First Time Trip to Curaçao
Jason Daniel Shaw
CURAÇAO – DUTCH CARIBBEAN
Located in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, just 40 miles north of Venezuela and the South American continent, Curaçao is part of the ABC islands. The other islands are Aruba and Bonaire with Curaçao being the largest of the three, but still relatively small. Collectively, they are referred to as the Dutch Caribbean. Despite being one of the furthest Caribbean islands from the US, you can often find cheap tickets out of Florida that makes Curaçao a great option for a long turquoise-filled water weekend trip. This is exactly what I did for my first visit to the beautiful island in early 2017.
WHERE TO STAY IN CURAÇAO
Willemstad is the main city on the island of Curaçao and where most of the tourism is located. Being centrally located also makes it a perfect place to stay while exploring the island. I chose a location right on the beach, on the outskirts of town, on the southwestern coast. In 2017, it was a Hilton property but in late 2019 it was remodeled and renamed to Dreams Curaçao Resort, Spa and Casino. The resort offered everything that you would expect out of a Caribbean resort without all of the crowds. There was a small sandy beach with thatched-roof cabanas, a beautiful pool and plenty of frozen drinks to make your stay enjoyable without leaving the resort. However, there is plenty to see and do on the island.
WHAT TO DO IN CURAÇAO
Spending time on the beach is a staple of a Caribbean vacation and Curaçao has plenty of opportunity for that on one of its many sandy beaches. These are located around Willemstad and to the south. To the north lies craggy rock-lined shores that offer dramatic coastlines, including Shete Boka National Park. Watamula Hole is a natural blowhole that has formed as well along the northern shoreline. Without a safe place to swim, you probably won’t spend too much time here. Bring your shoes though, the rocks are sharp but these places are definitely a must-see. On the way back to Willemstad, stop in Westpunt for some sandy beach time. If you find yourself at Playa Forti, there is an open air lunch spot called Restaurant Playa Forti that sits atop a cliff overlooking the beach. While having some lunch, you can watch any of the brave folks that visit the famous cliff jumping location that shares the same cliff. Once you have gotten the courage, you too can take the 40 foot plunge into the turquoise water below. However you spend your time in Curaçao, you can’t go wrong.
Kelin Curaçao means little Curaçao and is a small uninhabited island that lies 5 miles to the southeast of Curaçao. There are catamarans that offer day trips out to the tiny island, and if you do nothing else in Curaçao, you must visit Klein Curaçao. I booked my trip aboard the Jonalisa To with Bounty Adventures and had a great time. There is, what’s left of, a shipwreck on the island that you can explore as well as an abandoned lighthouse. The beach is one of the reasons that many people travel to Klein Curaçao, though. You have the opportunity to snorkel, kiteboard or just soak up some of that tropical sun on a white sandy beach. They will provide you with some food but be aware that there are no services on the island, not even an outlet to charge things. I hope that you make it to Curaçao and Klein Curaçao very soon.