View from Tower at Kline Island.
If you are like me and have visited many Caribbean islands, you start to get the mentality that "if you have seen one island you have seen them all". Curacao changed my thoughts on this. The people of Curacao are very friendly and welcoming. The island is so modern, and the driving is actually manageable with Google Maps. My Labor Day Vacation to Curacao certainly changed my perspective on what to expect from an Island vacation.
Nestled in the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, Curacao is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. This vibrant island, part of the Dutch Caribbean, is renowned for its stunning beaches, rich culture, and colorful architecture. Curacao is the largest of the three ABC islands. (Aruba, Bonnaire, and Curacao)
Before we dive into the pristine beaches and vibrant culture of Curacao, it's essential to understand the island's rich history. Discovered by the Spanish in the early 16th century, Curacao eventually became a Dutch colony, and its influences are still evident today. The fusion of African, European, and Caribbean cultures has given Curacao its unique identity.
The capital city of Curacao, Willemstad, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an absolute must-visit. The cityscape is a testament to the island's Dutch heritage, with its colorful Dutch colonial buildings lining the waterfront. The most iconic of these is the Handelskade, a row of vibrantly hued facades that provide the perfect backdrop for photos. Stroll along the Queen Emma Bridge, also known as the "Swinging Old Lady," which pivots open to allow ships to pass, offering a unique experience for pedestrians.
Photo of the Queen Emma Bridge
Curacao boasts some of the Caribbean's most pristine beaches, each with its charm and character. Whether you're looking for relaxation, water sports, or underwater adventures, Curacao has it all.
While In Curacao I visited four beaches. My favorite beach was Playa Piskado. We drove around 45 minutes to get to this beach, but it was worth it. As soon as we got in the water, we were greeted by sea turtles. I do suggest aqua socks because the beach is sort of rocky, but it was not very crowded, and I just loved the whole vibe of the area. We rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $12 which I thought was very reasonable. FYI a lot of the vendors at this beach are cash only.
Another beach I visited on this trip was Kokomo, I forgot the name of the other two beaches but by far my favorite was Play Piskado.
Sea turtle at Playa Piskado
Entrance to Museum Kura Hulanda
Museum Kura Hulanda: Located in Willemstad, this museum offers a deep dive into the island's history, with exhibits on slavery, the African diaspora, and local art. There is an exhibit at this museum that replicates the hold area of a slave ship. It was very uncomfortable visiting this part of the museum but I feel that discomfort is necessary because we should never be comfortable with the legacy slavery has left on this world. I tried to just for a moment put myself in the position of the people who were in those holds. It was very disturbing. I have been to other museums with slave artifacts but this area in this museum greatly affected me. I don’t know what it was but I’m glad I went.
Taste the Flavors: Savor the island's cuisine at local restaurants and street food stalls. I tried pastechi (savory pastries) and really liked it. I don’t care for empanadas and pastechi put me in the mind of a type of empanada like pastry but for whatever reason I really like pastechi and I don’t like empanadas. Make it make sense! We really didn’t eat one meal we did not like in Curacao. We ate at all types of places from grocery store delis to restaurants and we thoroughly enjoyed every place we went to. Some of the highlights were Rustiq near the Kura Hulanda museum, Captain’s Bar and Grill was our saving grace, and the first restaurant we went to in Curacao. We were famished from a long day of flight catching and no food and they welcomed us with tasty food, reasonable prices, and great conversation provided by the bartender who also took the time to explain the menu to us. Other restaurants we went to were Beef Master Grill (which was so close to our AirBnb that we just walked there) and Landhuis Brakkeput Mei Mei. This restaurant has a lobster night, and this is the day we visited. It is a beautiful property set on an old plantation. They grow a lot of the items they serve on the menu on the property so that is a plus for anyone interested in farm-to-table cuisine. Given the variety of different places we patronized, I think that we got a great introduction to Curacao's culinary heritage.
Mural at Rustiq Restaurant
Getting Around in Curacao
I encourage visitors to rent a car or have a driver to get the most from their island visit. We rented an economy car for 7 days and it was very reasonable through Budget rental cars. We spent approximately $40 USD on gas for the entire stay. There are buses on Curacao but we were told by many that the buses are very unpredictable and infrequent.
Beyond the beaches and cultural attractions, Curacao offers numerous outdoor activities for adventure seekers:
Hiking: Explore the island's rugged terrain and discover hidden caves and panoramic viewpoints. Christoffel National Park offers several well-marked trails. While we did not do any hiking we did visit the Hato Caves which was very interesting.
Scuba Diving: Curacao is a top-notch diving destination, with numerous dive sites teeming with marine life, including shipwrecks and coral reefs.
Water Sports: From kayaking to windsurfing, Curacao's calm, clear waters are perfect for water sports enthusiasts.
Visit to Kline Island
I did take a day trip to Kline Island which is 15 miles from Curacao and 2 hours by boat. Kline Island was such a chill location and a great trip. I chose Mermaid Boat Tours as my vendor. They were very professional. Their boat was safe and had ample protection from the sun. This company has actual bathroom and shower facilities on the Island as well as a tower which is great for taking pictures. This company provides a breakfast buffet and a lunch buffet with their service. The lunch buffet was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed lunch. During your stay on Kline Island you can take a walk around and see the lighthouse as well as a couple of wretched ships. It is also a good location to do some snorkeling.
Light House at Kline Island
Photo of Wrecked Bianca Maria on Kline Island
Curacao is a vibrant and diverse destination that offers something for every traveler. Whether you're seeking relaxation on stunning beaches, immersing yourself in rich culture, or embarking on outdoor adventures, this Caribbean gem has it all. With its welcoming locals and an abundance of natural beauty, Curacao is an ideal destination for your next unforgettable getaway. So, pack your bags and prepare to be captivated by the magic of Curacao hopefully you will fall in love with this island like I did. .