Curaçao calling: 10 enthralling things to see and do

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Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island located in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. It is one of the ABC islands, short for Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, and is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With its crystalline waters, vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes, there are many things to do in Curaçao. 

A beach with palm trees and a thatched umbrella.
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Explore the historic streets of Willemstad

Strolling through Willemstad’s historic streets is one of the top things to do in Curaçao. The island’s capital, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a glimpse into its rich history with vibrant colonial architecture. Admire the colorful colonial architecture of buildings lining the waterfront, including the iconic Handelskade with its row of pastel-colored facades. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore landmarks such as Fort Amsterdam and the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue.

The Curaçao Bridge, also known as the Queen Emma Bridge, is one of the iconic landmarks of Willemstad. It is a floating pedestrian bridge that spans St. Anna Bay, connecting the Punda and Otrobanda districts of the city. The bridge is distinctive for its unique design, consisting of a pontoon bridge that swings open to allow ships to pass through the bay. When closed, the bridge provides a convenient walkway for pedestrians to cross between the two sides of Willemstad.

A group of people walking on willemstad over water.
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Dive into Curaçao’s underwater world

Thanks to its pristine coral reefs and diverse marine life, Curaçao boasts some of the Caribbean’s best diving and snorkeling opportunities. Grab your gear and head to sites like Mushroom Forest, Tugboat Beach and the Superior Producer wreck to discover vibrant coral formations, tropical fish and even the occasional sea turtle. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a first-time snorkeler, Curaçao’s underwater world promises unforgettable adventures beneath the waves.

Relax on picture-perfect beaches

With its seemingly endless stretches of white sand and azure waters, Curaçao is a beach lover’s paradise. Spend your days lounging on the sun-drenched shores of Playa Kenepa, also known as Knip Beach, Cas Abao Beach or Playa Porto Marie, where palm trees sway gently in the breeze and colorful fish dart beneath the surface. For a more secluded experience, hop aboard a boat and venture to Klein Curaçao, a tiny, uninhabited island surrounded by pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.

A palm trees on a beach.
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Wander through Christoffel National Park

Exploring Christoffel National Park is among the adventurous things to do in Curaçao for nature enthusiasts. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the scenic trails that wind through rolling hills, towering cacti and rocky terrain. The highlight of the park is undoubtedly Mount Christoffel, the island’s highest peak, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from its summit.

Discover the Curaçao Sea Aquarium

Home to a fascinating array of marine life native to the Caribbean Sea, the Curaçao Sea Aquarium provides an immersive experience for visitors of all ages. Marvel at colorful coral reefs, interact with friendly dolphins and sea lions and learn about the island’s conservation efforts through educational exhibits and presentations. Don’t miss the chance to snorkel with stingrays or explore the underwater observatory for a closer look at Curaçao’s aquatic wonders.

Tour the Curaçao liqueur distillery

No visit to Curaçao would be complete without sampling the island’s signature blue liqueur, made from the dried peels of the laraha citrus fruit. Take a guided tour of the Curaçao liqueur distillery located in the historic Otrobanda district of Willemstad to learn about the liqueur-making process and its storied history. Cap off your visit with a tasting of the distillery’s various flavors, including classic blue, orange and coffee.

A group of bottles on a shelf.
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Explore Hato Caves

Journey into the depths of Hato Caves, a network of limestone caves located just outside of Willemstad, for a fascinating glimpse into Curaçao’s geological past. Marvel at impressive stalactites and stalagmites formed over thousands of years, and keep an eye out for ancient Arawak petroglyphs adorning the cave walls. Guided tours are available, providing insight into the caves’ natural beauty and cultural significance.

Indulge in local cuisine

No trip to Curaçao would be complete without savoring the island’s rich and diverse cuisine. Sample traditional dishes such as “keshi yena”, a ball of cheese stuffed with spiced meat, fresh seafood ceviche and hearty stews made with locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try the iconic Curaçaoan snack, “pastechi”, a savory pastry filled with meat, cheese or fish, and wash it down with a refreshing glass of lime juice called “awa di lamunchi” or a cold bottle of Polar beer.

“If fresh fish is your thing, you must visit Kas di Piskadó Purunchi. Purunchi is the name of a fish that is quite common in the waters surrounding Curaçao, and it so happens to be the name of one of the best fish shacks on the island as well.”

— Riselle, The Travelling Island Girl 

Immerse yourself in island culture

Experiencing the vibrant culture of Curaçao through its music, dance and art is one of the most enriching things to do in Curaçao. Attend a live performance of traditional Afro-Caribbean music, such as “tambú” or “tumba” or explore the island’s burgeoning art scene at galleries and exhibitions showcasing the work of local and international artists. Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in cultural festivals and events, such as a carnival, where you can witness colorful parades, dazzling costumes and lively street celebrations.

Two men playing instruments outside.
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Sunset sailing and dining

End your day in paradise with a sunset sailing cruise along Curaçao’s picturesque coastline. Set sail aboard a luxurious catamaran or traditional schooner and watch as the sky transforms into a palette of fiery hues as the sun dips below the horizon. Toast to another unforgettable day in Curaçao with a glass of champagne or a tropical cocktail, and savor a delicious dinner featuring fresh seafood, and local specialties served on deck under the stars.

The last word

There is a wealth of unforgettable things to do in Curacao for travelers seeking sun, sea and adventure in the Caribbean. From exploring historic landmarks and diving into pristine waters to indulging in delicious cuisine and immersing yourself in island culture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this tropical paradise. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the magic of Curaçao for yourself.

Angela is the creator behind Another Rum Punch and currently lives in Saint Lucia spoiling her island dogs with homemade dog food and treat recipes.

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