If you only have a few hours to spend on this enchanted island, you might need help deciding which things to do in Curacao. So, we’ve put together a 12-hour day full of awesome that will leave you craving more.
10:00 a.m. – Snorkeling/Scuba at Tugboat Wreck at Baya Beach. Dive into your day with an underwater journey at this off-the-beaten path locale where you’ll discover aahmazing treasures. Start at the beach in front of the dive school, and after about 5 or 10 minutes, you’ll start to see the ocean eye candy: sponges of all types (rope, elephant, and tube), yellow snappers, blue parrotfish, gorgeous coral and other sea critters. The tugboat itself has all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore. You can even feed the fish. But don’t wear yourself out. You’ve got a full day ahead–there are so many incredible things to do in Curacao.
12:00 p.m. – Lunch at Pop’s Place. After you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by Pop’s, where you can have a long, leisurely lunch. Nosh on red snapper, stewed chicken, lionfish (delicious and buttery) and other local fish dishes. It’s a comfy place with a killer view of the ocean. Make sure you grab some snaps.
2:00 p.m. – OPTION #1: Hang in Willemstad and Soak in the Colorful Buildings.
This iconic pier in Handelskade with the electrically bright buildings in pinks, blues and yellows is where nearly every photo you’ve ever seen of Curacao is taken. The vibe is an intoxicating mash-up of Caribbean meets Dutch Colonial, where you can have cocktails, grab a bite, shop, chill–whatever. With all the stunning architecture, the feel is decidedly European, and like many Old-World buildings, there’s a tale behind them.
The story: A former governor of the island suffered from severe headaches that he claimed were caused by the sun’s bright reflection off the stark white buildings. He demanded that they be painted any color but white. Thus, the delightful rainbow selection of magical shops and nosh spots that line the St. Anna Bay. When we were thinking of all the things to do in Curacao, this one had to be near, or at, the top of the list.
OPTION #2: Visit Christoffel National Park. If you want to get out and revel in the startling natural beauty on the island, then take the bus from Willemstad (it’s just 23 miles away) for hiking in a gorgeous, roughhewn wonderland. There are eight trails to hike, where you can ooh and ahh at lots of indigenous flora and fauna, such as barn owls, the Curacao white-tailed deer, along with 450 different types of plants and wild orchids. You can also rent a car and drive through the park: there are two roads for sightseeing.
5:00 p.m. – Meander Amid the Floating Market. You’ll encounter an overwhelming number of fresh fruits (like watermelons, mandarin oranges, mangos), and vegetables (like tomatoes, onions, potatoes), plus larger-than-life avocados (which are actually a fruit), but this is much more than just your garden-variety farmer’s market. You’ll also hear a variety of languages: mostly Spanish, a bit of Dutch, English and Papiamento (a Spanish creole with peppering of Portuguese and Dutch). Other goodies to peruse are honey, fresh fish, and cigars. With all the men sleeping in hammocks on their boats, you’ll feel like you’ve time traveled. Of all the things to do in Curacao, we thought you’d eat it up.
5:30 p.m. – Grab Drinks at Iguana Cafe and Witness the Opening of Queen Emma Bridge aka “Swinging Old Lady.” Your stroll through Willemstad will definitely include ogling over this Curacao treasure. The floating bridge is an iconic landmark for Curacao–it floats on two barges–and connects the districts of Otrabanda and Punda. When the ships come in, the “Swinging Old Lady” gets to work, opening up to let the vessels through. But one of the favorites of this floating bridge is at night it lights up in the vibrant colors of Curacao. As your day winds down, chillaxing while this spectacle unfolds will prime you for all the booty shaking and fun that’s ahead.
Quick history lesson: The original 20-foot wide steam-powered pontoon bridge was completed in 1888 and originally tolls were charged: two cents for people wearing shoes, ten cents for horses and later, 25 cents per car. However, lots of people took off their shoes and crossed barefoot, so the toll was finally done away with. Walking across the bridge and back is one of those things to do in Curacao that will make you feel less like a tourist and more like a local.
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – Cabana Beach Party. The ultimate end to your day is found at this festive spot on the beach. With tasty adult bevs and menus rotating every night, you could stop in every night of the week. But for those visiting this charming island on Wednesday, the place to see and be seen is the Cabana Beach Party. Live music on the beach, food, cocktails and a mix of locals and tourists livin’ it up. You can party ‘til the sea cows come home.
This 12-hour day is the surest way to get a taste of all the things to do in Curacao. If this has whet your appetite, good: there’s so much more. Just call 1-800-915-3162 and talk to one of our sunsational Beachologists, who can book you in today for an all-inclusive, unforgettable getaway to Curacao–pronto. If you want to get a look at all the other epic vacation packages we offer, visit our site. Don’t wait. If you are jonesin’ for a getaway from reality, the sparkling colors of Curacao just might be your cure-all.