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Scuba & snorkeling paradise: A smooth trunkfish spotted in the waters of Klein Curaçao.

Doug Finney / Creative Commons BY NC

Scuba & snorkeling paradise: A smooth trunkfish spotted in the waters of Klein Curaçao.

8 must-see sites & activities in Curacao

Top attractions & activities to while away a day in port & around the island

From time to time, we invite tourism organizations to create a Visual List or post an article spotlighting the best things to do and places to see in their back yards — since they know the local attractions quite well. Here's an article by Gianina Atalita, sales and marketing coordinator of Curacao.com.
 

Whether you're arriving by cruise ship or by air, first-time visitors to Curaçao have a lot of choices in addition to relaxing on our country's world-class beaches and the great scuba and snorkeling in the clear tropical waters.

 
  DAY TRIPPING
 
What to do during your visit
 
 

Curaçao also offers a wealth of historic and cultural landmarks, distinctive architecture, water activities, remote islands and much more. Here are 8 must-see sites and activities for cruise visitors to Curaçao

The brightly painted houses of Willemstad, Curacao, are world famous.
Courtesy of Curaçao Tourist BureauThe brightly painted houses of Willemstad, Curacao, are world famous.

See the colorful architecture

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Discover unrivaled European architecture in the capital city, Willemstad — a UNESCO World Heritage site — with its iconic colorful Handelskade waterfront backdrop and roster of museums, monuments, flavorful restaurants and shopping. This is a good starting point for your forays around the island.

 

Keshi yena, gouda cheese stuffed with vegetables and meat or fish, is a favorite dish on Curacao with locals and tourists alike.
 Courtesy of Curaçao Tourist BureauKeshi yena, gouda cheese stuffed with vegetables and meat or fish, is a favorite dish on Curacao with locals and tourists alike.

Sample authentic local food

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Sample authentic local food at Curaçao’s famous old market, Marshe Bieuw, in downtown Willemstad or along the capital's waterfront. Some of Curaçao’s home-grown cuisine borrows from Dutch and Indonesian influences, and if you're not up for Ayaka (meat pies wrapped in banana leaves) or kabritu (stewed goat), don't worry, there are plenty of other options.

 

A speedboat explores the coast of Klein Curacao, with the lighthouse in the background.
Jeroen Tebbe / Creative Commons BYA speedboat explores the coast of Klein Curaçao, with the lighthouse in the background.

 

An abandoned lighthouse on Klein Curacao.
Raphael Daniel / Creative Commons BY NDThe abandoned lighthouse on Klein Curaçao.

Revel in nature — and solitude

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Discover the joys of being marooned on an uninhabited island like Klein Curaçao, surrounded by solitude. The abandoned lighthouse there is one of the most-photographed landmarks on the uninhabited 1.7-square-kilometer island just southeast of Curaçao. Divers know the island for its coral reefs, tropical fish and underwater caves. 

 

Curacao has some of the best coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean.
Courtesy of Curaçao Tourist BureauCuracao has some of the best coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean.

Enjoy the world-class diving

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Curaçao is renowned around the world for its scuba diving and snorkeling. Home to countless coral reefs, the island is set apart from other Caribbean destinations by its diversity of sea life and underwater landscapes that are quite close to the shoreline. Our delicate corals can be traced to the island's volcanic beginnings. Both underwater and on the surface, you shouldn't be surprised to see dolphins playing, turtles sunning or pilot whales migrating.

 

The Savonet Museum traces the history of an early plantation on Curacao with a focus on and tribute to its slaves and their descendents.
 Courtesy of Curaçao Tourist BureauThe Savonet Museum traces the history of an early plantation on Curacao with a focus on and tribute to its slaves and their descendants.

Trace the island's heritage

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Like other Caribbean islands, Curaçao was in the thick of the African slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. If Caribbean history piques your interest, explore the largest African slave museum in the Caribbean, the Kurá Hulanda Museum. Or spend an hour at the Savonet Museum to learn about plantaton life in a (thankfully) bygone era.  

 

Blue Curacao
Blue Curaçao

 

Explore the origin of Blue Curaçao

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You've probably seen the unmistakably blue liqueur Blue Curaçao at your favorite cocktail bar back home. Ever wonder about its origins? Explore how Blue Curaçao Liqueur came about, and what gives it its distinctive coloring, at the Landhuis Chobolobo in Willemsted.

Baby ostriches at the Curaçao Ostrich Farm.
Courtesy of Curacao Ostrich FarmBaby ostriches at the Curaçao Ostrich Farm.

Visit an ostrich farm

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Depending on your preference, stop by the Curaçao Ostrich Farm - with luck you'll see some baby ostriches. Other choices for nature lovers include Aloe Vera Plantation or the Dinah Veeris Herb Garden.

 

caption here
Anja Disseldorp / Creative Commons BYThe historic Mikvé Israël-Emanuel Synagogue

Visit a historic synagogue

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Visit the Mikvé Israël-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, located in downtown Willemstad. The building dates from 1730 and has a contemplative feel, with its quiet courtyard, azure stained glass windows and carved mahogany replica of the Holy Ark.

I hope that gives you some ideas! Please visit Curacao.com for more ideas on fun things to do and see on our lovely island!

 

— Cruiseable contributed to this roundup

Curacao
Visit Curacao, one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets. With acclaimed diving and thrilling outdoor fun, this hidden gem is your ideal travel spot.

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