Curaçao island is part of the Netherlands and this is evident in the architecture and styles of the local buildings, which have often been given a local twist and painted in pastel hues. Curaçao is one of three Leeward Antilles island, the other two islands being Aruba and Bonaire and making up the ABC Islands. The local residents of the island have developed the native Creole language into their own local language known as papiamentu or Papiamento, which is a blend of the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch language. English is also widely spoken throughout the island.
Visit the Queen Juliana Bridge at Willemstad which stands at 185 feet and is the tallest bridge in the Caribbean and is actually one of the highest bridges on earth. You’ll get a bird’s eye view from the bridge which looks out over St. Anna Bay and also over Willemstad as well.
Spend a day to the Curacao Sea Aquarium, especially of you are traveling with your family, which is home to a dolphin academy. The dolphins are pretty popular and you are advised to reserve your tickets in advance. Don’t forget to explore the other animals in the aquarium before you leave.
For a secluded laze about on a beach head to Playa Lagun beach which is w wonderfully secluded bay situated on the west end of Curaçao in the small town of Lagun. The small sandy stretch of beach is a real hideaway as it is enveloped by high cliffs on each side. Bring your snorkel equipment and spot the abundance of local fish species and corals.
The architecture of the houses found on Curacao can attest to the influences the Dutch have on this island. If architectural attractions is your cup of tea, then the Historic Area of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Queen Emma Bridge are a must visit. The capital, Willemstad, developed over the centuries, reflects European urban planning concepts and the styles of not just the Dutch but also that of the Spanish and Portuguese.
The migrant population of this island is also evident in the sound and sights of this enchanting island. Visitors will be able to relish the distinctive Caribbean music like Reggae, Calypso, Tambu and the muzik di Zumbi. These traditions can be observed during the festivals like the Easter Great Seu March.
If the crystal-clear water appeals to you then Groot Knip, the Sea Aquarium and the Baya Beach Club at Caracas Bay Island should be on your list of places to stopover. Besides swimming, visitors have a selection of activities like boat rides, canoeing and water biking to indulge themselves in.
Places of interest worth visiting on Curacao include:
- Beth Haim
- Curaçao Maritime Museum
- Curaçao Museum
- Floating Market
- Fort Amsterdam
- Fort Church Museum
- Kurà Hulanda Museum
- Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
- Numismatic Museum
- Postal Museum
- Roosevelt House
- St Annabaai, Schottegat
- St Jorisbaai
- Tele Museum
The Caribbean region is actually made up of some 7,000 islands which are commonly known as the West Indies. The 'Caribbean' usually refers to the Caribbean Sea, the actual Caribbean islands and the coasts which sit on the Caribbean Sea. The area was named the West Indies in 1492 after explorer Christopher Columbus thought he had landed in Asia, in the Indies.
The largest island group is the Antilles which is divided into the Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles is made up of Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, which is Haiti and Dominican Republic and in fact the Greater Antilles accounts for around ninety percent of the total land in the whole of the West Indies.
The Lesser Antilles comprise the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos. The Windward Islands are made up of these islands; Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire make up the Leeward Antilles.
The Leeward Islands are made up of the following islands; US Virgin Islands (Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Saint John and Water Island), British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada), Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda (Antigua, Barbuda, Redonda), Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and Guadeloupe.
Curacao was until 10 October 2010 part of Netherlands Antilles which was dissolved. The Netherlands Antilles was made up of five countries; Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius (which are now special municipalities of the Netherlands) and Curacao and Sint Maarten (which are now constituent countries of the Netherlands).
The Netherlands Antilles was originally discovered and settled by the Spanish in the 15th Century. By the 17th Century, the Dutch had conquered these islands and made them their military bases and more important the trading center for the slave trades in the West Indies. With the abolishment of slavery in 1863, these islands declined in importance. It was not until the 20th century that these islands began to flourish again by serving as oil refineries centers for Venezuela. It is also lately that tourism has played a greater role in the economic growth of these islands.
Due to the colonization by the Dutch, the cultures of these islands are largely influenced by the Dutch way of life. In addition, these traditions are often infused with a local flavor making them a unique potpourri of culture for each respective island. These cultural diversities are reflected in the festive events that display the colorful parades, the vibrant music like the Calypso and Pan Music as well as the traditional cuisines of the island.
The average temperature in Curacao is quite stable at around 28C (82F). Peak season runs from December through April. The peak season for cruise ships runs from October until April. Because these islands usually miss the hurricane season, outside these peaks season month is a good time to go since the places can be classified as sleepy then. The hotels rates are also substantially lower during these off peak period.
The real charm of Curacao lies in its people and you cannot savor the true essence of the Caribbean without getting to know the people. You need to join in and mix with the local population in order to get a feel of the warmth and character of the local populace.
The local bars are also a good place to meet with the locals. Because Rum shops are in reality the meeting places for the local community especially in Curacao, you soon get to be part of the pack. Try to be loyal and not bar hop as so many tourists comes and goes. It might take a while before you get to be part of the crowd but a regular face soon becomes a familiar face.
Depending on what you prefer arrange your schedule so that you can have an easy and relaxing time on one or both islands. First, decide your favorite beaches and dive spots for each island. Compare and pick the best of each for both islands. Two weeks should be enough to have a satisfying and enjoyable time but you can take as long as you wish.
Copyright © 2013 PureTravel. All rights reserved. Departures 2013 and 2014.