to lounge.
You can also have some great people-watching at Lagun, with locals zipping in and out of the bay in their colourful fishing boats from morning until night.
8. Dive underwater on a SCUBA excursion
Diving underwater in the straits that run between the ABC Islands and the Venezuelan coast to the south promises a SCUBA experience like nowhere else in the Caribbean.
With a dry, desert climate dominating the land, few rivers and streams are entering the oceans here, meaning there are no brackish waters or unexpected currents to throw up dust and silt, making visibility second to none.
There are also great dive sites galore, such as the vast urchin-filled Superior Producer wreck, the bulbous underwater plant life of the so-called Alice in Wonderland spot at Kalki, or Snake Bay, home to dolphins, rays, and stingrays! Turtles!
9. Between the turquoise sea and the bright sand at Playa Cas Abou
Perhaps the most quintessentially Caribbean stretch of sand on the entire island, the little white strip that hides between the rocky cliffs of Playa Cas Abou is a great place to come and relax, swim, snorkel and soak up the tropical heat.
There are loads of thatched umbrellas and large granite boulders for shade, plenty of water sports equipment for those sea kayaking sessions, and even a sea play area for travellers with kids in tow.
However, it’s the drinking holes that draw the crowds, with cocktails flowing from the Daiquiri Bar well into the night!
10. Dine in style at Baoase
Part culinary masterclass and luxury resort, Baoase is a stone’s throw from Curacao’s rock-strewn coastline south of Willemstad.
The restaurant enjoys sweeping views over the hotel’s sparkling private lagoon and Bibi Island above, with terrace spaces and thatched-roof cabanas hiding wooden tables.
The menu, a mix of refined Caribbean foods with a touch of European cuisine, rarely impresses.
Expect dishes like lionfish and avocado, tuna tartare, and wagyu beef, all topped off with some Asian-themed nights and cooking workshops.
11. Boat through Klein Curaçao
A small trail of land settling into the waves of the Caribbean between southern Curacao and Bonaire, this satellite island offers an excellent destination for boaters.
Sail the seas and cross the straits to see its sun-kissed coastline of low-lying sandbars and rolling seagrasses.
You’ll see tropical thatched-roof huts, countless fishing boats crewed by locals, and plenty of beachgoers enjoying the undeveloped shoreline.
And then there are the pods of dolphins and stingrays that float beneath the ocean waves, providing excellent sea safari opportunities along the way.
12. Enjoy the beautiful Blauwbaai.
Surrounded by the palm-fringed gardens and golf holes of the Blue Bay Resort, north of the city of Willemstad, the much-loved Blauwbaai is a lovely little beach.
The bay is fringed by breeze-swept gardens of palm trees and small cliffs.
And while the sand provides excellent spots for sunbathing and beachcombing throughout the day, it’s the water that draws the crowds.
Blankets of coral cover the ocean floor, and there are many schools of multicoloured tropical fish, making this cove a hotspot for divers and swimmers.
13. Tour Fort Amsterdam
Although the beautiful buildings of Fort Amsterdam are still used as Curaçao’s government offices, they can still be visited just a short walk from the capital’s historic docks.
Painted in pretty shades of mustard yellow, the elegant facades, and frontispieces that adorn the UNESCO World Heritage Site look like they were lifted straight from the streets of a Low Country town.
Head to the central courtyard for some of the best photo opportunities, and don’t forget to check out the historic Protestant church (dating from 1786) that adjoins the complex.
14. Understand the darker side of the island at the Kura Hulanda Museum
Located on the grounds of a former commercial building in the middle of Willemstad, this acclaimed institution offers a rugged and often startling look at the decades in which the slave trade fueled the economy in these parts.
The collections examine the treatment of abducted peoples crossing the Atlantic during the height of the era and focus on how the legacy of that dark period has come to forge and reforge aspects of Carib culture on Curaçao.
There are also relics from Mesopotamia and others belonging to the Arawak Indians who inhabited the island before the arrival of Columbus.
15. Go underground in the Hato caves.
Scribbled with petroglyphs and dotted with colossal stalactites and stalagmites, the underground caverns of the Hato Caves tell the story of Curaçao as a whole.
Once home to native Indian tribes, they later figured as a haven for runaway plantation slaves.
Today, large parts of the underground system can be toured, and travellers can peer into the bulbous rocks and boulders beneath the ground, all of which come brilliantly illuminated by lighting and the occasional drain that descends from the forest floor above.
Is Curacao safe for tourists?
Most visits to Curaçao are trouble-free. However, petty theft and street crime is a concern. There is a violent crime among members of the world of illegal drugs, but this rarely affects tourists. The main tourist areas are generally safe, but you should take normal precautions.
Is Curacao a poor country?
As a country plagued with such unrest, it should be no wonder that the Curacao poverty rate is over 25 per cent. … A small island country located in the Caribbean, much of the economy in Curacao is based around tourism and is thus highly sensitive to fluxes in the world market.
What country does Curacao belong to?
the Kingdom of the NetherlandsCuraçao is in the Southern Caribbean Sea, together with sister islands Aruba and Bonaire. Following a referendum, and as a result of constitutional change, Curaçao became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010.
What is Curacao best known for?
- Stunning beaches. …
- Some of the world’s best scuba diving spots. …
- A diverse culture and heritage. …
- The historic town of Willemstad. …
- Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. …
- The colorful Handelskade. …
- Orange Liqueur. …
- Curaçaoans speak multiple languages.
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15 Best Things to Do in Curacao All the brands 2022