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Hotéis e Gastronomia

Hotéis e Gastronomia
Hotéis e Gastronomia

What to do in Curaçao

Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean colony part of the ABC islands (which also include Aruba and Bonaire). The Dutch heritage is clear in the colorful buildings of the country and the easy going lifestyle of its inhabitants.

We visited Curaçao in December 2016, where we spent Christmas. Just like the rest of the year, December has really high temperatures! However, it was also rainy season, but these were sporadic during the day and did not disturb our tours at all.

Some tips if you go to Curaçao are that you should combine this destination with other countries in the Caribbean and also make sure to rent a car, since despite being a small island, some places are very far from each other. Also, make sure to bring sunscreen and insects repellent. Although special vaccines are not mandatory, I took the yellow fever vaccine since parts of the Caribbean, just like Brazil, have also been affected by mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as the Zika virus.

Here are some basic information about Curaçao:


Below I have also prepared some tips on what to do during your stay in Curaçao. Have fun reading them!

Beaches

Kenepa Grandi and Kenepa Chiki

The beach of Kenepa Grandi is one of the most popular in Curaçao. It's located on the western side of the island about 50 minutes drive from the capital Willemstad. The beach has a parking lot where you can take amazing photos that show its crystal clear water and soft white sand. Unlike most of Curaçao's beaches, Kenepa Grandi is free of charge. Right next to Kenepa Grandi is also Kenepa Chiki, a smaller version of Kenepa Grandi but equally beautiful.


Lagun

Lagun beach is close to Kenepa Grandi and Kenepa Chiki and just like them, the admission is free. The beach has some small fishing boats and more trees sheltering from the sun. Just across from Lagun you can buy drinks and snacks in a bar. Lagun is also the most suitable beach in Curaçao for those who want to snorkel since it has several kinds of fish and corals.


Jan Thiel

Jan Thiel is one of Curaçao's beaches that charge an entrance fee (US$ 6 when we were there in December 2016). However, it has much more infrastructure than the free beaches. You can rent a lounge bed or chairs for the day and enjoy the food at one of the restaurants available on the beach: Zest (Mediterranean), Zest Beach Cafe (snacks and finger food), Zanzibar Beach Curaçao (African), Restaurant Tinto (Argentinian) , Koko's (snacks) and Dulce (ice cream shop). In addition to the restaurants, in Jan Thiel it's also possible to do various activities such as tennis and flyboard, booties with a sort of jet that make you float on the water. Attention: if you want to relax, Jan Thiel is not the most suitable beach since there are many tourists, activities and a busy nightlife.


Seaquarium (Mambo Beach)

During our week in Curaçao we stayed in a hotel close to Seaquarium Beach, or as it's also called, Mambo Beach. Mambo is a beach more similar to Jan Thiel, also having an entry fee (US$ 3.50 when we were there in December 2016). Although not as natural as the beaches of Kenepa or Lagun, it's my favorite. It has a small boulevard with restaurants and shops and at the same time is less crowded than Jan Thiel. Just like the other beaches I mentioned, Mambo also has a parking lot. Walking along the beach you will reach the Curaçao Aquarium where the Dolphin Academy is located - the place where you can swim with dolphins - (read the post of how it was swimming with dolphins here). The beach also has some beach clubs and therefore a more exciting nightlife.


Clubbing and Nightlife

Curaçao offers several bars and clubs at very reasonable prices. Most of them are on beaches like Jan Thiel and Mambo. Papagayo Beach Club is the most famous of Jan Thiel and has DJs almost every day of the week. At Mambo Beach don't miss the Wet & Wild Beach Club where you can order several Caribbean cocktails and dance on the sand until dawn. When we went to Wet & Wild we didn't have to pay an entrance fee, just our cocktails. Although it gets completely crowded, the place is safe.



Another tip to check events and clubs in Curaçao is to read "K-Pasa", a free newsletter with information on the events of the week. "K-Pasa" can be found in several restaurants, shops and bars in Curaçao.

Willemstad

If you go to Curaçao, of course you must visit its main city and capital, Willemstad. Willemstad is the most cultural part of Curaçao, where you will find museums and monuments as well as houses that show the Dutch heritage. Park the car downtown Willemstad and walk around the area to enjoy your experience there.



The main sight of Willemstad is the Queen Emma Bridge, a pontoon bridge that connects the districts of Punda and Otrobanda. Walking along the bridge you can see the colorful houses of Curaçao, the postcard of the country. Both during the day and at night, the view of Curaçao from Queen Emma Bridge is incredible! 

In Punda, be sure to visit the souvenir shops - which also offer the famous Curaçao liquor - and the floating public market where you find fishes and fresh fruits. You can also walk to the main square in Willemstad and take some photos in front of a big sign saying "Curaçao".



Otrobanda, which is on the other side of the Queen Emma Bridge, is the less touristy side of Willemstad. Walk through Otrobanda if you want to know more about local life and find shops with lower prices than in Punda. Although we had no problems in Otrobanda, some tourists complain that this part of the city is not as safe as Punda, so be more careful.

Although Willemstad is a must in Curaçao, I would not advise booking a hotel there since there are no beaches close by.

Shopping

Shopping in Curaçao can be fun but also an expensive experience! In Otrobanda - Willemstad, the Renaissance Mall offers shops such as Diesel, Guess, Hilfiger, Swarovski, Tiffany & Co among others, which are more luxurious shopping options.

For shops with more affordable prices, take the car and go to the Sambil shopping mall. Remember, however, that malls in Curaçao are not so similar to shopping malls in the USA, but rather a "gallery". In Sambil there is also a small food court where I found a buffet with food that was similar to Brazilian food, like beans and rice.

In addition to the malls, Mambo Beach Boulevard (which is, obviously, on Mambo Beach) has several small shops. If you are near Mambo, I recommend that you go straight to Mambo Boulevard and give up visiting the two other malls I listed above. One of my favorite stores on Mambo Beach Boulevard offers beach accessories and beautiful "Chichi" dolls, handmade sculptures representing the culture and colors of Curaçao.

Also keep in mind that most stores close on Sundays and holidays: we were in Curaçao on Christmas and for 3 days the stores were not opening! Planning a visit on weekdays and not on Saturdays also reduces the chances of finding a "sea" of ​​tourists.


Curaçao has a lot to offer and the tips I've listed are just a few of the activities and tours that can be done in this little country! If you have any questions that were not answered in this post, leave a comment or send a private message on my Instagram (@mibeledelli).

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