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A Dozen Reasons to Visit Curaçao

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The Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao has, as you might expect, beautiful beaches. You'll also find a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes four-century-old buildings, local specialties like green rum and goat-meat burgers, and a national park that stretches from the sea to the island's highest point. Here are 12 of our favorite experiences on the island. Please consider this not a comprehensive list, but a starting point as you discover your own finds.
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Gouvernementsplein, Willemstad, Curaçao
With its remarkable historic buildings dating back almost four centuries, it is perhaps not surprising that much of Willemstad has been included as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was long the center of Dutch power in the Caribbean,...
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Hanchi Snoa, Willemstad, Curaçao
A block-long bright yellow building standing almost fortress-like above the surrounding streets in Willemstad, the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue bears testament to the long history of Judaism in the Americas. Built in 1730, it is the oldest...
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Columbusstraat 4, Willemstad, Curaçao
If you have developed a thirst walking around Willemstad exploring its sites under the Caribbean sun, La Bohème is an ideal place for a pit stop. The casual restaurant has sidewalk seating on Columbusstraat, right around the corner from the...
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Klipstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao
The core focus of this museum, one of the most fascinating in the Caribbean, is the slave trade. For Americans who may think of slavery mostly in the context of the South, a visit can serve as a reminder that the Atlantic slave trade touched many...
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12 Abraham de Veerstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao
The Pietermaai district, just beyond the heart of Willemstad, emerged in the 18th century as the city's first suburb, a neighborhood of merchants and artisans. While it was a fashionable area then, in the 20th century it suffered a decline. As...
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Landhuis Savonet, Weg Naar Westpunt, Curaçao
While the beach resorts and the culture, dining, and shopping of Willemstad are major draws of Curaçao, the island has a wild side too. The best place to explore it is at Christoffel National Park, the island's largest park covering roughly...
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Curaçao
Curaçao has, by a common count, 38 different beaches. Ask locals which is the very best one on the island, and you can expect a variety of answers. Most likely, however, you'll hear the name Knip come up frequently. At the northwestern tip...
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Weg Naar Willibrordus #3 Williwood TOKO, Sint Willibrordus, Curaçao
Williwood's big deck overlooking the Salina Sint Marie, a lagoon where flamingos congregate, is pleasant. Its menu is delicious and dependable—from the Dutch treat bitterballen to other more familiar bar snacks like mozzarella sticks and...
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Little Curacao, Curaçao
Klein Curaçao, or Little Curaçao, is a tiny (just over a half square mile) uninhabited island roughly 15 miles from the southeast corner of Curaçao. If you have dreamed of being Robinson Crusoe for a day, you'll want to...
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Kon. Emmabrug, Willemstad, Curaçao
While Otrobanda, roughly "the other side," was settled in the 18th century, a bridge didn't connect it to Punda, across Saint Anna Bay, until 1888. When the Queen Emma Bridge opened, it charged both vehicles and pedestrians a toll, though anyone...
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Sha Caprileskade, Willemstad, Curaçao
On the channel that connects St. Anna Bay and Waaigat, Willemstad's lagoon, the floating market has been one of the city's most famous attractions for decades. Every morning fishermen and merchants make their way from Venezuela, just 15 miles...
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Breedestraat, Willemstad, Curaçao
Walk up from the water along Breedestrat in Willemstad and you'll soon leave behind the restaurants, bars, and souvenir stores catering to tourists. Among the shops catering to locals, you'll come upon the decidedly funky and low-attitude Netto...