Curacao: Make the Unusual Your Usual

Curaçao is arguably the most culture-rich and colorful of the three Dutch-Caribbean tropical islands: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao (ABC). Curaçao is fringed with about 38 beaches and ringed with coral walls that are full of stunning marine life. This, combined with the mouth-watering Creole cuisine, the colonial architecture of the Dutch, and the natural beauty of the island, makes Curaçao a real gem worthy of discovery. But what truly sets Curaçao apart from other “promising islands” is that it delivers on all of its advertised greatness.

For too long, the island has been often overlooked by travelers who thought of it as a regional commercial center. Today, Curaçao has reinvented itself as a premier travel destination, competing with the Caribbean’s best. In this blog, we’ll explore many reasons why Curaçao is the very best Caribbean island you can visit.

It’s an Unusual Place With a Touch of Dutch

A Blend of Cultures

Just like the rest of the ABC tropical island group, Curaçao has had a longstanding relationship with Holland. The three islands are all unique in their own right, each with its own different vibe. Although Curaçao gained autonomy in 2010 as a constituent country, the Dutch culture is still an integral part of its history, heritage, and lifestyle. In many ways, it’s very European while also being quite African too.

Beautiful Downtown Willemstad in Curacao

European Sophistication in the Caribbean

The open-air cafes are full of chic patrons rocking the latest European fashions. The stores are filled with imports from the Netherlands, and the street signs are displayed in Dutch. You might think you’re in Amsterdam—were it not for the warm sunshine and the blue skies. Unlike more Americanized destinations like the Bahamas, Aruba, and the Grand Turks, Curaçao offers a unique blend of European and Caribbean influences. It’s an ideal tourist destination but remains mostly untouched by mass American tourism. Tourists can easily mingle with the locals, who are usually kind and friendly.

All these aspects make Curaçao an unusual place in comparison to many other destinations.

The Free Trade and Floating Market

Historical Roots in Trade

The emergence of Curaçao as a commercial hub can be traced back to the Colonial era when the Dutch West India Company stimulated trade between the Caribbean and the home country. In more recent years, the progressive attitude of Holland has transformed Curaçao into the commercial center that it is today.

Modern-Day Shopping

The storefronts along Breedestraat and Heerenstraat feature designer clothes, Holland’s famous blue Delft Pottery, and Italian silk. The rather swanky new shopping district located in Otrobanda is now the place to load up on perfumes, linens, emeralds, diamonds, and rubies. Remember to buy a wheel of Edam cheese—a 5-pound delicacy that will last you till your next trip.

Although the arid landscape of the island isn’t conducive for farming, fresh vegetables and fruits are abundantly available, thanks to a fleet of trading vessels from Venezuela that make the 36-mile crossing with fresh produce. In the past, sailors would sell their cargo right from the decks of their vessels. Now, most offload their goods at the adjacent open-air markets along the wharf, providing a constant supply of fresh food.

Exploring the Marine Life and Beaches

Abundant Marine Life

Curaçao is a paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The coral walls around the island are teeming with vibrant marine life, offering unforgettable underwater experiences. From colorful coral reefs to fascinating shipwrecks, the underwater world of Curaçao is a must-see.

Stunning Beaches

With about 38 beaches, Curaçao provides a variety of options for beach lovers. Whether you want to relax on a secluded sandy shore or engage in water sports, the island has something for everyone. Top beaches like Playa Knip, Cas Abao, and Playa Lagun offer pristine waters and stunning views.

Culinary Delights

Creole Cuisine

One of the highlights of visiting Curaçao is the mouth-watering Creole cuisine. The island’s food is a delightful mix of African, Caribbean, and European influences. Don’t miss trying local dishes like Keshi Yena (stuffed cheese) and Stoba (stew). The island is also famous for its seafood, with fresh catches available daily.

Culinary Hotspots

From local eateries to fine dining restaurants, Curaçao offers a wide range of culinary experiences. The island’s diverse food scene means you can savor global flavors without leaving the Caribbean. Be sure to explore areas like Pietermaai District, where you’ll find a concentration of top-rated restaurants.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Historical Sites

Curaçao is rich in history, with numerous sites to explore. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Willemstad, with its colorful colonial buildings and historic fortresses. Museums and historical landmarks provide insight into the island’s past and its cultural evolution.

Local Events and Festivals

Curaçao hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its rich culture and heritage. Participate in the lively Carnival, experience the island’s music festivals, or attend local markets and fairs to truly immerse yourself in the culture.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make the most of your trip, Curaçao is definitely the island for you. It offers so much more than its neighboring islands and is a great option if you’re looking for an island getaway that has a little bit more to offer in terms of sightseeing, activities, and cultural experiences.

In conclusion, while Aruba and Bonaire each have their own unique charms, Curaçao stands out as the ultimate destination for a well-rounded Caribbean vacation. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner, or with family and friends, Curaçao provides an unmatched blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and diverse activities that promise an unforgettable experience.

There’s More to Love About Curacao

Stay tuned for our next part of this series. There we we will look at even more reasons why the unusual Curacao should become a usual destination for your travel. Reach out anytime with any questions you have about Curacao as your next destination.

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