With a rental car around the islandIf you visit Curacao, it is best to book a rental car in advance. The public transport is not very good and the island is really too big for a daily bike ride. :-). I always choose Sunnycars so my vacations are free of worries and discussions. I also find it important that during my adventures a touch of luxury is never far away and that I have the freedom to go wherever I want. Leave the long drives to others, if you like a mini luxury then we are completely on the same page.
1. Flamingo spotting at sunriseYou have to get up early for this adventure, but it's definitely worth it. In Curacao you can spot Flamingos in the wild. This "must do" is actually a "must try" because the pink divas have their own mindset. Drive from Willemstad in the direction Willibrordus and park the car near the manor Jan Kok. If you stay at Jan Thiel beach you must consider the morning and evening rush to the capital. It would be a pity to miss the group of flamingos through the traffic jam. The best chance to photograph the whole group is between 6h30 and 7h30 AM.
These beautiful salmon-colored birds normally breed on Bonaire but visit Curacao as well
to look for food. The salt mines of Jan Kok (which are no longer in use) offer a quiet and nutritious place. Make it even more romantic and bring your own picnic. Together with these pink beauties you can enjoy eachother's company and a beautiful sunrise.
2. Swimming in the blue water of the "Grote"or "kleine Knip."De Grote Knip, on the west side of the island, is probably the most photographed beach of Curaçao. The water is therefore bluer than blue. You can park your car for free and you don't have to pay any fee to enter the beach. If you want to relax and do some serious sunbathing on a sunbed, you pay six guilders. The facilities are rather rudimentary but the white sand and the enchanting water make up for that.
On Sunday it's a bit of a party. Many locals come to enjoy the beauty of their island and the place smells like bbq everywhere. Feel like snorkeling? That's also possible, along the cliffs you can see a lot of beautiful underwater stuff but for the real work you better swim to the reef further away of the beach. I recommend you only do this if you are a trained swimmer. After all, nature is unpredictable. We didn't have time for a visit, but "De Kleine Knip" lies a bit further and represents (as people told us) the "Bounty feeling" even more. For the most pretty beach you have to take the boat to Klein Curaçao. Read everything about that trip on "Dream big in Klein Curacao"
3. Become one with the natural beauty of Shete Boka.It sounds a bit strange but the most fascinating thing about Curacao for me are not the pretty white bounty beaches or the turquoise clear water. I was most impressed by "Shete Boka".
The national park is about 200 hectares with an overwhelming coastline of more than 10 km with various bays and coves where different kinds of turtles lay their eggs. Shete boka literally means seven mouths, four of them you should definitely visit. You can do the whole park on foot (2 trails of about an hour) but it's also practical that you access to some of these spectacular mouths or coves by car.
The most famous is perhaps Boka Tabla, a cave that is accessible from land on one side, and on the other side the pushed up sea flows in. There is a sign:" enter at your own risk", so just be careful. Also spectacular and slightly less dangerous is Boka Pistol where the seawater is fired into the air like a rocket. We had calculated a bit to where we could stand without getting wet and still take a spectacular picture. Well, to make a mistake is human and super funny.
Boka Wandomi is a beautiful natural bridge over the rough water and on Boka Kalki you only get to the mangrove via a path. Of course I had to show my climbing skills but the jump down was higher than I thought.
What go's up must go down
Shete Boka occasionally gives you the impression of being lost in the Wild Wild West. There is definitely more than one place worthy of an instagram picture and the overwhelming beauty of nature continues to resonate for a long time.
The park is open every day from 09:00 to 17:00. A map not to get lost is found at the entrance and the cost to see all this beauty is only 5 euros per person. If you are a little bit hungry afterwards, you only have to drive for 10 minutes. "Huisje Misje" is a real treat.
Lunch tip: Huisje misje
4. Confess colour in Willemstad.Willemstad is the capital of the Caribbean island of Curaçao and the former Netherlands Antilles, which is why this brightly coloured city has a rich history. The coloured houses are generally colonial buildings that have a Dutch architecture. It is therefore not surprising that some people call Willemstad " Amsterdam of the Netherlands Antilles".
The city consists of two parts that are separated by St. Anna's Bay. But there is enough connection between Punda and Otrobanda. As a pedestrian you cross the Koningin Emmabridge (Queen Emma Bridge). If you drive a car you go through the 56.4 meters high Queen Julianabridge. The Koningin Emmabridge is a real experience, don't be alarmed when the bell rings and the bridge suddenly opens. You are never stuck because there is also a free ferry nearby.
Tip: Be sure to visit Willemstad when it gets dark. The lights of the Koningin Emmabridge are enchanting.
Willemstad is of course also the place to shop and dine. But this vibrant city has a lot more to offer. The trade quay is perhaps the most famous place in the city. You will find Penha at the Quay, a shop dating from 1708. The Rif fort on the side of Otrabanda has a beautiful view and Fort Amsterdam, the yellow coloured building with a beautiful courtyard is definitely worth a visit. There is also a floating market for those who want to score some fresh fruit, and the drink outlets next to the water certainly offer coolness.
Tip: dine near the water at the Governor's office
Pietermaai, the new hotspot of Curaçao
My husband and I where very charmed by the renovated Pieterman. A few years ago it was really dangerous but now it's cleaned up very good. The dilapidated houses have been completely refurbished and there are lots of nice bars and restaurants. Some of them just next to the sea. For a small lunch, drink or just a coffee you can go to Saint Tropez. The refreshing dip in the pool is free of charge. Dining is fun at Mundo Bizarro, Restaurant No5 or Bij Blaauw.