A tiny island in front of Venezuela, Curaçao is a colourful Caribbean destination. This paradise offers warm and sunny climate all year round. The island is a melting pot of international expats and tourists. In fact, several thousand Dutch have made Curaçao their permanent home.
The Dutch culture was introduced in the late 1600s and the African-Caribbean traditions is mixed to the dutch one, having an influence on food, lifestyle and architecture. For example, the educational and political system is Dutch-inspired, and Dutch is the official language with Papiamentu.
Curaçao was discovered in 1499 by The Spanish who named the island as “Isla de los Gigantes” referring to the dimensions of the original population. Curaçao remained under Spanish control until the Dutch occupation in 1634. After that, it was under different explorers, until the final control of the Dutch in 1815. There are several theories about the name “Curaçao” and most likely it originates from the Portuguese word “curação” meaning cured or heart.
What to do
Willemstad, the only city and the capital of the island, has its historic European architecture. The port town is a UNESCO World Heritage site with fascinating restored buildings and fortified walls. Firstly, Punda, one of the districts of the city, has narrow perpendicular streets and pedestrian areas with many boutiques, restaurants and markets. In addition, here there are vibrant galleries selling colourful art.
The floating Market, also in Punda, is a unique experience where Venezuelan vendors sell fresh produce from their small fishing boats.
Secondly, Otrobanda, another district of Willemstad, has restored colourful colonial buildings, lonely alleyways and bright murals. Here visitors can find shops selling crafts and local fashion. Moreover, they can visit the Kura Hulanda Museum and the Rif Fort. Built in 1828 to protect the city, today the fort is a shopping centre surrounded by original walls.
Curaçao offers a variety of restaurants and bars with local cuisine or based on French Caribbean-Asian fusion.
Furthermore, the island is famous for its beautiful beaches and hidden bays with crystal clear water and stunning reef life. In fact, several snorkelling and dive sites are available in Curaçao, with caves and ruins. One example is the Mushroom Forest, a unique spot with unusual vertical coral structures in the shape of mushrooms. Moreover the island is perfect to see seahorses, nurse sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and dolphins.
The climate and the nature of Curaçao are perfect for families and nature lovers. For a beach day for example, Klein Curaçao is the longest beach with soft white sand and calm water. In addition, the island offers different activities such as surfing, kite surfing, fishing and sailing excursions.
For hiking and biking lovers, the island has a lot of tracks, parks and gardens. In addition golf players can play in different resorts and clubs.
Photo Credit: ©Curaçao Tourist Board