Curacao’s incredible turquoise beaches are concentrated on the west side of the island’s southern coast, where the calmer waters and soft white sands make for the best beach experiences. There are 35 public beaches to choose from, with lots of variety among them. None of the beaches are nudist or officially gay, although gays have been known to hang out at Cas Abao. Many of the beaches hive full-service dive shops, including Kontiki, Lagun, and Hook’s Hut. The nightlife and partying scene is based around Mambo Beach.
Christoffel National Park’s most interesting feature are the Boca Grandi, caves whose interiors are decorated with paintings made by the Arawak Indians who lived on Curacao before they were wiped out by the first European explorers. The park is also home to hundreds of native plants and animals, including wild orchids and the rare Curacao white tailed deer.
One of the most popular sites in Curacao is the Sea Aquarium and Dolphin Academy. The aquarium gives visitors the opportunity to see hundreds of marine animals up close, and even touch some of them. The Dolphin Academy is an expensive add-on, but it offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with the aquarium’s dolphins. If you want to go in for the whole dolphin experience, be sure to book well ahead as this tends to fill up pretty fast!
One of the most beautiful natural formations on the island can be found at the Hato Caves, a series of coral and limestone caves that were carved out below the sea and exposed when the sea level fell. Inside the caves, you’ll find wonderful stalactites and stalagmites and even a waterfall. It’s a must for even the amateur spelunker.
Curacao’s unique history of colonisation by Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch explorers and its role in the centre of the slave trade left it with an interesting heritage of building designs. Willemstad’s colonial architecture blends Spanish and Dutch styles with a distinct island flavor. Many of the houses and buildings you’ll see in Curacao wouldn’t look out of place in older neighborhoods of Spain or the Netherlands but for the fact that they’ve been painted in vibrant pastel colors. This unique feature of Willemstad streetscapes has earned the entire capital a place on UNESCO’s world heritage list.