Best Things to Do in Curaçao: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Emil Backup
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Are you dreaming of a Caribbean getaway that’s off the beaten path? Look no further than the vibrant island of Curaçao. This hidden gem, nestled in the southern Caribbean Sea, is a part of the Dutch Caribbean. Here are some of the most fun, captivating, and unique things to do in Curaçao. These stunning sceneries, exhilarating activities, and engaging attractions are sure to make for a vacation experience you’ll be talking about for years.

Curaçao is a cocktail of cultures, colors, and coves, where the sun shines brightly on its pastel-colored capital, Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island is renowned for its unique blend of influences, from its Dutch colonial architecture to its Afro-Caribbean heritage. To the unfamiliar, there isn’t much this island can offer in terms of really cool things to do in Curaçao. But I’m here to dispel that wrong impression because Curaçao is AMAZING!

Curaçao is also a haven for adventure seekers, with its crystal-clear waters offering world-class snorkeling and diving opportunities. Its rugged landscapes are perfect for hiking, and its beautiful beaches are ideal for those seeking relaxation.

From the historic streets of Willemstad to the natural beauty of the Christoffel National Park, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to explore. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Curaçao.

Sunset serenity over Curaçao's turquoise waters. Here's to the top places to visit in Curaçao.
Sunset serenity over Curaçao’s turquoise waters. Here’s to the top places to visit in Curaçao.

Best Places to Visit in Curaçao

Ready to jump into all the coolest Curaçao things to do? I will let you in on my definitive list of things to do and places to explore so you can make the most of your stay in Curaçao. So keep reading to discover all these unique Curaçao places to visit.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, an adventure junkie, or a beach bum, Curaçao has something for everyone. So pack your sun hat and get ready to discover Curaçao. Here’s all the best attractions in Curaçao that you should know about.

1. Christoffel National Park

Looking for the most unique things to do in Curaçao? Don’t miss this one! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, your first stop in Curaçao should be the Christoffel National Park. Covering a large part of the island’s northwest, the park is a treasure trove of natural beauty and biodiversity. It’s named after the mighty Mount Christoffel, which rises 1,239 feet above the Caribbean Sea. It offers breathtaking views of the island and beyond.

The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including the rare Curaçao White-Tailed deer and over 200 species of plants. It’s a paradise for birdwatchers, with numerous species of tropical birds fluttering around.

Stunning landscape of Christoffel National Park, a haven of diverse flora and fauna.
Stunning landscape of Christoffel National Park, a haven of diverse flora and fauna.

But the park isn’t just about nature. It’s also a place of historical significance. Here, you’ll find ancient Arawak Indian cave paintings and the ruins of historic plantations. Giving you a glimpse into the island’s past, The Savanet Museum, located within the park, offers more insights into the region’s history.

Whether you choose to explore the park on foot, by bike, or by car, you’re sure to be enchanted by its natural beauty and tranquility. So, put on your hiking boots, pack your binoculars, and get ready for an adventure in the wild heart of Curaçao. As one of the top Curaçao attractions, you’ll definitely want to add this to your travel itinerary. 

2. Hato Caves

For a unique experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in Curaçao. For a journey into the depths of Curaçao’s history and geology, make your way to the Hato Caves. These captivating caves, located on the northern side of the island, offer a unique adventure that’s both educational and thrilling.

The Hato Caves were formed below the sea level millions of years ago and are the island’s largest and most prominent limestone caves. As you venture inside, you’ll be greeted by a fascinating display of stalactites and stalagmites, formed over centuries by dripping water.

But the caves are more than just a geological wonder. They hold a significant place in the island’s history. The caves were once inhabited by the Arawak and Caiquetio Indians, the original inhabitants of Curaçao, who left behind intricate petroglyphs and cave paintings. Centuries later, the caves served as a refuge for runaway slaves from the plantations.

Exploring the mystical Hato Caves, one of the best places to visit in Curacao.
Exploring the mystical Hato Caves, one of the best places to visit in Curacao.

Today, the caves are open to the public, with guided tours offering insights into their history and geology. As you explore the caves, you’ll also come across a beautiful underground pool and hear the fluttering of fruit bats that call the caves home.

The Hato Caves offer a unique perspective on Curaçao’s natural beauty and history, making them a must-visit on your island adventure. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Curaçao!

3. Blauwbaai (Blue Bay)

Yearning for a getaway like no other? This thing to do in Curaçao has got you covered. If you’re dreaming of a day spent lounging on soft sands and swimming in crystal-clear waters, then Blauwbaai, or Blue Bay, is the place for you. This idyllic beach, located on the southwestern coast of Curaçao, is a slice of Caribbean paradise.

Blue Bay is one of the island’s largest and most popular beaches, and it’s easy to see why. Its white sands are perfect for sunbathing, while its calm, turquoise waters are ideal for swimming. The beach is lined with palm trees, providing ample shade for those who want a break from the sun.

But the real highlight of Blue Bay is beneath the water’s surface. The beach is known for its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, making it a hotspot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a first-timer, exploring the underwater world of Blue Bay is an experience you won’t want to miss.

After a day of sun, sand, and sea, you can enjoy a meal at one of the beachside restaurants or sip on a cocktail as you watch the sunset. With its natural beauty and laid-back vibe, Blue Bay is the perfect place to experience the quintessential Caribbean beach day. Is this one of the coolest things to do in Curacao? You bet!

Blue Bay, Curacao - a tropical paradise, the island's best place with clear waters and sands.
Blue Bay, Curacao – a tropical paradise, the island’s best place with clear waters and sands.

4. Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

History lovers will love this top thing to do in Curaçao. Step into a significant chapter of Curaçao’s history at the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Willemstad. Established in the 17th century, it’s the oldest surviving synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, making it a must-visit for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.

The synagogue was founded by Spanish and Portuguese Jews who fled the Inquisition and sought refuge in the tolerant Dutch colony. Today, it stands as a testament to the island’s rich cultural tapestry and its tradition of religious freedom.

As you enter the synagogue, you’ll be struck by its beauty and tranquility. The interior features high-vaulted ceilings, a Holy Ark, and a preacher’s pulpit. The ancient mahogany furniture, old pipe organ, fine chandeliers, and stained-glass windows add to the synagogue’s historic charm.

Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, a must-visit historical gem in Curacao, showcasing rich cultural heritage.
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, a must-visit historical gem in Curacao, showcasing rich cultural heritage.

One unique feature of the synagogue is its sand-covered floor, a tradition that dates back to the days. When the conversos used sand to muffle their prayers and avoid detection during the Inquisition.

Adjacent to the synagogue is a museum that houses a collection of religious artifacts and provides insights into the Jewish community’s history on the island.

Visiting the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue offers a fascinating glimpse into Curaçao’s multicultural heritage and the enduring spirit of its people. This is one of the most unique things to do in Curaçao you don’t want to miss.

5. Playa Lagun

Looking to explore one of the best places in Curaçao? Add this to your bucket list! For a beach experience that’s a little off the beaten path, head to Playa Lagun. It’s a hidden gem nestled between two towering cliffs on the island’s northwest coast. This secluded cove is one of Curaçao’s best-kept secrets and a favorite among locals and in-the-know visitors.

Playa Lagun is smaller than some of the island’s more popular beaches, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in charm. The beach’s crystal-clear waters are calm and shallow, making it perfect for families with young children. The surrounding cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop and a sense of seclusion that’s hard to find on larger beaches.

But the real draw of Playa Lagun is its vibrant underwater world. The beach’s coral reef is teeming with marine life, including colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional seahorse. It’s a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers, and even if you’re just swimming, you’re likely to spot some underwater creatures.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, swim in the clear waters, or explore the underwater world, Playa Lagun offers a unique beach experience that you won’t soon forget. No wonder visiting Playa Lagun is regarded by the most discerning tourists as one of the best things to do in Curaçao. 

Playa Lagun: A serene, hidden gem in Curacao, perfect for snorkeling and soaking up the sun.
Playa Lagun: A serene, hidden gem in Curacao, perfect for snorkeling and soaking up the sun.

6. Riffort Village

No visit to Curaçao would be complete without a trip to Riffort Village, a bustling hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment located at the mouth of St. Anna Bay in Willemstad. Once a 19th-century fort built to protect the island, Riffort Village has been transformed into a vibrant destination that’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

As you stroll through the village, you’ll find a wide array of shops selling everything from local crafts and souvenirs to high-end fashion and jewelry. It’s the perfect place to pick up a memento of your trip or a gift for someone back home.

When it comes to dining, Riffort Village offers a variety of options to suit every palate. Whether you’re in the mood for local Caribbean cuisine, fresh seafood, or international fare, you’ll find it here. Many of the restaurants offer outdoor seating with stunning views of the bay, making for a dining experience that’s as scenic as it is delicious.

After dark, Riffort Village comes alive with music and entertainment. From live bands to dance performances, there’s always something happening here.

With its lively atmosphere and stunning location, Riffort Village is a must-visit for anyone seeking the full Curaçao experience. With so much charm and personality, Riffort Village is one of the top places to visit in Curaçao.

Riffort Village: A vibrant hub of Curacao, blending historical charm with modern entertainment and shopping.
Riffort Village: A vibrant hub of Curacao, blending historical charm with modern entertainment and shopping.

7. Mambo Beach

This is one of the most unique things to do in Curaçao, hands down. If you’re looking for the perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, look no further than Mambo Beach. Located on the southwest side of Curaçao, this bustling beach is one of the island’s most popular destinations, and it’s easy to see why.

Mambo Beach is known for its bright white sands and brilliantly blue waters, making it the perfect place to soak up the Caribbean sun. The beach is lined with palm trees, providing plenty of shade for those who want a break from the sun. The calm, clear waters are ideal for swimming, and the nearby coral reefs offer excellent snorkeling opportunities.

But Mambo Beach isn’t just about sun and sand. The beach is also home to a bustling boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels. Whether you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, enjoy a delicious meal, or simply sip a cocktail while watching the sunset, you’ll find it all here.

At night, Mambo Beach transforms into one of the island’s hottest nightlife spots, with live music, DJ sets, and dance parties that go on until the early hours of the morning.

Whether you’re a beach bum, a shopaholic, a foodie, or a party animal, Mambo Beach has something for everyone. As such, I recommend this thing to do in Curaçao to everyone I meet.

8. Diving in Curaçao

As far as things to do in Curaçao go, this activity is among the coolest! Curaçao is a diver’s paradise, with a plethora of underwater sites waiting to be explored. The island’s clear, warm waters and vibrant coral reefs make it one of the top diving destinations in the Caribbean.

Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there’s a dive site for you in Curaçao. The island is home to more than 65 recognized dive sites, each offering a unique underwater experience. From shallow reefs teeming with colorful fish to deep walls and wrecks, the diversity of Curaçao’s underwater landscapes is truly impressive.

One of the most popular dive sites is the Tugboat, a sunken tugboat that’s now home to a variety of marine life. Another must-visit is the Mushroom Forest, named for its mushroom-shaped coral formations.

But it’s not just about the dive sites. Curaçao also offers excellent diving facilities and services, including dive shops, equipment rental, and PADI-certified dive schools. Whether you’re looking to get your first diving certification or advance your diving skills, you’ll find the right course for you. 

So, grab your fins and mask, and get ready to discover the underwater wonders of Curaçao. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Curaçao!

Another must-visit in Curacao is the enchanting Mushroom Forest, an underwater wonder teeming with marine life.
Another must-visit in Curacao is the enchanting Mushroom Forest, an underwater wonder teeming with marine life.

9. Kura Hulanda Museum

History lovers will love this top thing to do in Curaçao. Immerse yourself in the rich and complex history of the Caribbean at the Kura Hulanda Museum in Willemstad. This anthropological museum offers a deep dive into the transatlantic slave trade and its lasting impact on the region.

Located in the former home of a Dutch merchant and slave owner, the museum covers a broad spectrum of topics, from the origins of man in Africa to the cultures and histories of the African diaspora. The museum’s collection includes a vast array of artifacts, including African art, pre-Columbian gold, Antillean art, and relics of the slave trade.

One of the museum’s most powerful exhibits is the replica of a slave ship, which offers a sobering look at the conditions endured by enslaved Africans during the Middle Passage. Other exhibits explore the cultures and traditions that African people brought with them to the Americas, and how these have influenced Caribbean societies.

A visit to the Kura Hulanda Museum is both educational and emotional, offering a deeper understanding of Curaçao’s history and its connections to the wider world, making it one of the most unique things to do in Curaçao.

Kura Hulanda Museum: A poignant journey through Curacao's history,
Kura Hulanda Museum: A poignant journey through Curacao’s history.

10. Shete Boka National Park

Looking for Curaçao activities that don’t break the bank? Then this is what you’re looking for! For a taste of Curaçao’s wild side, make your way to Shete Boka National Park, located on the island’s rugged north coast. The park’s name translates to “Seven Inlets,” referring to the number of sea turtle nesting sites found within its boundaries.

Shete Boka is a haven for nature lovers, offering a stark contrast to the island’s idyllic beaches. Here, you’ll find a dramatic landscape of limestone bluffs, crashing waves, and hidden coves. The park’s main attraction is Boka Tabla, where the sea crashes into an underground cavern.

The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including several species of sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a turtle during your visit.

There are several walking trails in the park, each offering its own unique views of the landscape. Whether you choose to explore on foot or by car, be sure to bring your camera – the park’s dramatic scenery makes for some fantastic photo opportunities.

With its raw beauty and abundant wildlife, Shete Boka National Park offers a unique and unforgettable Curaçao experience. As such, this Curaçao attraction is one of the most popular sights in the Dutch Caribbean region.

Shete Boka National Park: A rugged, natural beauty showcasing Curacao's dramatic coastline and diverse wildlife.
Shete Boka National Park: A rugged, natural beauty showcasing Curacao’s dramatic coastline and diverse wildlife.

11. Cas Abao Beach

Looking for what to do in Curaçao? Look no further than Cas Abao Beach. For a quintessential Caribbean beach experience, head to Cas Abao Beach on Curaçao’s northwest coast. This stunning beach, with its soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, is a favorite among both locals and tourists.

Cas Abao is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the Caribbean sun. The beach is fringed with palm trees, providing plenty of shade for those who want a break from the sun. The calm, turquoise waters are ideal for swimming, and the beach’s gentle slope makes it safe for children.

But Cas Abao is more than just a beautiful beach. It’s also a fantastic spot for snorkeling and diving. The beach’s house reef is teeming with marine life, including colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional stingray. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a snorkeling newbie, you’re sure to be amazed by the underwater world of Cas Abao.

After a day of sun and sea, you can enjoy a refreshing drink at the beach bar or indulge in a massage at the beach’s spa. With its natural beauty and laid-back vibe, Cas Abao Beach is the perfect place to experience the best of Curaçao’s beach life. There’s so much to see and experience at Cas Abao Beach that it’s no wonder this is among the coolest things to do in Curaçao.

Cas Abao Beach: A slice of paradise in Curacao, known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine white sands.
Cas Abao Beach: A slice of paradise in Curacao, known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine white sands.

12. Queen Emma Bridge

It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in Curaçao without mentioning the Queen Emma Bridge. End your tour of Curaçao with a visit to the Queen Emma Bridge, a unique floating bridge that connects the Punda and Otrobanda districts of Willemstad. Also known as the “Swinging Old Lady,” the bridge is a beloved symbol of the island and a must-see attraction.

The Queen Emma Bridge is not your typical bridge. It’s a pontoon bridge that swings open to allow ships to pass through St. Anna Bay. When the bridge is open, free ferries transport pedestrians across the bay. Watching the bridge swing open and close is a spectacle in itself and a favorite pastime for both locals and tourists.

The bridge offers stunning views of Willemstad’s colorful waterfront, with its Dutch colonial buildings and bustling harbor. At night, the bridge is illuminated with hundreds of lights, creating a magical atmosphere.

Whether you’re crossing the bridge, watching it swing open from a nearby café, or admiring it at night, a visit to the Queen Emma Bridge is a memorable way to cap off your Curaçao adventure. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Curaçao that should be on any visitor’s adventure list.

"Queen Emma Bridge, Curacao: A must-visit landmark, this floating bridge offers stunning views of the colorful cityscape.
“Queen Emma Bridge, Curacao: A must-visit landmark, this floating bridge offers stunning views of the colorful cityscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to do in Curaçao

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Curaçao? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Curaçao:

What is the best time to visit Curaçao?

Curaçao is blessed with warm, sunny weather all year round, making it a great destination any time of the year. However, the dry season from May to November is often considered the best time to visit.

Do I need a visa to visit Curaçao?

Visitors from many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. However, it’s always best to check the latest visa requirements before you travel.

What currency is used in Curaçao?

The official currency of Curaçao is the Netherlands Antillean guilder, but US dollars are widely accepted across the island.

Is Curaçao safe for tourists?

Curaçao is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like anywhere else, it’s important to take common-sense precautions, especially in crowded areas.

Curaçao things to do are exciting for people of all backgrounds
These activities offer a glimpse of the diverse and exciting experiences Curaçao has to offer.

Can I drink the tap water in Curaçao?

Yes, the tap water in Curaçao is safe to drink.

What is Curaçao best known for?

Curaçao is best known for its vibrant blend of cultures, reflected in its Dutch colonial architecture, Afro-Caribbean heritage, and multilingual locals. The island is also famous for its stunning beaches, world-class diving and snorkeling sites, and the iconic Blue Curaçao liqueur. At a high level, here’s what this South Caribbean island is most famous for:

  1. Vibrant architecture: Willemstad, the capital, showcases a palette of brightly colored colonial buildings along its waterfront, earning it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
  2. Blue Curaçao liqueur: This famous blue liqueur, with its orange flavor, originates from the island and is made from the dried peels of the laraha citrus fruit.
  3. Beautiful beaches: Curaçao boasts numerous idyllic beaches, such as Playa Kenepa and Cas Abao, characterized by turquoise waters and white sands.
  4. Diverse marine life: The island’s underwater world is a paradise for divers and snorkelers. The Curaçao Underwater Marine Park spans 20km of the island’s southern coastline, teeming with coral and marine species.
  5. Cultural fusion: Due to its colonial past and strategic location, Curaçao has a rich blend of cultures, evident in its languages, festivals, and culinary offerings.
  6. Historic forts: Various historic forts like Fort Amsterdam and Fort Nassau serve as reminders of the island’s strategic importance during colonial times.

These highlights, along with its warm climate and welcoming residents, make Curaçao a treasured spot in the Caribbean.

Is it expensive in Curaçao? 

Curaçao can be a bit pricier than some other Caribbean destinations due to its high standard of living and well-developed infrastructure. However, with a range of accommodation options, dining choices, and activities, it’s possible to plan a trip that suits various budgets.

How many days is enough for Curaçao?

Final Thoughts on Exploring Curaçao

From its vibrant capital city to its secluded beaches, from its rugged national parks to its underwater wonders, Curaçao offers a wealth of experiences for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, an adventure junkie, or a beach bum, you’re sure to find something to love about this Caribbean gem. So why wait? Start planning your Curaçao adventure today, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Excited to explore Curacao's top attractions? Pin it for your ultimate travel guide!
Excited to explore Curacao’s top attractions? Pin it for your ultimate travel guide!

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