Curacao is the perfect paradise for scuba drivers and nature lovers since its rugged landscape provides endless activities. Adventure through the island’s open spaces and enjoy the outdoors with hiking, biking, and ATV tours. Or dive into the mysterious underwater worlds at more than 60 diving locations. You don’t have to be an adventurer to enjoy Curacao though—explore Curaçao’s capital Willemstad where you’ve got the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a port full of upscale shopping, delicious restaurants and nightlife hotspots. Whatever you’re looking for, Curacao’s got it.
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Mapping Out Curacao
Curacao is a large, flat island that stretches 40 miles across and about 10 miles wide. The coastline along the southern portion of the island is filled with small bays and inlets that are perfect for watching sunsets. The largest bay is located on the eastern portion of the island. This is also where the capital is located along with the majority of the island’s residents and tourist activities. The western part of the island features Christoffel Park and contains the highest elevation in Curacao. Upon on the north coast, it’s less inhabited but you’ll still find small villages and old plantations here.
A Taste of the Old World: Willemstad
Residents of Willemstad boast that they’ve got the features of a large city but the demeanor of a warm and inviting small town. Here, visitors will be able to take advantage of a number of shops, restaurants and bars amongst the unforgettable features of the “old town.”
Due to its varied nature, Willemstad is a popular stop for large cruise ships and other tourists.
Citrus and Economy
Like Aruba and Bonaire, the island of Curacao was once home to the indigenous Arawaks who populated the island until the beginning of the Spanish colonization in 1499. When the Dutch West India Company arrived in 1634, Curacao’s economy focused on plantation farming for fruits like oranges, coconuts and bananas before becoming focused on the boom of the oil industry.
Today visitors can enjoy tours of former plantations and experience the rich culture of the island.
Explore Christoffel National Park
Christoffel National Park was pieced together during the early 1970s from three former plantations. While visitors can tour the park by car, the best way is to jump right in and explore the park on foot.
Easily navigable, the Christoffel National Park is connected via an intricate network of trails where you can admire the views of limestone terraces, Ameridian petroglyphs and the “landhuisen,” or plantation houses of yesteryear.
Tour the Famous Museum Kura Hulanda
Rated as one of the best museums in the entire Caribbean, Kura Hulanda is located in the remnants of the sensational hotel from which it received its name. Travel through a vast collection of exhibits which features Arawak and European artifacts.
After passing through the museum, guests can tour a 19th-century slaves quarters and explore exhibits that document the slave trade from West Africa to the Americas.
Curacao is the largest and most industrialized island in the Netherland Antilles. Topping out at over 182 square miles, Curacao is an independent entity within the Netherlands. In recent years, Curacao has become a major tourist destination due to its white sand beaches, crystalline waters and casinos.
However, Curacao is also a major producer of oil shipping out over 320,000 barrels per day. With such varied characteristics, Curacao is said to be a center for multiculturalism and industry.
Curacao Quick Facts
The official language of Curacao is Dutch, but many speak English
The official currency is the Netherlands Antillean gulden
127 volts with a standard US two-prong outlet.
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from Curacao.
The water is safe to drink in Curacao.
Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)
The peak travel season extends from mid-December through mid-April.