Turquoise sea, white sandy beaches, palm trees and blue sky – Curaçao is pure Caribbean! In addition, there is a noticeable Dutch influence in many places. This comes from the long past colonial times and brings some advantages for holidaymakers from countries that belong to the European Union. From Germany you can enter with your identity card, the flight connections from the Netherlands are terrific and you don’t need to exchange money.
In addition, travelers to Curaçao will find many everyday items they are used to from their home country – and on top of that, a good European standard in most hotels. The official language is Dutch, but English and Spanish are also very easy to understand. 145,000 people of 50 different nationalities live on the island. Over time, a diverse, colorful culture has developed that is unique in the world.
The icing on the cake is that the almost 450 square kilometer Antilles island is far outside of the hurricane area due to its proximity to the Venezuelan mainland. This makes the island – like the sister islands of Aruba and Bonaire – a worthwhile travel destination all year round. Incidentally, the three islands – although they do not belong together – are often referred to as ABC islands.
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights on Curaçao.
1. Capital Willemstad
With its colorful houses and cobbled squares, Willemstadt is reminiscent of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. In many places the influence of the former colonial power is evident. To the west of the port city is the Otrobanda district, to the east is Punta. Both parts of the city are separated from each other by the St. Anna Bay, but are connected by a bridge.
The eastern part is characterized by narrow but straight streets, while Otrabanda is like a labyrinth of winding streets. In many places you come across lovingly restored villas from the colonial era and other sights on both sides of the bay. It is also a great experience to just stroll along the lively promenade by the sea.
2. Queen Emma Bridge
The Queen Emma Bridge mentioned above is one of the most popular and most frequently photographed sights of Curaçao, along with the dreamy picture-perfect beaches. It was built in 1888 by the architect Leonard Burlington Smith. The construction, also popularly known as the “swimming old lady”, is supported by 16 pontoon boats. The bridge is particularly worth seeing after sunset!
It is magnificently illuminated together with the surrounding houses. Then the entire environment shines in all the colors of the rainbow and offers an incomparable sight. Another bridge in Willemstad, the Queen Juliana Bridge, offers a fantastic panoramic view over large parts of the city. With a height of 56 meters, it is considered to be one of the tallest bridges in the world.
3. Colonial forts
Holidaymakers can find evidence of the colonial era in many places across the island. Most noticeable here, along with some magnificent villas, are the old forts. Eight of these defensive structures, which were built in the 17th century, have survived to this day. The best preserved is Fort Amsterdam, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built in 1635 in the port area of Punda.
Today it is the governor’s residence and the location of government and administrative offices. Fort Nassau, built in 1797, regulated the opening and closing of the Queen Emma Bridge for many years and has been preserved in its original state. It is one of the most important sights on Curaçao and is now home to a restaurant, among other things.
4. Tour of the Hato Caves
You shouldn’t miss a detour to the Hato Caves on Curaçao. The caves formed several million years ago under the sea surface extend over almost 5,000 square meters. In addition to great limestone formations, you will come across waterfalls and bats.
A famous Madonna statue is also located here. Guided tours through the cave system usually last 45 to 60 minutes and are offered in either Dutch or English. At the end of each tour, any light in the cave is turned off for a short time – an exciting and great experience!
5. Pure nature in Cristoffel Park
For those who have had enough of lounging on the beach, the Cristoffel Park National Park is the ideal destination for a day out. The area in the northwest of the island encloses the highest mountain on the island, the Christoffelberg, which rises 375 meters. This makes the region ideal for hiking.
In addition, the park offers wonderful views over the island world. On top of that, 150 species of birds and more than 500 different plants can be admired. You will never forget such a colorful splendor! The flamingos, which live away from the hiking trails and regularly show themselves to tourists, are also particularly worth seeing.
6. Dream beach Seaquarium Beach
The most famous – and for many the most beautiful – beach of Curaçao is Seaquarium Beach. Bathers can relax wonderfully and enjoy life between the gently swaying palm trees. Families with children and young people like to come to Seaquarium Beach because the infrastructure is very good. There are numerous water sports on offer such as jet skiing, diving, water skiing and the like. In addition, beach bars, shops and restaurants line the dream beach.
There is always something going on here and you can easily spend the whole day at Seaquarium Beach. In addition, there are regular film evenings and concerts on the beach, so that it doesn’t have to end even after sunset. With a delicious “Blue Curaçao” or another cocktail, there is hardly another place where you can get such an unadulterated Caribbean feeling as here.
7. Heavenly beautiful: Playa Lagun
The small Playa Lagun is a real insider tip among the bathing bays on Curaçao and is also one of the most popular sights on the island. Here it can happen that iguanas and chickens stroll along the sea. Countless colorful fish species frolic in the crystal clear water.
In addition to sunbathing and swimming, a snorkeling tour is also worthwhile. Because there are some rocky sections in the sea off the coast, there is always something to see underwater. After the dive you can relax on the white sandy beach. Visiting Playa Lagun is completely free.
8. Sunset at Playa Forti
There is another recommendation for Playa Forti. The small bay is surrounded by huge rock walls, from which daredevils can dare to jump into the sea. At the top of the cliffs there are some restaurants that offer local food.
So it is easily possible to spend the whole day on this beautiful beach, enjoy delicious food and a cocktail and let your mind wander. On top of that there is one of the most beautiful natural sights on Curaçao: the sunsets over the sea at Playa Forti are legendary!
9. Playa Porto Mari pigs beach
A very special gem among the beaches on the island of Curaçao is Playa Porto Mari. In the natural bay you will not only find the finest and whitest sand imaginable, but also your own offshore reef, which invites you to snorkel and dive.
The underwater world is particularly rich in species and visibility is almost always good. The unique thing about this place is that there are two pigs here who are extremely trusting. With a bit of luck, they are about to take a bath and go diving with the beach holidaymakers. Something like this only exists on a small island in the Bahamas – and on Playa Porto Mari in Curaçao!
10. Little Curacao
Only a few miles off the southwest coast of the main island is the lonely, completely uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao. It is a real gem among the sights, as it has the longest and probably also the whitest sandy beach in the entire Caribbean. There is also a lighthouse, several stranded ships and abandoned huts of fishermen who once lived here and have long since moved on.
The only residents nowadays are turtles, with whom one can usually snorkel. The side island exudes an incomparable charm that can hardly be found anywhere else. Occasionally, events such as cooking shows or parties take place on Klein Curaçao. Most of the time, however, holidaymakers who can be transferred by boat enjoy a carefree time and heavenly peace.