I just got back from a week in Curacao and it was fantastic! Imagine turquoise blue waters, coral reefs, colorful houses, scuba diving and a beautiful desert landscape with cactus everywhere.
I highly recommend going to this Dutch island in the Caribbean. It is about 40 miles off the shore of Venezuela. The locals are so nice and willing to help.
We stayed at the Acoya Suites & Villas and it was great. It is situated in a residential part of the island but within a short drive to downtown ($15 cab ride). If you do stay here, we recommend having a car – although I recommend a car no matter what since this island is huge. Unfortunately, all cars were booked and gone the week we were there so we relied on taxis. Luckily, our hotel had a shuttle that took us to the grocery store, Mambo Beach and downtown.
We stayed over New Years Eve and Day and boy does this island know how to celebrate! They had Pagara’s going off all day and night (they are only legally allowed to do it for 4 days out of the year) and it was so cool! They believe the more fireworks you set off the better your new year will be. New Years Eve was also fantastic – we sat at the Iguana Cafe and had a few drinks while we watched live music and then went to the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge for the fireworks at midnight. It was so cool to see all the families bring their kids downtown and set up picnics.
Instead of going day by day and describing what we did I’m going to provide lists of what I recommend.
Beaches: Unlike most beach locations, Curacao had many beaches, but they are not situated in a row like some islands with major hotels on the coast. The island is made up of coral so there are many inlets for beaches all over the island.
- Go to Mambo Beach at least once. Known as the party beach it is more subdued during the day. Surprisingly it had great food for lunch and it was nice to have people bringing drinks right to your chairs. It is great for families too with an inflatable water park on the ocean (there is a lifeguard).
- Kenepa beach – we were lucky to stop by this beach while on a tour. It is on the farthest western point of the island so it can take a while to get to – possibly an hour – but totally worth it. Pack a lunch as this beach doesn’t have any beach bars.
- Cas Abou – We loved this beach. With a beach bar for food and drinks, scuba gear and sea kayaking, this is a low key way to spend a day.
- Kome – we loved it here. Amazing food, drinks and setting.
- Chapter – we sat on the patio and had a bottle of wine. it has a limited menu but the food is very well prepared. It is close to downtown so we walked downtown afterwards.
- Steak n Ribs – a man who had been coming to the island every year for 15 years recommended this to us and we loved it. It is in Riffort Village and on the third floor outside so we were able to watch many ships coming through the channel.
- Bistro le Clochard – we had dinner here New Years Eve and it was delicious. We sat at the bar while waves crashed behind us and fireworks lit up the sky.
- Iguana Cafe – for drinks only! This is situated right on the channel that connects Punda to Otrobanda and you have stunning views of colorful buildings, Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge and passing ships. Get a drink here!
Take this sunset tour! We cruised around Spanish Waters (a harbor with people windsurfing, boats, and million dollar homes) then out into the open ocean for the sunset. It was beautiful.
Take the Shete Boka tour on Viator – so worth it! We absolutely loved it and raved about it all day. He took us to the most off-the-beaten-path destinations on the island. We didn’t pass another car, we were off-roading the entire time. We saw waves crashing, a blowhole, inlets, turtles, etc. Amazing. Below are pictures.
(Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge)
(Tabletop Mountain – the view from our sunset cruise!)
(Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge opening)