Whether you're looking to explore the capital's historic sites or you're keen to soak up some sun, there are plenty of top places to visit on Curacao.
The picturesque Handelskade is a popular destination among travellers in Willemstad, with colonial Dutch buildings painted in vibrant hues, trendy restaurants and shops. Grab a seat at Iguana Cafe and watch Queen Emma Bridge swing open to let ships in the harbor.
Originally formed beneath the sea millions of years ago, the Hato Caves are among Curacao's most beautiful natural formations. Today they boast an impressive limestone waterfall, romantic pools, and a colony of long nose fruit bats.
While there, multilingual entertainers lead you through a paved illuminated path, and point out apocryphal and fanciful stories behind some of the stalactites and stalagmites that take on shapes, such as Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean film.
This unique upstairs limestone cave is found on the island's third terrace, so you'll have to walk up 49 steps to reach the entrance, but it's not a difficult climb! Once at the top, you'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the area and a cool breeze.
Shete Boka National Park
If you’re looking for a rugged side of Curacao, Shete Boka National Park is a must-visit. Bordering Christoffel National Park on the rocky, wind-lashed north coast, it features beaches tucked away on the cliffs, a cavern where wild waves wash into an undersea cave, and scenic one-hour hiking trails that lead to stunning coastal views.
Visitors can listen to the pounding waves in a sheltered nook at the entrance to the cavern, or explore one of two hiking trails: Boka Pistol leads to a beach where sea turtles lay eggs, and Boka Wandomi winds past rolling lava hills to a natural bridge. Wear sneakers or closed-toe shoes like hiking boots with a firm grip, because the terrain is uneven and coral cliffs can be sharp.
In the midst of Christoffel National Park, this museum is a great place to learn about the history of Curacao. It features collections that chronicle the island's long history, from the arrival of the Arowak Indians to the abolition of slavery.
Set in the former plantation house, this museum explains the lives of the owners and enslaved people on Savonet, as well as how their society changed after emancipation.
There's also a room that highlights archaeology and precolonial cultures. The museum was designed by Felix de Rooy and Atelier Argos, and it is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of Curacao.
Montana Bierhuis Village
If you’re looking for a place to relax, enjoy local food, and visit a beer brewery, look no further than Montana Bierhuis Village. This family-friendly tourist attraction has everything you need to make your trip one that’s filled with fun and memories.
This Dutch-owned brewery is home to Curacao’s famous orange liqueur and is open for tours where you can sample its flavors. This is a great way to learn about the history of the island and experience its vibrant culture.
The airy, rustic market in Willemstad features six eateries that serve classic Curacaoan dishes. Diners sit communally on picnic tables to sample the local fare.
You can choose from a wide variety of stews, including keshi yena (shredded chicken studded with raisins and melted Gouda) and giambo (a soup of okra and string beans). There are also vegetarian options, such as cactus soup or plantain stew.
Another popular snack is awa di lamunchi, a refrigerated drink made with cactus juice and a sweet liqueur flavored with the peel of bitter oranges. This is a must-try, especially on hot days.
Nena Sanchez Art Gallery
Nena Sanchez is a Curacao-based artist who is known for her bold, colorful depictions of island life. Her works are inspired by the clear blue Caribbean sky and shimmering tropical waters.
Visiting the Nena Sanchez Art Gallery is one of the best things to do in Curacao for culture enthusiasts. Her work is spread throughout the historic plantation building Landhuis Jan Kok and spills out into the garden.
The museum also offers biweekly labor tours to help visitors understand how the island operated during various periods of time. The museum also features old ship models and other maritime artifacts.
Fort Amsterdam is one of the best-preserved forts in Curacao, located on the island’s eastern coast. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been a stronghold for the Dutch West India Company since 1634.
Visitors can explore the fort on foot, visiting the main building of Fort Amsterdam which was once the seat of government. There’s also a church and the Governor’s Palace.
The fort is surrounded by a beautiful promenade of seaside cafes and shops. You can also visit the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue or the former Floating Market.