10 Reasons Why You Should ABSOLUTELY Visit Curaçao
One of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean, Curaçao is an idyllic holiday destination that will more than mesmerize you with it vibrant sunsets and crystal waters. The island nation, which is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a jamboree of spectacular beaches, unrivaled architectural delights and heritage sites.
Whether your interests lie in exploring the vivid mysteries of underwater life or dancing the night away in a rocking nightclub or observing a butterfly up-close at a national park, Curaçao will welcome you with arms wide open to discover its wondrous charms.
Reasons To Visit Curaçao
1. Walk Along The Waterfront Of Willemstad
Willemstad, the capital city of Curaçao, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was first established in the 17th century. The city has six distinct neighborhoods that are home to sites of historic interest. The pastel-hued Dutch colonial buildings in Handelskade, which is the Merchant’s Wharf, exude tropical and European vibes simultaneously. Willemstad is home to many iconic spots, museums and other places of interests that contribute to some of the best attractions in Curaçao.
The lineup of picturesque townhouses across the water at Otrobanda, the magnificently illuminated Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge, the floating market, and the Museum of Kurá Hulanda that exhibits a myriad collection of African art are some of the many interesting places to check out in Willemstad.
2. Revel In The Spell Of The Captivating Beaches – All 35 Of Them
The island is home to a whopping 35 spectacular beaches, each with a distinct personality of its own. The title of the most famous beach in Curaçao goes to Playa Knip that greets beach enthusiasts with turquoise waters and great amenities. For a more intimate experience, you should head to the golden sands of Playa Lagun.
The Porto Mari beach provides a good opportunity for divers to swim alongside the underwater life teeming near the island’s coast. The beach bar and pier of this beach are also great for the perfect photo-ops. The sheltered cove and dazzling waters of the Jeremi Beach make the journey to this remote spot worth the effort.
3. Discover The Secrets Of Undersea Life With Diving And Snorkeling Opportunities
The best part about the diving and snorkeling sites of Curaçao is that they are easily accessible from the beaches. There is no need to take a long boat ride to reach the barrier reefs.
You can dive into more than 60 sites that have underwater visibility to 100 feet near the island to view a rich repertoire of wrecks, reefs and lush coral gardens. Caracas Bay is a popular spot for snorkeling and exploring an abundant coral reef and a sunken tugboat. The Curaçao Underwater Park and Banda Abou National Park are two other good spots for snorkeling.
4. Explore The Marvels Of Nature At The National Parks
The Caribbean island is home to the Christoffel and Shete Boka National Parks that are the perfect ground for some thrilling and heart-pumping explorations and activities. The Christoffel National Park has eight meandering trails that you can explore even without the help of a guide. Besides drinking in the most spectacular scenery from the park’s mountaintop, you can also go for various information tours that range from history tours, bird watching and pick up safari.
The sparse volcanic landscape of the Shete Boka National Park makes an extraordinary contrast with the azure waves of the magnificent limestone coastline. The park is located on a series of inlets that is also home to well-marked trails, walking along which will give you some truly fascinating views – and a chance or many, to discover an iguana peeking from the foliage.
5. Admire the Multi-faceted Culture
It is not surprising to see that the people of Curaçao have developed a distinct culture and even a language, owing to the diverse history of being ruled by different races coupled with its proximity to South America. Papiamentu, the island’s Creole, is a blend of Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese. The cultural diversity, which has taken from European, Jewish and African heritage in equal measure, can also be experienced in the island’s music scene where ritmo kombina and tumba share space with reggaetón and bachata.
6. Appreciate The Artsy Side Of The Island
Street art shares equal importance with an established art scene in Curaçao. Political commentary, realistic portraits and geometric patterns make up the colorful murals seen on many of the buildings in Willemstad, especially in the neighborhoods of Pietermaai and Otrobanda. Then there are the art galleries and museums that display masterpieces by Curaçaoan artists. The Gallery Alma Blou and Serena’s Art Gallery are two interesting places to appreciate art.
7. Take A Tour Of The Fascinating Forts
The forts that dot the rocky outcrops of the islands have their own interesting tales that you discover with a tour. Eight of the forts, which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries to protect the ports and harbors of the island, still stand tall in all their glory. Today, they serve a variety of purposes, from housing government offices to shops and restaurants. The Rif Fort, in fact, has been converted to a waterfront mall. Fort Nassau, Fort St. Michiel and Fort Beekenburg are some of the other forts that you can explore. You can also get some really amazing views of the island and the crystal clear waters from these forts.
8. See The Oldest Synagogue Of The Western Hemisphere
Curaçao is home to the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere that is still functioning. Completed in 1730, the floors of the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel synagogue is covered in sand to signify the years spent by Jews traveling the desert to move out of Egypt.
9. Experience The Rocking Nightlife
The nightlife of Curaçao is as varied as the island’s general character. You will be spoilt for choice with the plethora of salsa clubs, jazz lounges, blues bars and casinos that you can choose from. The nightclubs on the island are usually open until the wee hours of the morning. You can also enjoy the sea breeze over some exotic cocktails at one of the many beach shacks.
10. Taste The Authentic Curaçao Blue Cocktail And Delectable Food
A trip to Curaçao is not complete with sipping on the eponymous blue cocktail that is among the most popular exports made by the island to the world. Yes, the Curaçao liqueur is made here from the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit, a fragrant orange. However, don’t be disheartened to find that the peels are not aqua in color, as that hue is added to the drink just for show.
The island also serves up some really scrumptious traditional cuisine, much a to a gastronome’s delight. Sample the melt-in-your-mouth Keshi Yena – a rich chicken stew made with Gouda cheese, or gulp a glass of the fresh fruit milkshakes called batidos to get the taste of Curaçao, quite literally. Some of the other dishes that you could try out are funchi, mondongo, sopi, kadushi, guiambo and stoba.