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Curacao's Tropical Allure

Curacao is part of the Dutch Antilles - Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maartin - and it's the most interesting of the islands. This tropical paradise, which retains its Dutch identity, is outside the hurricane path. It stays 82 degrees and sunny year-round; its turquoise-blue waters and luscious palm trees beckon.

Plus, it's not flooded with American tourists.

Twenty miles from South America, Curacao is unique among Caribbean islands. Its main industries are the oil refinery and offshore banking, with tourism a distant third. That gives visitors a sense of authenticity.

And it all begins with Willemstad, the capital, famed for its Handelskade, the waterfront of multicolored houses that helped secure its designation as a World Heritage Site.

The charming town is divided into two sections: Punda, home to government buildings, small museums, restaurants and the floating market, and Otrobanda, a lively, sometimes funky neighborhood, with its own eateries and street art just across the river. They are separated by a five-minute ferry ride.

Read the full story, originally published on September 25, 2015, on The Huffington Post.