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The "C" in the Dutch ABC islands, Curacao is the largest, most populous, and most cosmopolitan of the former Lesser Antilles. It has in the colorful capital of Willemstad a picturesque trove of colonial Dutch architecture and a World Heritage Site. Like Aruba, Curacao boasts a warm, friendly polyglot populace, but it also offers a rich history, a vibrant art scene and world-class diving. Just six miles wide and 37 miles long, this semi-arid landscape is dotted with spiny-leaf aloe, mesquite and divi-divi trees.
Curacao has nearly 40 beaches, ranging from tranquil bays to secluded coves. Seaquarium Beach (Mambo Beach), just east of Willemstad, offers placid waters perfect for swimming and bars and restaurants on site. The largest and most popular destination for sunbathing, Blauwbaai has showers and changing facilities and plenty of shade. Hang with the locals on pristine sand at Daaibooi, south of Willemstad, where you can snorkel in clear reef waters. Shallow, tranquil seas tucked inside a narrow cove make Playa Lagun a prime spot for families.
Things to Do
Sip a cool drink at a Willemstad cafe as you gaze upon the colored lights illuminating the Queen Emma Bridge, a floating pontoon across Saint Anna Bay. A short walk away, scores of schooners parked along the canal comprise a Floating Market selling crafts and tropical fruits and vegetables. Admire the colorful Dutch architecture in the colonial capital, Willemstad. The unusual collection of artifacts and oddities in the Museum Kurá Hulanda includes fertility dolls, fossils, musical instruments, and even slave quarters.
Eating and Drinking
The island's Dutch heritage surfaces in specialties such as keshi yena, a traditional baked dish with spicy chicken, dates, raisins, olives, and Gouda cheese. Feel the warm breeze at the open-air Belle Terrace, a 200-year-old mansion where you can dine on international fare fused with such island flourishes as tu tu (local polenta with beans). Soul-satisfying Creole cooking reigns at rustic, leisurely Jaanchie's Restaurant in Westpunt, with iguana soup, goat stew, and fresh fish served with rice and beans.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Locals kick back here more than the tourists -- or so it seems. The biggest party is Carnival, which runs for several weeks and ends on Mardi Gras. Otherwise, the capital's Salinja district forms the scene's thumping heart. In Penstraat, Blues, a restaurant and bar perched over the water, features live jazz. Sundays are devoted to salsa at Mambo Beach's bar, which sometimes shows classic movies under the stars. Casinos offer live music nightly and great people-watching.
A peaceful island vacation is easy with American Airlines flights to Curacao. One of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean, Curacao is a colorful and friendly island. Its heritage is both European and African, and you'll hear locals speaking Dutch, Spanish, English and their own language, called Papiamentu. There are many fun things to do in Curacao, from relaxing on picture-perfect beaches to enjoying excellent snorkeling and diving or exploring a variety of shops.
The beaches here are diverse yet all quite beautiful, so spending a day by the water's edge is easily one of our favorite activities in Curacao. You'll find soft white sand and gorgeous views at Blue Bay Beach, just north of Willemstad. For snorkeling and diving right off the shore, head to Caracasbaai. Although the beach itself features more pebbles than powdery white sand, it is part of an underwater park so you'll see a variety of marine life. At day's end, visit Jeremi Beach, where the sunsets are simply stunning.
Visiting the island's Hato Caves is one of the most fascinating things to do in Curacao. You'll see an elaborate network of limestone stalactites and stalagmites, along with ancient drawings and peaceful reflective pools. It's open seven days a week, and guided tours occur every hour on the hour.
If you enjoy getting in touch with nature, you'll also want to visit Cristoffel National Park. Exploring the park's eight trails is one of the most beautiful activities in Curacao. The trails range from easy strolls to challenging hikes, and all take you through exotic wildlife and gardens.
For those who love history or shopping more than hiking, never fear. Strolling through Willemstad, the capital, is as fun as it is historically informative when it comes to things to do in Curacao. It's rich in culture and diversity, with more than 750 historic buildings. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site divided in two sections, Punda and Otrobanda, which both feature excellent duty-free shopping.
This Caribbean island full of discoveries just waiting to be found. What are you waiting for? Fly to Curacao and enjoy a relaxing, welcoming island getaway where you can be as active or languid as you like. Browse our flights and plan your trip today!
|Curaçao Dive Festival||Jun 2013 (annual)||Curacao|
|Curaçao Flag Day||Jul 2013 (annual)||Curacao|
|Curaçao Day||Jul 2013 (annual)||Curacao|
|Slave Uprising Commemoration Day||Aug 2013 (annual)||Willemstad|
|Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival||Sep 2013 (annual)||Curaçao World Trade Center, Piscadera Bay|
|Amstel Curaçao Race||Nov 2013 (annual)||Lions Dive & Beach Resort|
|Curaçao Carnival||Jan - Feb 2014 (annual)||Curacao|
|Curaçao Youth Championships||Mar 2014 (annual)||Asiento Yacht Club, Spanish Water|
|International Release Blue Marlin Tournament||Mar - Apr 2014 (annual)||Curacao|
|Curaçao International Kite Festival||Apr 2014 (annual)||Curacao|
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