Wouldn’t you just love to discover “The ultimate travel guide” about a destination you are planning to visit, or even while looking for travel inspiration that has all of the information? I know, I’m dying to see this more often. Well…Bingo! You just did! Keep your eyes wide open, because you will not want to miss a thing from this post.
Let me take you on a journey through charming narrow streets and colorful buildings which will take your breath away, but also home to the most delicious Dutch snacks. Doesn’t sound much like the Caribbean island? Be sure you keep reading and find out why…
Curacao in short:
Located in the Southern Caribbean, this adorable island is a part of the Royal Dutch Kingdom. But also a proud sister island to Aruba and Bonaire, together forming the famous “ABC Islands”. The first impression of its capital, Willemstad, is an unquestionably vivid culture mix that will not leave you indifferent. As the largest island in the Dutch Caribbean group, there is plenty to be discovered here, so let’s dive in…
What made me fall in love with Curacao?
As a real European nostalgic girl, spending several months in the USA makes me miss absolutely everything about Europe. But here…over the Atlantic, believe it or not, there is a place just like Europe! That place is Curacao island.
There are just so many reasons why I love it so much…even located in the Caribbean, with so many different European influences throughout history, Curacao breathes European culture and architecture, reminding me of home at every step.
Here for example, while walking the town, you won’t smell a jerk chicken and hear traditional Caribbean music, instead, you will be seduced by picturesque buildings, street arts and come across so many blue and white porcelain dishes sold throughout the island as souvenirs.
Top 5 spots you absolutely can’t miss:
- The Art District – Even if you aren’t an art lover, you will fall in love with these colorful art pieces in the Street Art Skalo and Middenstraat Street, both located in the heart of the city.
This rising outdoor museum shows the artistic skills of local artists, or in one word a place that brings people together through art.
- Queen Emma Bridge – known among the locals as a “Swinging Old Lady”. You may not have been attracted by its nickname, but it is a truly must-see walking bridge and one of the highest bridges in the Caribbean, so don’t you think it deserves your visit? Keep in mind, it’s even more beautiful at night with all its lights. Swings several times per day to enable the passage of ships/boats.
Just remember, if you are about to cross over but you don’t see a bridge, don’t panic, there is a free ferry boat to transfer you from one side to another. Yeah, I lost my mind when I was in that situation and no one told me this.
- Rif Fort Village – Just 10 min walk from downtown, offers the best views of the city you can get. The interior is packed with shops and restaurants, but be aware that the majority of the shops in the town closes at 6 pm. The Rif Fort is just one of the six best-kept Forts here on the island, built by the Dutch as key points to protect themselves from foreign forces.
- The Curacao Liqueur Distillery “Chobolobo” – Don’t even try to visit an island and not taste some homemade blue liqueur (of course if you are a drinking age)! Dive into the journey through the history of making this delicious pleasure. Did I tell you at the end you will be rewarded for listening and get to taste world-famous liquor?
Or perhaps even better, if you fancy, you can buy some in the gift shop.
- Visit one of the luxury hotels for a day – Feeling fancy and you are dying to take some “instagrammable photos”? Saint Tropez Pool Lounge is a go-to place! Located 10 min walk from the city center, it will offer you the most relaxing day you can wish for.
Lolling on the bad, swimming in the infinity pool, and sipping one of its fabulous cocktails. Ooooh can’t get any better! FYI, the ocean gives you a great view but it’s not for swimming.
The best beaches in Curacao recommended by locals:
It’s not a secret that Curacao has a great number of beaches, mostly located on the south side of the island…but which ones would locals tell you it should be your top priority?
- Cas Abao Beach – Locals would say “At this beach, the sands are whiter, the seas are brighter” and it is so true. This full-service beach is located 45 min drive from the city center and offers you a relaxing experience with a lot less crowd than other beaches on the island. Love snorkeling? Be sure to try it out here. Just remember, the beach closes at 6 pm, so plan your day accordingly!
- Mambo Beach Boulevard – The hottest place on the island you absolutely can’t overlook. Here, you can find just about everything…from the great beach packed with a huge variety of beach bars for everyone’s taste, all kinds of watersports, diverse cuisine restaurants and lots of shopping. See, now you know why it is the hottest place here. Be sure you visit only when you are up for the crowd.
- Playa Piskado – If you have always dreamt of diving into the ocean with turtles…I’m so happy to tell you that your dream will come true right here! This tiny fishermen’s beach is home to numerous turtles. So, put on your snorkeling mask, water shoes and get ready to fall in love with these astonishing species.
It is good to know that there are no restrooms, showers or any other services at the beach, so get yourself ready for the adventure before you arrive here.
- Blue Bay Beach – Immerse yourself into a true Caribbean paradise. This gorgeous beach will meet all your expectations…just imagine powdery sand, azure ocean, tall palms and you sipping your cocktail while working on your tan. Feeling adventurous? Hop on one of the available water sports for some adrenaline. There are different entrance packages for you to choose from which makes this all amenities beach perfect for everyone.
When is the best time to visit the island?
I would say any time, as the temperature is quite consistent with tiny differences throughout the year. Although, you may want to leave your hat at home because the ocean breeze is not giving up! It’s good to know that the wet season is from October to December and the dry season from January to September. Or perhaps if you are planning a budget trip, the off-peak season is a go-to time, anywhere between May to November.
It’s quite interesting that Curacao lies outside of the hurricane belt, yet occasionally gets affected by some….so go figure!
What to bring with you?
Ok, you mastered that your hats should stay at home…but what shall you pack? For this trip, you will definitely want to take all the bright color clothing you have sitting in your closet! Don’t tell me later, your pictures didn’t turn out well because all you had were khaki shorts and a white t-shirt.
Yeah…other than that, your swimming gears will be most probably your best friend here. So pack that snorkeling equipment, water shoes, diving equipment if you are a diver and comfortable shoes. Ladies, sorry to say, but those high heels should wait for another trip.
Please remember to pack some light jackets or hoodies, as evenings tend to be a little breeze due to the wind.
Things I wished I’ve known before visiting Curacao:
- The official languages on the island are Dutch, English and Papiamentu – a Portuguese dialect with African, Dutch and Spanish influences. Yes, I did say English…so don’t worry, you won’t have to download all kinds of dictionaries on your cell phone.
- If you want to blend in while in Curacao, using the word “dushi” (sweet, nice, sweetheart) would be the right move. It is the most common word here, so get loose from the first day and act like a local. You’re welcome!
- It’s a very safe island to visit…however, theft as a most common crime is present here as well. So be sure you watch your belongings at all times. Also some of the neighborhoods outside of the main tourist areas are just not so welcoming for tourists, so avoiding these districts will be a good way to prevent any unpleasant situations.
- Wondering how you will pay for all your pleasures on the island? The Antillean Guilder (ANG) is the local currency of Curacao, however, the US dollar and the Euro are commonly accepted.
- Sadly to say, there is no such thing as a popular Lyft and Uber ride, so a taxi, renting a car or a local bus will be a way to get around the island. Just remember, if you are renting a car, be aware that the island is quite hilly, so you may want to choose an automatic car…I’m sure your arms would want to do something else than shifting a stick the whole day!
I trust you enjoy this read and if I didn’t get you on a never-ending summer, street art or colorful buildings…I sure did on blue Curacao liqueur! Hm…I have no doubt that you are envisioning your dream vacation right here in your head.
And you will certainly not make a mistake, as any type of traveler will love it here! With a wide range of restaurants, shops, diving activities, and over 40 beaches, what else would you ask for?
Have you visited Curacao before and how was your experience? Come on you lovelies, the readers want to know your recommendations too. Don’t make me sound silly for naming this post “Ultimate travel guide”…let’s all together ensure it is indeed. Drop your comments in the section below.
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