Planning a trip to Curaçao? You’re in the right place! My husband and I spent a long weekend on this southern Caribbean island, and we packed in as many sites snd activities as we could. Here are our favorites to help you plan your own trip here!
Curaçao is a Dutch island! It technically belongs to the Netherlands, so you’ll find a lot of things that seem more northern European and less Caribbean. You’ll find lots of salmon, heavy cheeses (Gouda seemed to be the default!), Delft ceramics, tulip and windmill references, etc. Not to mention the language and architecture!
Visit Rif Fort
I love when something historic is re-imagined into something people will use in the present day. That’s exactly what Rif Fort has become! Dating back to 1828, this former fort is now home to local shops, restaurants, and a beautiful view for all to enjoy! Entry is FREE, and it’s close to the Renaissance Hotel, main cruise port, and Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge.
Keep Reading: What to Pack for a Long Weekend on Curaçao
Dine with a View
This is the right thing to do on an island, right? I love a meal with a seaside view, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or snacks! There is no short supply of dining options with epic island and ocean views on Curaçao, whether you’re looking for fine dining or just a bite on the beach. Some favorites for us included Iguana Cafe, Chill Bar on Mambo Beach, and Blue View on the west side of the island.
Keep eating: Where to Eat on Curaçao
Explore Fort Beekenburg
Looking for a bit of an adventure? Go in search of Fort Beekenburg! It’s off the beaten path, but it’s also worth it for the views once you get there. Think Pirates of the Caribbean vibes. It’s not as well-maintained as Rif Fort, but I’d venture to say Beekenburg’s views are better! It’s a Spanish fort dating back to 1703, and it proved useful in keeping both the British and pirates out of Curaçao’s waters!
Find Kokomo Beach
“You’ll get there fast if you’ll just take it slow.” Did you know the famous Beach Boys song is a real place? It’s definitely WAY off the Florida Keys, but it’s for real! And honestly, it was one of the best things we did the whole time we were on the island. Go early in the day, before about 10:00am, if you want it mostly to yourself for a while. There’s a restaurant, dive shop, and so many beach chairs that seemed to be free for the sitting. And don’t forget to get your photo with the swings, too!
Read next: What to Know Before You Visit the Caribbean
Hike Up to Fort Vaersenbaai
While you’re down in Kokomo, hike up the trail from the parking lot to the ruins of Fort Vaersenbaai. The hike is up, but it’s less than a quarter mile, and the view from the top is more than worth the effort to get there. The fort is in ruins, but you can still see parts of the foundation and walls. Most importantly, you can see why this was chosen as a place for a fort. You can see everything for miles from this vantage point!
Keep reading: 30 Trips to Take in Your 30s
Hang out at Mambo Beach Blvd
Wow! If this is the direction Curaçao is going, I can’t wait to go back in a few more years. Mambo Beach Boulevard is a planned area with shops, restaurants, accommodations, and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s the only beach we went to that had a cover charge ($3.50 USD or 6 Antilles Guilders per person), but we actually felt like it was worth it. Parking was free, and I would have expected to pay more than that just for parking anywhere else!
Find the Wild Flamingos
Okay, it probably won’t shock anyone that I love flamingos. They’re graceful, pink, and beautiful! And did you know they fly just as beautifully? They do! And they live in the wild on Curaçao. We found dozens hanging out in a small lake on the way to Kokomo Beach, and a few more at a flamingo sanctuary up the road from there as well. Seeing them in the wild was definitely a highlight of the trip!
More here: The Best Trips for Animal Lovers
Hike Mount Christoffel
This was a tough hike, but also an incredibly rewarding one! It’s quite a steep climb, especially close to the summit, so be prepared and know your limits! I definitely had to recall my rock climbing skills from college, but it’s maybe one of my favorite hikes in the world because of that. Sometimes we all need to be reminded we can do hard things!
Experience the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge
I saved the best for last! Unique things fascinate me. On the one hand, who decided this was even a reasonable idea? And on the other hand, why aren’t there more cool bridges like this!? I could watch this bridge open and close for boats all day long. Or ride it while it opens and closes. It’s been used since 1888, and it’s one of the coolest things on all of Curaçao! Grab a table at the Iguana Cafe and watch for yourself.
Want more? Check out all my Curaçao posts and more on my dedicated Caribbean Islands Page!
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