Curacao: Quick and Dirty Guide

Welcome to another Quick & Dirty Guide! 

I kinda like doing these things. . . Anyway.

I have to chill out with my impulsiveness, but whatever.

Quick story. For the past few months, I have seen tons of photos on Instagram and other travel blogs about this small, island off the coast of Venezuela called Curacao! To be completely honest, I have heard very little about this Dutch island, but I was extremely excited when I found this $200 round trip flight there! Booked it and I was headed out the next week! Can we say, Law of Attraction for the win?!

I spent three full days on the island, which I believe is more than enough time to explore and hang out.

Check out some of my insights below:

 

Quick Tidbits:

  • Curacao is a small island off the coast of Venezuela surrounded by the Caribbean sea
  • The country is a part of the Dutch Kingdom, so locals are Dutch citizens and carry European passports!
  • Population: ~ 142K people
  • Weather: ~80* F year round!
  • Languages: Most people speak 3-4 languages! Papiamentu, a Creole language, is spoken by 90% of the population. Dutch, English, and Spanish are widely spoken as well
  • National Currency: Netherlands Antillean Guilder (ANG)
    • USD is widely accepted!
  • The water is distilled directly from the sea! Super safe to drink!
  • Driving is on the right side of the road (praises!)
  • The US and Canadian citizens do not need visas
  • There is an airport fee of $39 when leaving! Ugh!

 

The People:

Sweet as pie! Everyone I met was so friendly and helpful! The people of Curacao are quite the mixed bag. Rightfully so, the majority of the people are of Afro- Caribbean decent (thank you slavery and colonization!), but there are of course lots of Dutch and Latin folks as well.

The people of Curacao are very laid back and chill. Never once was I hackled for anything like you would in saying in Jamaica or the Bahamas. The country is extremely safe, and I highly recommend it for solo travel!

I went solo and ended up meeting with two other solo traveling women! We had a blast exploring the island!

 

Getting Around:

Speaking of exploring the island . . . I HIGHLY recommend getting a rental car! If you are there for a few days, it shouldn’t cost you too much. By having a rental car, you will save yourself the expensive taxi rides ($35 for a 5-mile ride to the airport!), the unreliable public transportation (the locals will agree), and you will have the freedom to explore various pockets of the island at your leisure!

 

Exploring the Island:

As I mentioned, you only need a few days on this island to explore most of the sites worth seeing but here are a few I suggest:

  • Scuba Diving/ Snorkel: I highly recommend Twin Divers! It is a Black owned dive shop! The owners and the dive instructors are amazing, and the diving around the island is gorgeous! Went diving with them and I can tell you personally it is A+!
  • Kura Hulanda: This museum explores much of the predominant culture of Curacao and the Slave Trade that took place on the island. $10 Entry fee for adults.
  • Day Trip to Klein Curacao: Klein Curacao is an even smaller island. You can take day trips here which includes the opportunity to dive, snorkel, and includes drinks (read: liquor), food, and just relaxing!
  • ATV Tours: There is a desert in the middle of the island. There are several companies that offer ATV tours
  • Shopping in Punda: Punda is often called “in town.” It’s a small downtown area, but you will find The Floating Market, restaurants, shops, the Floating Bridge, and the famous “Curacao” signs!
  • Sailing: I went sailing with Pro Sail Curacao. They teach lessons, or you can rent a boat if you are a skilled sailor!
  • Hato Caves: Located right across from the airport, Hato Caves is a refreshing sight to see. They run guided tours every hour. $8 entry fee.
  • Curacao Liquor Factory: Unfortunately, did not get a chance to check this place out, but I hear they have free tours (and hopefully free samples!)
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Bicycling

 

Nightlife:

Listen. They know how to have a damn good time in Curacao! Apparently, Friday and Sundays are the big nights for going out. I happened to be there during Easter weekend, which is a huge holiday on the island. Because everything was closed on Monday, everyone was out on Sunday night!

The place to go is Mambo Beach! There is a strip of restaurants, bars, and clubs! Whatever your style is they have it there! I ended up at a club called Wet and Wild. It’s literally on the beach! Great DJ, cheap drinks, and the lovely ocean breeze!

Can’t beat it!

 

Places to Eat:

To me, food is a huge way to experience the local culture. I am all for authentic food and experiences, so I tend to shy away from super commercial or “fru-fru” places to eat. As I mentioned before, this country is a mixed bag of cultures, so there is a massive fusion of African, Latin, and Dutch influences.

Some places to check out are:

  • Plasa Bieu: It’s “family style” which means you get your meal and sit with whomever at the table. It’s inexpensive and super authentic up in here! The food is a mix of Creole and Latin. Located in Punda, I recommend this spot!
  • Sea Side Terrace: This spot is next-door to Twin Divers on Martin Luther King (I know). The food is soooooo good. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the tiger fish! It’s caught fresh by the owner every morning!
  • The Dutch restaurant in Punda across from the “CURACAO” letters. Sorry, forgot the name.

 

Places to Stay:

I stayed in Punda, the downtown area. If you opt out of renting a car, this is the best place to lodge as there is a lot to see and do in walking distance. If you want to be near beaches, I would suggest a hotel right on the beach!

 

Fun Fact:

Prostitution is legal in Curacao!

 

Have you ever been to Curacao? If so, what did you enjoy most about the island? For me, the people!

 

Until next time… journey on!

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: Curacao: Quick and Dirty Guide - OYT

  2. Vince

    Great tips here! Did you do the Klein Curacao daytrip? Which company did you choose?
    Thinking of going this summer, and I’d be travelling solo too. Wondering if it’s awkward for someone to go there by himself. Looked up some pictures and people seem to be partying, not necessarily what I’m looking for.

    • RachelTravels
      Author

      Hi Vince!
      No, I opted out of Klein Curacao, but I hear its really nice!
      I think it’s an excellent place to visit solo! It’s really clean, safe, and the people are so nice!

      If you want to party, the definitely know how to party in Curacao! If not, then the beaches and relaxing is amazing too!

  3. Vonnie

    Hey Rachel!
    First up, thanks for all of this info, it’s very useful! I’m also a fellow black girl traveling solo for the first time ever (!!!!) and I picked Curacao because I found a deal too! i’m a bit nervous, so I have some questions that I hope you don’t mind helping me out with!
    1. Thinking about doing AirBnb…I know you did a hostel, but for a solo traveller do you recommend getting my own place or sharing a house with other travllers?
    2. How is it driving/walking at night? I’ve been reading that there’s barely any signs, and stray dogs are v.common and roam around at…wouldn’t want to hit anyone! Also, I’m thinking I would like to get out and do some partying at night
    3. Did you get travel insurance in case of medical emergencies – if you did, which one do you recommend?
    4. Where is a good place in Curacao to meet other solo travelers, and are there any forums that I can use?

    I’m really new to all this, so thank you so much!

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