13 reasons Curacao is your new favorite Caribbean island

If you have never heard of Curaçao, let us let you in on a little secret: it’s amazing. If you consider yourself a trendsetting traveler, which if you’re reading this we imagine you do, then this is a place that you need to know about. Think white sand beaches, incredible diving and snorkeling, culturally rich locals, interesting cuisine and endless adventures.

When you’re a trendsetting traveler isn’t the point of taking a trip to explore and experience something new? Somewhere you can brag to your friends about? Well this is it. This is why Curaçao is your new favorite Caribbean island:

1. At MarsheBieuw eat with locals and hear the island gossip

Known as the Old Market, this is the best place in town to get pumpkin pancakes and an authentic island meal. It gets hot in here with everything being cooked on hot charcoal, so cool off with an ice cold Polar beer (a local favorite) or a fresh batidos (fresh juice smoothie). To order like a local, ask for the guiambo, or ochre soup. And keep an ear open, this is the place to get the scoop on what’s happening on the island.

2. You can’t help but love the Swinging Old Lady

More commonly known as the Queen Emma Bridge, the Swinging Old Lady connects the Punda and Otrobanda districts in Willemstad, Curaçao’s eclectic capital city. The bridge gets its nickname because it “swings” open and close via motors to let boats in and out of the port. A sight that shouldn’t be missed.

Swinging Old Lady

3. Dive and snorkel to a sunken tug boat

Yes, it’s true. And amazing. For more experienced snorkelers and divers, the tugboat site is one of the most popular spots on the island. Get there early in the morning before the tourist diving boats arrive, otherwise you’ll find yourself quite literally in a sea of tourists.

Tug boat

4. Hand feed sea turtles, sharks and stingrays at The Sea Aquarium

Dive in and feed lemon sharks and sea turtles through a plexiglass barrier through the Aquarium’s “Meet & Feed” experience. The coolest part might surprise you, it’s when you sit in the shallows and let stingrays glide over your lap to nibble on the food you brought for them.

5. Adventurous eaters, you will want to try the iguana at Jaanchie’s

To Curaçaoans, eating iguana is not a big deal and is not at all surprising to see on a menu. Just like kadushi, or cactus paddle soup. Live life on the wild side (and eat like a local) when you’re visiting the island and try iguana at Jaanchie’s, one of the most famous restaurants on the island for serving the dish.

Iguana

6. A day at the tiny uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao is the perfect getaway

Just a two hour boat ride away, this little island is perfect for snorkelers and divers looking to explore reefs and swim with sea turtles. Between the white sand beaches, crystal blue water and countless things to discover above and below the ocean’s surface, you will have just found your new favorite happy place.

Klein Curacao

7. If someone calls you “dushi”, it’s a good thing

In Papiamento, the mother-tongue of the island, “dushi” means “sweetie.” So try not to overact the first time someone calls you a dushi. Just smile and call them one back, it’s the polite thing to do.

8. There’s a non-floating, floating market

The Floating Market in Willemstad isn’t actually floating at all, it’s right on solid ground. While the market itself doesn’t float, the Venezuelan boats that delivered the market’s goods and house the Venezuelan vendors do, giving the market its name.

Floating market

9. The capital city of Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Willemstad, the bright and beautiful capital city of Curaçao, is one of those cities that you don’t easily forget after visiting. Especially since you’ll have taken about a million pictures of Handelskade, the famous harbor facing row of brightly colored buildings.

Willemstad Handelskade

10. Go off the beaten path and visit Netto Bar for some green rum

Opened in 1954, Netto Bar is an island institution. Ròm Bèrdè, which is Papiamento for Green Rum, is produced at Netto’s and should be enjoyed on the rocks or with fresh coconut water.

Green rum

11. A kayak is all you need to go beach and cave hopping

With easy to explore waters, Curaçao is best seen via a kayak. This is definitely the most exciting and exploratory way to get from beach to beach, you never know what remote seaside caves you’ll find along the way.

12. You can ride an ostrich

Really. At the Curaçao Ostrich Farm, thrill-seeking visitors can sign up to ride one of the farm’s ostriches. One piece of advice, hold on tight.

Ostrich Farm

13. Equus, a restaurant with no menu, no plates, no forks, no knives is the hottest place to be on a Friday night

Only open on Fridays, this restaurant on an old horse farm is the best place for pinchos and mojitos on a Friday night. Come hungry and wear loose pants, you might only get one chance to do this right.

Equus

Comments (5)

  1. Paul says:

    Go to the east side of the island for a totally different experience. Barren rock s’mores drenched by constant spray from large breaking waves. We really enjoyed all of Curacau.

  2. jaklien says:

    I loved Aruba when I went there a few years ago, now I think I just have to go and see Curacao! Wouldn’t mind trying a bit of iguana. :-)

  3. Marcia says:

    Curacao is a beautiful place. The beaches are very beautiful and the weather is warm and calm all year long. You can have such a great experience. Also did you know that Curacao was chosen as a top 3 location for ‘Best Snorkeling’, ‘Best Shore Diving’ and ‘Best Macro Marine Life’ by the readers of Scuba Diving Magazine in their annual Reader’s Choice Awards?

  4. LeAnn says:

    Absolutely LOVE Curacao!!! Thanks for some of the suggestions–I hadn’t tried all these and we are going back next month, so I’ll definitely be looking forward to it even more!

  5. Art Klep says:

    For the ultimate local lunch experience, visit the “marche bieu” behind the round market in punda, next to the Nieuwe Post office before 2pm. Best local dishes in a food court setting. Janchies is kind of a tourist trap in my oppion. Rancho el Sobrino is the best place for food on the West Side.

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