Curaçao is one of three Dutch Islands that are located in the southern Caribbean Sea. This is a perfect destination to visit all year round because, since Curaçao is outside the hurricane belt, your days on this island will be filled with plenty of sunshine, swimming in turquoise waters, and exploring the remainder of the Dutch colonial architecture. The activities on the island include swimming, snorkeling, and relaxation. If you are planning a trip to this incredible Caribbean destination, read on to find a miniguide to visit Curaçao.
What to Know for Visiting Curaçao
Currency: the currency of Curaçao is the Netherlands Antillean guilder, but American Dollars, as well as international credit cards, are widely accepted.
Visa: Americans and most EU residents don’t need visas to enter Curaçao for up to 90 days. Make sure to check the latest requirements before planning your trip.
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Getting around: the best way to get around Curaçao and visit its beaches is by car. Rent a car before or as soon as you arrive at the airport, as public transportation on the island is very limited.
Curaçao Travel Restrictions: Currently, travelers planning on visiting Curaçao must fill a digital immigration card, digitally fill out the Passenger Locator Card (PLC) 48 hours prior to departure and have it printed with you, show a negative result from a certified COVID-19 PCR-test and carry a printed document of proof, and undergo an Antigen test on the third-day on-island. Click here for more information.
Travel Insurance: Ever since the pandemic, travel insurance has become almost essential for every type of travel. My recommended and used travel insurance company is SquareMouth, a platform for searching for the best option amongst travel insurance companies. It allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US and also makes clear each policy’s COVID-related coverage.
Where to Stay in Curaçao
Curaçao has a great offer of hotels that includes both boutique and luxury ones. The best hotels to stay in Curaçao are:
- Papagayo Beach Resort: located in the vibrant Jan Thiel, this contemporary hotel offers many apartments and features a gorgeous saltwater infinity pool. It’s within walking distance to Zest and near Tinto, some of my favorite places to eat in Curaçao.
- Baoase Luxury Resort: Baoase is considered one of the best hotels in Curaçao and is definitely the most luxurious one. It’s super exclusive with only 23 accommodations and its own private beach with calm turquoise waters. This is the best hotel in Curaçao if you’re looking for a romantic stay.
- Curacao Avila Beach Hotel: a great option for accommodation in Curaçao mainly because of its location. It’s in Willemstad, in an area with many good restaurants within walking distance. It’s also very convenient to visit the beaches of the south or Westpunt. Avila also offers two beautiful beaches with calm, blue waters.
- Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino: it’s a good hotel option mainly because of its location – it’s right in the heart of Curaçao, close to the bridge between Punda & Otrobanda. They have a small outdoor mall but from here it’s also easy to walk to Punda, where there are more shops. Here you’ll also find the only Starbucks on the island. Additionally, the impressive pool has salt water and sand on the edge to give some beach vibes.
- Marriot Curaçao: located in Otrobanda, from here it’s very easy to go to Westpunt or the south. The Marriott Curaçao has a beautiful pool, a nice beach, and great amenities.
Best Time to Visit Curaçao
Curaçao is one of the few Caribbean Islands that aren’t in the hurricane belt, making it the perfect destination to be visited year-round. Though you can visit it throughout the entire year, the best time to visit Curaçao is from May to November, during the off-peak season.
Top Beaches to Visit in Curaçao
If you are planning on visiting Curaçao, of course, you are going to visit its pristine beaches and be fascinated by its blue and infinite ocean. Here are some favorites:
Kenepa Beach is made up of 2 beaches – Kenepa Grandi and Kenepa Chiki (big and small, respectively). They are both free, but I’d recommend going to Kenepa Grandi for its turquoise water and the white fluffy beach. Here it’s a great place for snorkeling and swimming, and you will also find an overlook point that offers a great view of the ocean – a perfect spot for pictures.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Curaçao and, because it’s free, it’s better to go on a weekday. Also, you also won’t find a lot of infrastructure in Kenepa Grandi, so it’s wise to bring water and snacks for the day.
Cas Abao Beach
Cas Abao is a paid beach in Curaçao that offers plenty of crystal-clear water, white sand beach, and some gazebos for a relaxed day.
It’s the best of the paid beaches in Curaçao, with its rock formation on each side of the beach that provides the perfect setting during sunset – the most remarkable on the island. In Cas Abao you’ll also find a raft for sunbathing and playing that is moored off the beach.
The beach opens daily from 8 am-6 pm and has a bar, restaurant, and shower.
Porto Mari Beach is another paid beach that is great for swimming, snorkeling, or just spending the day. Here you’ll find a floating deck in the middle of the ocean that is the perfect spot to see the little fishes in the ocean.
Playa Porto Mari is open daily from 9.30 am and 6.30 pm. It has a bar and a restaurant.
Klein Curaçao is an uninhabited island 2 hours off the coast of Curaçao. You can visit the island on a day trip to see its long soft white sand beach and the most vivid and bluest ocean shade you’ll see while in Curaçao and probably in the whole Caribbean.
Klein Curaçao is reachable by boat with either dive operators or charter boat companies – like Irie Tours or Mermaid (we went with Bounty, which is now known as Irie). Since it’s a full-day trip, the companies usually offer lunch, snacks, and refreshments.
It’s good to know that there’s little shade on the island, so make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat.
Other Things to Do in Curaçao
While in Curaçao, save some time to visit Punda and Otrobanda to check out the rainbow-colored buildings of the Dutch colonial past.
Also, while on the island, see the pretty flamingos of Curaçao – you can find them at the Salinas on your way to Port Mari.
Best Tours in Curaçao
Where to Eat in Curaçao
- Tinto Bar Y Cocina – with Argentinian food, be sure to book a table on the patio with a sea view
- Zest – here you’ll find two different vibes – there’s the Zest Beach Café, with tables on the sand perfect for sunset, and the Zest Restaurant, which is a great place to have lunch or dinner in Curaçao.
- Baoase – for a fantastic romantic dinner – the setting, right on the sand, facing the sea, is simply spectacular. The menu has varied and elaborate dishes, including seafood, fish, and meat
- Gouverneur de Rouville – a charming and the best restaurant in Otrobanda. Since it’s set in a historic mansion, book and guarantee a spot on the balcony overlooking the colorful houses.
- Restaurant Nultwintig
- Wine Cellar
CURAÇAO PACKING TIPS
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