Bon Bini Dushi’s and welcome to my mini guide to Curaçao!
Curaçao is a lesser-known island in the Caribbean and is home to gorgeous beaches, turquoise waters filled with sea life, rich history, and never-ending sunshine! My parents traveled to Curaçao a while back and every day they kept sending me the most amazing pictures and that they were having the best time. I was so not jealous and definitely did not wish I was there every single day.
With their help, I have written this guide, so you too can have just a good of a time that they had.
So, in today’s blog post, I will show you some of the best things to see and do while on this incredible island.
WHERE IS CURAÇAO?
If you have never heard of Curaçao then you are in for an amazing surprise. This island is an absolute dream and you are going to want to add it to your bucket list right after reading this post!
Curaçao is a small island located in the Dutch Caribbean nestled between Aruba and Bonaire. (Also known as the ABC islands) Curaçao, the largest of the three and it’s main capital is Willemstad. It is known for its stunning beaches and its expansive coral reefs rich with loads of marine life.
Underneath you can find just some of the things you could see and do whilst on the island.
When in the Caribbean snorkeling or diving is an absolute must. The underwater world has so much to offer here. From octopuses, turtles, and hundreds of beautiful fishes can be found just off the coast of the island. The best snorkel beaches are found on the west side of the island. (So keep that in mind when you book your accommodation)
Tugboat | Likely the most visited and well-known snorkel location. Tugboat is absolutely amazing. It’s not often that snorkelers can get up close to a wreck site, but this one is perfect! Very accessible, good variety of fish. Not very big, so you can thoroughly snorkel the entire site in no more than an hour.
Little Knip Beach | If you are looking for a gorgeous west end Curacao beach with great snorkeling, look no further. You will swim with fish and explore a coral reef. And you could be lucky enough to see a large school of squid or catch a glimpse of an octopus hiding in a hole. (My dad saw one – he filmed it, but then deleted the film by accident, so no proof lol)
PLAYA PORTO MARINA
This beach is a MUST SEE when on the island. It is often visited by wild pigs who take a relaxing dip in the ocean to cool off. You often see Instagram “models” on this beach taking pictures for their accounts.
The pigs are friendly so you can pet them, but if you see signs that they get upset, let them be. They are wild animals, so use your brain.
I also have an extensive post on what it is like to swim with pigs on Pig Island in Exuma!
This is THE iconic picture from Curaçao and Willemstad and is probably the most breathtaking part of Punda. This historic waterfront strip is a vibrant reminder of Curaçao’s Dutch heritage, as well as a favorite photo-opportunity. **Hello Instagram followers, you jealous yet**
This area is so cute and very close to the cruise ship port. Lots of cute shopping and the architecture is beautiful and reminds me of a bit of Copenhagen. However, I was a little disappointed about the area behind this iconic street. All side and back streets are somewhat shabby and full of bars and cheap shops. Not much more to see other than the bridge and the colorful houses.
Because of the shape and location of the island, it allows you to watch breathtaking sunsets from many beautiful places. As long as you stick to the (south) western side of the island, you’re good to watch the sunset from almost anywhere.
MAMBO BEACH BOULEVARD
A strip that combines shopping, dining, entertainment and the best beach the island has to offer. The Mambo Beach Boulevard truly is the ‘anytime’ destination. It hosts the largest beach on the Island, with more than 50 stores, restaurants and activities spread out over two levels.
This stop is perfect if you are taking a cruise and don’t have all day to chill at the beach. If you are staying on the island longer, then you can skip this stop – In my opinion.
WHAT TO EAT
FRESH FISH | Most restaurants serve fresh fish. The local catch normally consists of Grouper, Tuna(YUM!), Red Snapper, Dradu (Mahi Mahi) and Mula (Wahoo). The fish usually comes with fried banana and is prepared with a bouillon based creole sauce.
FUNCHI | Funchi is a staple food in Curaçao households. Like polenta, funchi is cornmeal stirred into boiling water seasoned with butter and salt.
PASTECHI | A pastechi is a dough patty filled with meat or Gouda cheese and then fried. (Yummm) Chicken, minced beef and salt fish (Bakijou in Papiamentu) are popular fillings.
You can find this delicious snack pretty much everywhere on the island.
Size | 38 miles (61 kilometers) long and 3-5 miles (5-14 kilometers) across
Population | ±150,000
Languages | Dutch is the official language. But most of the locals also speak: Papiamentu English and Spanish
Currency | Antillean guilder (NAƒ), but American dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere.
$1 US dollar is ƒ1.75 Antillean guilder.
$1 AUD dollar is ƒ1.35 Antillean guilder.
Tipping | It is suggested to tip the porters at the airport USD $1 per bag. Taxi-drivers are usually tipped with 20% of the fare. Restaurants usually add 8-15% service charge on a bill and most hotels a 12% service charge to the bill. Hotels charge an additional 7% government tax.
Weather | The average temperature is about 27° C ( mid 80s F). Refreshing trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. The rainy season, October to February, is marked by short, occasional showers, usually at night, and continued sunny weather by day.
BEST TIME TO VISIT?
The rainy season in the Caribbean runs from October to February. Showers generally happen in the evening and should not be enough to deter a visit to the island during that period. But you should not forget to bring bug repellent during this time. (They come out in full force during the rainy season)
The island, which is located in the far south of the Caribbean and close to South America, is usually spared the threat of the Atlantic hurricane season that takes place from June through November. Still, if traveling during this time, you should monitor weather conditions in the region.
Mid-December to April is the peak time. Then, the weather is at is at its best, typically hot and sunny, relatively dry, with low humidity and pleasantly cool nights. Perfection.
WORDS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Although Dutch is the official language on the island, Papiamentu is used most by the locals. Even though most, if not all locals speak multiple languages like Papiamentu, English, Dutch, and Spanish.
Many people enjoy it when others try to speak their language, they like people to make at least an effort. So here are some words that could be useful for you:
- Bon dia | Good morning
- Bon tardi | Good Afternoon
- Bon nochi | Good Evening / Good Night
- Kon ta bai? / Kombai? | How is it, how are things going with you.
- Masha bon | Very good
- Bon | Good
- Ayó (ah – yo) | Goodbye
- Danki | Thank you
- Masha danki | thank you very much
- Di nada | You’re welcome
- Diskulpami / Sori (Sorry) | Excuse me / Sorry
LOOKING FOR SOME MORE TRAVEL INSPIRATION? THEN CHECK OUT SOME OF MY POSTS BELOW:
- Swimming with the Pigs on Pigs Beach
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