Even though Curacao is quite an overlooked destination in the Caribbean, this tiny island country in the Netherlands Antilles is a glorious place that everyone should visit at least once in their life.
Think buildings painted in every color of the rainbow, beaches featuring waters as clear and turquoise as they can get, and a whole lot of culture to complete the experience.
Because it’s officially a part of the Netherlands, Curacao also has a bit of a European flavor, making it ideal to visit if you can’t decide between a trip to northern Europe or a paradise-like warm destination.
Best Things to Do in Curacao
If you’re in the planning stages of your trip to Curacao but are still wondering what to do during your visit to the island, here are some of the best things to do in Curacao to include on your itinerary!
Queen Emma Bridge
The Queen Emma Bridge is one of the most iconic spots in Willemstad because from here, you’ll get the best views of the city’s colorful buildings.
The bridge connects the Otrobanda and Punda quarters of Willemstad, so you’ll be able to see the city to one side and the harbor to the other. Keep in mind the bridge opens and closes several times throughout the day to allow boats to pass through, though!
While you’re at it, make sure to dedicate a few hours to wandering through Otrobanda. This is considered the heart and soul of Curacao and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its beautiful buildings and historical wealth.
Francis Sling’s Art Cave
Located on the colorful street of Bargestraat in the Scharloo neighborhood, Francis Sling’s Art Cave may seem like any other gallery in the world, but it is actually the real workshop of the artist that is behind some of Curacao’s most iconic wall murals!
Sling is quite likely the most famous artist hailing from Curacao, and you bet you’ll see plenty of his works by simply strolling through Willemstad.
As a bonus, the entire Scharloo neighborhood is a photographer’s dream, so make sure to plan a couple of hours to spend here just snapping photos of colorful houses!
3 O’Clock Romance Building
Speaking of Francis Sling, no trip to Curacao would be complete without seeing at least one of his wall murals around the city.
A favorite one is the 3 O’Clock Romance Building right in the heart of the Scharloo neighborhood. The mural covers an entire building and illustrates the story of two birds who fly to the same spot they met at the same time (3 O’Clock) in hopes of finding one another – and they do!
Here’s a fun fact about Curacao: The island’s name comes from the Spanish word “cura,” which translates into “healing.”
This is because the island is believed to contain healing properties, so much so that people feel incredibly refreshed and energized after leaving. Another reason behind the name is the high number of medicinal plants found around the island.
Aloe vera is one of them, and visiting the CuraAloe Plantation is a wonderful way to get a taste of how seriously locals take their plants. While here, you’ll be able to tour the beautiful plantation, learn all about aloe vera’s properties, and buy a few aloe vera-based creams, ointments, and souvenirs to bring back home if you wish to.
Shete Boka National Park
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Curacao’s shores are filled with a world of marine life, and sea turtles are probably the friendliest animals you can encounter while exploring.
If you want to get the chance to see plenty of them in one go, one of the best places to do just that is the Shete Boka National Park on the northern coast.
The park is known for its excellent hiking trails along rugged cliffs, its beautiful inlets, and for being a favorite nesting spot for turtles.
Located in central Curacao, Hato Caves are a series of caves that not only contain a wealth of geological goodness but also a wonderland of history.
Some 1,500 years ago, the caves were inhabited by Amerindian Arakaws and Caquietito Indians, and plenty of petroglyphs depict what life was like back then. Further along the centuries, the caves also became the hiding place of runaway slaves.
Moreover, the caves are also home to tons of interesting geological formations, as the caves were formed millions of years back under the water. Striking stalactites, waterfalls, limestone formations, and natural pools are just a few of the things you can see here.
This activity is only available through guided tours that usually last around 45 minutes.
Playa Porto Mari
Porto Mari is one of the most stunning beaches in Curacao and one that definitely deserves at least half a day out of your itinerary.
Think soft white sand and water so clear and blue that you could easily think it’s photoshopped. Below the surface, you’ll also find the only coral reef that’s accessible directly from the beach, which makes diving and snorkeling here an absolute dream.
On land, you can spend the day lounging at the beach or having cocktails at the bar, or if you’re feeling up for it, you can also go hiking, as two nature trails begin right here.
If a quiet beach experience is what you’re after, Playa Jeremi is guaranteed to please.
Hidden inside a cozy little cove, the beach here is absolutely stunning. To reach Playa Jeremi, you will need to hike down through steep rocks, but once you get there, you’ll see it was worth the trek!
Playa Jeremi is also a great snorkeling spot and a wonderful place to watch the sun go down.
Kokomo Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Curacao for all the right reasons.
Much like most beaches on the island, Kokomo features crystal clear waters and white sand. It tends to get pretty crowded, making it ideal if you want a bustling beach.
Entrance to Kokomo is free, and you’ll get access to beach chairs as well. There’s also a restaurant and a bar here where you’ll find the most famous beach hammocks in Curacao!
Christoffel National Park
If you want to get to know Curacao beyond its beaches and colorful buildings, visiting Christoffel National Park is a wonderful choice.
Located on the northwestern side of the island, Christoffel is the largest national park in Curacao and one where you get to spend a few hours hiking and enjoying nature in its full splendor.
Most people who visit the park do so in order to summit Christoffel mountain, but there are other trails available that are a bit easier in case you are more in the mood for a relaxing hike.
If you’re not into hiking, you can also explore the park on a jeep or horseback riding tour.
Also known as Playa Grandi, Playa Piskado is another beach located about an hour away from Willemstad.
This beach is quite stunning, but for most people, it isn’t the most beautiful in Curacao. Despite this fact, however, Playa Piskado is a great destination for those who want to snorkel, especially if swimming as sea turtles glide by is on your bucket list!
Turtles are drawn to this area because there is plenty of fishing activity happening. Observing fishermen seizing and cleaning their catch is also a pretty interesting activity for a local experience in Curacao.
Serena’s Art Factory
Chichi® sculptures have become an icon of Curacao.
Even though you can probably find them all over Willemstad, the ultimate place to get them is at Serena’s Art Factory, where the sculptures are created by Serena and her team of over 60 women.
The factory is free to visit. Moreover, every Tuesday and Saturday morning from 9 am to 12 pm, workshops are imparted at the factory’s garden, where you’ll learn how to paint your very own Chichi!
8 The Experience
8 The Experience is one of the most beautiful spas you’ll find anywhere in the world and one of the best things to do in Curacao if a little relaxation is what you’re after.
Located on a hill overlooking the ocean, this spa features open-air treatments, infinity jacuzzis with sea views, a pool, and plenty of themed rooms.
Visitors are welcome to purchase a day pass, which includes access to the jacuzzi, pool, and several mini treatments for the day.
St Tropez Ocean Club
If a trendy beach club experience is what you’re after, St Tropez is one of Curacao’s biggest hot spots and the ultimate place to see and be seen.
Located on Willemstad, St Tropez is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. The restaurant offers breakfasts, lunch, and dinner with cuisine inspired by international flavors with Caribbean touches.
St. Tropez is also a small boutique hotel and one of the best places to stay in Curacao if you still haven’t booked accommodation.
So there you have it, my list of the 14 best things to do in Curacao!
Have you visited any of these places? Which one was your favorite? Let me know all about your experience there in the comment section below!
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