Known for its stunning seashores, coral reefs and laidback tempo of life; the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao actually is a dream vacation spot. Located not too far off the Venezuelan coast, it makes up a part of the ABC Islands with close by Aruba and Bonaire mendacity to both facet of it.
As it was colonized by the Dutch and remains to be a part of the Netherlands, the tropical isle displays a mixture of European and Caribbean cultural influences. Its capital Willemstad, as an example, is dwelling to numerous colourful Dutch townhouses with its museums and historic sights specializing in centuries-old Jewish communities and the transatlantic slave commerce.
While lots of the finest issues to do in Curacao might be discovered in its largest metropolis, most individuals come for its beautiful stretches of sand and glowing sea. As such, snorkeling and scuba diving are each vastly well-liked pastimes due to the abundance of marine life and pristine coral gardens that encompass it. With a lot going for it, the sun-kissed Curacao actually makes for an unforgettable island getaway.
17. Christoffel National Park
Sure to delight nature lovers and out of doors lovers alike, Christoffel National Park sprawls throughout a big a part of the northeast of the isle. As properly as providing up a great deal of glorious mountain climbing and biking, it has some superb views, surroundings and wildlife for you to get pleasure from.
Noted for not simply its fauna and flora however cultural and historic sights too, Curacao’s largest nationwide park is called after the mighty mount that rises 1,239 toes above the glittering coast and Caribbean. Established in 1978, it encompasses historic Arawak Indian cave work, the ruins of historic previous plantations and the Savanet Museum which explains extra concerning the area’s previous.
While mountain climbing up to the highest of its rugged peak, you may typically spot white-tailed deer, hawks and very uncommon orchids just like the robust scented girl of the night time. Once you attain its uncovered summit, you may bask in phenomenal views over the park and the shimmering sea alongside it.
16. Hato Caves
Another unimaginable place to go to are the big, atmospheric Hato Caves which just about relate the entire historical past of the Caribbean nation. On guided excursions, you’ll study all about its placing stalactites and stalagmites which lie simply north of Willemstad, not removed from the worldwide airport.
Impressively in use now for over 1,500 years, it was initially inhabited by Arawak and Caiquetio Indians who left behind each intricate petroglyphs and cave work. Centuries later, the in depth underground cave system acted as a refuge for runaway slaves from the plantations.
Nowadays, it’s as an alternative vacationers who head to discover its colossal caverns and amble about amidst all its fascinating rock formations. Formed over the course of many millennia, their varied shapes and silhouettes make for a spellbinding sight, significantly as they’re illuminated by numerous little lights.
One of the island nation’s most beloved seashores, Blauwbaai (or Blue Bay in English) is located simply outdoors of Sint-Michiel, alongside the west coast of Curacao. Aside from its completely idyllic sands, sea and surroundings, it’s identified for the colourful coral reefs and marine life that lie simply offshore.
Lined by shady palms, its fantastic white sands gently curve their means across the small, sheltered bay which is right for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Besides splashing about in its heat waters and seeing huge shoals of shimmering fish, holidaymakers can lounge lazily on the seashore and revel in fantastic views over the coast and sea.
In addition to its snack bars and eating places, there are deckchairs and parasols obtainable for lease with the Blue Bay Resort, its immaculate golf course and excellent sculpture backyard mendacity not distant.
14. Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
Simply a should for these in historical past, the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is remarkably the oldest surviving synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Located proper on the entrance to St Anna Bay, its fairly pastel-colored constructing occupies a outstanding spot in the historic coronary heart of the capital.
While the neighborhood was based in the 1650s by Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, the present constructing was accomplished in 1730. Still in use as we speak and really well-preserved, the ‘Snoa’ as it’s identified options three high-vaulted ceilings containing a Holy Ark and preacher’s pulpit. Ancient mahogany furnishings and an previous pipe organ are additionally on present as are fantastic chandeliers and stained-glass home windows.
Most placing nonetheless is its sandy ground which is alleged to symbolize the forty years that biblical Jews spent wandering the desert. At the small museum subsequent door, you may see tons of previous artifacts, pictures and study extra concerning the historical past of Judaism in Curacao.
13. Playa Lagun
Hidden away between two enormous rocky headlands alongside the isle’s northwest coast is the peaceable and picturesque Playa Lagun. A stunning spot to spend a while, its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reef make it a extremely popular draw amongst snorkelers and scuba divers.
At the foot of the steep cliffs that tower overhead, yow will discover all types of silvery fish flitting about with languid inexperienced sea turtles and furtive squid spied each from time to time. As the world’s marine life is so plentiful, you don’t have to enterprise very far earlier than coming throughout colourful corals, underwater rock formations and numerous species of fish.
Lazing about on the seashore and watching the fishermen come and go is simply as nice with sunsets right here being actually spectacular. Bordering the intimate seashore are a snack bar and dive faculty with deck chairs and umbrellas dotted right here and there.
12. Riffort Village
One of the perfect locations to store, dine and exit on the island, Riffort Village lies proper on the mouth of St Anna Bay. With so many engaging retailers and eating places to check out, it’s no surprise the large waterfront mall is the primary port of name for a lot of passengers from the close by cruise ship terminal.
Once a key a part of Willemstad’s defenses, the 1828 Rif Fort was later used as a brothel, jail and police station earlier than finally turning into the stylish procuring centre it’s as we speak. Lining its thick coral partitions are dozens of upmarket eateries and distinctive boutiques with stylish bars and hip nightlife spots additionally that includes.
Aside from selecting up some artisan jewelry and having fun with an aperitif, you may at all times head to the highest of the fort for commanding views over town, sea and historic Otrobanda district.
11. Mambo Beach
Yet one other alluring stretch of sand to try is the magnificent Mambo Beach on the southwest facet. Set only a quick drive from the synagogue and procuring heart in town, its brilliant white sands and brilliantly blue waters make it the proper place to spend a day or night.
Much extra developed than many different seashores on the island, its bustling boardwalk is lined by numerous retailers, eating places, bars and resorts. As a consequence, there’s usually a energetic get together ambiance concerning the place with the vivid sunsets, cocktails and chillout hammocks all contributing to a memorable time.
There remains to be a whole lot of enjoyable to be had in the course of the day nonetheless with excellent snorkeling and scuba diving journeys taking you out to the close by reefs. Other than all that, you may sunbathe, swim or store whereas having fun with the beautiful surroundings on present.
10. Go Diving
When on Curacao and in the Caribbean, you simply have to go scuba diving in some unspecified time in the future. All across the isle are fascinating underwater worlds to uncover with playful dolphins, sleek stingrays and shoals of tropical fish all spied amidst its beautiful coral gardens.
Thanks to its ample marine life, numerous dive retailers are dotted alongside the coast with many dive websites really being accessible from the seashore. The ‘Blue Edge’ as an example, the Curacaoan shelf’s sharp drop-off, is lined by superb formations with 1000’s of fish and marine mammals inhabiting its heat waters.
Other websites are only a quick boat journey away with the coral-encrusted stays of the Superior Producer wreck and the magical Mushroom Forest counting amongst its hottest. As fascinating sights and glorious visibility are assured, diving is the spotlight of many individuals’s vacation to the island.
9. Kura Hulanda Museum
A poignant and necessary place to go to, the Kura Hulanda Museum covers the long-lasting legacy of the transatlantic slave commerce in the area. Full of partaking displays and centuries-old artifacts, it occupies what was as soon as the house of a Dutch service provider and slave proprietor.
Lying alongside the western quayside of St Anna Bay, the complicated of well-preserved colonial buildings as soon as lay not removed from the slave market in Otrobanda. Poor captives from Western Africa had been usually held on the home earlier than being offered on to different slave homeowners on the island and even additional afield.
Its very well-done shows have a look at how folks had been first captured in Africa after which transported to the Americas with others specializing in the cultural legacy this left behind. Alongside all its displays, you may see handcrafted statues and slave shackles, pre-Columbian gold and Mesopotamian relics.
8. Shete Boka National Park
Right subsequent to Christoffel on the northern finish of the island is Curacao’s solely different nationwide park: the stupendous Shete Boka. Named after the native time period for an inlet, it’s famend for its breathtaking blowholes, seashores and bays the place sea turtles usually nest.
Protected as a part of a park since 1994, the tough and rugged shoreline appears nearly otherworldly in nature as ginormous waves pound its sparse volcanic landscapes. Hiking about is an epic expertise as you go tangled bushes and unusual rock formations earlier than rising at an exceptional viewpoint.
As it boasts the largest waves and blowhole, Boka Pistol is the place most hikers first head with Boka Tabla’s half-submerged cavern and the Natural Bridge additionally attracting numerous consideration.
7. Cas Abao Beach
Very well-liked with each locals and vacationers alike, Cas Abao Beach lies alongside the northwestern shore of the island, not removed from Sint Willibrordus. As properly as picture-perfect sands and sea, it has sensible beachside bars, eating places and even full-body massages for guests to get pleasure from.
Appearing as if out of a journey catalogue, its brilliant white sands and twinkling turquoise waters make for some implausible pictures and even higher viewing. While lounging lazily on the seashore, you may gaze out over the close by cliffs or lease kayaks and snorkels and head out to discover them your self.
Although it appears like a small slice of paradise, Cas Abao has quite a few solar loungers and parasols to make use of earlier than grabbing a refreshing drink or meal at its small restaurant.
6. Playa Porto Mari
Just a brief means down the coast is one other stunning seashore for solar worshipers to cease by: the beautiful and peaceable Playa Porto Mari. While its rehabilitated coral reef is considered one of many isle’s finest snorkel websites, it’s also identified for the feral however pleasant pigs and iguanas that frequent the world.
Tucked away between two rocky headlands, its crescent-shaped bay gives up chic swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving with a bit dive store positioned onshore. After exploring its underwater riches, you may at all times hike or bike concerning the three nature trails that wind their means alongside the shore.
For those that simply need to loosen up and unwind, Playa Porto Mari additionally has you lined as its seashore bar serves up some scrumptious Caribbean and Dutch meals.
5. Dolphin Academy Curacao
One of not simply the capital’s however nation’s prime vacationer sights, Dolphin Academy Curacao attracts enormous numbers of holiday makers each yr. At its state-of-the-art facility simply outdoors Willemstad, you may swim, snorkel and scuba dive with dolphins whereas studying all concerning the majestic creatures.
Impressively sufficient, it is likely one of the solely services in the world to work with skilled dolphins out in the open sea. They reside in 4 massive lagoons which might be linked by underwater channels and basins surrounding Sea Aquarium Park. As there’s a fixed circulate of contemporary seawater, fish and invertebrate species, they reside largely as they’d out in the wild.
Meeting their comfortable and pleasant residents actually is an unforgettable expertise as you play, feed and stroke them in their pure surroundings. Whether it’s standing in the shallows, diving deep down moreover them or heading out to the open sea to see them; you’re at all times assured a good time.
4. Klein Curacao
About a two-hour boat trip southeast of the island is by far its hottest day-trip vacation spot: the charming Klein Curacao. Once a quarantine station for sick slaves and a burial website, it now as an alternative entices vacationers with its magnificent snorkeling and scuba diving.
Meaning ‘Little Curacao’ in Dutch, the barren, uninhabited island lies surrounded by the shimmering waters of the Caribbean Sea with a small lighthouse, former slaves’ quarters and shipwreck being its solely noteworthy sights. The relaxation is totally abandoned apart from a few palm-frond-covered sheds for fishermen and day trippers.
Its actual riches lie in the plentiful offshore reefs the place you may swim about moreover colourful corals, shoals of fish and a few sea turtles. Other than that, you may bask on the seashore and prime up your tan whereas ready for the boat again to Curacao.
3. Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge
Connecting the 2 historic halves of Willemstad is the ever-popular Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge which spans St Anna Bay. A delight to amble throughout, it gives beautiful views of all of the brightly painted mansions and Dutch-style homes that line the water’s edge.
Often referred to because the ‘Swinging Old Lady’, it was constructed again in 1888 to be a part of Otrobanda in the west to Punda and Pietermaai in the east. Now lined by lit up arches at night time, the floating bridge commonly opens to permit oceangoing vessels in and out of the bay.
In complete, it stretches over 500 toes in size with historic markers at every finish explaining a bit extra concerning the much-loved landmark. Besides strolling throughout it, many individuals sit and seize a espresso at one of many close by cafes and watch it swing open and shut a couple of times.
2. Kenepa Beach
One of probably the most visually arresting seashores on the isle, Kenepa really consists of two small coves, every with its personal stretch of sand. Separated by massive, rocky cliffs and a scenic lookout level, they are often discovered close to the northern tip of Curacao, in between Lagun and Sabana Westpunt.
Known as Grote Knip and Kleine Knip, the 2 pristine seashores are bordered by rearing cliffs with the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean lapping at their shores. While the previous has a big snack bar, a number of shade pergolas and is backed by a salt marsh, the smaller of the 2 boasts some excellent snorkeling spots.
In addition to floating about and taking in the terrific surroundings, you may at all times hike to the highest of the headland for divine views over each the seashores. Some courageous souls additionally dive off the highest of the cliffs with sunsets right here being significantly spectacular.
Undoubtedly the capital’s standout website, the good-looking Handelskade lies proper in the historic coronary heart of Willemstad. Featured on just about each Curacao postcard, the charming assortment of colourful colonial buildings make for some implausible pictures and viewing.
Looking out over the glinting waters of St Anna Bay, its immediately recognizable seventeenth-century buildings are painted in vivid yellows, blues, oranges and pinks. Part of the Punda district, its energetic waterfront is now dwelling to numerous cafes, eating places, retailers and artwork galleries.
Asides from wandering about and taking in the nice atmosphere and structure, you may sit and watch the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge from one in all its chilled-out cafes. From right here, you may simply discover the middle and go to many of the metropolis’s predominant museums and vacationer sights.