One Day in Curacao Itinerary – Top things to do in Curacao

One day in Curacao itineraryCuracao is a tiny island that will leave a big impression. Home to the highest bridge in the Caribbean, one of the busiest harbors in the world and water you’ll want to live in forever, the country is a beautiful mix of colorful buildings, friendly people and striking scenes.

 

Guest post by Paige Andrew

 

What’s the best time to visit Curacao?

Curacao is quite hot – temperatures range from 80 – 84 °F throughout the year and long droughts are more common than you’d think. There’s a brief rainy season from October through December with November being the wettest month.

The capital, Willemstad is almost always bustling with inland tourists and those visiting on cruise ships, but it somehow doesn’t get overwhelming.

Curacao Beaches
Curacao Beaches, Author: dronepicr, Photo source: Flickr

To avoid too many tourists, steer clear of the Atlantic Hurricane Season which runs from June- November and enjoy beautiful weather, you can opt to travel between January and May. It’s low season and this also gives you the opportunity to experience quite a number of festivals from Carnival and the International Sailing Regatta in January to the Jazz Festival in May.

 

Few facts about Curacao

Nestled in the Southern Caribbean, Curacao is a constituent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Most people are fluent in Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and English which all combine to create their local language Papiamento.

Willemstad, Curacao’s capital city, is picturesque with colorful buildings overlooking glistening water, quaint cobbled streets, street art, bars and restaurants galore. There’s outdoor dining overlooking the sea, floating fruit markets and the Queen Emma Swinging Bridge. The city is divided into two parts – Punda and Otrabanda.

Willemstad Curacao
Willemstad, Author: Andrés Molina Mesa, Photo source: Flickr

 

Punda, which tends to be a bit busier was once the main city until it became overcrowded and the city was expanded to Otrabanda which translates to mean ‘other side’. The two parts of the city are connected by a moving bridge, the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge commonly called the Swinging Old Lady. The bridge which dances on the water while you walk from one part of the city to the other, was built to ensure it could move as it lies in the middle of one of the busiest harbors in the world.

While Otrabanda is home to the Kura Hulanda museum – the perfect place for a lesson on Afro heritage and culture in the Caribbean and Africa, Punda is home to Punda Vibes.

Every Thursday evening the city stays open a bit later to entertain. There is live music and dancing on the streets, sales, happy hours are extended and there’s excitement all around. This culminates with a firework display at 8PM. If you’re in Curacao on a Thursday it’s a must do!

 

One Day in Curacao Itinerary

Top things to do in Curacao

While Curacao is tiny, there’s quite a bit to do so start your day early. You’ll want to stay in or near Willemstad to maximize time and money on transport.

 

Explore Willemstad

The best way to see the entire city and gain a true appreciation of the history and culture is through a tour. You have two options: a walking tour ($15USD) or a tour on a trolley train ($25USD). To maximize time, do the walking tour.

First grab an arepa for breakfast at La Boheme Curacao and then make your way to the main tourist booth which is opposite the Queen Emma bridge. There, you can schedule a two-hour walking tour which will cover Punda. If you’d rather explore on your own – grab a map at the tourist booth and explore! Be sure to grab trinkets at the craft market, get some fresh fruit at the floating market, keep an eye out for the amazing street art and quaint architecture and try the mojitos at The World’s Best Mojito Bar.

Street art in Curacao
Street art, Author: Prayitno, Photo source: Flickr

 

After your tour, head across the Queen Emma bridge toward Otrabanda. Stop for some pictures on the bridge – don’t get caught on it while a ship is close or you’ll be stuck on it for a while!

Queen Emma Swinging Bridge Curacao
Queen Emma Swinging Bridge, Author: Prayitno, Photo source: Flickr

 

Lunch at Dutch Treat

When you get to Otrabanda make a left and order some lunch at Dutch Treat. Try the Patat Oorlog or anything else which catches your eye. While you wait on your food, find a nearby Batidos truck. Batidos are fruit drinks which are quite popular in Curacao.

 

Visit Kura Hulanda Museum

Spend some time people watching, eating and recuperating and then take a short walk to the Kura Hulanda Museum which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to get a guided tour at the museum ($13 USD) which takes you through the rise and fall of African kingdoms and empires and provides some insight into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

 

Mambo Beach Boulevard

At this point you’ve probably had enough sun but you’re ready for the sea and sand. Head back over the bridge toward Punda and take a taxi to Mambo Beach Boulevard. Arrange for the driver to pick you back up in three hours. The ride to Mambo Beach is about 15 minutes. The Boulevard is home to a beautiful beach with clear, calm water, countless beach chairs and cabanas, restaurants, bars and stores. Spend some time exploring the Boulevard, tan on a beach chair or simply enjoy the water.

Mambo Beach Curacao
Mambo Beach, Author: Tom Jervis , Photo source: Flickr

 

Dinner at Mundo Bizarro

Head back to your hotel or apartment and have a rest – it’s been a long day. Be sure to head back out to Punda though- this time to the Mundo Bizarro – a quirky, eclectic Cuban café with live music and great food. Try a traditional Dutch dish like Bitterballen or play it safe with something you already know. After dinner, you can walk back toward the Queen Emma bridge and end the day with a drink overlooking the water at the gorgeous Iguana Café, or pop in for an ice cream cone at the parlor nearby.

You’ve explored the city of Willemstad, had great food, and enjoyed a great day in beautiful Curacao.

 

Where to stay in Curacao?

It’s best to stay in or around Willemstad – the San Marco Hotel and Casino and the City Suites Curacao are good options for a short trip. There are also quite a few Airbnb apartments in the city.

Book here
City Suites Curacao
City Suites Curacao, Photo source: Booking.com

 

Extra tips for visiting Curacao:

 

Transportation

You can explore the entire city without a taxi – just be sure to stock up on water and take breaks in between as it can get really hot. If you’d like to go to the beach or explore the areas right outside of Willemstad, it shouldn’t cost you more than $20 USD per taxi. If you’re heading out of town, take a taxi from Punda as these are cheaper than those in Otrabanda. Taxis in Punda are lined up waiting on the left of the Queen Emma bridge, opposite the tourist booth. Ask the guides at the booth for assistance– they’re really helpful.

Other Tours

If you’re not bent on exploring the city in its entirety and don’t mind passing on the museum, after your morning tour you can opt for a customized tour of the Western part of the island with Sand and Stilettoes. Run by a friendly and professional woman, the four hour tour takes you wherever you want to go – some great stops include Shete Boka National Park, Hato Caves and Cas Abou Beach.

Sunset in Curacao
Sunset in Curacao, Author: Paige Andrew

 

Guest post by Paige Andrew

 

In case you have more than just One Day in Curacao check out Tripadvisor for detailed list of all the top things to do in Curacao.

 

Find the Best Hotel Deals in Curacao

 

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Paige Andrew
Paige Andrew
Travel Blogger at

Paige is a queer Caribbean girl with a serious case of wanderlust. Follow her travels on her blog Lah Hay: https://lahhayy.wordpress.com/

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