In the far Southern Caribbean lies an unassuming island boasting a vibrant isle scene and a unique European-tropic flair. Many only recognize its name thanks to a blue triple sec that hails from here, but Curaçao should be on your radar as your next vacation spot for entirely different reasons. The big “C” of the Dutch Caribbean’s ABC islands is less crowded than its popular sister Aruba, but offers a one-of-a-kind, Amsterdam-meets-the-Caribbean setting and unique experiences you’ll be pressed to find anywhere else.
Go Beach Hopping
You’re in the Caribbean after all, so why not explore Curaçao’s incredible beaches? Book a beach tour, rent a car, or hop on a scooter and travel from the East to the West ends to find your perfect stretch of sand. Get off the grid at peaceful Playa Porto Mari, or take the entire family to Cas Abao for water sports. Or visit Knip Beach, the picture of paradise where the brave at heart can try cliff diving. Best of all, these spots offer superb snorkeling and scuba diving right off the beach.
Discover Tropical Europe in Willemstad
The candy-colored harbor front is Curaçao’s most iconic image, but this Dutch-influenced capital holds so much more. Shoppers will love the variety of stores for souvenir searching. Start at the Rif Fort, an old fort that now houses a courtyard filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. Pick up some authentic Dutch Delftware pottery or stop by the Royal Dutch Cheesery to sample some delicious cheeses. You can still walk along the fort’s walls for unrivaled views of the ocean and city. Then stroll across St. Anna Bay over to the Punda District via the Queen Emma Bridge. If you happen to hear a horn blowing mid crossing, this floating pontoon bridge is about to swing open to allow a boat to pass, so you might be going for a ride. Once across, take the opportunity to snap a few pictures of that famous harbor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then visit the floating market to pick up a few refreshing fruits for a mid-day snack.
Grab a Glass of the Blue Stuff
Today, Curaçao is a household – or rather a barroom – name thanks to its famous blue liquer. Blue Curaçao liquer adds an orange flavor and fun color to many a tropical cocktail, and island visitors can tour the distillery where it’s made. Soak up some local history at the Landhuis Chobolobo, a 19th century mansion and home of the distillery. You’ll learn all about the craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of Curaçao, a production that hasn’t changed since 1896, and sample some cold cocktails crafted straight from the fresh batch.
Get Under the Waves at the Sea Aquarium
Curaçao’s Sea Aquarium allows visitors to get up close and personal with the creatures that call the island’s surrounding waters home. The habitats that house them are as natural to their native environment as they can possibly be – and it isn’t thanks to fancy technology. The Sea Aquarium’s prime seaside location allows a minimal pump system to bring in fresh seawater right to the tanks, and openings in the structures’ roofs allow direct sunlight to hit the tanks, encouraging live coral growth. Say hello to the animals living at this nature-powered marvel and enjoy interacting with rays, sharks, starfish, sea lions, and dolphins.
Alight the Night
You got all your shopping done and discovered all its history during the day, but return to Willemstad at night to see a whole other side of the city. The people of Curaçao love to party, and the city’s nightlife is legendary. The Hemingway Bar kicks off the evening early with live music. Then, around 8 p.m., the party moves to the many bars and clubs found along Mambo Beach. The Wet & Wild Beach Club has patrons dancing well into the night, so no matter how much of a night owl you are, you’ll find a spot on Curacao that shares your nocturnal enthusiasm.
Place Curaçao high on your island hopping wanderlist and discover its curious mix of cultures, extraordinary activities, and contagious buoyant energy. Contact your travel agent to start planning your Curaçao adventure today and sip on a few blue cocktails for us.