Nestled near the coast of Venezuela is a little piece of paradise. If not for the beaches and art, then the culture and history of this 40 mile long island is reason enough to visit.
Curacao is the gem of the Caribbean and the perfect place for a vacation escape.
If you are a resident of France and looking to travel to Curacao, our complete guide will tell you everything you need to know, from best places to stay to what to pack.
Top 6 Things to Know About Curacao
- Since 2010, Curacao has been part of the six islands that collectively form part of the Caribbean territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island does handle most of its own affairs, but leaves several matters; like legal and foreign affairs to the Kingdom.
- The island was discovered by Alonso de Ojeda in 1499.
- This Dutch island is only 444 square Km and 9 miles long.
- The total population of the island sits at 150000
- The official language of Curacao is Dutch. But like any country with multicultural influences you will find other languages like English and Spanish dominating the island.
- The national currency is Antillean guilder. But the USD is also accepted across the island.
What to Do in Curacao
When visiting any country, you want to be prepared with your itinerary. And if you are wondering what to include in your to-do list, here are a few things to add:
1. Scuba Diving
You cannot visit Curacao and not go diving. Whether you are a beginner or an old gun, Curacao is the best place for you to hit the water.
If you are a beginner, then we suggest you visit the Bobby Trap. Bobby Trap is located in Fuikbaai abd is celebrated for its sponges. The number of different sponges you can spot here is remarkable.
The list starts off with rope sponges, tube sponges, all the way to elephant ear sponges. But the sponges are not the only thing that make Bobby Trap amust sea, you can also find an amazing array of animals hiding beneath the reef.
But if you are an expert with a thirst for a little more adventure, then we suggest putting Watamula at the top of your diving list.
Derived from the Dutch word meaning “water mill” because of the two currents meeting here, this place is thought to be slightly dangerous, especially for newbies. But in the eyes of the locals, Watamula is the place divers goes to see life underwater and dance a bit in the face of danger.
Hit the Beach
Lets face it, who goes to the Caribbean and leaves without spending time under the warm sun on pristine beaches? Curacao’s collection of 40 beaches will leave you wanting for nothing. The abundant sea life on the island is visible on every beach. So get ready for a meet-and-greet with some sea turtles.
Regardless of how long you are staying, chances are, you cannot exhaust the list of all 40 beaches on the island.
Below we have prepared a list of the top 6 beaches on the island:
- Playa Jeremi
- Playa Lagun
- Jan Thiel
- Cas Abao Beach
- Mambo Beach
- Playa Kenepa
One other reason to visit Curacao is the UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Willestad. Willestad is filled with so much to see, eat and buy.
These colorful building alone make for a fun sightseeing experience. While here, you may also want to visit the Queen Emma Floating Bridge, do some shopping from local stores and dine out at the Old Market.
Where to Stay in Curacao
Finding a place to stay on this Dutch island is no easy task. Every neighbourhood has its own personality and charm. Here are several districts to keep in mind when booking your stay:
Otrobanda is for the history hunters. This district boasts UNESCO protected sites. But it doesn’t end there. Otrabanda is filled with bars and restaurants. You can also find entertainment fort including the Rif fort village.
when it comes to resorts,book the Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort.
Just the name tells you that this neighbourhood is a fun and vibrant area, the district that never sleeps. Piscadera is perfect for those seeking a fun night out. Lined with bars and restaurants overlooking the sea, you can dance the night away in this Curacao district.
Stay at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort.
The home to nature enthusiast, Sabana Westpunt is filled with natural parks, beautiful beaches and hiking trails.
One other wonder in Sabana is the Boka Tabla, an underwater cave.
While here, you can stay at the Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club
Where to Eat in Curacao Island
The dining spots in Curacao reveal the different cultures that have shaped the island’s history. You are sure to find Dutch, Asian and Jewish influences on your plate. When on the island ensure that you try local cuisine like, Karni stoba and Kabritu stoba, Iguana soup and Sate ku Batata. But you can also find simple comfort food areas on the island.
A truki pan in Caracasbaaiweg serving burgers, BBQ ribs and a must try your meat, pindasauce. This is simply a spicy peanut butter dip that drives any meal to a 100.
Caribbean and European dishes served in an open-air setting right near the water. This makes for an elegant evening.
Zanzibar Beach Restaurant
This place is definitely perfect for lunch time. Zanzibar restaurant is at the Jan Thiel beach and serves salads and sandwiches.
Getting around Curacao
There are several ways to get around the island,if you don’t count biking.
Rent a car: If you are looking for a more personal experience around the island, the renting a car is your best bet.
Taxi: Most taxis will pick you right up from your hotel and drive you to your destination. But the price in the long run may be more expensive than renting a car.
Bus: Curacao also has buses you can use to get around the island. This is also a great way to mingle with the locals. But there are no set schedules for these buses.
Ferries: You may not necessarily need to hop onto these water taxis to get around the island. But they make for a good experience especially if you want to experience the Queen Emma bridge lift.
What to Pack
When travelling to this heart of the Netherlands, you want to make sure you have all your essentials. Here is a checklist to keep handy when packing for your Caribbean vacation in Curacao:
- Light Fabrics
- Bug Spray
- Beach Bag
- Beach Towel
- Water Bottle
A lot has changed in travel since the vaccines arrived, but there are still some precautions Curacao would travellers to take when travelling to the island.
All travellers are advised to be fully vaccinated, though this is no longer mandatory. One other change is that there will be no quarantine required of travellers upon arrival. And you don’t need to carry a visa to travel from France to Curacao.
Travellers must also fill out the travel authorization form in order to enter the country.
Though no longer mandatory, travelers are advised to continue wearing their masks in public places, especially when attending large gatherings.
Next Stop: Curacao
Curacao is an exciting and beautiful country to visit, from its 40 beaches to its culture and history, there is no exhausting this beautiful Dutch territory.
If you are want to learn more about the Caribbean, checkout our latest podcast. Listen below