Curacao is part of the Dutch Caribbean ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) islands. Located only 176 miles from Caracas, Venezuela and 1,192 miles from Miami, the island is a perfect paradise for sun seekers and snowbirds looking for a place to escape the winter blues.
The good news is when most Caribbean islands are facing the yearly hurricane threats from June to November, Curacao is hurricane-free. Besides having 38 stunning beaches, Curacao boasts a diverse culture and is home to many historic buildings including the famous Handelskade.
Need ideas on what to do when in Curacao? Here are 5:
1. Willemstad walking tour
Whether you are flying or cruising into Curacao, you will not miss Handelskade. Handelskade is a row of colorful houses along the historic St. Anna Bay, a historic waterfront in Willemstad, the capital city of Curacao. These 18th-century buildings will remind you of houses along the canals in Amsterdam but with a Caribbean touch. It is located in Punda, the oldest part of Willemstad.
A walking tour will also take you to the other side of the town – Otrobanda district. The pontoon bridge (Queen Emma Bridge) connects Punda to Otrobanda and it is here that you’ll find the best spot to photograph the Handelskade. The pontoon bridge swings open 30 times a day to let boats through. Locals call it The Swinging Old Lady bridge.
Rif Fort is Otrobanda district’s famous attraction. It was built to protect the bay but is now occupied by art galleries, restaurants, and retail shops. Take a walk to the Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino where the fort’s historic entrance is located.
Other historic districts include Pietermaai and Scharloo.
2. Go to the beach
There are 38 beaches in Curacao. Some of the popular beaches are:
- Playa Porto Mari – suitable for families and for swimming
- Cas Abao Beach – beautiful scenery surrounded by cliffs and has palapas (for shades), perfect for snorkeling
- Playa Lagun – also perfect for snorkeling and has rocky cliffs and fishing boats too
- Baluwbaai (Blue Bay) is only 10 miles from Willemstad and has lots of coral and tropical fish
Information: List of beaches in Curacao
3. Guided Safari tour to Christoffel National Park
Nature lovers would love a four-hour guided safari tour on either a land cruiser or truck to Christoffel National Park. The four-hour safari tour is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 8 a.m. But if you have a few days to spare, here are five things you can do at the park:
- Bird watching
- Deer spotting
- Guided mountain climbing
Christoffel Park is Curacao’s largest national park and is home to the Curacao White-Tailed deer, barn owl, and the unique Palabrua wild orchids. The park offers Savant History Tour. This tour will take you to one of the oldest plantations in Curacao. Visit the Savant Museum, dams, wells, and more.
Information: Christoffel National Park
4. Visit Hato Caves
Though small, Hato Caves is rich in history. Inside are 1,500-year-old petroglyphs by the Amerindian Arawaks. During the Caribbean slave trading period, many slaves escaped and hid inside the cave. You’ll hear stories of the slaves while looking at the stalactites and stalagmites.
5. Join in the fun at the Ostrich Farm
Feed, touch, and ride on the biggest bird in the world. Curacao Ostrich Farm provides a farm tour on a safari jeep where kids and adults can learn about the life of an ostrich. There is a souvenir shop and restaurant on-site. The restaurant serves ostrich steak, stir-fried ostrich and sashimi of ostrich too.
Curacao travel tips:
Hato International Airport in Curacao (CUR) serves almost 15 airlines including American Airlines, KLM, and British Airways.
Netherlands Antillean guilder is the currency used in Curacao. Conversion at the time of writing is 1USD to 1.79ANG.
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