23:00 PM

Hitting the Road in Curaçao

Caroline, Travelettes


In November, when Berlin had already been hit by the ruthless winter, I had the privilege of escaping to Curacao, a Dutch colonial island in the Caribbean. Part of it is exactly as you’d picture paradise: palm trees, exclusive resorts, and crystal blue waves. On the other hand – and this is the side to Curacao I appreciated a lot more because it was so unexpected – there were mountains to be climbed, shipwrecks to be discovered while snorkeling and wild, untouched nature to be marveled at.

Curacao, I concluded, is the perfect place to take a good old road trip; it’s small enough that you can easily take day trips and get back to your hotel or hostel in time for the end of the day. Here are the stops that made a lasting impression on me.

Take a boat to Klein Curacao
Klein Curacao is an uninhabited island located 15 miles southeast from actual Curacao. Getting there by boat takes two hours and I’d argue the boat journey is already worth it if you’re not prone to seasickness. There are various companies who offer day trips (and lunch!) to Klein Curacao and basically do all the work for you, so you just have to bring sun screen and your bikini.

Anyway, let’s get back onto that boat: Spending two hours on the Caribbean, seeing nothing but clear skies and three shades of blue waves is magical. Once there, take a 5-minute walk from the main beach and you’ll find a picturesque lighthouse and perfect backdrop for impromptu photo shoots and playing hide-and-seek. It was far too hot to spend more than five minutes in the direct sun (at least when you’re pale like me), so I made sure to get back to my little shed asap. The sea is ideal for snorkeling as you can cosy up to sea turtles and take cool underwater photos of fish…

Hit the fisher’s market in Willemstad
Willemstad is Curacao’s capital and home to large parts of the population. Punda, the “touristy” part, is famous for its colourful houses, a spectacular waterfront and local markets where you can literally get a taste or two of Caribbean culture. Warning: it’s very meaty, so good luck if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

The Old Market (Plasa Bieu) is the place for a low-key lunch with the locals – try stobá (a stew made with beef or goat), Guiambo (seafood soup) or funchi (a polenta-style cornmeal paste) and of course, fish, fish, fish. On your way there you will also encounter Queen Emma, Willemstad’s “swinging old lady” pontoon bridge that opens to let ships into the port and closes to let passengers get to the other side of the bay. You can also stay on the bridge while it opens… super fun!

Read the full post, including many beautiful pictures, on Travelettes (originally published on December 26, 2016).