Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, known for its beaches and colorful architecture in its capital – Williamstad. Curaçao is part of the ABC islands, which consists of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. They are currently working on a ferry that will allow for transportation between all three islands.
Curaçao is truly an unspoiled island. It is not visited enough. The island is so beautiful, filled with life and the natives are super friendly. By far, it is my number one favorite island that I have visited.
If you decide to travel to this beautiful island, I would highly recommend renting a car! The island is small, making it easier to explore with the assistance of a car. Curaçao does have public transportation. However, it doesn’t run frequently.
My travel buddy and I rented a car through ACE Rent a Car. It was a total of $200 between two travelers including full coverage for 5 days. ACE is about a 3 minute drive from the airport. ACE Rent a Car provides free shuttle service from the airport to their facilities down the road.
Curaçao accepts US dollars, so don’t feel the need to exchange your money while you are there. Unless you want to keep it as a souvenir. #guilty – yes, I do that.
Fun Fact: natives in Curaçao speak four languages, English, Spanish, Dutch and Papaimentu. Papaimentu is a combination of English, Spanish, and Dutch! How freaking cool is that?!
Where to Stay
Highly recommend staying in the downtown area of the capital, Williamstad, also known as Punda. I stayed in Villa Amalie (ig: @villaamaliecuracao) for the entire duration of the trip. For the specific room I stayed in it was $45 a night. You can find Villa Amalie on Airbnb and on booking.com. (If you have never signed up for an Airbnb account, use this referral link to save up to $55 on your first stay.)
Villa Amalie is a newly renovated guest house in the city center. This villa is super close to many restaurants (scroll down to the restaurants section), bars, and must see places. Not only is it affordable, the hosts Poul and Royer are super nice and attentive to their guests. The villa has 5 private rooms and they each have their own private bathroom. I highly highly recommend staying here for solo travelers and couples on a budget.
Other places you can stay at:
Bottelier Apartment – located east of the downtown area of Williamstad. However, it is about 5 minutes away from Mambo beach, which is a super popular beach in Curaçao (make sure to scroll down to beaches). Bottelier Apartment (found on Airbnb) offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms with free WiFi, cable, and a balcony. Cost per night ranges from $39-$43, depending on the time of year. I would recommend this space to group trips of 3-6 people.
Saint Tropez Beach Club – located in the downtown of Williamstad, it provides double rooms to two-bedroom apartments with oceanfront views. This option is definitely on the pricier side. However, you won’t regret the ocean view and infinity pool (check out the photo on the home page – yup that was at Saint Tropez). Saint Trope has its own restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a reasonable price. Drinks are around the same cost in the United States, approximately $8-$10. Cost per night ranges between $150-$250, depending the time of year you travel, and the type of room/suite/apartment you select. I would definitely recommend it for couples and group trips.
ACOYA Curaçao Resort – located a couple miles from Mambo Beach, this resort provides either an all inclusive stay, or a stay without all inclusive. It’s really up to you! ACOYA Resort is a 4-star hotel with three restaurants, free WiFi, free parking, outdoor pool, fitness center, free children’s club, airport shuttle, and more! This resort offers a deluxe room up to a two bedroom villa with a private pool! The photos look amazing! You can book ACOYA Curaçao Resort on hotels.com or booking.com. Prices per night here have a greater range of $134-$950, since it depends on the room selection, and if you decide to go with the all inclusive option. I would recommend it for couples and group trips.
Playa Piskado – if you want to swim with tortoises, for the free, this is the place to be. There is a man on the dock that will throw fish at the tortoises and they will come super close to you. Although, it is recommended not to touch them, you will still end up making physical contact because the tortoises will touch you! It was a little nervous with the smaller fish swimming around, but all in all, it was a cute experience. This beach has a lot of rocks, so I would recommend putting on water shoes to make it easier to maneuver while inside the water.
Porto Mari – I absolutely loved this beach! Definitely in the top two of favorite beaches in Curaçao. Porto Mari is a white sand beach with friendly pigs, Willy and Woody, roaming the area. If you are interested you can find Willy and Woody on ig: @willyandwoody. When I went, I couldn’t find Willy and Woody, but I did find two other pigs and all they did was sleep the whole time. It’s okay though, I was pretty occupied with getting a tan. Porto Mari has a really good restaurant with a bar. I ordered a smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, it was delish.
Kokomo Beach – didn’t stay here for too long. We came to enjoy the subset and take a quick photo on the Kokomo beach swings located in the middle of the beach! It was a struggle to get on the swing because it was super slippery.
This beach also has a lot of rocks, especially by the shore. I would recommend wearing water shoes, again to make it easier to maneuver while inside the water. Kokomo Beach has a restaurant and bar as well.
Cabana Beach – this was my favorite beach, for sure! About a 7 minute drive from Saint Tropez, it is similar to Porto Mari. It is a white sand beach. However, it is bigger! Cabana Beach has a lot of restaurants and it is on the same beachfront as other beaches as well. If you walk the shore, right or left, you will enter another beach. Cabana Beach has super clear water. There are small fishes swimming by the shore, but you can barely see the fishes because they are almost transparent.
Mambo Beach – this is the most known beach in Curaçao. This beach has its own boulevard with shops and restaurants. Also has white sand. Great for swimming, relaxing, and snorkeling if you so choose! I did not go to this beach, and I am okay with that. I went to 4 beaches and an infinity pool during my time there.
Note: Beaches in Curaçao are free, what is not free is the beach chair if you want to use it! Beach chairs ranged from $3-$7, depending on the beach and the type of chair you rented out.
Other Things You Can Do Besides Beaches
Aloe Vera Plantation – great place to go if you are interested in learning the history of the aloe vera plant, and it is for the free! There is a shop inside with both of healthy products made from the aloe vera plants if you want to purchase.
Ostrich Farm – they offer guided tours and the opportunity to feed an ostrich if you want! I didn’t get to make it here, I definitely have it on my list of things to do when I return to the island. They also give you the opportunity to get on an ostrich if you want, but it’s at your own risk. Not sure how safe it is. The reviews look great though!
Visit Otrobanda – from downtown Williamstad, also known as Punda, hop on the floating Queen Emma Bridge, and cross over to Otrobanda. Otrobanda translates to the other side. This side feels a little less tourist, with many restaurants and shops. From this side you can see a beautiful view of downtown Williamstad with all of the beautiful, and colorful architecture.
The Blue Curaçao Experience – the Blue Curaçao Experience offers a great opportunity to learn the history of the world face blue liqueur produced in Curaçao. There are three different tours offered here: orange, blue, and gold. Pick whichever one suits you! The gold tour includes the walking tour, games, tastings, cocktails, and workshop for $27. Tour lasts about 1.5 hours.
Day Trip to Klein Curaçao – you can book a day trip to Klein Curaçao, which is an uninhabited coral island. This island is mainly known for its white-sand beaches, lighthouse and an old shipwreck. Fun fact: Curaçao consisted of Curaçao and Klein Curaçao, which is why on the Curaçaoan flag there are two white stars instead of one. You can book this day trip on expedia.com, viator.com, and tripadvisor.com.
Curaçao Sea Aquarium – this aquarium is great if you are traveling with children, or if you like aquariums like myself. They offer live dolphins and sea lion shows throughout the day. Admission prices are $21 for adults, $11 for children between the ages of 5-12, and free for children between the ages of 0-4. For more information, please visit their website.
Bijblauw – loved this restaurant for breakfast. Offers a beautiful oceanfront view with the sound of the waves while feeling the light breeze. Check out their menu.
La Boheme – Also came here for breakfast. I enjoyed a Caribbean passion smoothie with scrambled eggs, croissant, and cut up fruits. Check out their menu.
Fusions – Asian based restaurant. Came here to eat dinner the first day we arrived. Super hungry and just wanted to eat something. Ordered a shrimp Alfredo pasta. Not too bad. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find their menu online. Tear tear.
Kome – Omg omg omg! Went here for Saturday brunch and it was Amazing with a capital A. Highly recommend going to this restaurant. I had an avocado egg toast with a side of mac and cheese. Keep in mind the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Make sure to plan accordingly. Check out their menu.
Blessing – so what used to be a monastery is now an amazing restaurant. Ate dinner here last night and it was delish! As a starter, I had their shrimp option. For the main course, I had their plaice fillet, and for dessert I had their tompouce. Highly highly recommend going here for dinner! You won’t regret it. As long as you’re open to trying something new! Check out their menu.
Ginger – another great dinner option located in Punda. Ginger is a Caribbean, Asian, and Indian Cuisine. The ambiance was so relaxing. It was great for a chill night. Would recommend it for couples. FYI: the owner of the restaurant lives upstairs and he has a dog. Check out their menu.
Note: All of these restaurants mentioned above are all vegetarian and pescatarian friendly. Something to keep in mind if you have dietary restrictions.