36 Hours in Curaçao
By: Shannon Sims, The New York Times
Your weekend agenda on this Dutch West Indies isle: cove-hopping, sipping blue Curaçao liqueur, exploring a complex past and late-night people-watching.
Turquoise waters, delicious seafood, colorful snorkeling and white sand: There are a lot of places in the Caribbean that have all these wonderful things, but Curaçao is one place you might not have discovered. Sandwiched between Aruba and Bonaire, and a short boat ride from the Venezuelan coast, Curaçao is bigger than its island neighbors and packed with memorable treasures for enterprising travelers to discover. Of the Dutch West Indies, Curaçao may very well be the most Dutch; the island’s capital, Willemstad, looks like a colorful mini Amsterdam, and Curaçao’s currency is the guilder, the former currency of the Netherlands (though United States dollars are readily accepted across the island). Restaurant menus often feature both bitterballen (fried Dutch meatballs) and kabritu stoba (Antillean goat stew), and when the Dutch soccer teams play, the bars are packed with orange shirts drinking Heineken and speaking Papiamento, the local language. Amid this blended culture is a beach hopper’s dream, and the best way to enjoy everything the island offers is by renting a car and roaming the island’s roads until you find the perfect blue cove.