The place to head for a more under-the-radar and authentic island destination, Curacao is an intriguing blend of Europe and the Caribbean.
One of the Dutch Caribbean islands located near the coast of Venezuela, it’s an idyllic paradise known for its colorful colonial architecture, secluded beaches (a mix of white and volcanic sand beaches), hidden caves, warm waters, fine weather, and great diving sites.
Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Curacao…
1. Willemstad – the capital city and a great place to visit in Curaçao
Willemstad is the capital of Curacao and a place you shouldn’t miss when you’re visiting.
Expect some great attractions from beaches to beautiful buildings with historical and architectural significance, and there are also many casinos in the area. It is a lovely city with roughly 140,000 residents.
If you visit the Port of Willemstad you’ll see an array of boats of all sizes, and all don’t miss the gorgeous Don’t miss the pretty pastel-colored colonial architecture located in the Old Town.
2. Cas Abao Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches on the island
Located northeast of Curacao, this beach is a private beach that has beautiful white sand and crystal-blue water. You have to pay to enter the beach, but the price is cheap only about $3 per person.
It’s a gorgeous beach that has become very popular in recent years, so expect others to be joining you.
There are palm trees, huts, and lounge chairs to enjoy, and the beach is surrounded by lots of lovely hills and mountains. It is a great way to spend the day while you’re in Curacao.
3. Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge – a stand-out landmark
For anyone who loves history and unique attractions, this is a must-see place. The locals call it the Swinging Old Lady, and it started as a toll bridge shortly after its construction in 1888.
It connects two sections of Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, and when it was a toll bridge, people were allowed to walk across it in bare feet without paying the toll.
Today, it opens regularly so that oceangoing vessels can get through, and it is 548 feet long and 32 feet wide. It is also worth the trip to see it!
4. Playa Manzanillo – a stunning beauty spot
The beach at Playa Manzanillo offers clear blue water and lots of white sandy beaches. If you love great food, lovely people, and great music, you need to visit this beach!
Both locals and tourists alike enjoy the water and the beach for sunbathing, and you can travel not far from the beach and enjoy four-wheelers and even zip-lining.
The beach makes for a great way to spend the day – or even just a few hours if you have some time in between other tourist attractions.
5. Little Knip Beach – a gorgeous white sandy beach
The Little Knip Beach lives up to its name because it is indeed a very small beach. Nevertheless, if you like seclusion and you don’t mind bringing your own food and drinks, this is a place you won’t want to miss.
It is often a less-than-crowded beach, so you can swim, sunbathe, or even set up a barbecue grill and cook some of your own food without sharing the beach with a lot of other people.
It’s the perfect beach to visit when what you want is to get away from the world for a while and simply enjoy some time with family or friends.
6. Playa Jeremi – part sand and part volcanic material
Located near the village of Lagun in the northwestern part of Curacao, Playa Jeremi is a secluded beach with no facilities, which means it doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles that some of the other beaches in the area have.
The shoreline is made of part sand and part volcanic material and gets quite hot on certain days, which means you may want to bring some sandals along if you go there.
That being said, it’s a great place to visit when you want to feel like you have the island all to yourself, and it’s definitely a trip worth taking.
7. Playa Santa Cruz – a scenic beach with a small coral reef
Also called Playa Santa Cruz, this is a beach located south of the village of Lagun. It is a wide beach with lots of white sand and beautiful blue water, and it is surrounded by lush greenery and some beautiful views.
On the beach itself, you can enjoy beach cabins and even a snack bar, so you won’t have to bring food and drinks yourself unless you want to.
It is one of 37 beaches in Curacao, and it is just as lovely and accommodating as the rest of them.
8. Playa Kenepa Grandi – a very popular beach with the locals
Playa Kenepa actually consists of two different beaches: the Kenepa Grandi, which is the bigger beach; and the Kenepa Chiki, which is a much smaller beach.
You can only get to these two beaches via one road because it is so isolated, but the isolation is what a lot of people love best about it, especially the tourists.
A vista overlooks the beach, which has lots of white sand and crystal-blue waters. It is such a gorgeous beach that many people compare it to a postcard, which is perhaps the biggest compliment someone can give a beach!
9. Playa Porto Marie – a beautiful sandy bay to explore
Playa Porto Marie is a small beach that is located near the village of Sint Willibrordus, right where Porto Marie Bay is found.
It has palm trees and lounge chairs for people who want to relax on its shore and work on their tan, and the beach is currently experimenting with different coral reefs so that the reefs’ condition can be preserved.
You can view the hundreds of artificial coral blocks they’ve set up to do this, or simply enjoy the sand and water like you would any other beach in the area.
10. Kenepa Beach – a great snorkeling spot
Kenepa Beach consists of two separate beaches, and there is only one road that allows you to get to either of them.
The beaches are also known by several different names, including Kenepa Grandi or Grote Knip Beach, which is the biggest of the two beaches; and Kenepa Chiki, or Klein Knip Beach, which is the smaller of the two.
Both beaches are fairly secluded, but this seems to make them even more popular than many of the other beaches in the area. They are also gorgeous beaches that you should definitely add to your list!
11. Klein Curacao (Little Curacao) – a wonderful natural beauty spot to explore
Located southeast of Curacao, Klein Curacao, or Little Curacao, belongs to Curacao and is but 0.66 square miles in size. It is an uninhabited island that has a very arid climate, much like the climate of the desert.
In fact, the only things found on the island are an old lighthouse, a beach house, and several huts.
You likely won’t find this on your list of places to visit in Curacao, but it is an interesting place to visit if you want to see something that is very secluded and cut off from the rest of the world.
The only people who are ever found there are fishermen who sometimes stay for several days and then leave.
12. Punda – a picturesque district in the capital
In the capital city of Willemstad there are four different quarters, and one of them is named Punda and this is one of the most stunning places to explore in Curaçao.
Both Punda and Otrobanda are separated by the Sint Anna Bay. Punda was established in 1634 and was built as a walled city.
Willemstad is also home to the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas, known as the Curacao Synagogue. The center of this city has some amazing architecture and a harbor entry, and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
13. Mambo Beach – one of the most popular spots to visit on the island
While they do charge you $6 per person to enter this beach, it’s a really magnificent beach.
Not only is it gorgeous, but it has everything you need to make it a great outing, including stores, restaurants, and places to stop and get a cool drink.
You can enjoy great nightlife, visit a relaxing spa, and shop to your heart’s content. There is plenty of great things to do in Mambo Beach whether you want to swim, sunbathe, indulge in some water sports, or just relax!
14. Blue Bay Beach – one of the most stunning destinations in Curacao
Located northwest of the capital city of Willemstad, Blue Bay Beach is yet another beautiful beach in Curacao.
In addition to the beach itself, also check out the golf courses, the Blue Bay Sculpture Garden, numerous restaurants, and even the hockey pitch! Great diving opportunities are located nearby too.
It is located very close to a fishing village called Sint Michiel, which is part of the reason for its charm. It also has plenty of white sand and clear blue water to enjoy.
15. Shete Boka National Park – a breathtaking natural wonder
This park is known for its waves that pound against its coral rock formations, and they are certainly a sight to see.
But you also won’t want to miss the many other attractions in the park, including limestone bluffs, a natural bridge, a sea turtle conservation area, and a cavern.
If you time your visit right, you can sometimes catch sea turtles laying their eggs, which is something you certainly won’t forget.
If you’re visiting Curacao and you need a break from the beach-like activities, then definitely check out the natural beauty spot Shete Boka Park.
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Gaby Maia – writer and photographer
Born and raised in Brazil, Gaby has always had a taste for the intriguing, the off-beat and the far flung. After traveling around most of South America, living in Spain and Italy and then moving to England, her feet have stayed continually twitchy. Studying for a degree in Spanish translation and then learning five more languages only poured more fuel onto her traveling ardor. Gaby likes nothing better than discovering new destinations in her spare time and meeting the locals, tasting the cuisine and then writing about her favourite places. Her other indulgences include French cinema, boxing, photography, colourful manicures and soaking up the rays on a sun-infused beach. The places she loves the most include Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Turkey, Barcelona, Lisbon and Cornwall. Find Gaby on Linkedin or Twitter.