Visit Curaçao for its 32 wonderful beaches nestled in secluded coves. The calm waters of the western coast offer shelter and are designed for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors also love the southern beaches located west of the island’s capital, Willemstad.
Seaquarium Beach has the perfect quiet waters for children. For adults, there is every type of watersport, great bars, and restaurants. Weekends here offer vibrant nightlife, with concerts on the beach.
Blauwbaai is Curaçao’s most beloved and largest beach, where visitors can enjoy the coral reef, scuba diving, plenty of snorkeling, and children can play safely.
Curaçao is included in the Lesser Antilles located in the southern Caribbean. This tiny island is a mere two-and-a-half times larger than Washington, D.C. but is utterly diverse. It is 65 kilometers north of Venezuela.
Residents of Curaçao speak a blend of several dialects knowns as Papiamentu, a language created in the 17th century as a means for African slaves to communicate with each other. The three official languages on the island are Dutch, Papiamentu, and English.
The Antillean Guilder, or Florin, is Curaçao’s official currency, although the US dollar is accepted everywhere. One dollar equals approximately 1.75 Florins.
Curaçao is comprised of two separate islands, Curaçao, the main island, and the uninhabited but stunning Klein Curaçao. It is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and together with the Netherland islands of Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao is frequently referred to as the Dutch Caribbean.
Whether the Republic of Florence or Spain initially discovered Curaçao is unknown. The Dutch outed Spain in 1634 in a successful effort to control Curaçao’s salt industry – a critical substance in preserving herring, one of the world’s favorite fish at that time.
The Dutch introduced slavery to the island in 1639, which was not abolished until the mid-19th century. Interestingly, while the rest of the world was rejecting and maligning Jews, Curaçao proved to be a welcome haven for their community. Even today, the Papiamento language is filled with Hebrew.
The Curaçao culture is a blend of the best of Spanish, African, English, and Jewish cultures, while Dutch dominates them all. It is a true melting pot. Dutch influence can be recognized immediately in the colorful architecture and cuisine. Plantation houses and the Kura Hulanda Slavery Museum attest to its African roots and influence.
It was the Jewish immigrants who helped develop Curaçao’s capital, Willemstad, its synagogue, and trade and political influence.
Nighttime brings out Curaçao’s Hispanic culture, with vibrant dance clubs such as the Mambo Beach Club and the TuTu Tango busily embracing salsa, the meringue, and rumba. Curaçao loves music of all types, and one of the favorite places to go is the Avila Blues Restaurant by the ocean with its hot food and cool jazz.
Today, a total of 50 separate cultures and nationalities call this tiny island home. All of them influence Curaçao with their history, language, music, and food and bring a fine cultural diversity to Curaçao. Get to experience as many as possible on your Curaçao vacation
What Is Curaçao Most Known For?
Curaçao is loved by diving and snorkeling enthusiasts around the world. The warm waters are idyll for underwater sports, especially on the east coast. The west side has good snorkeling, as well, but that is the Atlantic side of the island, and the waters can get choppy. It is recommended mostly for experienced divers.
On the popular east coast, the waters are practically surrounded by beautiful coral reefs that keep the water calm. Playa Kalki Beach and Cas Abao Beach are two popular watersports destinations even for beginners.
Some consider Klein Curaçao the most marvelous beach in the world. Klein is a tiny island off the main island of Curaçao, with a stunning reef, a glorious white beach, and crystal clear water. Here, visitors can take a swim alongside a turtle. Nature created a true masterpiece.
Curaçao is justifiably famous for its great waters, snorkeling, and wonderful Dutch architecture. However, it does have a few other hidden gems. There are birds – but no ordinary birds. The Curaçao Ostrich Farm was established in 1995, and its 200 ostriches constitute the largest ostrich breeding farm outside of Africa. If you feel adventurous, the in-farm restaurant has a menu featuring ostrich.
Ostriches can live to the ripe old age of 100. A tour of this unusual farm is just under an hour. The greatest fun, especially for children, is the opportunity to feed these birds. The tour itself exhibits the ostriches at various stages of life. An ostrich egg is enormous – enough to make an omelet for a small town! The chicks are kept in a pen before being moved to the “juvie” pen. Adult ostriches have a pen of their own.
Despite – or maybe because of – its great beaches and love of big birds, Curaçao is a party island where the night rocks, especially in Willemstad. The Wet and Wild Beach Club serves great cocktails by the beach. The dancing heats up on Friday nights. There is always music at 27 Bar Terrace, with music videos playing during the week, and live DJs Friday and Saturday evenings.
Willemstad is also known for its … meals on wheels? These are the incredible food trucks, which can be found all over town. While there are lovely restaurants in Willemstad’s Punda district, the town is filled with food trucks serving delicious food at a ridiculous price. Some of Curaçao’s tastiest meals come from a food truck. These trucks are out at night when many restaurants have closed. Especially popular is the BBQ Express Truck on Caracasbaaiweg, which serves gigantic slabs of ribs at a tiny price. These could be the best ribs of your Curaçao vacation.
Best Regions to Visit In Curaçao
Westpunt can be found in the western region of Curaçao. Once a huge slave plantation, this was the site of the Curaçao Slave Revolt, after which the Westpunt district was created by freed slaves. While visiting the stunning beaches of Playa Kalki and Kleine Knip, visitors can still encounter old plantation homes.
More than just beaches, Curaçao visitors will find Mt. Christofell in Westpunt; it’s Curaçao’s sole true hiking adventure with a breathtaking view from its 1,200 feet top down to the sea as a reward. Take note that due to the heat, visitors cannot begin a climb after 10 a.m. Mt. Christofell can be reached by driving northwest on Weg Naar Westpunt Road.
This is the district in Willemstad with the colorful Dutch architecture which is home to Willemstad’s nicest restaurants, bars, and art galleries. It is Willemstad’s hot spot, the island’s version of New York City’s Soho. Just savor the atmosphere with a drink at the Saint Tropez Ocean Club. Pietermaai is a 15-minute walk from the famed Queen Emma Bridge, one of the world’s unique floating bridges. It is anchored to a series of swaying pontoon boats. When the water gets rough, pedestrians appear to be stumbling along drunkenly.
The private beaches of the Saint Tropez Ocean Club or the Avila Beach Hotel in Pietermaai can be accessed with a day pass.
Where Hollywood meets Williwood. The fishing village of Williwood used to be called Willibrord. Until a wily Curaçaoan with a sense of humor erected a Hollywood-type sign that read Williwood. The sign proved so popular, the amused village officially changed its name. The marketing gimmick put Williwood on the map. The local souvenir shop sells Williwood bikinis and other clothing. Step next door to Toko Willibrordrus, the all-purpose general store for some gossip, a goatburger and beer, or a brutal game of dominos. Check out the lovely flamingo sanctuary where the pink beauties run wild.
Sint Juris Bay
Sint Juris is the location of the famed Ostrich farm. It is also where visitors go to windsurf and kite surf. The warm water in the Bay is perfect for the sport. NIX Kitesurfing is a one-of-a-kind kite surfing school that provides instructions and guidance about the best places to kitesurf. Classes are of two-to-three hours a day lasting for five days and adapted to all skill levels. After the final class, students should be able to do high jumps. Perfect watersports is what Curaçao is all about.
Best All-Inclusive Resort or Hotel in Curaçao
This new all-inclusive Sandals resort sets some new standards as a luxury beachfront Curaçao vacation destination. Everything is included in one price, including unlimited food, drinks, and entertainment. The intimate bungalows have a private pool and a view of the sea or a private garden. Some suites have 24-hour butler service.
There are twelve restaurants at Sandals Royal Curaçao, one of which is floating over the sea. Great service, top-rated food, and romance are the standard at this resort. Visitors can enjoy watersports, including scuba diving, followed by revitalizing treatments at the Red Lane Spa.
Best Resort or Hotel for Couples in Curaçao
The resort’s luxurious rooms are enhanced by upgrading to Sun Club status, which allows special access to the Sun Club lounge, rooms with an ocean view, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, special desserts and drinks, and access to the Sun Club Bar.
Guests have a choice of unlimited dining at six restaurants and seven bars, including an open-air bar by the ocean. Couples celebrating their honeymoon or anniversary can savor a romantic dinner for two at a special resort spot, away from everyone else. For more entertainment, the resort offers movies on the beach, music beneath the stars, and the largest casino on Curaçao.
Best Resort or Hotel for Families in Curaçao
Guests at the Beach House have automatic access to Seaquarium Beach. Studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments allow for family-type living. The apartments have a pool or ocean view. The full-service in-suite kitchen will be filled with your grocery order upon arrival, so there is no worries about hungry young ones. Parents can prepare their favorite meal and breakfast when the kids get up.
The entire family can relax by the pool, and parents can take advantage of the Beach House’s babysitting services. The reception desk will help book any sights or attractions on the island.