Have you ever been to the island of Curacao? If not, I can totally recommend it! Or if you have, I am sure you’ll want to go again. This beautiful island in the Caribbean is addictive! Let me tell you all about it.
Hugging and playing with this cute dolphin made me feel like a happy 6-year-old again! And obviously I wasn’t the only one having fun.”
For those unfamiliar: Curaçao is located approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is one of the so-called ABC-islands, together with Aruba and Bonaire. Aruba is a very popular among Americans visitors nowadays, and there are many large resorts and cruise ships. Bonaire is a divers’ paradise.
Officially Aruba and Curacao are part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, and Bonaire is a special municipality in the so-called Caribbean Netherlands, which may clarify why they are also referred to as ‘Netherlands Antilles’ or ‘Dutch Caribbean islands’. Sint Eustatius and Saba actually also belong to the group of 6 Dutch Caribbean islands.
Imagine sun, sea, palm trees, hammock, tropical music and a delicious cocktail in your hand… Exactly, paradise!
Curacao has warm, sunny weather year round, making it a perfect vacation destination. The average temperature is about 27° C (mid 80s F), with a pleasant sea breeze. During rain season (Oct-Feb) the weather is characterized by occasional, short showers, often during the night, and sunny weather during the day. Between May and November it is off-peak season and prices are lower. Hurricanes tend to bypass Curacao, so you won’t get blown away.
Just writing about it, and looking at the pictures again, desperately wants me to go back!! To me this awesome trip felt like a honeymoon.
What to do on Curacao
Whether you want to chill out and relax alone or with your lover, have fun and go party with your boys or girls, or bring your kids… Everything is possible on Curacao. That’s the great thing about this island: if you want to do nothing besides chill on your sunbed and maybe read a book, fine. If you want to party till dawn, definitely possible. If you want to combine beach days with some more active days, rent a car and drive around the island, go ahead!
Bored by the beach for a day? Here are some other fun things to do:
- Rent a car and drive around the island
- Snorkel at Playa Abou, West Point and/or Alice in Wonderland
- Walk around or clim the Table Mountain (Tafelberg) or Sint-Christoffelberg
- Go beach hopping with a powerboat
- Watch the Carnival Parade (Feb) or go shopping in Willemstad
- Enjoy the dolphins at the Curacao Sea Aquarium‘s Dolphin Academy
Music & Party
Throughout the year there are many events and festivals to enjoy, if you feel like it. A great time to visit Curacao is February; Carnival makes the island an even greater party place than it already is, with colorful, swinging parades through the center of Willemstad on a daily basis.
In September there is the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. Brands like Heineken and KLM also organize and/or sponsor annual sportive events on the island such as the marathon and a sailing competition.
Out of the three ABC-islands, the Dutch influence is the strongest present on Curacao. Many Dutch people live or visit the island, and due to this influence you can easily get access to a portion of your favorite Dutch snacks, enjoy the dance tunes of Dutch DJ’s and drink Dutch beer brands such as Amstel.
Caribbean paradise with a Dutch twist. The Royal Netherlands Navy also has a base on Curaçao so you might run into a few handsome Marines or Navy men or women during your visit… 😉
To spot flamingos you do not need to go to Aruba. You can see the exotic pink birds on Curacao as well! The best chance to see flamingos on Curacao is at one of the salt pans, for example at (see also map below):
- Weg naar Bullenbaai
- Weg naar Sint Willibrordus (Jan Kok Baai)
Where to eat on Curacao
Some of my favorite places on Curacao for food & drinks:
- Cabana Beach Club (dinner and/or party night)
- Tinto and Koko’s at Jan Thiel Baai
- Gouverneur at Willemstad (center)
- Scuba Lodge at Willemstad (also boutique hotel and diving school)
- Ginger in Willemstad
- Chill Beach Bar & Grill at Mambo Beach
The Boathouse at Spanish Water used to be a good restaurant too, but unfortunately the reviews tend to be worse nowadays and I even heard rumours is (temporarily) closed down. However I would encourage you to drive up there to see what the situation is now, because the view at sunset is amazing here! See photo later in this blog.
Plenty of people I know who worked and lived on Curaçao for some years all still feel like going back any day!
Where to stay on Curacao
We loved staying at the Kontiki Beach Resort at Cabana Beach!! This resort used to be owned by Van der Valk. What a paradise. Really a great place to stay, relax, party and spot some huge iguanas in the tropical garden! The hotel is located right at the beach, where you can chill during the day and drinks/snacks/lunch are served.
The hotel also has a very nice garden with sunbeds and pools. In the evening there are several parties which are enjoyable for any age. The room was super comfortable, great bed, spacious and nice balcony. Would love to go back one day, fantastic memories!
Sunset at Spaanse Water
How to get around on Curacao
A rental car is obviously the most flexible way to get around the island. it gives the freedom to drive wherever whenever you want. Renting a car of a couple of days instead of your entire day is also an option but not necessarily cheaper. I am a big fan of Sunny Cars when it comes to rental cars. Most Dutch professional travel agents use them and they are SMART! Sunny Cars is an all-inclusive, worry free rental concept with affordable, fair prices, great service and no unpleasant surprises upon pick up or drop off. Ideal, I use them all the time!
Should you decide not to rent a car, or not for your entire stay, a shuttle service between the airport and your hotel is super convenient. Someone that will await you with a name sign and pick you up from the airport after a long flight. Book it in advance online for the best possible price.
Another way of exploring the island of Curacao is by joining a guided tour. Sit back and relax! All you have to do is choose and book a tour! Easy peasy. Plenty of fun options.
Avoid walking around in civil neighborhoods in Curacao. You can get robbed, especially at night. Take a taxi or rental car for your own safety.
How to get to Curacao
Want to go?? How easy you can travel to this island, and what it would cost, obviously depends on where you come from… From Europe, one of the best direct flights are available from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) with KLM or TUI (9-10 hours). Prices for a return flight ticket start around €599. From the US, Miami (MIA) is only a 3-hour-flight away from this paradise island ($300). Air Canada, Jet Blue, American Airlines, British Airways and Air Berlin are some of the other major airlines that fly to Curacao Hato International Airport (CUR).
Alternatively you can go island hopping to/from Aruba and/or Bonaire from Curacao by boat.
Digital Immigration Card Curacao
As of October 1, 2019 the immigration card for Curaçao that visitors must fill in, will only be available digitally. This should ensure a quicker handling at customs. Filling in the digital immigration card can be done via the official website of the Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB). The use of the digital card has a large number of advantages. For example, a traveler no longer needs to fill in a physical immigration card and airlines no longer need paper immigration cards.
This mobile friendly map includes most things mentioned in this article and is smartphone friendly. You can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. You can (un)select categories/areas to customize the map to your needs. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.
Last update: October 2019
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Have you been to Curacao or are you planning to go? Tell me all about it in a comment below or feel free to ask a question if you want to know more.
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