Best Things To Do in Curacao
Like its sister islands, Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao's warm waters are ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling and other water sports. If reclining in a beach chair and sipping a daiquiri is more your speed, head to the oceanfront cafes of Cas Abao Beach or Playa Porto Marie. Tired of sand and sun? Escape to Willemstad, a metropolitan city in the middle of paradise. There, you can visit the swinging Queen Emma Bridge and the fascinating Kurá Hulanda Museum, as well as plenty of rockin' beachfront nightclubs.
Updated January 11, 2019
- #1View all Photos#1 in CuracaoRecreation, SportsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDRecreation, SportsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
If you really want to see some of Curaçao's best sights, you're going to have to get your hair wet. A fascinating world of delicate coral gardens, graceful stingrays, playful dolphins and even sunken ships awaits you in the depths of the Caribbean. The best way to explore it is with a plastic mask strapped to your face and an oxygen tank strapped to your back.
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Spanning the St. Anna Bay, the Queen Emma, or also known as the "Swinging Old Lady," is a floating pedestrian bridge that connects Willemstad's two halves, Punda and Otrobanda. Built in 1888, the Queen Emma Bridge is supported by 16 pontoon boats and swings open laterally to allow ships to enter and leave the bay.
- #3View all PhotosfreeHandelskade#3 in CuracaoSightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
On the Punda side of Willemstad is Handelskade, that picturesque stretch of pier you've seen on every Curaçao postcard. Colonial Dutch buildings painted in brilliant pinks, blues and yellows line the waters of St. Anna Bay. Grab a seat and a daiquiri at one of Handelskade's outdoor cafes and watch the Queen Emma Bridge swing open to let ships into the harbor or pop in to one of the shops along the water.
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Tucked between gray cliffs near the northwestern town of Lagun sits the small but peaceful Playa Lagun. Located in a narrow cove, the calm waters at Playa Lagun are perfect for snorkelers of any skill level, and there are facilities to rent snorkel and scuba gear. Recent travelers lauded the beach for its crystal clear waters and beautiful coral reef, with many saying they spotted colorful fish, schools of squid, sea turtles and more while snorkeling. For the best chance at spotting turtles, visit in the morning.
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Both tourists and locals favor Cas Abao Beach, and it's not hard to see why. The white-sand beach is surrounded by cliffs and lush greenery, and shaded by thatched palapas (large palm umbrellas). Sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and a rainbow of tropical fish beckon snorkelers into warm, turquoise waters. Are your muscles sore from swimming? You can get a full-body massage right on the waterline. Feeling peckish? The Beach Bar & Restaurant offers a range of snacks and drinks that will sustain you all day.
- #6View all Photos#6 in CuracaoBeachesTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeachesTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Playa PortoMari is a spot worth stopping for outdoor enthusiasts. Its rehabilitated double reef and on-site snorkel rentals make this beach a fun spot for undersea exploration. The beach also serves as a trailhead for three nature trails, great for hiking or mountain biking. If you're hungry after all the physical activity, you're in luck: Playa Porto Mari features a beach bar and restaurant that serves up enough Indonesian sateys and Dutch kroketten to fill you up for round two in the water or a nap on the sand.
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In 1978, three plantations near the northern tip of Curaçao merged to create Christoffel National Park. The park houses indigenous flora and fauna, such as barn owls, the rare and endangered Curaçao white-tailed deer and 450 species of plants, including wild orchids. While you can take a scenic drive through Curaçao's largest national park, hiking or mountain biking is the best way to experience Christoffel's rugged landscape.
- #8View all Photos#8 in CuracaoBeachesTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeachesTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Less than 10 miles northwest of Willemstad sits Blauwbaai (Blue Bay), one of Curaçao's most beloved beaches thanks to its plethora of offshore amenities. Just offshore is an impressive coral reef, lauded by scuba divers and snorkelers for its easy accessibility.
- #9View all Photos#9 in CuracaoBeachesTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeachesTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
On a small island like Curaçao, you don't have to travel far to find a beach. And if you need a convenient stop during a cruise excursion, look no further than Mambo Beach (aka Seaquarium Beach). It may be man-made, but this beach located just 4 miles south of Willemstad features the bright white sands, the crystal blue waters, a sand volleyball court and the piña coladas you've been craving. Once you've fulfilled your lounging (and drinking) quota for the day, head over to Ocean Encounters, where you can rent some snorkel gear or take a scuba trip. The area also offers a boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants and many bars, which become particularly lively on Sunday nights. This area is also well-suited to kids; Seaquarium Beach's breakwater keeps the tides calm, even on days with rough surf.
- #10View all Photos#10 in CuracaoHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Described by recent visitors as a "breathtaking natural wonder," Shete Boka National Park sprawls across more than 6 miles of Curacao's north coast. It's home to 10 pocket bays where various species of sea turtles are known to lay eggs. Hot spots within the park include Boka Tabla, which sees massive waves crashing into an underground cavern, and Boka Pistol, which offers panoramic views from limestone hills.
- #11View all Photos#11 in CuracaoMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Located in the home of a 19th-century merchant and slave owner, the Kurá Hulanda Museum traces the history of the African slave trade on Curaçao. Using 18th-century artifacts and scale models to weave its tale, this museum delves into an ugly era in Curaçao's past with a deft hand. Along with exhibits about the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the museum features collections of pre-Columbian gold, Mesopotamian relics and Antillean art.
- #12View all Photos#12 in CuracaoBeaches, Sightseeing, ToursTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Sightseeing, ToursTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
A largely uninhabited island about 15 miles off the southeast coast of Curaçao, Klein Curaçao is the ideal daytrip for snorkelers, scuba divers and sun-worshippers. You will notice a few signs of Klein Curaçao's former residents – like its crumbling, but functional lighthouse – but the tiny island's natural elements are the main reason for visiting. Its coral reefs and waters are pristine, its marine life is plentiful and its white-sand beach is longer than any other on Curaçao proper.
- #13View all Photos#13 in CuracaoChurches/Religious Sites, MuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, MuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Consecrated in 1732, the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue is the oldest Jewish temple in continuous use in the New World. Commonly called the Snoa (short for the old Portuguese word for synagogue, esnoga), the temple was founded by Jews who were fleeing persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. Tourists may visit the adjoining museum, which houses a Torah scrolls brought to Curaçao by the island's first Jewish settlers, along with other artifacts and Judaica.
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