15:29 PM

5 Reasons You’ll Fall in Love With Curaçao

Christine Amorose, AFAR


When you mention Curacao, most people think of a bright blue liquor that tastes like oranges—not a Caribbean island paradise. Often overshadowed by Aruba and Bonaire, the “C” of the Netherlands Antilles is a vibrant place teeming with incredible coral reefs and beautifully restored colonial architecture.

After one visit, you’ll wonder why everyone hasn’t heard of it—but you’ll also want to keep the secret for yourself.

1. The revitalization is just beginning in Pietermaai Historic District. 
At the turn of the century, Pietermaai (pictured above) was a neighborhood of neglect: abandoned buildings, homeless squatters, dilapidated infrastructure. But just 15 years later, the district is being transformed with a fresh coat of colorful paint and an influx of trendy restaurants, boutique hotels and funky student bars, including Mundo Bizarro, a bar that’s furnished entirely with gems found in the rubble, like an antique soda machine and a broken tile mosaic.

2. The Caribbean Sea has never looked better. 
The water is a stunning shade of turquoise, and the clarity is unbelievable. While it’s understandably a coveted snorkeling and scuba diving destination, stone shore breaks and natural coves make it a surprisingly lovely place to swim. The sandy lagoons are easy on the crashing waves and the temperature is just the right level of refreshing: perfect to float all your cares away. Although all of the beaches are beautiful, it’s hard to beat Kleine Knip—make sure to work a beach-hopping day into your itinerary.

Read the full article, originally published on July 6, 2015, on AFAR.