The Best of Curaçao - Where to Stay, Dine and Play!

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Advisor - Heather Budd
Curated By

Heather Budd

  • Curaçao

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Couples Travel

  • Honeymoons

  • Island

  • Beach Town

  • Snorkeling

Two boats on a beach during day time.
Curator’s statement

I spent a week on Curaçao celebrating a milestone birthday. Because my birthday is in early September, we always have to think about whether hurricanes will impact our Caribbean trips. The beauty of the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) is that they are outside the hurricane belt and are safe bets anytime of the year. While each island is beautiful and unique, Curaçao distinguishes itself with its unique character and cultural charm. The island's less-crowded beaches, diverse underwater landscapes and vibrant arts scene provide a laid-back and authentic experience. This sets Curaçao apart from other islands as a special destination with its own captivating identity. Whether diving into the vibrant coral reefs, strolling through the colorful streets of Willemstad or savoring the diverse culinary offerings, Curaçao invites visitors to experience a fun fusion of Caribbean warmth and Dutch influence, making it a truly exceptional and unforgettable destination.

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Where to stay in Curaçao

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Things to do in Curaçao


First Rate Beaches

Playa Lagun, nestled in a picturesque cove surrounded by cliffs, offers a more secluded and intimate beach experience. The crystal-clear waters of Lagun are perfect for snorkeling, revealing a vibrant underwater world teeming with marine life.

Playa Porto Marie presents a broader expanse of white sand framed by rolling hills. Known for its azure waters and thriving coral reef, Porto Marie is a haven for both sunbathers and snorkelers. The beach also features excellent facilities, including beachside loungers and a vibrant beach club, making it an ideal spot for a full day of relaxation and water activities.

World Class Diving and Snorkeling

The Mushroom Forest, located off the coast of the island, is a renowned diving site celebrated for its unique mushroom-shaped coral heads. This underwater garden is home to colorful sponges, sea fans, and an abundance of fish species, providing an enchanting experience for divers.

The Tugboat, another popular spot, combines history and marine exploration. This sunken tugboat rests in relatively shallow waters, making it an accessible and fascinating site for both snorkelers and divers. The vibrant coral growth and the diverse marine life that has made the tugboat its home contribute to the site's allure.

The Superior Producer wreck provides a captivating underwater journey. This sunken cargo ship, resting at depths suitable for advanced divers, hosts an array of marine life, including schools of fish, eels and colorful coral formations.

Playa Kalki, also known as "Alice in Wonderland", offers a vibrant and shallow reef accessible to snorkelers of all levels. The coral formations here are reminiscent of an underwater fairy tale, providing a captivating environment for snorkeling enthusiasts.

History and Culture

Explore Willemstad: The UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic district of Willemstad is filled with pastel-colored, Dutch colonial-style buildings that create a vibrant and picturesque atmosphere. Visit the iconic Queen Emma Bridge, known as the "Swinging Old Lady". Wander through the historic neighborhoods of Punda and Otrobanda, rich in history and architectural charm.

Kura Hulanda Museum: Immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Curaçao at the Kura Hulanda Museum in Willemstad. This comprehensive museum showcases the island's African roots, colonial history, and the slave trade, featuring artifacts, exhibits, and powerful displays that provide insight into Curaçao's complex past.

Landhuis Chobolobo: Take a tour of Landhuis Chobolobo, home to the iconic Senior Genuine Curaçao Liqueur distillery. Learn about the island's famous blue liqueur and its production process, set against the backdrop of a beautifully preserved 19th-century plantation house. The tour provides a delightful mix of history, culture, and a tasting of the island's signature drink.

Places to eat & drink in Curaçao

Coca cola wooden sign board near beach.

Casual Options

Purunchi: If you are looking for a unique local experience, this place is a must. They offer a simple menu of fried local fish that changes daily.

De Visserij Piscadera: Another great option for freshly caught seafood. It is a very popular spot, so consider going a bit early to beat the lunch rush.

Maira's Kitchen: Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. This cute restaurant is good any time of day.

Fine Dining

Sal the Kitchen: This charming restaurant is highly rated and loved for its inventive dishes and warm hospitality. Booking recommended!

Bodgea Siete Gotas: Thursday nights they do tapas, but also have fantastic steaks, seafood, and cuisine with a Spanish twist. Again, highly recommend making a reservation to avoid disappointment!

Cocktail Hour

Beach clubs are a must when visiting Curacao. Fridays at Mambo Beach offer a vibrant bar-hopping adventure with multiple beach shacks and bars lined up for a perfect evening. Kick off your happy hour at Chill, followed by Rilèks, Bonita Beach Club, Madero and conclude the night at Wet & Wild. Each venue has its unique atmosphere, drawing crowds at different times throughout the evening, ensuring that the excitement lasts long after happy hour!

The added bonus of numerous nearby restaurants makes Mambo an ideal destination for those craving a bite to eat. Time out your beach bar crawl:

Chill from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Rilèks from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Bonita Beach Club from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Wet & Wild beach club starting from 5 p.m.

Madero beach club beginning at 6 p.m.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, A Caribbean Christmas in Grenada.

Advisor - Heather Budd

Travel Advisor

Heather Budd

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Curaçao.