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The Perfect Week in Curaçao

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A perfect week in Curaçao entails plenty of beach time—naturally!—with maybe some snorkeling or diving (in the island's famous coral reefs) thrown in. There's plenty more to see and do on this small Cairbbean island, too, including a couple of national parks, historical museums, art galleries, and a colorful floating market.
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130 Penstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao
Around since the 18th century, the Avila Beach Hotel is Curaçao’s longest operating hotel. The property’s signature Pen restaurant got its name from the English and Dutch governors who once used the hotel as a country residence,...
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Kon. Emmabrug, Willemstad, Curaçao
No island getaway is complete without seeing gorgeous scenery you'd never, ever see at home—and Willemstad’s floating bridge delivers! Built in 1888, "Our Swinging Old Lady" is supported by 16 pontoon boats and two motors. When...
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Ramble down this scenic Punda road, and you'll soon encounter two of the island's most renowned art galleries. Serena Art Shop is famous for its handpainted Curaçao Chichi figure, while visitors can't get enough of the Nena Sanchez...
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Saliña Ariba, Willemstad Elias R. A. Moreno Boulevard, Willemstad, Curaçao
The nation’s signature blue curaçao liqueur is made on this former plantation house (landhuis) turned distillery. The fragrant oils in the peels of the island's oranges—originally brought here by the Spaniards, and then...
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Weg Naar Westpunt, Westpunt, Curaçao
The ultimate spot to wind down in after sunbathing or cliff jumping (it's a thing) in Playa Forti, this restaurant has a vibrant blue exterior that matches its staggering views of the turquoise water below. Sip on a Curaçao Blue...
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Bitterstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao
Cross Punda's Queen Wilhelmina Bridge, and bam! You're in Scharloo, Willemstad’s youngest colonial district. Known for baroque mansions once inhabited by the island’s wealthiest merchants, this historical neighborhood is also a hipster...
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Klipstraat, Willemstad, Curaçao
The Caribbean's most comprehensive museum dedicated to the slave trade and the Middle Passage, Kurá Hulanda (meaning "Dutch courtyard" in Papiamento) is also the region's largest anthropological collection on Africa. Founded by Dutch...
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Sabana Westpunt, Curaçao
Smart tourists shamelessly copy locals. Westpunt, or Bándabou in Papiamento, is the Curaçao native's go-to beach escape. Follow the road lined with giant cacti to the turquoise waters that are the turquoise-iest you have ever seen....
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Sha Caprileskade, Willemstad, Curaçao

Near the pontoon bridge in Handelskade in Willemstad, wooden boats from Venezuela dock alongside the canal, and vendors here sell just-caught fish and tropical fruits and vegetables (plantains, citrus, papayas, avocados) directly from the quay...

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Curaçao

Herbal medicine dates back to the earliest days of civilization. This desert oasis, outside of Willemstad, is run by herbalist Dinah Veeris. The garden has more than 300 species of plants, some familiar (dandelions, artichokes, chamomile) and...

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Pletterijweg Willemstad, Parera Curaçao, Pletterijweg, Willemstad, Curaçao

Curaçao is famous for its snorkeling, thanks to its abundant coral formations and warm, clear waters with good visibility. Along this 19-kilometer (12-mile) stretch along the island's southern coast, you may spot sunken ships, enormous...

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82-84, Kaya Wilson Godett, Willemstad, Curaçao
Set on a picturesque terrace high above crashing waves, BijBlauw has breathtaking views and an effortlessly romantic vibe. The kitchen is partially open, so you can watch the chefs prepare fresh ingredients while you bask in the breeze. Try the...
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Bapor Kibra z/n Willemstad, Curacao, Bapor Kibrá, Willemstad, Curaçao
Offering a bit of the South Pacific in the Caribbean, the Van der Valk Kontiki Beach Resort features thatched-roof cottages set amid gardens and green, saltwater pools. The deep, wood-paneled rooms have direct paths to the pools as well as the...
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Klein Curaçao, Curaçao
Little Curaçao’s soft, white sands and turquoise waters are an island hopper's dream. There isn’t much else to do on this rugged, undeveloped refuge but swim, snorkel, dive, or walk over to an abandoned 19th-century lighthouse...
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Curaçao definitely runs on "island time," but it's worth getting to this café early so you can eat lunch or dinner on the colonial building's second-floor veranda. Gaze across the bay at Punda's colorful houses, then savor the...
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Gouverneur van Slobbeweg, Willemstad, Curaçao

Standing over the entrance to the harbor, the Rif Fort—which once protected the outer part of Otrabanda, the historic quarter west of Sint Anna Bay—has been transformed into a vibrant commercial center with restaurants, outdoor bars...

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Kaya Adriátiko, Jan Thiel, Curaçao
Perched just uphill from Jan Thiel beach, the Papagayo mixes sleek, beachfront hotel rooms with multi-bedroom villas set amid lush landscaping. Throughout both the hotel and villas, the decor follows a mostly contemporary, white-on-white scheme,...
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Weg naar Knip, Westpunt, Curaçao
This airy poolside restaurant serves up Curaçao classics like iguana soup, goat stew, and fried funchi, a crispy (and addictive) polenta. But the menu has something for even the pickiest of travelers. In the mood for a regular ol' burger?...
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Otrobanda, Willemstad, Curaçao
Stroll through Otrobanda for more than five minutes and you'll immediately understand why locals call it the cultural heart of Willemstad. Located across the bay from Punda—Otrobanda literally means "other side"—the district is a...
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Hanchi di Snoa 29, Punda, 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...