Off the northern coast of Venezuela, in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, is the beautiful island of Curacao. It’s a paradise for scuba divers and nature lovers, and is the best kept secret in the Caribbean. Hidden coves, colourful towns, beautiful sunsets and the rich cultural heritage make Curacao a great choice if you’re looking for an island holiday destination out of the ordinary.
Sand, Sea and Sun in the South
The northern coast of the island is rugged and there are strong currents that make it dangerous for swimming and scuba diving. The southern coast, on the other hand, is home to beautiful stretches of sandy beaches that are perfect for sunbathing, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, kayaking or sailing. Beautiful coral reefs lie close off the shore in calm warm water, making the island popular with scuba divers. The hidden coves and inlets on the southern coast are the ideal place to relax with a good book or have a swim in the warm water. Popular beaches include Baya Beach, Blue Bay, Daiibooi, Grote and Kleine Knip, Playa Kalki, Porto Marie Beach and Seaquarium Beach. Stretch out on a deck chair, take a glass-bottom boat ride or swim with dolphins. The only thing you’ll have to worry about here is deciding how to spend your next day.
Explore the Island
When you can tear yourself away from the beach there are plenty of interesting places to explore on the island. Take a guided tour of the limestone Hato Caves and learn more about the island’s geological history. You can also visit 17 and 18th century plantation houses (land houses). The rugged northern coast of the island is perfect if you’re looking for a more adventurous activity like hiking, mountain biking or trekking. If you don’t want to expend too much energy you can always take a jeep safari or enjoy the peace and quiet of bird watching.
If you are travelling with children you won’t want to miss the Curacao Sea Aquarium. It’s located in the southwest of the island on the beachfront. Here you can feed stingrays and swim with sharks. There is also The Dolphin Academy where you can swim with dolphins if you have a certified diver’s license.
Immerse Yourself in Curacao Culture
The colourful capital town of Willemstad is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Curacao. The capital has a place on UNESCO’s world heritage list thanks to the wide range of historic buildings in and around the city, including the beautiful Dutch architecture you’ll find along the harbour.
The influence of the Spanish, Dutch and French can not only be seen in the architecture but also in the fusion cuisine. Local food is called Kriyoyo and includes traditional dishes like stobá (a fruity stew), Guiambo (soup), kadushi (cactus soup), pastechi (a breakfast of fried pastry with fillings of cheese, tuna or ham), as well as plenty of seafood dishes. Don’t forget to sample some Curacao liqueur that is made from the rinds of a local citrus fruit known as laraha.
So if the urge strikes for a tropical getaway with plenty of sunshine, world-class diving, beautiful beaches, a lively island culture, and great value for money, you can start planning your trip to the beautiful Caribbean island of Curacao.