Celebrated for its picture-perfect beaches, historic waterfront, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, Curaçao offers much more than meets the eye. Dushi Korsou (literally “sweet Curaçao”) sets itself apart as a dreamy island paradise with a vibrant culture. On sea and on land, Curaçao boasts a wide array of activities and experiences for all sorts of travelers, whether they’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping hike, a relaxing day of snorkeling, or a visit to an art gallery. Here are some of the ways you can travel deeper on this Dutch Caribbean island.
Dive into an underwater adventure
Ranked as one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the Caribbean, Curaçao offers more than 70 spectacular dive sites along its kaleidoscopic system of fringe reefs, home to majestic eagle rays, squid, nurse sharks, sea turtles, moray eels, and a rewarding variety of macro life. The island, protected from strong currents and brimming with shore dives and calm snorkeling locations like Playa Lagun, is also an ideal place to get scuba certified before heading into deeper waters. Don’t miss the 165-foot Superior Producer wreck, the pristine hard and soft corals of Watamula, or the distinctive, mushroom-shaped corals of Mushroom Forest.
Discover Curaçao’s native remedies
Wellness goes beyond a poolside massage here with options like spending a morning learning about Curaçao’s traditional folk medicine at Den Paradera Herb Garden. Run by herbalist and local legend Dinah Veeris (who was decorated by the Dutch Royal Family for her contributions to the community), the garden oasis hosts upwards of 300 species of plants, including calabash, rare cacti, and chamomile.
Join Veeris for an informative tour around her sanctuary as she provides a history lesson on the Paraguiri Indians (who once had the biggest herb garden on the east side of the island) and offers holistic health advice. Plus, the botanical expert can suggest a healing elixir from her shop for you to try.
Immerse yourself in natural wonders
Covering more than six miles of Curaçao’s rugged north coast, Shete Boka National Park was established to protect important nesting areas for Hawksbill, loggerhead, and green sea turtles between May and December, but it’s gorgeous all year round. Hike along the many bokas (inlets), limestone bluffs, and natural bridges, and listen as gigantic waves pound against the rocks. At Boka Table, you can even watch the surf roll into an underground cavern.
Afterward, head to adjacent Christoffel National Park, the biggest and most biodiverse park on Curaçao, for a jeep safari tour. Park rangers will help you spot white-tailed deer, green iguanas, and some of the island’s 263 bird species.
Celebrate with the locals
What started as a modest street party has evolved into one of Curaçao’s most popular annual festivals, and an excellent opportunity to soak up some of the island’s authentic culture. Kaya Kaya Festival (kaya means “street” in Papiamentu) is a summertime celebration of music, delicious food, and art, as well as the community’s hard work that has been put into elevating and maintaining Curaçao’s Otrobanda district, the cultural heart of Willemstad. You can join this year’s festival on September 2, 2023.
Bring home a colorful piece of the island
Curaçao’s vibrant creative culture can be found everywhere you look, from Willemstad’s famously vivid waterfront to larger-than-life outdoor murals in Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai, and Scharloo. For additional context and assistance tracking down the latest and greatest paintings, book a walking tour with Dushi Walks or Art Tours Now.
A ubiquitous symbol in Curaçao, the Chichi (“big sister” in Papiamentu) figure is a hand-painted sculpture by local female artists that’s found around town and sold in galleries. Stop by Serena’s Art Factory to pick one up as a souvenir, or better yet, participate in a hands-on workshop to paint one of your own.