Green Sea Turtle in shallow water of the coral reef in the Caribbean Sea around Curacao
Swim with sea turtles and all sorts of other aquatic critters.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Island Vibes Meet European Culture: 7 Incredible Things to Do in Curacao

Soak up a Unique Blend of Caribbean Sunshine & European Culture

You won’t need to filter your photos from Curacao — it’ll seem like the color saturation has already been turned up. With sun-drenched beaches, brightly colored Dutch colonial architecture and water as blue as the island’s liqueur, Curacao is a certified jewel in the Caribbean.

Curacao is one of the top destinations in the world in recent years, so make sure you don’t miss out on this lush locale, where island vibes meet European culture.

In a place of natural beauty and rich history, you’ll find it hard to fit all of the highlights into one itinerary. To help kick off your trip planning, here are the top things to do in Curacao.

Take a Deep Dive Into Underwater Beauty

Some of Curacao’s best sights are underwater. The warm waters are particularly pleasant for scuba diving, which is the ideal way to get a closer look at the colorful coral reefs and their many aquatic inhabitants.

Sunken ships, cheerful dolphins and graceful stingrays are just a few of the wonders that await you underwater. The Mushroom Forest doesn’t sound very enticing, but you’ll find it difficult to tear yourself away from the impressive coral star formations, and underwater caves such as the Blue Room glow with sapphire light.

Interested? There are many dive operators on Curacao who can help you get scuba certified if you’re not already, but you will need to allow enough time in your itinerary for the course.

Colorful strip of houses on the Dutch Island of CuracaoWillemstad looks like a postcard and is full of surprises.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Take to the Streets of Willemstad

Willemstad’s architecture is often compared to Amsterdam — albeit a much more colorful version. Pastel-colored buildings pop against blue skies, and down cobblestone streets you’ll find alfresco restaurants, art galleries and designer boutiques. This is city life at its best.

The historic area of Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great place to simply wander for an afternoon. Willemstad is also the canvas for some talented street artists, so venture further afield and you’ll also discover a more contemporary side to the city.

Exploring the alleyways of Punda, Sharloo or Otrabanda, you’ll come across vibrant murals that have transformed some streets into a sunny outdoor gallery.

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Aeriel view over Shete Boka National Park on Curaçao.Shete Boka National Park is a great spot to discover a little of the island's wild side.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Go Wild

The northern end of the island is a rugged antithesis to the refined culture of the capital. Christoffel National Park is a great place for a scenic drive or, for the more outdoorsy types, a hike. Orchids, barn owls and endangered white-tail deer are all found in the park and even if you don’t spot any wildlife the incredible views from the top of Mount Christoffel will make up for it.

Neighboring Shete Boka National Park encompasses a stretch of rocky coastline where turtles nest. Walks along the top of the limestone bluffs will let you appreciate the power of the water driving against the rocks — in some spots, waves can get up to 40 feet into the air.

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