View of the colorful buildings of the Handelskade in Willemstad Curacao

45 Best Things to Do in Curacao on Your Caribbean Getaway

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The Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao, known for the colorful and beautifully painted buildings on its waterfront, is a unique destination to visit. Curacao is a blend of European charm and Caribbean Island beauty. Both blend perfectly to create an island you will remember for many years to come. And, if you are like us, you will be drawn to visit this beautiful island more than once. Curacao is located about 40 miles north of Venezuela. It is the C island of the ABC islands and was once part of the Netherland Antilles. Now, it is a self-governing island within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. You will no doubt enjoy visiting this incredible island, exploring its white sand beaches, and everything else that Curacao offers. Keep reading to learn about the best things to do in Curacao

Table of Contents

Explore Willemstad

Willemstad is the capital of Curacao and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Willemstad has a picture-perfect, colorful downtown area. According to a local, many years ago, a man told everyone to change the color of their homes from white to other colors to help reduce the brightness of the reflection of the sun on the buildings. The people complied and began painting their houses in different colors. This was how Willemstad became the colorful town that we see today. Later, it was discovered that the man who told the residents of Willemstad to paint their houses was the owner of the local paint store.  Willemstad continues to have beautiful, colorful buildings.

View of Willemstad Curacao
View of Willemstad Curacao

Willemstad is home to a natural deep-water harbor and many artistic and historical areas. There are four districts in Willemstad: Otrobanda, Punda, Scharloo, and Pietermaai. Otrobanda and Punda are connected by the Queen Emma Bridge. Pietermaai is the neighborhood just past Punda. Scharloo is the neighborhood above Punda on the other side of the bay. If you are driving, you can also reach these neighborhoods by driving over the Queen Juliana Bridge.

Walk Across The Queen Emma Bridge

The Queen Emma Bridge, the floating pontoon bridge also known as “The Swinging Old Lady,” is definitely worth a visit. It is a 168-meter-long wooden swing bridge that swings open to let boats into the harbor. The bridge was built in 1888 and renovated in 1939. The bridge floats on pontoons and is the world’s only floating wooden bridge. 

When the bridge is closed to boats, people can walk across the bridge between Otrobanda and Punda. When the bridge is going to open, there is a warning to let you know that the bridge will be opening soon. The warning is the sound of a bell ringing. This will give you a few minutes to hurry and make your way across the bridge. You can stay on the bridge and enjoy the ride. However, you cannot finish crossing until the bridge is back to its regular position. This brings up the importance of the color indicator flags on the Queen Emma Bridge.

View of the Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad Curacao
The Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad Curacao
View of the pontoons under the Queen Emma Bridge
The pontoons under the Queen Emma Bridge

The Blue and Orange Indicator Flags on the Queen Emma Bridge

Two flags, a blue flag, and an orange flag, are used to let people know how long the bridge will remain open to boats. Both flags have different meanings, and knowing what they indicate can help you when you are on the bridge. 

If an orange flag is raised, this indicates that the bridge will remain open for about 10 minutes. In this case, just relax and enjoy the ride. The bridge will close shortly and you will be able to continue on your way. 

If a blue flag is raised, this indicates that the bridge will remain open to boats for a longer period of time, generally about 45 minutes. If you do not have extra time to wait, then you need to get off the bridge. You will have a few minutes to make your way to the end of the bridge. You will see people start to jog or run to make it to the other side.  

When the bridge is open for boat traffic for an extended time, a couple of ferries begin service to keep moving people across St. Anna Bay. If you need to get across the bay between Otobanda and Punda, you can either wait until the bridge is closed or take a ferry across the bay. The ferries only operate when the blue flag is raised.

The Queen Emma Bridge connects the Punda District and Otrobanda District. You can easily walk and explore both areas by making your way across via the Queen Emma Bridge. There are many things to see in both neighborhoods. Luckily the Queen Emma Bridge makes exploring these areas very easy.

The Queen Juliana Bridge

If you are driving around Curacao, chances are you will be driving over the Queen Juliana Bridge. It is difficult to miss the Queen Juliana Bridge. It is a large bridge designed for vehicles crossing St. Anna Bay. The Queen Juliana Bridge makes it easy to reach Otrobanda and Punda by car. I do suggest using a map program while driving. You can easily drive around in circles if you are not paying attention to the signs. On a good note, if you do drive around in circles, you can get to know the area very well. Just like we did!

View of Queen Juliana Bridge in Willemstad Curacao
Queen Juliana Bridge in Willemstad Curacao

Explore Otrobanda

Otrobanda is located on the southwest side of Willemstad. It is one of the historic quarters of Willemstad and is known for its colorful colonial buildings and waterfront. You can visit several places in Otrobanda before you make your way to the other districts of Willemstad across the Queen Emma Bridge. 

View of Otrobanda in Willemstad Curacao
View of Otrobanda

Visit the Curacao Museum

The Curacao Museum is located in the western part of Otrobanda. It is housed in a colonial-style building and has many artifacts that represent the history of Curacao. There are period rooms that house different artifacts and furniture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. There is also a traditional Curacao kitchen from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

In addition to the period rooms, there are a variety of paintings from local artists and a garden museum with beautiful landscapes representing the vegetation that grows in Curacao. The garden also has various statutes throughout the grounds.

The Curacao Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  

Stroll Around Kura Hulanda Village

Kura Hulanda Village is a small village with cobblestone streets lined with many stores, restaurants, galleries, and bars to explore. There is also a boutique hotel in the village, the Kura Botanica. You can easily spend the better part of your morning exploring the many shops and galleries in the village. One of the main attractions at Kura Hulanda Village is the Kura Hulanda Museum.

Entrance to Hulanda Village
Entrance to Hulanda Village
View of park in Hulanda Village
Kura Hulanda Village
View of stores in Hulanda Village
Stores in Kura Hulanda Village

Visit the Kura Hulanda Museum

The Kura Hulanda Museum is located in the sea harbor just past the Queen Emma Bridge in Otrobanda. This area is where sea-faring commercial items were traded. Unfortunately, this also included slaves. The Museum documents the history of slaves, including the slave trade and the slave culture of Curacao. It is a great museum to visit and learn about the history of slaves and what they experienced. The museum is direct and does not soften their experience. 

View of the Kura Hulanda Museum in Willemstad Curacao
The Kura Hulanda Museum

Take a Stroll Along Brionplein

Brionplein is a town square located in Otrobanda near the waterfront. It is a great area to go for a leisurely stroll. There is a small playground for the kids to enjoy and a statue of Luis Brion. Around the town square you will find various restaurants and stores to visit.   

Brionplein plaza in Otrobanda Willemstad Curacao
Brionplein plaza in Otrobanda

Explore Punda

Punda is the oldest part of Willemstad and has many markets, retail shops, and historical sites to explore. As you walk across the Queen Emma Bridge to Punda, you will be near the Handelskade, the colorful and most photographed waterfront in Curacao. The buildings in Punda are colorful and breathtaking examples of Dutch colonial architecture. There are many sights to visit in Punda. The following are a few of our favorites.

Visit the Handelskade

The Handelskade is the beautiful, colorful Waterfront in Curacao. If you have seen postcards of Curacao with colorful buildings, the picture on the postcard is more than likely the famous Handelskade. This is one of the most recognized and photographed waterfronts in the world. Along the Handelskade there are a variety of restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view. You will find the popular Handelskade in Punda right after you cross the Queen Emma Bridge.  

Restaurants on the Handelskade in Curacao
Restaurants on the Handelskade
View of an iguana statute at the Iguana Cafe on the Handelskade in Curacao
Iguana statute at the Iguana Cafe on the Handelskade

Punda Love Heart

The Punda Love Heart is a set of two hearts where tourists place a lock to seal their undying love. Since the Love Heart is a popular site for tourists, there is now more than one heart where you can place a lock of your own. Visit the Punda Love Heart to place a lock to seal your undying love for your significant other or photograph it. The Punda Love Heart is located just past the Queen Emma Bridge by the Handelskade. 

The Punda Love Hearts
The Punda Love Hearts

Visit Queen Wilhelmina Park

While in Punda, visit Queen Wilhelmina Park. The park is a nice place to relax, take a break, have a drink or a bite to eat. This is also the area where you will find both the Curacao and Dushi letters, which are picture-perfect. 

Statue of Queen Wilhelmina at Queen Wilhelmina Park
Statue of Queen Wilhelmina
Curacao Letters at Queen Wilhelmina Park
Curacao Letters at Queen Wilhelmina Park
Dushi Letters at Queen Wilhelmina Park
Dushi Letters at Queen Wilhelmina Park

Visit Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam was a heavily armed structure that is located in Punda. The Dutch built Fort Amsterdam in the 1700s to protect Curacao from invading armies. The fort had housing for Curacao’s troops, a water reservoir, and a church. Nowadays, Fort Amsterdam houses government offices. 

Fort Amsterdam also has a museum which you can visit. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm. Fort Amsterdam is open daily for visitors.

Fort Amsterdam in Willemstad Curacao
Fort Amsterdam in Curacao

Visit The Fort Church

The Fort Church is located within Fort Amsterdam. The church dates back to 1769 and is recognized by its yellow paint. The church was constructed to withstand attacks by invading armies and did its job well. You can still see a canon embedded on the church’s outside wall. The only damage the church suffered was the hole where the cannon still remains. 

The Fort Church is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm and Saturday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.

Visit Fort Nassau

Fort Nassau is located at the top of Sablica Hill. The fort was built to protect the area from invasions, but it was not used much for this purpose. In 1807 the English invaded Curacao and took over the island. The fort did not prevent or stop the invasion. In 1816 the English returned the island of Curacao to the Dutch. In 1958, Fort Nassau became a tourist attraction on the Island of Curacao. You can visit Fort Nassau and see many of the original items that remain.

Fort Nassau has a beautiful 360-degree view of Willemstad and part of Curacao. A restaurant operates on the fort grounds and offers many delicious dishes. If you visit the restaurant at night, you will have a great view of Willemstad at night.  

Visit the Curacao Maritime Museum

At the Curacao Maritime Museum, you will learn about Curacao’s maritime history. There are many exhibits, displays, and ship models to explore. The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm. The entrance fee is $10.00 USD for adults and $7.00 USD for children ages 6 to 17. Children under 6 are free. 

The Maritime Museum also offers an ocean tour on Wednesdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The tour gives you a harbor view of Willemstad and the floating bridge. You will also learn about the history of the area. The admission fee for the tour is $35.00 (NAF) for adults and $27.00 (NAF) for children. 

Visit the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

The Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Curacao was consecrated in 1732 and is the oldest operating synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. The Synagogue has sand on the floor, which was imported from Israel in the past. There is also a traditional foot pedal organ that dates back to the 1800s. The organ has been restored and modernized and has been in use since 2003. If you would like to visit the Synagogue, it is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. There is a $10.00 (USD) entrance fee to visit the Synagogue for visitors. The fee also includes a visit to the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum. 

Visit the Markets in Punda

There are a few markets to visit while in Willemstad that are located in Punda District. The following markets stand out to us and are definitely worth a visit while you are in Curacao. The markets are relatively close and within walking distance from each other. You can start your visit with the Floating Market, which is the closest to the Queen Emma Bridge, and work your way to the other two markets. If you visit the Plasa Bieu Market last, you can spend your time exploring the first two markets and then have a great lunch at Plasa Bieu. 

Visit the Floating Market

The Floating Market is a unique place to visit. Here, you can find fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables. The produce and fish sold at the market arrive by boat from Venezuela, which is how the market got its name. In years past, the items were sold out of the boats that arrived from Venezuela. Nowadays, you will see some stands on the sidewalk as well as the boats. Traditionally, the Floating Market was where one would purchase only food items, nowadays, you will also find several stands where you can purchase many souvenirs to take home.  

The Floating Market in Punda
Floating Market in Punda
Souvenir stands at the Floating Market
Souvenir stands at the Floating Market
Vegetable stands at the Floating Market in Punda
Vegetables at the Floating Market

Visit the Marshe Nobo / The Round Market

The Marshe Nobo, also known as the Round Market, is a great market to visit. It has many stands with items for sale, including souvenirs, fresh fruit and vegetables, household products, and many other items. The Marshe Nobo is near the Plasa Bieu and the Floating Market. You will recognize the market as it is housed in a round building.

Marshe Nobo Market
Marshe Nobo Market
View of Marshe Nobo, the Round Market
Marshe Nobo, the Round Market

Visit the Plasa Bieu Market 

The Plasa Bieu is a covered market in Punda with several food vendors. It is a great place to enjoy local food and explore Curacao’s food culture. The vendors offer many local dishes with menus that change every day. The eating area is also unique, as the tables are large and not geared to hold single parties. This is a great way to make new friends and support the local community. 

Entrance to the Plasa Bieu
The Plasa Bieu

The Plasa Bieu Market is located in Punda, about a 10-minute walk from the Queen Emma Bridge near the Floating Market. Plase Bieu is open for lunch from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday.

Check out the Chichi Dolls of Curacao

As you make your way through Otrobanda and Punda, you will see various colorful Chichi Doll statutes. The Chichi Doll was created by Serena’s Art Factory and represents the oldest sister of a Caribbean family, and is depicted as strong, proud, and voluptuous. The statues are very colorful and found throughout the area. 

Chichi Dolls are also a very popular souvenir to take home. They are created at Serena’s Art Factory, located next to the Aloe Vera Farm and the Ostrich Farm on the island’s east side. 

Chichi Doll statute in Willemstad Curacao
Chichi Doll statute in Curacao
Chichi Doll statute in Willemstad Curacao
Chichi Doll statute in Curacao

Luckily, you don’t have to drive all the way to the island’s east side to purchase your Chichi Doll. Serena’s Art Factory has a store in Punda’s artistic area. You will also see the dolls for sale at various other vendors. If you make it out to Serena’s Art Factory, you will have the pleasure of seeing a wider variety of designs.

Serena Art Factory store in Punda
Serena Art Factory store in Punda

Explore Pietermaai

Pietermaai is the neighborhood just past Punda. It’s about a five-minute walk to Pietermaai from Punda. Pietermaai has been around since the 18th century. It was an area that fell into disrepair but has been reinvigorated. It is now a very colorful and trendy neighborhood filled with hotels, restaurants, and colorful artwork. If you are exploring Punda, take the time to walk the additional five minutes to explore Pietermaai.

View of a heart mural in Pietermaai Willemstad Curacao
Heart Mural in Pietermaai
Van Gogh Coffee in Pietermaai
Van Gogh Coffee in Pietermaai

Explore Scharloo

Scharloo is a colorful neighborhood with many buildings, museums, and hotels. It is known for its Spanish-style architecture and the murals painted on some of the buildings. 

Visit the Curacao Liqueur Distillery at Landhuis Chobolobo

Curacao is an orange flavored liqueur that is made with the peel of a Laraha orange, a citrus fruit that grows on the island of Curacao. Curacao liqueur is used in many popular drinks. There are a few different varieties of Curacao Liqueur, including Blue Curacao, which adds a blue coloring to popular drinks, and Curacao Triple Sec. 

The Curacao Liqueur Distillery is located in Willemstad and offers tours. During the tours, you can learn about the distillery process and taste the liqueurs. The standard tour costs $18.00 per person, the Deluxe tour costs $28, and the Cocktail Workshop costs $48.00. 

Visiting the Curacao Liqueur Distillery is a great way to learn about and taste the popular liqueur produced in Curacao.

Visit the Hato Cave

The Hato Cave is a huge cavern with natural stalagmite formations on the ceiling. Water drips to the floor, reaches the limestone floor, and the stalactites grow upwards. To reach the Hato Cave you will need to hike up to the opening by climbing 49 steps. 

The Hato Caves are located close to Willemstad at F. D. Rooseveltweg across the street from the airport. The caves are of historical significance in Curacao as they were used by runaway slaves looking for refuge.

Photography is not allowed in the Hato Cave with the exception of one particular area. Your guide will let you know when you can snap a photo.  

Visit the Kas Di Pali Maishi Museum

At the Kas Di Pali Maishi Museum focuses on the heritage of the African Curacao people of the late 1800s through the early to mid 1900s. At the museum you will explore a 19th century cottage and learn about the lives of the people, their traditions, and their daily tasks. The museum has an interactive tour where you will explore the 19th century cottage, a traditional kitchen, outdoor areas, as well as the living quarters. Visiting the museum is a great way to learn about the culture and history of the people of Curacao.

Traditional Cottage
Traditional Cottage
Living Quarters
Living Quarters
Outdoor kitchen
Outdoor kitchen

Fort Sint Michiel

Fort Sint Michiel is located in Boka Sami in the town of St. Michiel. The Fort was used to guard the bay from ocean pirates in the 1700s. The fort remains abandoned, but it is easy to visit in the seaside village of St. Michiel. There is no cost to visit Fort Sint Michiel.

Take a Snorkeling Trip to the Blue Room of Curacao

The Blue Room is the largest sea cave on the island of Curacao and one of the most incredible and unique things to do in Curacao. The sea cave has a blue color which it gets from the reflection of the sun as it hits the water and the cave walls. 

The Blue Cave is located south of Santa Cruz Beach and is only accessible by boat. Snorkeling the Blue Cave is an amazing and unique snorkel adventure. It is very colorful and is a must-do activity in Curacao.

While some people hike and might try to access the Blue Cave from shore, you should not do that as it is difficult to get back on the shoreline. This is a dangerous way to get to the Blue Cave. If you do decide to take the hike and enter the cave this way, you will need to be able to pull yourself up from the ocean onto the rocky shore and make the climb to the top. It is safer to visit the Blue Room via boat.

Go Scuba Diving

Curacao and its neighboring islands of Aruba and Bonaire are known for great Scuba Diving. You will see a lot of coral and marine life in the waters off of Curacao. The clarity of the water is fantastic and if you are an advanced diver, you can dive into open cave formations such as the Blue Room that are near the shoreline.

Visit Klein Curacao

Klein Curacao, an uninhabited island, is a two-hour boat ride from Curacao. This beautiful small island off the coast of Curacao can only be reached by boat. Visiting Klein Curacao makes for a great getaway, especially if you are looking for a relaxing beach day. Klein Curacao has beautiful coral reefs and is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. You can also visit the pink lighthouse, which is a 10-minute walk from the beach.  

The best way to visit Klein Curacao is with a tour company. Tour companies take you to their locations with palapa huts where you can relax on the beach. There are no public bathroom facilities on Klein Curacao so it is also a good idea to verify that the tour company is one with a beach house that has a bathroom and shower. Otherwise, you will need to have arrived on the island on a boat with a head (toilet). 

Visit Fort Beekenburg

Fort Beekenburg was built in 1703 to protect Curacao from invading armies. The fort is still in great condition and a great place to visit. There is no entrance fee to visit the fort.  The fort is located at Caracas Bay which is perfect as you can enjoy a visit to Caracas Bay as well. 

See the Flamingos of Curacao

All three of the ABC islands are known for their Flamingos. The Flamingos arrive from Bonaire and are found in several areas in Curacao. One of the best places to view the Flamingos is the Salt Flats of Jan Kok near the town of Williwood on the West side of the island. While visiting the area you can also see the Williwood sign which is somewhat similar to the Hollywood sign in California. 

Visit the Nena Sanchez Gallery

While in Jan Kok, stop by the Nena Sanchez Gallery. The gallery has a colorful entrance and is hard to miss. The colorful and contrasting surroundings of Curacao influence the art that Nena Sanchez produces. The gallery is a colorful and beautiful place. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 

The Nena Sanchez Gallery also has a site in Punda where you can purchase art pieces. The gallery is located in downtown Punda near Gomez Plein.

Visit the Aloe Vera Plantation

Curacao is a large producer of Aloe Vera. The Aloe Vera Plantation is a great place to visit. There is a farm and a production plant on the grounds of the plantation where you can learn about Aloe Vera production. You can also purchase a wide variety of aloe vera products. The Aloe Vera Plantation is free to visit and open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. 

Visit the Ostrich Farm in Curacao

You might be surprised to see an ostrich farm in Curacao. However, the weather in Curacao makes for a great place to have an ostrich farm. The ostrich farm is a great family-friendly thing to do in Curacao. You will learn about the ostriches that live on the farm. You will also find plenty of activities for the kids. There is also a restaurant and souvenir shop on the premises.  

Visit Serena’s Art Factory

Serena’s Art Factory, which I mentioned a bit earlier, is known for creating the popular Chichi Dolls that are found around Willemstad. Serena’s Art Factory is close to the Aloe Vera Farm and the Ostrich Farm. While you will find many Chichi dolls for sale in Punda, there is a larger variety to choose from at the factory. 

Visit Den Paradera Herb Garden Curaçao by Dinah Veeris

Also known as Dinah’s Botanical Garden, Den Paradera Herb Garden has lots of wonderful plant life from the island of Curacao. The herbs range from spices to flowers and medicinal plants. You will find over 100 species of plants in this botanical garden. 

Den Paradera Herb Garden is located in the Eastern part of Curacao. 

Go on an ATV Adventure in Curacao

A great way to explore Curacao is by going on an ATV Adventure. An ATV adventure is one of the best things to do in Curacao as you will be able to visit several areas that you might not otherwise be able to easily reach. Eric’s ATV Adventures is a good company to use, and they have several tours to choose from. You can tour the East part of the island, the West part of the island, or go on a combo ATV snorkel tour.  

Take a Sunset Cruise in Curacao

A sunset cruise is a great way to enjoy the evening while viewing the sights of Curacao from a comfortable Catamaran or ship. It is also one of the best ways to capture a beautiful sunset photo. 

During your visit to Curacao, you can enjoy a variety of sunset cruises, including Happy Hour Sunset Cruises and Catamaran Cruises.  

Visit the Beautiful Beaches of Curacao

Curacao has many beautiful beaches. The water is a blue-turquoise color and is absolutely stunning. You will enjoy visiting a few of Curacao’s beaches as the water is warm and very inviting. 

A few of the beaches charge a fee, which can range from $3.00 to $7.00. The fee can be for a variety of things, including access to the beach, beach equipment, or use of the restroom facilities. Having cash on hand in the form of Guilders is a good idea if you are visiting a beach or beach hopping. There are also several beaches which are free to visit. These are a few of my favorite beaches to visit:

Playa Cas Abao / Cas Abao Beach

Playa Cas Abao is located north of Willemstad and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Curacao. This is a great beach to swim and snorkel, as you will see a variety of marine life. There are palapas available to use, as well as a few trees for shade. There are chairs available for rent.

Playa Cas Abao has a beach bar for drinks and snacks and a restaurant where you can purchase lunch. You can also bring a picnic lunch and your own drinks to enjoy while you are at the beach.

Playa Cas Abao is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. On Monday through Saturday, parking is $6.00. The parking fee includes entrance for 4 people per car. The entrance fee increases to $7.00 on Sundays and Holidays. There is a charge of 2.50 Guilders for additional persons in a vehicle. Playa Cas Abao has restrooms and shower facilities available. However, there is a small charge of 1 Guilder to use the shower facility.  

Playa Kenepa Grandi / Grote Knip Beach

Playa Kenepa Grandi, also known as Grote Knip Beach, is my favorite beach and one of the best beaches to visit in Curacao. It is a beautiful and scenic beach located in Westpunt. As you get close to the beach, you will get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful beach with its turquoise-blue crystal-clear waters. The view is spectacular, especially on a sunny day when the colors of the water are very pronounced. The water is perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and other water activities. You will have to go down several steps to reach the beach area.

When you arrive at Playa Kenepa Grandi, you will see a few vendors selling food and drinks. You can purchase food at the beach or bring your own food and water. It is a good idea to have something on hand with you in case the vendors are not available during your visit.

Playa Kenepa Grandi in Curacao
Playa Kenepa Grandi in Curacao

Playa Kenepa Grandi gets busy, so arriving early is a good idea. Parking is available free of charge, and the parking lot gets full. On cruise ship days, you will also see a few tourist buses taking cruisers to visit this beautiful beach. There is no charge to use the beach. There are umbrella and chair rentals for about $5.00 each. Renting an umbrella is a good idea as this beautiful beach has limited shade. 

The Manchineel Tree at Playa Kenepa Grandi

During your visit to Playa Kenepa Grandi, you can also check out the huge Manchineel Tree on the grounds. The Manchineel Tree is native to the Caribbean and Playa Kenepa Grandi has the largest Manchineel Tree that I have ever seen. However, you need to keep your distance from the tree, as it is very toxic. A warning sign in front of the tree reminds you to keep your distance and not touch the tree. If it is raining during your visit, make sure you do not stand underneath the tree. 

Playa Kenepa Chiki / Klein Knip

Playa Kenepa Chiki is very close to Playa Kenepa Grandi in Westpunt. It is located off the same road that you would take to Playa Kenepa Grandi. I would describe Playa Kenepa Chiki as a smaller version of Playa Kenepa Grandi. It is a small white sandy beach that is great for swimming and snorkeling. It is definitely less crowded than Playa Kenepa Grandi.

This beach has no facilities, but you can rent umbrellas and chairs. You should pack a lunch or snacks and water as this beach has no food vendors. There is no charge to visit Playa Kenepa Chiki.

Playa Forti

Playa Forti is another beach located in Westpunt. There are a few restaurants located above the beach that have a great view of Playa Forti. This is a great beach to stop at if you are looking for a beach with a lunch spot. 

If you are daring, you can make a 40-foot cliff-side jump into the water near Playa Forti Restaurant. Otherwise, you can have a great lunch there instead, which is the option we decided to take.

Playa Forti in Curacao
Playa Forti in Curacao

There are no facilities at Playa Forti. There is no charge to visit Playa Forti.

Visit Shete Boka National Park

Shete Boka National Park, the largest national park in Curacao, is located along the northern coast of Curacao towards Westpunt. The ocean is very fierce and strong on the northern coast of Curacao. You will see incredible views of the rocky cliffs as waves crash along the seaside cliffs. This lends to the amazing views at Shete Boka National Park and the opportunity to take amazing pictures. 

There are several points of interest you can visit at Shete Boka National Park. The main points are the inlets, which include Boka Wandomi, where the Natural Bridge is located. Boka Tabla, Boka Kalki, and Boka Pistol. You can opt to hike to each area or drive. If you drive, you will still need to walk to reach your destination. However, the walk will be relatively shorter. You should wear proper shoes as the paths are rocky, and take plenty of water as it gets hot in the park. You should also wear sunscreen and have a hat to protect yourself from the sun, as there is little to no shade. 

View of Boka Tabla at Shete Boka National Park
View of Boka Tabla at Shete Boka National Park

Shete Boka is open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, there is a $15.00 (USD) per person charge to enter the park. You can read our blog post about Shete Boka National Park to learn more about this beautiful National Park.

Visit Christoffel National Park

Christoffel National Park is located on the Northwestern side of the island towards Westpunt, right next to Shete Boka National Park. If you are arriving from Willemstad you will come to Christoffel National Park before arriving at Shete Boka National Park. 

There are several points of interest to see at Christoffel National Park including Christoffel Mountain. You can drive through the park or hike in the park. If you do decide to hike, you need to begin your hike very early in the day due to the heat. This is especially true if your goal is to hike Mt. Christoffel.

When you enter Christoffel National Park, you will receive a map that will guide you through the park and to all points of interest. If you are driving, there are two routes that you can choose from: the mountain car route and the northern car route. Depending on the route you choose, you will receive a token that will open the gate for the route that you choose to take. 

View of Mt. Christoffel at Christoffel National Park in Curacao.
View of Mt. Christoffel at Christoffel National Park
View of Boka Grandi at Christoffel National Park.
View of Boka Grandi at Christoffel National Park.

The park charges $15.00 (USD) per person. You can read our blog post about Christoffel National Park to learn more about visiting this beautiful National Park.


We have added a few questions that we have been asked to help you plan your trip to Curacao. Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions about visiting Curacao.  

Where is Curacao Located?

Curacao is the C island of the ABC islands, along with Aruba and Bonaire. Curacao is located about 40 miles north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea.

When is the Best Time to Visit Curacao?

Curacao is a tropical island with hot, humid weather during part of the year and dry, hot weather during the rest of the year. Normally, February through April is the driest part of the year, with the most rainfall occurring from December through January. Curacao is below the hurricane belt, so it doesn’t have a hurricane season. Although, a hurricane in a different part of the Caribbean Sea can bring some wind to Curacao. 

Another great point regarding the location of the ABC islands is that they don’t get affected much by Sargassum like the rest of the Caribbean. This is great as the beaches are pristine even when the rest of the Caribbean is struggling to maintain the Sargassum that invades most Caribbean beaches during half of the year. All of these factors make Curacao a perfect Caribbean destination to visit anytime during the year. 

How Many Days Should You Stay in Curacao?

Curacao is a large island, in fact, it is the largest island when you compare it to Aruba and Bonaire. Thus, there is much to see in Curacao. It would be difficult to see all there is to see in a handful of days. A stay of at least five days is necessary to explore the many things there are to see on the island, with a seven-day stay being ideal. 

A long stay might not be an option for everyone, especially for visitors who arrive via cruise ship. Luckily, it is possible to create an itinerary that is perfect for your length of stay.

The Best Way to Get to Curacao

The best way to get to Curacao is by flying. You can visit Curacao via cruise ship, as many cruise companies have itineraries that include Curacao. However, to truly explore Curacao, its points of interest, and to experience the beauty of the country, flying in is the best way to visit Curacao.  

Getting Around Curacao

The best way to get around Curacao is to drive. Curacao is a large island and public transportation can be challenging since many points of interest are far from Willemstad. If you do decide to rent a car, you should reserve your car well in advance as there are many options for renting standard transmission vehicles. If you need a car with an automatic transmission, you will need to request that in advance.

Your other option for getting around Curacao is to go on tours or rent a taxi. There is so much to see on the island and many beaches to visit that this option would get expensive very quickly.  

Are Uber or Lyft Available in Curacao?

The quick answer to whether Uber or Lyft is available in Curacao is “No.” Rideshare apps are not currently an option in Curacao. If you do not rent a car, you will need to use a taxi or public transportation to get around in Curacao. Your best option for exploring Curacao is to rent a car.  

Many Beaches in Curacao are Private Beaches

While there are many free beaches available for you to visit in Curacao, many beaches are private. You will need to pay a small fee in order to visit a private beach. Some places charge to use the restroom as well. The fees are not too high and range from $3.00 USD and up per person.

Renting Snorkel Equipment on Curacao

Curacao is one of the perfect destinations to go snorkeling. You can rent snorkeling equipment for your snorkel trips. However, the rental costs will add up if you snorkel at different beaches or go on different tours. Ideally, you should pack your own snorkel equipment to save money from renting snorkel gear. You can also check with your hotel to see if they include snorkel gear with your stay. 

It is also a good idea to pack water shoes as well. While a majority of beaches have soft sand, you will encounter some that have pebble-type sand. There are also some beaches that have rocks near the shoreline. Water shoes will come in handy at these locations. 

Is Visiting Curacao Worth It?

Absolutely, Curacao is definitely worth visiting! Curacao is a beautiful Caribbean island with a rich history. It has many beautiful beaches that are very swimmable and perfect for snorkeling. There are many wonderful things to do in Curacao including taking a day to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the island. You will fall in love with this beautiful island and its welcoming people. You will thoroughly enjoy visiting the beautiful island of Curacao on your Caribbean getaway.

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