15 Reasons Why You Should be Curious about Curaçao

Curacao palapa beach

1.  The climate.  Curaçao is one of the Dutch ABC islands, along with its neighboring Aruba and Bonaire. 35 miles north of Venezuela and 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a sunny year-round climate in the mid-80’s, with cooling trade winds from the east.

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2.  ​The capital, Willemstad, is rich in culture and diversity, and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of just six Caribbean sites to receive the honor in this category.

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2.  The bridge.  Willemstad is divided into two sections, Punda (“old side”) and Otrabanda (“other side”) which are connected by the Queen Emma pontoon bridge, a pedestrian-only walkway also known as “the Swinging Lady.”

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3.  The storybook photo ops.  Downtown Punda is one of the most widely photographed sites in the Caribbean, easily recognized by its gabled pastel-colored, red-roofed architecture, which lend it a storybook appeal.

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4.  The shopping.  Thousands of tourists are attracted to Punda each year, enticed by its beauty, myriad shops and restaurants.  The open air market is a tourist favorite and many hotels have a free, daily shuttle that runs into town.

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5.  The floating market.  Each morning Venezuelan vendors delivery fresh fruit, vegetables, spices, and fish to this busy market in Punda.  To get the best and freshest wares, it’s best to get here early in the morning.

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6.  The beaches.  Curaçao’s beaches are scattered along the sheltered eastern coast.  The cove at Playa Kenepa, with its crystal clear turquoise waters is my favorite.  Beware of the rocky sand dotted with pieces of coral that you’ll find common to Curaçao’s beaches; a stroll along the shore is nice, but best done in flip-flops or water shoes.

Unplugged and underwater!

7.  The scuba diving.  As for under the water you’ll find some of the best diving in the Caribbean, with visibility of up to 100 feet,  myriad marine life, coral, and sunken wrecks.  There are more than 65 dive sites to choose from, for first time to expert divers, from shore dives to boat dives.  Read about my Curaçao mother-and-son scuba diving adventure in The Momiverse.

Curacao Ostrich Farm

8.  The Ostrich Farm.  ​Landlubbers will enjoy Curaçao’s museums, plantation houses, forts, caves, Christoffel Park and even an ostrich farm where you can feed these amazing animals, and if you call ahead to make a reservation, may even get to ride one!  Read about my ostrich feeding experience in WaveJourney (hint: I fed them, then they “fed” me!)

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9.  The accommodations.  My favorite place to stay is the Marriott Curaçao Resort & Emerald Casino.   You are immediately beckoned by its open air lobby, filled with cross winds, overstuffed furniture, and stunning panoramic ocean views.  I’ve travelled to over 40 countries/islands and a majority of the United States, and few resorts have given me better attention or service than what I received of hotel manager John Toti and his super-friendly staff.  Our corner one-bedroom suite had an extra-large terrace with a sweeping ocean vista. The pool was always sparkling clean and we loved the complimentary water-yoga classes.

Curacao 020Marriott

We split our stay with the Renaissance Marriott.  The newly renovated lobby is filled with contemporary and colorful décor.  Our oversized suite was fabulous, and their man-made infinity beach was a technical wonder.

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10.  The Rif Fort.  The Renaissance Marriott shares Rif Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The fort was originally built-in the 19th century to protect Curaçao from pirates and invaders.  The old fort is a fun place to spend an afternoon and houses shops and eateries.

Curacao Boka Tabla

11.  Boca Tabla.  A short hike to this large grotto, carved out by the sea, offers an opportunity to watch and listen to the waves smashing against the rocks beneath a limestone outcropping, spraying water in all directions.

Chichi® doll

12.  The Chichi® dolls. Each of these whimsical sculptures is  a hand-painted original by the local women in Curaçao.  These voluptuous clay sculptures open their arms as if to draw you into a loving embrace.  “Chichi,” in the Papiamento indigenous language of Curaçao, means “an eldest daughter, sister, or female relative to whom younger family members would go to for advice or emotional support.” Read more about the incredible Chichi® project in my article published in Travel Dreams Magazine.

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13.  Punda at night.  The fairytale façade of downtown Punda is just as dramatic at night, as bright lights shine on the buildings making the skyline nothing short of magical.

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14.  The food.  Curaçao has a lot of great restaurants, many with stunning ocean views to keep your attention while you eat.  There are many varieties of fresh fish which are not to be missed.  Do be advised, however, that your fish will most likely be looking back at you.

Curacao key lime pie

My nearly voracious sweet tooth was in happy heaven, especially with the delectable key lime pie.

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And did I mention the honey-granola-yogurt parfait?  It’s what’s for breakfast!

Interesting note:  most of the tourists on Curacao were from Europe, especially Holland and Germany.   We did not run into many fellow travelers from the U.S.  It seems Americans have yet to discover this terrific island.  Have you been?

FAST FACTS:

  • Currency: Netherlands Antillean florin (NAf), also called a guilder. US$ accepted.
  • History:  Discovered in 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda,  lieutenant of ChristopherColumbus
  • Language:  Dutch, Spanish, English, and Papiamentu – a combination of the three major languages and an African dialect. English widely spoken.
  • Time:  Atlantic standard time, 1 hour ahead of eastern standard time
  • Water:  Safe to drink
  • Weather:  Avg. temp 81°F,  avg. rainfall 22″ year.

Comments

  1. Have never been but Curacao looks wonderful. Love that architecture!

  2. I haven’t been to Curacao, but it sure looks inviting. I love your picture of the street in Willemstad.
    Donna janke recently posted…Watercolouring her Way Around the World – Interview with CandaceMy Profile

  3. I haven’t been to Curacao, but it sure looks inviting. I love your picture of the street in Willemstad.
    Donna janke recently posted…Manitoba FoodsMy Profile

  4. Curacao is one of the few Caribbean islands I have not yet visited. It reminds me of many I have been to, based on your pics. Hopefully, one day soon, as that corner suite at the Marriott sounds divine!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Moana Surfrider: the 1st Lady of WaikikiMy Profile

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      They all share the beautiful Caribbean beaches, and many of the islands are great for diving. The storybook downtown is unique to Curacao, I believe.

  5. My sister and I spent a week or so on Curaco several years ago and loved it. It was fun to go back and remember it looking at your post. Thanks!

  6. You had me at reasons 1, 2 and 3! Wow! This place is going on my bucket list…
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Where No Sewer Has Gone Before…My Profile

  7. I’m not a big fish eater and would never want one that was looking at me and still had its teeth! But the key lime pie, I’d be all over that! The white sand beach and crystal clear water looks to be very inviting and I could definitely enjoy my key lime pie while enjoying the sun and the surf!
    Patti recently posted…Leave The Rattlesnakes Alone ~My Profile

  8. We visited Curacao as a port stop on a southern Caribbean cruise. One of the most interesting places to visit there for us was a 17th century Sephardic Jewish synagogue, Mikve Israel-Emanuel in Willemstad, founded by Jews whose ancestors were part of the 15th century Jewish diaspora triggered by the Spanish Inquisition. My husband’s family is Sephardic, so this was of special interest to us.
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…What’s Up with Wats in Chiang Mai, Thailand?My Profile

  9. Haven’t been to the Caribbean, but if this would be on my list if I do, it’s quite colorful!
    noel recently posted…Food photography – making your food images popMy Profile

  10. Well, Patti, you’ve convinced us that we MUST visit Curacao… and very soon! It looks beautiful :)
    Viv recently posted…Snowshoeing Blueprint for Beginners in Bend, OregonMy Profile

  11. Viv — you and Jill would love it! Even though all of the Caribbean islands are beautiful, I prefer the ones that offer more to do than just sitting on a beach all day. Very fun place!
    Patti Morrow recently posted…Snowshoeing: Blueprint for Beginners in Bend, OregonMy Profile

  12. I loved Curacao, as it has been many years since I was there, I especially remembered the aquarium! my kids went to classes there everyday and loved it!

  13. I am hopefully headed there in June; looks fantastic!!!

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