Curaçao, one of the ABC islands in the Caribbean, is located between Aruba and Bonaire and is perhaps one of the most underrated and dearest to my heart. My family is from the island, my dad was born there, and many family members, including my grandmother, still live on the island. I have visited the island every year of my life, so Curaçao feels like my second home. I love being able to share what I love most about Curaçao, which in my view is more beautiful, undiscovered, and often overlooked compared to popular tourist destinations like Aruba. Here are 21 reasons why you need to visit Curaçao island.
It has the best beaches
I have traveled all around the world, and I have yet to find beaches that impress me more than the ones in Curaçao. The water (the Caribbean Sea) is crystal clear, turquoise blue, and perfect for snorkeling or swimming. There are over 20 beaches across the island, but my favorites are Porto Mari, Cas Abao, Grote Knip, Klein Knip, and Kokomo.
You can do a tasting of the local liqueur
Chances are you have probably had at least one cocktail in your life made with Blue Curaçao. The liqueur is made with the dried peel of a Lahara orange that grows naturally on the island. A highlight of the trip is to visit the local distillery – located at the 19th-century Country Mansion, Landhuis Chobolobo to enjoy tastings.
You can find the best snorkeling spots
One of my favorite activities to do on the island is to snorkel to the abandoned ship at Tugboat Beach. The ship was purposefully sunk to create more coral reefs for exotic fish and other natural marine life. You can take a boat tour to snorkel the area, rent a kayak, or simply go to the beach and snorkel at your leisure.
It has a smaller, uninhabited paradise nearby
Klein Curaçao (which translates to Little Curaçao) is a small, uninhabited, island about 6 miles southeast of Curaçao. It has the bluest of blue water and the whitest sand, and you can even swim with sea turtles here. I recommend booking with Mermaid Boat Tours, but you can also rent a private boat, yacht, or charter to experience this gorgeous uninhabited island.
You can stay at a luxury resort
Oasis Coral Estate is a luxury beach, dive, and wellness resort on the island. They have tons of amazing facilities on site including restaurants, a spa and wellness center, swimming pools, a rooftop terrace, beaches, and more. Even if you don’t stay at Coral Estate, you can still visit one of my favorite beaches, Karakter, which is an amazing spot for relaxing and swimming.
It’s full of rich history
Kura Hulanda is an anthropological museum that focuses on the history and culture of Curaçao, the largest of the now disbanded Netherlands Antilles. The museum opened in 1999, and there is also a luxury hotel and lodge next to the museum. The area is beautiful to just walk around and explore on your own.
The national park is stunning
Shete Boka is a National Park located on the north coast of the island. The water on that side is rough and smashes against the inlets to create spectacular waves. There are also underground caves, fascinating limestone formations, and volcanic rocks.
There is a secret underwater cave
The Blue Room Cave is a snorkeling spot that is only accessible by swimming into it. Once you are inside, the cave is absolutely beautiful with dark blue water and thousands of fish. You can experience the Blue Room Cave via a tour with Captain Goodlife or book a private charter or even jet ski.
The colorful architecture is beautiful
Curaçao is full of colorful buildings, and the most iconic place to see these architectural wonders is on the Punda waterfront. The architecture of these buildings dates back to 1816, when the governor blamed his migraines on the reflection of the white buildings, so he made a rule that the buildings had to be painted a color other than white. Within a few years, the town became a rainbow of colors, and these stunning buildings stand proudly today as a display of Curaçao’s fascinating history and architecture.
It’s home to the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere
The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is a coveted attraction in Willemstad because of its history. It is the oldest continually used synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and dates back to the 1670s. The Snoa, (as it’s also commonly called) was even visited by the Queen of the Netherlands in 1992.
You can enjoy epic outdoor and water activities
There are so many amazing experiences and adventures to enjoy on the island, like swimming with sea turtles or dolphins, renting a clear-bottom kayak, going ATVing, taking a sunset sail, and the delights go on. I always book through Curaçao Activities because they are a one-stop-shop for everything you need to see and do on the island.
The local nature and scenic beauty
Aloe vera grows locally on the island at the Aloe Vera Plantation and you can take a tour to see how it’s made into useful products. It’s also home to Curaloe, the local brand of aloe vera made from the plants on the farm.
You can walk across a floating bridge
The Queen Emma Bridge is a floating bridge that connects the two main areas of town, Punda and Otrobanda. The view from the bridge is stunning, and walking the bridge is the best way to explore both towns. Just be careful that you are not on the bridge when a ship is coming because you might get stuck on one side while it’s opening. Don’t worry you can always take the ferry across St. Anna Bay.
The town has a picturesque charm
Pietermaai is a historic neighborhood of Curaçao bustling with boutique shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels. It’s unique and colorful with picturesque buildings and street art and one of my favorite places to hang out when visiting the island.
You can take a day trip to Westpunt
Westpunt is the westernmost point of the island and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches. It’s around anMermaid hour’s drive from the main city of Willemstad, but it’s definitely worth the day trip for the beaches alone. Make sure to visit Grote Knip and Klein Knip, and stop for lunch or dinner at the best local restaurant, Jaanchie’s. Jaanchie’s doesn’t have a menu, the owner just comes around and tells you what is fresh for the day.
You can have the most romantic dinners
The local cuisine in Curaçao is a mix of Caribbean delicacies, typical Dutch dishes, and some other European and American influences. My favorite spots for a nice, romantic dinner are Mosa, Rozendaal’s, The Wine Cellar, and Kome. The food and drinks are equally amazing and you can immersive yourself in the local cuisine,
It has an amazing art scene
One of my favorite art exhibitions on the island is the Landhuis Bloemhof Cultural Center. Here, different contemporary artists showcase their work throughout the year. You can also walk around the gardens and explore the permanent art installations.
There’s an old fort you can explore
The Rif Fort, a former fort established in 1828, is now a waterfront courtyard. Inside, you can find the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, as well as lots of shops, restaurants, and bars. You can explore the fort and get a stunning view of the island from the top.
The coffee is delicious
My favorite cafe on the island is definitely Number Ten. It has the best coffee and the cutest outdoor patio. The vibe is super relaxed and chill, and it’s the perfect breakfast and brunch spot.
It has cool, underground caves
The Hato Cave is more than 300,000 years old and is the biggest and most renowned cave on the island. The cave opened to the public in 1991 and is made of coral limestone, which accumulated over millions of years. Some limestone structures are up to 790 feet long.
You can listen to live music
There are a few places on the island where you can listen to some live music while having dinner or a drink, and my favorite place for that is Mundo Bizzaro. It is located in the hip Pietermaai District, where you can find live music performances most nights. The street comes alive, and it’s amazing to feel like a part of Curacao’s vibrant culture.