Curaçao is the Perfect Vacation Destination for a well-deserved Holiday
Curaçao is not only a tropical island with amazing white sandy beaches and palm trees. Curaçao is a perfect Dutch Caribbean travel destination that offers so much more. After spending two weeks on the island, Travander shares all of their best-kept secrets, adventures and recommendations.
“Curacao is the perfect vacation destination and a Dutch Caribbean paradise…”Dutch travel platform Travander
Curaçao Vacation Review
The starting point of our holiday was the luxurious LionsDive Beach Resort. This great eco-friendly resort is very centrally yet peacefully located at the end of Mambo Beach. It features a 50-meter swimming pool with stunning views over the Caribbean Sea. We started each day with a morning swim in the pool. Isn’t that the best way to wake up?
Our Stay at LionsDive Beach Resort
WHY did we choose LionsDive Beach Resort? Because… we needed a real holiday in the sun. No strict travel planning, but simply enjoy the tropical island of Curaçao. And that’s why we looked for a nice resort on the coast and preferably centrally located on the island.
After some online research and tips from friends, we decided to stay at this quintessential Caribbean resort on Mambo Beach. And what a good choice we made!
The resort is fairly large, but because of the many green tropical plants you do not have the idea that you are staying in a large resort. LionsDive feels more like a cozy Caribbean village, with several restaurants, bars, swimming pools and of course the extensive beach on your doorstep.
Our stay in an Ocean View room with a balcony provided a fantastic view of not only the resort but also of the Caribbean Sea and we would definitely recommend a stay here.
Best Caribbean Beach Hopping is in Curaçao
Around the island you can find many beautiful beaches. To explore those, we would recommend to hire a rental car and to consult the Curaçao Diving and Snorkeling Guide. Not all roads are very well maintained but in general, it’s easy to drive around the island.
The most popular beach is without doubt Cas Abao. This beach offers great options for water sports like snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving. Moreover, it is the perfect spot to relax and have a drink or bite at the on-site bar.
Other popular beaches are Grote Knip, Kleine Knip, Porto Marie (known for the wild pigs on the beach) and Kokomo Beach. All four are natural wonders with sandy beaches, sheltered coves and stunning blue ocean views. They are definitely worth a visit.
Although most of the beaches are commonly visited by tourists, there are some hidden gems on the island of Curaçao. Our number one is Rif Sint Marie and Karakter which is located inside the Coral Estate Luxury Beach Beach Resort. Here you can enjoy the crystal clear water, infinity pool and great international cuisine.
Another great beach to visit is Santa Barbara Beach. At the moment the Santa Barbara Beach Resort is closed due to covid-19 and because of this the beach is nearly empty. You can still spend your day here and soak up the sun. Enjoy the tranquility and have a delicious lunch at Boca 19.
If you are looking for beaches that are most popular with locals and if you would like to spend your day away from the crowds, you should visit one of the following beaches: Playa Daaibooi, Playa Jeremi or Playa San Juan.
Best Places to have lunch or dinner in Curaçao
Curaçao has lots of restaurants for every taste and budget. Either from fine dining to small places selling incredible fresh fish. The local cuisine reflects Dutch heritage combined with of course Caribbean and some Indonesian flavors. A typical local dish is Iguana Stew. Unfortunately, we haven’t tried it, but you might want to give it a try!
Best places to have lunch:
La Bohema – a rustic twist to urban dishes
De Gouverneur – specializes in both local and international cuisines while always adding their own Caribbean twist
Chill Beach Bar & Grill – indulge yourself at this beach-side hotspot where you will find the absolute best of Curaçao.
MOOD Beach – offers an escape from the ordinary in a way you’ve never experienced before.
Best places to have dinner:
Fort Nassau – is unique restaurant with 360º view over Curacao
Mosa – promotes a shared dining experience for friends and family
De Visserij – from a seaside picnic table at De Visserij (‘the fishery’ in Dutch), you can sip you favorite beverage and watch as the fisherman bring in their fresh catch of the day
De Heeren at Sea – enjoy a delicious cocktail, authentic cuisine and a breathtaking sunset
Klein Curaçao – An Adventure Day Trip in the Caribbean
Klein Curaçao is just like you would imagine: a tiny, uninhabited, and tropical island. It is the perfect spot for day trip. The island is two-sided, and it couldn’t be more different. One half is a rocky and rugged coastline with spectacular features and iconic shipwrecks. The other half is like a perfect dream. Smooth white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Most of your day will be spent on the beach and in the clear blue waters. But you should definitely visit the other side of the island. In the middle of the island you can find the old lighthouse built in 1877.
The lighthouse is one of the main attractions on Klein Curacao and can be easily reached by foot. Follow the paved path, visit the lighthouse, and make sure you climb into the tower for a panoramic view. Continue on the path behind the lighthouse. It will take you to the rough coastline. Walk along the coast and discover the old shipwrecks.
Tip: explore the island in the morning to beat the heat!
Sailing to Klein Curaçao
Depending on the water and weather conditions, sailing to Klein Curaçao takes about 1-2 hours. To visit the island you need to book a day trip, charter a boat or take your own boat (if you have one). There are a lot of tour companies that specialize in day trips to Klein Curaçao but who you decide on using will largely depend on what you would like to do.
For instance, Ocean Encounters offers private diving charters for groups while other more general excursions for the day. While many of the tours and packages can seem similar – including transportation, lunch and snorkeling gear – be sure to check the amenities that the tour companies offer too.
Click here to start planning your day trip to Klein Curaçao.
Caribbean Diving in Curaçao with Ocean Encounters
With over 70 dive sites around the island, scuba diving in Curacao is the number one thing to do and it for a good reason too!
Why? Because once again Curacao has been named a Best Overall Caribbean and Atlantic Dive Destination in conjunction with Ocean Encounters being the best quality dive operator and LionsDive Beach Resort as one of the best Dive Resorts in the Caribbean!
For us, this was the perfect excuse to get certified as a PADI Open Water Diver. As we already had been in contact with Jeremiah from Ocean Encounters we pre-booked a ‘Discover Scuba Dive’ in advance.
Together with Pol, the scuba diving instructor, we entered the Caribbean Sea at LionsDive Beach Resort to complete some diving skills underwater and before we knew we were at depth of 12 meters.
The day after we started with our PADI Open Water course given by Karen-Maike and two days later, we were able call ourselves PADI Open Water Divers.
Climbing up Mount Christoffel
Curacao differs from other Caribbean islands when it comes to the landscape. As you would expect, you will definitely experience the tropical island vibes here.
But at the same time, it’s also an island with lots of cacti and arid vegetation. Because of this unique landscape there is plenty to do for tourists and visitors who travel to Curacao looking for more than just sun and sea.
Not everyone is aware that Curacao has more to offer than white sanded beaches, brightly painted houses in Willemstad and a great party scene. For those who love to travel, explore in nature and like to work out, Curacao offers great opportunities.
Our favorite, yet most challenging activity, was climbing Mount Christoffel. Once you reach the top you will not only be at the highest point in Curaçao, you will also be treated with stunning panoramic views over the island.
There are eight hiking trails, allowing the visitor the choice between an easy stroll or a challenging hike to the top of Mount Christoffel (recommended for early morning).
Special thanks to Lois and Naomi, the faces behind Travander, for choosing Curacao as their dive and vacation destination! For more than a decade they have been traveling and discovering new vacation hotspots so we are certainly appreciative that they have added Curaçao to their vacation hotspot list!
On behalf of Dive Curacao and Dive Travel Curacao, it has been a sincere pleasure to collaborate with Travander and be able to share this wonderful and inspiring blog about Curaçao.