Know before you go!
Region & Time Zone: Caribbean, Atlantic Time Zone (GMT -4)
Passport Required: Yes
Languages Spoken: Dutch, English, Papiamento
Currency: Netherlands Antillean Guilder
Power: Standard US plug
Schedule: Nonstop from New York (JFK) on Tuesdays and Saturdays
A little background.
Located in the southern Caribbean just off the coast of Venezuela lies Curacao - an island paradise widely accepted to be "under the radar" and away from the crowds of other Caribbean destinations. This small island nation is governed as a territory of the Netherlands - and European influence makes itself known all over the island - from language and food to fashion and architecture. As a result, Curacao boasts a unique and exciting culture with a distinct European vibe and great weather all year round. Curacao is the "C" in the "ABC Islands", comprised of Aruba
, Bonaire, and Curacao - and whether you come for the culture or for the beach, this beautiful island is sure to have something that appeals to everyone.
Looking for picture perfect and right out of a magazine? Kenepa Beach is ranked as the best beach in Curacao. The clear, blue, warm water is perfect for swimming, and the beach is locally famous for its snorkeling. The beach is flanked by rocky cliffs on two sides - and a short hike to the top of either cliff yields a phenomenal view - so be sure to pack your camera.
Located a few miles off the coast of Curacao and accessible only by boat is Klein (little) Curacao. The uninhabited island features miles of fine white sand beaches, and abundant wildlife onshore - as well as in the water - where snorkeling is an itinerary-must. Many tour companies in Curacao offer all-inclusive day trips to Klein Curacao - just ask your hotel for a good recommendation.
For a leisurely walk along the water with the opportunity to shop for local goods, try Handelskade in Curacao's capital city Willemstad. Handelskade is a small street that runs along the Curacao harbor and is lined with brightly painted 18th century buildings. Today, these brightly colored buildings are home to cafes, island boutiques, and other local stores - it's a little haven of old-style European architecture in the heart of Curacao.
Rising 1,200 over the island, Mount Christoffel is the largest national park in Curacao. Hiking trail options range from easy to challenging - but be sure to get there early, as climbing is prohibited after 11am due to warm weather. The effort is well worth the work once you reach the top, where on a clear day (which, in Curacao is most days) you're able to see the entire island!
Shete Boka National Park
Comprised of four main inlets on the north shore of the island lies Shete Boka National Park. Here, waves crash against the rocky shore and have created natural caves along the coast. One of the more notable landmarks is the Boka Pistol, so named because of the sound the waves make when crashing into the shore and spraying passersby with water. Although you are able to hike between the cliffs, it is also possible to drive and view the impressive waves from the comfort of a car.
Princess Juliana Bridge
This uniquely designed foot-bridge guards the entrance to the port of Willemstad, one of the busiest ports in the world. The bridge is unique in that it floats on the water, and swings open to allow ships to pass through. In fact, at high tide, you can even feel the bridge float gently over the waves. Moreover, the bridge provides great views and photo opportunities from a unique angle - and is beautiful when lit at night.