At the beginning of February I went on a family vacation to the sunshine. My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and decided to take the family on a trip to Curacao. Now I am never one to turn down a trip to the sunshine but I was especially excited to spend some quality time with my parents.
I had been to Curacao once before with one of my friends but my boyfriend and parents had never been. I loved discovering new places on the island and showing my family the places I loved during my first visit. Now that I have spent about 3 weeks in total on Curacao I felt that it was time to make a Curacao guide, because there are some real gems to discover.
Where to stay
The first time I stayed on Curacao I stayed in Willemstad at the Ritz-Village hotel, which I loved. The hotel is really vibrant and offers very-well furnished rooms for a good price. This time around we were on the hunt for an apartment, because having celiac disease requires us to have a kitchen. I stumbled on Morena Eco Resort while doing research and loved the vibe. The apartment turned out to be stunning and the porch was perfect for the tropical climate; we basically lived outside. This resort is part of the Jan Thiel Resorts and therefor within walking distance of the beach making it a real recommendation.
Where to eat/ have a drink
- Koko’s, a beach bar on Jan Thiel beach that will give you the perfect bohemian beach life vibe. They serve the best coffee (I literally went there every day) and Koko’s is less crowded than the other Jan Thiel restaurants, which gave it more of a chill vibe.
- De Gouverneur, is my favorite for dinner. It’s located in Willemstad and has amazing food (also gluten-free) a cute courtyard garden and balcony seats with a gorgeous view.
- Tinto, is a steak house located at Jan Thiel beach. The location of this restaurant is phenomenal right at the edge of the water and surrounded by candlelight. A perfect date night spot.
- Karakter, is a beach club near Sint Willibrordus and a part of the Coral Estate. It’s a great lunch spot but you can also spend your days chilling on the beach. It was the perfect chill spot for us after a morning cruising the island.
- BijBlauw, is a well known restaurant in Willemstad. We did not have dinner here so I can’t judge the food but the decor and view over the ocean make it a perfect spot for drinks.
- Zest beach cafe, is located on Jan Thiel beach and a part of the Zest resort. Zest beach cafe is the most casual restaurant Zest offers and it’s perfect for an easy dinner or a cocktail with your feet in the sand.
What to see/ do
- See the turtles at Playa Piscado/Playa Grandi, Playa Piscado is a very small, secluded beach where fisherman clean the fish they’ve caught. The guts of the fish are thrown back into the ocean, which attracts a bunch of sea turtles that you can spot from a small pier. For sure the coolest thing we have done.
- Go to the Christtofelpark, is a national park with stunning greenery. You can take a short hike or take a long hike all the way up the mountain. You can also opt for a car route.
- See the flamingos, near Sint Willibrordus you can find flamingos in their natural habitat. There is no exact spot where you can spot them but the parked cars on the side of the road give you a good indication.
- Go to Shete Boka, is a national park with several inlets where waves crash into caves, resulting in big water fountains.
- Visit the Ostrich Farm, near Jan Thiel beach you can find the Ostrich Farm which is a very fun and educational family activity.
- Discover Willemstad and the floating market, visiting Willemstad is a must. Visit the floating market, the floating bridge, the Rif fort and the Pietermaai area.
Which beaches to visit
- Jan Thiel beach, is a gorgeous beach near the bigger resorts on the island. The resorts and beach clubs all differ in style so there’s plenty of choice. My favorite spot was Koko’s, which has a very bohemian beachy vibe.
- Grote & kleine knip, are two stunning beaches near the west point of Curacao that are popular among the locals. There are fewer facilities than on the touristy beaches but in my opinion these are for sure the best beaches Curacao offers.
- Mambo beach, is the most touristy beach with a big promenade and many shops and restaurants. Perfect for a fun night out.
- Playa Kalki, is not your typical sandy beach. This beach is more secluded and also a perfect snorkeling spot.
- Klein Curacao, is a small uninhabited island near Curacao. It takes about two hours by boat to get there but the crystal clear water, white sand and the turtles you can spot there make it all worth it. If you get seasick easily I would advise you to take some medication for this. I for sure needed it.
Where to shop
Curacao isn’t really the place to go if you are really into shopping but I did discover one lovely shop on the island.
- BijBlauw Concept store, is connected to the restaurant BijBlauw and offers some great homeware and fashion related items. Perfect if you are looking for a souvenir to take home with you.
I hope you enjoyed this Curacao guide! Are you planning a city trip? Have a look at my latest travel guides for Florence and Lisbon.