I’ve just finished filming a new episode of Travel by Dart in this fantastic country and I am happy to share with you all the cool things to do in Curaçao until the episode is out. I liked this island so much (thanks to the Curacao Tourist Board, too) that I will go back next year with a group of people who will want to join. I call it The Spark Experience. I have all the connections there now, so it will be a lot more affordable than if you’d go to Curacao by yourself. Not to mention that we will have a private guide and a personal driver. If you want to join, let me know. If you’re from Curaçao or Netherlands look at the bottom of the article for some other fabulous destinations you could visit with me while filming my TV show.
Below is a short video with a glimpse of what the Curaçao trip looks like:
At the end of the article I will add the prices of each activity so that I can help you with your budgeting. I will also tell you important things such as details about the best restaurants in Curaçao, local currency, and the answer to the question: “Is Curaçao safe?”.
In a nutshell, Curaçao is a fantastic place to spend a vacation, even better than Aruba in my opinion, which just has better marketing – which makes it, of course, more expensive – so visit Curaçao instead.
“People don’t know what they want until you give it to them” – Steve Jobs.
Now, below there are the 33 things to do in Curaçao. The order is aleatory:
1. Visit the Hato Caves
The Hato Caves are just a cool place where you could spend an hour and relax. You have a guide explaining how the caves were formed, cracking some jokes, introducing you to a bunch of weird-shaped formations and letting you take some pictures. The photos are not allowed everywhere at Hato, but only in one cave (which is the best of all anyway, see the image above), which is enough. It costs $9 to get in.
2. Go To Klein Curaçao For a Day
This activity is a must. Klein Curaçao is a deserted island that has amazing white sand and turquoise water around it. It is one of the best beaches you will ever see. I recommend making the trip with Breezes Boat Trips, just because the price is right and the hosts Steven, Pablo and AnnaMaria will make you feel like it’s your own boat. From dancing, food, alcohol and even driving the boat yourself, Captain Despacito (Steven) will make sure you have a blast. Unless, of course, you are seasick. 🙂
3. Swim with Turtles
One of the reasons you should book the Klein Curaçao trip with Breezes Boat Trips is that you will also get the chance the swim with turtles. Big ones and baby ones. Hopefully, when you get at Klein they’re not too far away from the secret place where they usually chill and the boat is parked. There is also a good chance you’ll see some dolphins around the boat, swimming in synchrony.
4. Eat Iguana
Curaçao is an island where you’ll do some unusual activities, so eating iguana is one of them. Head over to Jaanchie’s, a famous restaurant that holds the owner’s name, who you will also meet. He’s been taking orders and serving his clients for over 25 years and still does it while having fun. When you meet him, ask him to tell you the secret about the iguana meat.
5. Have a Drink by the Famous Willemstad Bridge
The capital Willemstad is divided by the water in two main areas: Punda and Otrobanda. While in Punda, go to Iguana Cafe right by the bridge and have a drink. You’ll be admiring the cool opening of the bridge, which is horizontal, not vertical!
The bridge opens every time a boat passes by, which is probably every 10-15 minutes or so. If you happen to get stuck on it while it opens, you can wait until the boat is passing (usually 5 minutes), but if you are unlucky to get caught by a cruise ship, then you’ll wait for about 45 minutes. That’s why when you hear the siren announcing a boat approaching you see a lot of people running towards the exits. Kind of funny, too.
6. Check out the Ostrich Farm
This activity should be a fun morning for you, which should start by 11AM, when a tour of the farm is scheduled. You will get to feed the animals, learn about the myth of ostriches sticking their head in the ground and stand with your all weight on an ostrich egg without breaking it. It costs $18 to enter. You can book your tour HERE.
7. Have an Ostrich Steak or Burger
While you’re at the ostrich farm, you should have lunch there and ask for an ostrich sandwich or steak. Say hello to the wonderful Chef Monique who will cook it for you. It will taste even better. Unlike other people, i like the steak well done (less blood), but you can have yours medium rare as well.
8. Stay at Acoya Curaçao
We’ve stayed at Acoya Curaçao during our trip because it was easy to get anywhere from there, while the rates for both regular rooms (with breakfast) or all-inclusive ones were fair, unlike other hotels. Great people working there, too. Besides, they have an awesome pool that you can use at any time, even at 2 AM 🙂 If you go to Acoya, say hi to Jose, the General Manager of the place.
9. Experience Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is not for everyone if you don’t have a PADI certification, but luckily you can get that too if you stay at Acoya. They have a pool with instructors ready to get your ‘upgrade’. You will have the chance to get a free one-hour dive course right within the resort and then you’re ready to go at sea. And trust me, there is some cool stuff to see if you scuba dive in Curaçao. If you don’t stay at Acoya, contact Steven again at Breezes Boat Trips – they do it, too.
10. Visit the Blue Curaçao Factory
Who hasn’t heard of the Blue Curaçao drink? You know, the blue alcohol delicious liquor that is famous around the world? Well, the factory is in Willemstad, 5 minutes away from Acoya. To enter the factory is free, but you will still need a car to get there.
11. Go to Shete Boka National Park
One of the wonders of Curaçao, the Shete Boka National Park is a fantastic geological formation in the west of the island. You can see huge 30-meter waves hitting the rocks just meters away from you, a million of iguanas around you and a neat small cave from where you can watch the crazy scary waves.
12. Chill with Some Flamingos
You’ve probably seen flamingos before, whether at a zoo or the Las Vegas hotel with the same name. There is this particular place in Curaçao, on the west of the island as well, where many wild flamingos come and chill, not far away from the shore. It’s worth seeing the spot in between activities.
13. Experience a Fabulous Sunset on a Boat
Initially, I thought this would be not be worthwhile for our group, but it was one of the best things we did escaping from Willemstad. For $45, you will get one of the best sunsets you’ve ever seen, while getting food and alcohol. You can book this with Steven from Breeze Boat Trips again, but the only thing is that they need to have a group of 10 people to do it. If you join the Spark Experience next year, we’ll all go together.
14. Go to Mambo Beach, Curaçao’s Best Party Place
Some of you might ask where the best place to party in Curaçao is? Head out to Mango beach, which has a nice assortment of bars, patios, and clubs. Every bar is popular on a particular day of the week. Check out the Wet&Wild Club on a Saturday night.
15. Go To Fort Beekenburg
If you are the type of person more interested into knowing the countries visited rather than sitting at the resort all day, you should check out Fort Beekenburg, a historical building that has a special significance for the locals. It is the place where the guards of the island would spot enemy ships and use all kinds of cannons to defend themselves.
16. Do Your Shopping at Handelskade
Want a fancy experience? Handelskade is the colourful area that you see on every postcard with Curaçao, featuring buildings that reference a Dutch architectural style. Go for shopping around the neighbourhood and immerse yourself in the modern part of Willemstad.
17. Visit the Government’s House
While walking through Willemstad, you may see an imposing building, located just about in front of the famous Curaçao bridge. It is the Government building. Walk into its court square, you are allowed to. Right in front, you’ll see the window of the room where their Prime Minister is working from.
18. Have a Night Out at Cabana Beach
On a Wednesday night, there is no better place to go to than Cabana Beach Bar. Start with dinner there and then stay for the party, fun, and dancing. They have live bands throughout the evening followed by well-known local DJs late night, spinning tracks. Oh, and your picture may be published in the local publication GoWeekly, just like they did with ours, see above.
19. Ask About Tula
You will see many statues around the island representing fists with broken chains. Curaçao has a long history of slavery that not too many people know about, except of course the locals. Tula was the leader of the slaves credited for starting the revolt that eventually ended the struggle. The fists with broken chains are placed in the exact spots where the revolts were taking place.
20. Check Out Otrobanda
Otrobanda is one of the two areas of the city that needs to be discovered more. Full of little stores, local food, and traditional buildings, Otrobanda offers the authentic spirit of Curaçao. Part of the neighbourhood was also the place where all the slaves used to live.
21. Take a “Dushi” Pic at the Curaçao Sign
Your Facebook page is screaming for a picture taken here. Five minutes away from Handelskade and the bridge, the Curaçao sign is a popular spot. Behind it, there is another big sign that reads “Dushi”, which means a lot of things in Papiamentu (the local language), but all good. Calling someone “Dushi” means ‘sweetheart’, ‘babe’ or even ‘sexy’. You can also use it to make references to tasty food or good things in life. “Have a Dushi Day!” may sound weird for North Americans, but that’s what everyone says in Curaçao.
22. Have Dinner on the Beach
How about a dinner with your feet in the sand, with great food, music, and overall fantastic atmosphere? Yup, you can do that too in Curaçao. Make some reservations at the Pirate Bay Beach Restaurant and tell them when you want to go.
23. Go For a Jetski Adventure
If you are into water-sports, go for a Jetski getaway. You can do it as well with Breeze Boat Trips. It is $75/person.
24. Take a Kayak and Go
The same in this case – you can rent a kayak for only $20 from Steven’s company. Not much else to say, just that you can do all the water-sport activities in one day.
25. Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
I didn’t see SUP done by many people, probably because they’re scared they’re going to fall. It’s easy! You can rent if from Breeze.
26. Rent an Off-Road Buggy
This activity is different and I would do if every single time. Go on an adventure, choose the unbeaten path and be a badass. Check with Breeze Boat Trips for availability. Price is $145.
27. Have Dinner at Mundo Bizarro
The best evening we had (dinner-wise) was at a place called Mundo Bizarro, an eclectic place with not only great food, but an excellent atmosphere too. They also have a live band, playing Spanish music. The perfect day to go there is on Thursday evening. You can book your table HERE.
28. Visit Curaloe, Their Famous Aloe Vera Plantation
Curaçao is known for having some of the best aloe in the world. During your shopping in town, you may come across a lot of products made out of this exotic plant with medical benefits. Besides cosmetic items (soaps, sun lotion, etc.), you may find drinks and food that contain aloe. You could visit the aloe vera plantation, Curaloe, located on the island. You can contact them HERE.
29. Go to Kenepa Beach
One of the coolest beaches around the island, Kenepa (Knip, in Papiamentu) seems to be busy most of the time (the picture above was taken very early in the morning) so the parking lot may be full, but if you have someone to drop you off there is worth a visit.
30. Visit the Curaçao Synagogue, Oldest in the Americas
Also known as Snoa, the Hope of Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Willemstad is the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas! The building was built in 1674. Regardless of what your political or religious views are, this is a place to see.
31. Check Out Fort Nassau
Here is where we went for the first dinner. It is a fabulous location; a fort turned into a hotel with a nice, classy restaurant. The only downside is that the food takes a lot of time to be brought to the table. We got there at 8PM, appetizers were brought an hour later and main course at 10PM. Super slow, but if you are not in a rush and have a drinking appetite then you’re just fine.
32. Attend a Traditional Cooking Class
I was taken by the Curaçao Tourist Board representative far away out of town to the Kunuku House, a UNESCO site where there were all kinds of food and artifacts demonstrations. I took the risk of embarrassing myself into getting a cooking class, which I successfully did (embarrass myself, not cook). If you are interested, contact them above.
33. Renaissance Curaçao and Rif Fort: Worth a Visit
Situated in Otrobanda, Rif Fort offers great opportunities for shopping, beautiful views of Punda and Handelskade, as well as lunch options. There is also the Renaissance Mall incorporated in it. If you go there on a Friday evening, you may even have the chance to dance, as some live bands are playing in the main square.
That’s it! You can do all of these activities by yourself, or you can join the next edition of the Spark Experience HERE and have almost all of them on a platter for you. All done with a private driver, so you don’t have to spend close to $1,000 in taxis or rental cars.
Best Place To Stay in Curaçao?
What is the best hotel in Curaçao? People usually have a different taste in regards to the locations they choose. Downtown for easy access everywhere? By the beach? Far away from everything? We’ve stayed at Acoya Curaçao, and I was happy with it. I will go back there indeed.
Other hotels that are highly rated in Curaçao are:
Santa Barbara – The downside is that the hotel is located very far away from everything. One tourist paid $120US for a roundtrip taxi ride to town, only to go to a pharmacy and get $15 worth of medication.
Lions Dive – I liked it because it is on the beach and had a fun vibe in the evenings, but their customer service was also very slow in responding, which also made me choose Acoya.
Not Recommended in Curaçao: Avila Beach Hotel
One of the shittiest customer services I’ve ever received from a hotel comes from Avila Beach. As we were about to go to Curaçao to film the Spark Experience and the Travel by Dart episode, I’ve contacted their reservations department to see if they offer group rates since I needed 10 rooms.
Not only they never responded in the first place (so I had to send a follow-up email, which I was okay with) but when they finally got back to me they said that their clients “don’t watch this type of program” and they are not interested in giving us a group rate.
I definitely don’t expect everyone to like Travel by Dart, but at least give a potential client that is asking for 10 rooms a price (even a regular price), Zatessa Gonzalez, if you want to bring business to your employer.
Best Restaurants in Curaçao
We’ve had some great experiences in Willemstad. The top 3 restaurants that we liked are also listed in the “Things to do in Curaçao” section above: Mundo Bizzaro, Fort Nassau, and Pirate Bay Beach. Try them all! Here is us in front of Fort Nassau.
Curaçao is part of the former Netherlands Antilles. Now it is an independent state that is still under significant Dutch influence. They use Guilders as currency (officially called Netherlands Antillean Guilder). The equivalent of $100US is 183 Guilders. You can pay with either US or Guilders anywhere.
Is Curaçao Safe?
Yes, Curaçao is safe. It is a beautiful place. In my two times that I’ve visited Curaçao I’ve never heard of or witnessed any crime. I am sure there might be some slight dangerous areas in the hidden corners of Otrabanda, but what capital doesn’t have that?
Curaçao Vacation Reviews: Prices
A vacation in Curaçao is not cheap, a regular hotel going for an average of $180US/night, while taxis are incredibly expensive (one of the most costly worldwide), ranging per ride from $25-30US on the lowest side to $100US and more. There is no Uber in Curaçao, so if you need to get out of the resort and back, you’re screwed.
Here is the list of the activities above with estimated prices, so you can get an idea of what to expect if you go there, let’s say, for a week:
Hotel: avg. $180US/night
Taxis or car rental: $500-800US
Klein Curaçao (any company): avg. $100/person
Sunset on a boat: $50/person (but you need nine other people)
Iguana meal: $25/person
Ostrich Farm, including meal: $40US ($18 entrance + $22 meal)
Shete Boka National Park: $10
Hato Caves: $9
Jet ski: $75
Stand-Up Paddleboard: $20
Off-Road Buggy Excursion: $145
Dive Trip: $65
A quick total would get to you to over $2,700US without other meals. Join The Spark Experience next year and get it – while doing it in style, with private driver anywhere – for $1,775US or $1,975US. Not all activities are included, but most.
Just like I usually do when I travel, while in Curaçao my group and I threw another dart at the world map. What do you think we hit? You won’t believe it, it’s recorded on camera. Follow me on Instagram HERE or on Facebook HERE to see where the dart landed and stay tuned for more exotic activities.
Travel With Me and Check Off Your Bucket List Items
You can travel with me to my next adventures. Besides Curacao, I am going to other 5 exotic destinations below within the next 12 months, so why don’t you join me while we’re being followed by a camera? To every single of the countries below, I will go with an exclusive group of only 10 people (selected applicants only). The experience is for those people who work hard and rarely treat themselves, those who don’t want to have regrets, and who want to try something they’ve never done before. Is that you?
Click on the links below if you’re interested:
Feel free to let me know if you want to join at the bottom of every page listed above. Cheers!