The island of Curaçao (pronounced kewr-ass-ow) is located in the southern Caribbean approximately 40 miles (65 km) north of Venezuela. Together with the islands of Aruba and Bonaire, they form a group of three often referred to as the Dutch Caribbean, given their shared political history.
Curaçao is known for its colourful buildings and beautiful beaches nestled into tranquil coves. It’s also famous for its extensive coral reefs that are rich with vivid marine life. Because of this, many travellers head to this island to snorkel, or for other watersports adventures such as ‘Aquafari’ tours; boat and jet ski excursions; as well as kayaking or paddle boarding through the mangroves. Visitors can also embark on ATV adventures, Scooter tours, Jeep safaris, and visits to the Hato Caves or a local Ostrich farm. But, let’s face it… excursions involving tour companies can get expensive so it’s nice to add some things to your vacation itinerary that you can do for FREE. Here are our Favorite 5.
VISIT THE CAPITAL CITY OF WILLEMSTAD
A leisurely stroll around Curaçao’s capital city of Willemstad is always delightful. Visitors will find numerous shopping and dining opportunities, with boutique stores and picturesque waterside cafes. But even if you don’t spend a dime, it’s still a great way to spend a day.
The city is a rainbow of colour with every building painted in a different hue and adorned with awnings or decorative window shutters. Snapping photos here will certainly keep you busy. When you’re ready to view Willemstad from a different angle, try walking across The Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge toward the districts of Punda and Otroband. Floating on a series of pontoons, the bridge drifts and sways, making the trek a little more interesting and fun.
EXPERIENCE THE FLOATING MARKET
Curaçao’s infamous Floating Market can be found in the capital city of Willemstad, where vendors set up shop on their boats.
Given that Curaçao’s climate is not suitable for lush gardens and fruit orchards, residents of the island welcome these boats from the coastal regions of Venezuela, only 40 miles to the south. They bring fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a variety of fish and seafood. Even if you don’t purchase anything, it’s a free and unique place to visit.
The colourful boats against the backdrop of vibrant buildings create a charming tourist attraction despite that the market is mostly used by locals. However, if you’re in the mood for a juicy piece of fruit, this is the perfect place.
VISIT DAAIBOOI BEACH
Despite that Curaçao is known for its spectacular beaches, sadly not all of them are free. Many are privately owned. Fortunately, Daaibooi is not only one of the prettiest beaches in the region, but it is also free of charge to visit. The waters here are perfect for swimming or snorkelling and are so clear and distinctly turquoise that they almost look Photoshopped. The powdery white sand is excellent for sunbathing and the area surrounding the bay is simply stunning. Thatched cabanas on the beach provide shade for those in need, and there is a facility for food and drinks, as well as washrooms.
Should visitors wish to get a better look at this beautiful region, a walk along the cliffs leads to a convenient lookout point. Without a doubt, Daaibooi Beach features the kind of views that lead to postcard-quality photographs.
SPEND TIME WITH THE FLAMINGOS
You don’t need to be an avid bird watcher to enjoy the sight of graceful pink flamingos. And seeing them in the wild is so much better than seeing them in a zoo or park environment.
In Curaçao, indigenous flamingos congregate in the lagoon at Sint Willibrordus and visiting is free. The bright birds can be seen from the roadway, or for those wishing to get a closer look and some photos, there is a convenient viewing deck available.
Since the flamingos can gather or fly away at will, there is never a guarantee of when they will be in the lagoon. However, there is a saying that ‘patience is its own reward’ so if you don’t see any of these beautiful birds right away, consider waiting for a bit.
SAVOUR THE VIEWS OF SANTA MARTHA BAY
Near the village of Soto, visitors can enjoy the tranquillity of Santa Martha Bay — an area that has yet to fully delve into tourism possibilities despite such a lovely beach and surrounding area. Perhaps that’s why it remains to be such a beautiful spot. For travellers wishing to get a good look at this portion of the island, the lookout point located here comes highly recommended. Islands, inlets and rolling hills are lush with greenery and surrounded by turquoise water. The view will take your breath away. However, while you’re admiring, it’s best to keep your wits about you because this is a remote area with the potential to be problematic for tourists.
Nearby, located at the end of the road at Sunset Waters, travellers can explore a resort that has been abandoned for years.
Though it’s possible to take a tour that includes the Santa Martha Bay area, tourists can save their money and simply visit on their own.
Lead Photo – Source feelgrafix.com wallpaper
Willemstad with Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge – Source HipWallpaper
Willemstad Floating Market – Source Shutterstock Trial
Daaibooi Beach – Source Daaibooi Beach Curacao Public Facebook Profile (uncredited)
Sint Willibrordus Flamingos – Source Wallpaperflare
Santa Martha Bay – Source Pixabay