The island of Curacao looks like a slice of Europe planted in the far south of the Caribbean. You’ll find colorful colonial architecture, creative restaurants, and a vibrant arts scene, while in the streets you’ll hear a handful of Dutch, Spanish, English, and the Creole language of Papiamento. Home to just over 150,000 people, the tiny tropical nation may be small in size, but it has an array of exceptional attractions, including a quaint harbor capital and stunning national parks, not to mention those alluring Caribbean beaches. . Curacao is also a great place for digital nomads.
Where to stay
You’ll come across attractive resorts all along the coast as well as boutique hotels and bohemian-chic guesthouses in Willemstad.
Best Hideaway in the Caribbean: Baoase Luxury Resort
With a phrase like “luxury hotel” in your title, Baoase has high expectations when it comes to Caribbean decadence. Given the beautiful gardens, private beach, and a top-notch fusion restaurant, Baoase impresses even the most jaded traveler. Whether you book a room, suite, or villa, you can expect plenty of space, a unique tropical-influenced design, and exceptional service. The resort’s lagoon is the perfect place to relax.
Best Boutique Hotel: BijBlauw
Perched on the seaside, the BijBlauw is a small boutique hotel with 11 rooms that hits all the right notes. Rooms vary in size from “Cozy Small” to “Extraordinary Large,” and all come with king-size beds, stylish furnishings, and rainfall showers, while some have private terraces with enviable views of the sea. the Caribbean. If you need more space, BijBlauw also rents several fully equipped apartments. There is a swimming pool and an excellent open restaurant with a partially open courtyard where you can enjoy mouth-watering seafood while watching the sunset.
Best Penny Pincher: Bed and Bike
One of the most beautiful hostels in the Caribbean, Bed and Bike is located in a former parliament building in the bustling Pietermaai district of Willemstad. The sunny terrace is a good place to start the day, and you can hop on a bike for a ride around town. In 2019, Bed and Bike opened a second location near the beach, and the pool, game room, and balcony rooms add to the appeal.
Where to eat
Curaçao’s culinary scene is very diverse. You will find good options in the Pietermaai area of Willemstad, as well as resort restaurants, dining huts on the sand, and waterfront restaurants on tourist beaches.
Best coffee: number ten
Located on the lush grounds of the Landhuis Bloemhof cultural center, this charming café is the perfect setting to start your day or for a relaxing lunch. Baristas brew some of the best coffees on the island and can munch on acai bowls, mushroom toast, or seared tuna salad while listening to birdsong at the outdoor tables.
Best gastronomic pub: Caña Bar & Kitchen
Whether you are looking for a creative meal or quality cocktails, the lively gastropub of Lombokstraat rarely disappoints. The menu blends Latin and Caribbean fare with international accents in standout dishes like Moroccan fish stew tacos, tempura soft shell crab buns, and baby back ribs with Sambal rum frosting. Tangy ceviche, good vegetarian options, and imaginative cocktails help close the deal.
Best Tapas: Fish & Joy
Although the name sounds like the title of a satirical play about mermaids, this brightly-lit bistro turns out to be some of the best seafood on the island. The menu of small plates travels the world, with Iberian flavors (octopus with romesco sauce and fennel salad), Japan (savory crab stuffed crabs) and Latin America (grilled snapper with pico de gallo sauce). The wine selection is top notch (grab a bottle, as choices by the glass are more limited) and you can dine outside in the candlelit courtyard.
What to do
The Dutch Caribbean island has more than 35 beaches, and if you have a few days you can bask on the best of them. Topping the list is Grote Knip, a perfect stretch of snow-white sand and turquoise blue water set against a wooded hillside.
When you need a break from the sun and the sea, spend time exploring Historic Center of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as taking photos of the cheerfully painted colonial facades, you can wander the brick pedestrian lanes, browse the shops, cafes, and galleries. It’s also worth a visit to Alma Blou, one of the oldest and largest galleries in Willemstad. It is located in a former Landuis Habaai plantation house on the outskirts of town.
The forested hills of Curacao are a great place to exercise. You can look for birds and other wildlife by hiking one of the eight trails in Christoffel National Park. You are unlikely to suffer from altitude sickness while climbing Christoffel Mountain, but at 1,240 feet, the highest point in Curacao offers sublime views of the island’s verdant expanse. Then, head north to Shete Boka National Park and follow the trails that run along the coastline. You’ll pass picturesque coves and walkways overlooking limestone cliffs battered by crashing waves.