Did you know that Curaçao is named after a Portuguese word meaning “for the heart”? I visited this country which is part of the ABC island chain (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), and found it to be very interesting.
Painted in shades of yellow, pink and blue, Curaçao’s Dutch colonial buildings remind you of Amsterdam, yet the dry climate, barren soil and cacti are more reminiscent of the southwestern United States.
The island’s greatest beauty, however, lies offshore— its spectacular coral reefs, which are drawing a growing number of divers and snorkelers.
All that should be enough to make you want to visit this multihued destination, but here are ten top reasons the island draws so many visitors!
The largest of the ABC islands, Curaçao is only a 2 1/2 hour flight from Miami, with average temperatures ranging from 78 – 82 degrees all year round. It’s also on the outer fringes of the hurricane belt.
For years this former Dutch colony took a back seat to its rival islets. Then, in 2011, that changed, when the island won its independence from the Netherlands Antilles. Now it’s bustling with tourism, and cruise ships arrive along with flights full of snowbirds from northern climates, to enjoy the island’s Latin-Caribbean vibe with a European flair.
Willemstad’s Inner City and Harbor (which have more than 750 historic sites and monuments) were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
Heritage & Culture
You can see the island’s rich heritage in it’s colonial buildings and plantation homes, it’s forts and museums. And don’t miss the Mikvé-Israel Emanuel Synagogue, the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogue in continuous use.
English is spoken widely here, along with Dutch, Spanish and Papiamentu (a Spanish Creole).
ATM’s are located around the island so that you can easily withdraw cash in either the local currency (Antillean Guilders) or US dollars.
Festivals & Events
Numerous festivals are held here throughout the year, celebrating food, music, sailing and more.
On Curaçao you’ll find more than 35 beaches and picturesque bays carved out in secluded inlets.
If you like sidewalk cafés, international dishes and gourmet restaurants, you’ll enjoy this island, whose cuisine is influenced by more than 55 nationalities.
Are you a diver? You’ll love the island’s more than 65 designated dive and snorkel sites that teem with exotic underwater life.
Curaçao is not only a destination for romance and weddings. Families, solo travelers, and those seeking relaxation will enjoy this island as well.