The island of Curaçao is likely one of the best-kept secrets and techniques within the Caribbean, despite the fact that it’s really the largest of the ABC islands (that’s Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). So if you wish to seem like you’re actually within the know, skip that Bahamas trip and e-book your subsequent journey right here.
Not solely does this lesser-known island sit exterior the hurricane belt—that means nearly all of its calendar yr is full of nothing however sunshine and funky commerce winds—but it surely’s additionally a melting pot of greater than 50 nationalities (most locals can converse 4 languages) and a haven for thrill-seekers. So if heart-pounding journey is what you’re after, right here’s find out how to spend 4 days on island time.
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Tips on how to Get There
During the last three years, North American visitation has elevated by eight p.c. To match demand, airways are providing extra flights than ever from the northeast—together with a 3rd every day flight from Miami on American Airways beginning December 2018.
Talking of Miami, this Dutch-owned island is barely a 2.5-hour flight from Magic Metropolis, and New Yorkers can anticipate a Four.5-hour journey to Willemstad, the nation’s capital. When you’re piggy-backing off a visit to Aruba (which I extremely suggest), you’re a fast 20-minute flight in between islands. However the quick flight time isn’t essentially the most enticing a part of Curaçao.
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The place to Keep
Individuals reserving an adventurous Caribbean trip are likely to go in one in all two instructions in terms of lodging: They both go all-out to have someplace luxurious to recoup, or go for a extra inexpensive possibility that saves money for actions.
When you’re within the first group, you then’ll need to keep at Avila Seashore Resort situated within the Pietermaai district, particularly in the event you can nab one of many Ocean Entrance Blues rooms dealing with the Caribbean Sea for about $249 an evening. It’s the oldest lodge on the island and it’s the place the Queen stays when she’s on the town. One other Four-star possibility is Marriott’s Renaissance Curacao Resort & On line casino within the Otrabanda area, which has ocean-view rooms for about $245 an evening and ideally sits a five-minute stroll away from the enduring Queen Emma Bridge.
These trying to avoid wasting dough can snag a room at Scuba Lodge Boutique Resort & Ocean Suites within the Pietermaai district, whose customary rooms common $167 an evening. They’re splendid for individuals who don’t want a ton of frills however nonetheless need easy accessibility to eating places and nightlife. There’s additionally Floris Suite Resort & Spa in Piscadera Bay. The Loft Suite Millennial Particular averages $139 an evening and offers off a really inclusive, Ibiza-style vibe.
Wednesday: Good Meals and Stay Tunes
Night: Relying on how lengthy you spent touring, you might need to make your first night time enjoyable—however that doesn’t imply you must skip going out. Seize a contented hour drink at Zanzibar on Jan Thiel Seashore, the place you possibly can dig your toes within the sand and nod alongside as native musicians unplug and play standard songs with an acoustic Caribbean aptitude. Keep till the present is over, or head subsequent door for an al-fresco meal at Tinto, the place you’ll nonetheless be shut sufficient to listen to the dwell music within the background as you feast on genuine Argentinian delicacies ready on a charcoal fireplace. One of many restaurant’s specialties: asado di tinto, or rib eye, rooster chorizo, and lamb chop served with Argentinean sauces and chipotle salad.
Thursday: Nationwide Parks and Avenue Artwork
Morning: Set your alarm, hire a Jeep, and drive to Christoffelpark, the biggest nationwide park in Curacao that’s situated on the northeast facet of the island. It’s dwelling to Mount Christoffel, the very best level of the nation, which at 1,220 toes of elevation will get the blood pumping to kickstart the day. Don’t attempt to put this off till later within the day, and make sure you convey water—the path is barely open till 10 a.m. due to rising warmth and humidity.
Afternoon: Now that you simply’re awake, make your method to Shete Boka Nationwide Park for extra climbing. The Boka Wandomi Path is likely one of the greatest, and it’ll take you throughout jagged lava terrain to see the Boka Wandomi Pure Bridge, the Boka Tabla pure sea cave, two bokas (that’s Papiamentu, the native language, for “bays”), and superior views of waves crashing into limestone cliffs. Cease for a snack—iguana soup is a neighborhood delicacy—at any of the meals stands close to the park earlier than driving again to Willemstad.
Night: Get to know the town by way of its colourful avenue artwork. You’ll be able to e-book a breezy tuk tuk tour by way of One Curacao and zip by way of each the western Otrabanda facet and jap Punda facet of Willemstad which, in the event you didn’t know, is a UNESCO World Heritage web site. The 2 sides of the town are related by that well-known Queen Emma pontoon bridge, which opens for boats to go by way of and solely permits foot visitors. (Your tuk tuk information has a particular part of the bridge to go over.) Seize a restoration beer at Mijn Broodje Pietermaai. The menu options an array of conventional Dutch dishes. (We suggest the kapsalon, which has shawarma meat, melted Gouda cheese, dressed salad greens, and french fries.) For a extra upscale dinner, go to Blessing, a former cathedral monastery, for artisanal delicacies—and don’t neglect to order the wolfish.
Friday: Scuba, Snorkel, Stingrays, and Sharks
Morning: Cease for a fresh-fruit smoothie, or betido, at one of many many stands across the island (although arguably the perfect one is situated proper exterior the Renaissance) earlier than visiting Ocean Encounters Curacao. An animal encounter bundle enables you to select between snorkeling or diving with sea turtles, stingrays, and nurse and lemon sharks in a pure lagoon. You’ll additionally get to feed the ocean creatures, and your ticket grants extra entry to the Sea Aquarium Park.
If you’d like extra of a deep-sea journey, diving at Superior Producer could also be extra your velocity. Ranked as the most effective wreck dives within the Caribbean (and celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019), this 240-foot freighter ship was overloaded with Christmas provides when it sank in 1977. Immediately it sits upright and is dwelling to barracudas and a few of Curaçao’s most colourful fish. Simply be aware that you may’t discover when cruise ships are in port, as doing so may imply a most disagreeable demise by propeller.
Afternoon: Head to SeaBob Curacao subsequent, the place you’ll use the private underwater propellers to swim alongside sea turtles and faculties of fish off of Playa Piskado. There’s additionally Substation Curacao’s shark deep dive tour, which takes you 1,000 toes under sea stage—a.ok.a. decrease than divers are in a position to go—in a Curasub, or mini submarine. Maintain a watch out for quite a lot of shark species you don’t usually see, together with Cuban Canine sharks, Seven Gill sharks, and Inexperienced Murray sharks.
Night: Curaçao has greater than 35 white-sand seashores, a lot of which may get crowded throughout excessive season, however Playa Porto Mari is a hidden gem on the western coast. (Although it was simply featured as a backdrop within the 2017 Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit situation.) Declare a chair and calm down—ideally with Brion, a neighborhood beer, in hand—or get within the water for extra snorkeling. Simply don’t depart with out saying hello to (and perhaps feeding) Willy & Woody, two piglets who’ve just lately made the seaside their dwelling.
Because the solar units, make your method to Kokomo Seashore. (No, you gained’t have the ability to withstand singing the well-known Seashore Boys music.) There you’ll discover some fairly unforgettable views, stellar cocktails, and loads of seafood. There’s even a swing sitting in the course of the water, so don’t be stunned when your accomplice asks you to take a romantic seat and benefit from the view.
Saturday: Metropolis or Seashore
Morning: You’ve had two action-packed days to this point, so give your physique some restorative consideration and mozy over to Hofi Cas Cora, the island’s first farm-to-table restaurant that’s fairly actually on a farm. They host a Hatha-style outside yoga class each Saturday at eight:30 a.m. beneath an enormous ole’ Tamarind tree. (Signal-ups required, however mats are supplied.) Refuel with the restaurant’s ever-changing brunch unfold, then discover the property to see precisely the place and the way the seasonal elements are grown. Or simply go and say whats up to one of many goats, donkeys, or pigs roaming round—they’re at all times searching for new buddies.
Afternoon: Immediately you’ve gotten two choices—keep within the metropolis for a cultural infusion, or hit up extra seashores. Metropolis-folk ought to go to the Floating Market first. It hosts distributors from the neighboring nation who promote just-caught fish, tropical fruits, and greens. (Be aware: Whereas the market is often situated on the Punda facet of Willemstad, it’s at the moment on the Scharloo facet, simply over the waterway, whereas the federal government updates the market constructions.) While you’re performed, make your method to Wandu Café earlier than visiting Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue within the Americas.
If beach-hopping sounds extra enjoyable, then strive Irie Excursions’ seaside hopping and snorkeling tour; your guides will present beer and enjoyable information in regards to the space alongside the best way. Need to enterprise by yourself time? Playa Forti and Playa Kenapa (additionally known as Playa Knip) have essentially the most electrical turquoise-blue water, and each spots are identified for cliff leaping. Meals stands populate each areas, although you would additionally make the drive to Toko Williwood for a goat burger you gained’t quickly neglect.
Night: Your final night time is usually a chill one with dinner at Ginger, a fusion of Caribbean-Asian dishes that hold your palate popping whereas native musicians entertain. Wrap it up with drinks and extra dwell music at Miles Jazz Cafe; sip on a Tokyo Millionaire at Luke’s Cocktail Bar; or see what’s occurring at 27, a blues and rock ‘n roll bar that honors iconic celebrities, like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, who handed away on the younger age of 27.