Traveling to a new destination for the very first time is always exciting. Getting the chance to meet a new culture and its people, share in their tradition for a while, try their food and tour the local sights, what is there not to like? The experience becomes even better when it is an exotic destination like a distant island. Being surrounded by the ocean on an isolated part of land is special in a completely different way than finding yourself on a continent.
When you decide to visit such a place, there is a lot to think about and prepare for. Planning a big trip like that takes time and strategizing so it cannot be left for the very last moment. In this article we will talk about traveling to an island country of Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean island in South America. It is a true tropical paradise like most other islands in the Caribbean. The article will serve as a guide on what you should or could do, and what you absolutely not. Read on to learn more and be sure to check out curacao-trips.com for more info about traveling to this great place.
Before we talk about planning a trip there and what you need to remember, there needs to be a few words about the island itself. The island country is located in the Caribbean Sea known as the Dutch Caribbean region, since the Dutch colonized it first. The closest mainland to it is Venezuela, about 65 km to the south. Curacao is a member of the so called ABC islands, together with Aruba and Bonaire, a group of tropical island states also referred to as the Dutch Caribbean.
Curacao gained independence and country status in 2010. Before that, it was known as Curacao and Dependencies colony, and the Netherlands Antilles. The official languages there are Dutch, English, and Papiamentu. There are at least a dozen different ethnic groups, 75% of which are Curacao. The total area of the island country is only 444 square km, or 171 square miles. According to the 2023 estimate, just over 155,000 people live on it. The capital, and the largest city, is called Willemstad, and it looks like any other Dutch city you can find in the Netherlands with the recognizable architecture and colors.
Now that you know a thing or two about where you are going, let us talk about what you should absolutely do before you go there, and while you are there. It is a vacation after all so most of the things we recommend revolve around good experiences and fun times.
1. Enjoy Happy Hours
Everyone likes happy hours because you can get more for your money than usual. Curacao has tons of happy hour opportunities all the time so you should definitely make use of at least a few every day while you are there. From cafes and bars to restaurants and entertainment, if you arrive at the right time you could save a small fortune on entertainment, food, and beverages!
2. Try Water Sports and activities
You are on a tropical island after all, so you should make the most of the situation and try all the different water-based activities. Scuba diving and snorkeling are the most common for the tourists and they are among the fan-favorites. Jet skis are also widely available, as well as sailing and paddling. Whatever floats your boat, go for it. The sea is magnificent and you will not want to miss the views of the island from the water.
3. Visit the Aquarium
The Curacao Sea Aquarium is definitely worth the $15 ticket, especially if you have kids. They have separate stations for the different marine life, and even a place where it is possible to swim with the dolphins. It can prepare you for scuba diving and give you a good sense of what to expect down there.
4. Get Active
Watersports are fun, but they are more on the relaxing side. If you like to stay active during your travels, the real deal would be to try hiking or horseback riding. Both are readily available for tourists and quite affordable too. The hiking and riding trails are fun, although it does get very hot at certain times during the day.
5. Rent a Car
The island is on the smaller side so renting a vehicle while you are there, or even for a single day, will allow you to tour it almost entirely. Otherwise it would not be possible so if you like exploration and turning every stone, rent a car and drive around the main roads. Do not forget about the hidden areas slightly off the beaten path since they are usually far more interesting!
Knowing what to do is not enough since oftentimes, knowing what you should not do is more important. Consider the following while planning a Curacao trip.
6. Do not Forget Sunscreen
Tropical island, remember? The sun on the island is a stubborn as it can be and people who are not from other sunny regions are sure to get sunburned and covered in blisters after half an hour. Therefore, you must always apply sunscreen with a high enough protection factor. It is always sunny on Curacao so have a bottle close by at all times.
7. Do not Ask for Hot Water
If you love hot showers, you may be disappointed to learn that it is not common for places like Curacao to have hot water at the ready. Since most of the pipework is above ground on islands, the sun heats them enough during the day so the water comes out warm when you use it anyway. Late at night though, you can only expect lukewarm water. It is not a big deal when it is so hot, but you should prepare for it nonetheless.
8. Do not Forget Mosquito Repellents
Tropical destinations have another thing for you to worry about apart from sunburns. Those would be mosquitos, particularly the ones to carry tropical diseases. Not all of them do, and it is not that common for tourists to get in trouble, but it is smart to protect yourself with some quality insect repellants.
9. Do not Sit Under Coconut Trees!
This is more of a pro tip, but it is important. Do not sit under ripe coconut trees if you do not want a falling coconut hitting you. More than 150 people die every year around the world as a result of falling coconuts!