Things to do in Curacao are many and varied, providing something to satisfy the interests of just about everyone and the budgets of all vacations. There is a wide choice of hotel and resort accommodation as well as beautiful villas perfect for families or small groups, and other more modest vacation rentals. No matter where you stay on the island, you will be close to at least some of the attractions found here.
Things to do in Curacao
The first of the tourist attractions in Curacao likely to come to mind are beaches. This is an island in the Caribbean, after all. There are close to 40 beaches that are primarily located along the island’s western coastline, beginning at the northern tip with Playa Kalki Beach known for its superb snorkeling and scuba diving, and ending down around Sea Aquarium Beach known for its many beach bars, nightlife, and the respected Curacao Sea Aquarium. Few of the beaches offer those endless stretches of pristine white sand that you might expect. They are generally smaller and some have pebbly patches. But they are beautiful, and many are quite secluded. You can even take an excursion to Klein Curacao, a tiny uninhabited island of the southern tip of the main island that has endless stretches of pristine sands.
Things to do in Curacao include gambling, and there are several casinos here. They are smaller, more intimate, and less glitzy than those found on other islands such as Nassau in the Bahamas. They offer the standard table games, including roulette, blackjack, craps, and poker as well as slot machines. Virtually all of them are attached to resorts or luxury hotels, and many offer live music and other nightlife.
The many Curacao attractions are magnets for large ocean-going ships that bring hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. These ships generally dock in the UNESCO World Heritage capital city of Willemstad for one or two nights while the passengers disembark to enjoy excursions and see the sights. You can also book sightseeing cruises for half or full-day excursions, and Curacao is a popular destination for those sailing through the other ABC Islands (Aruba and Bonaire) on small sailing yachts.
Among all the Curacao attractions drawing visitors, scuba diving is usually at the top of the list. This island just off the coast of Venezuela is blessed with unique coral reefs that fringe almost the entire island and are very close to shore. Additionally, Curacao is renowned in diving circles for its Blue Edge, the sudden and steep drop off only a hundred or so feet offshore. This means that much of the best diving is accessible from the shore even for novice divers. All resorts and many hotels are partnered with a PADI certified dive operator, and it is possible to go from casino to dive site in a manner of minutes.
The numerous varieties of coral and tropical fish are Curacao attractions that are readily accessible even to novice swimmers. If diving excursions aren’t for you, you can enjoy the underwater coral and tropical fish off the beaches in very shallow water. Cas Abao Beach and Playa Porto Mari are both known for their rewarding shallow snorkeling. Surprisingly, some of the luxury hotels right in the city limits of Willemstad boast some of the best snorkeling on the island. The Marriott Resort is one of these. It has a small, but lovely private beach almost completely protected by a reef and has excellent snorkeling.
Since so many of the tourist attractions in Curacao involve the beautiful Caribbean Sea, fishing is something that comes naturally to the local people who provide expertise for anglers from around the world. The deep sea fish that can be found in these waters include marlin and tarpon, sailfish and barracuda, tuna, shark, wahoo, and many others. There are two international fishing tournaments (for marlin and tarpon) that draw anglers from around the world and are important annual island events.
Guided and self-guided tours provide some of the best ways to enjoy the tourist attractions in Curacao and to get the most in-depth knowledge of the island you’ve come to visit. Almost all the things to do in Curacao can be enjoyed on a tour. You can get your shopping and sightseeing done on your own by just wandering the Punda District. However, this is the most historic part of the city, and a tour of Fort Amsterdam will give you insight into the island’s history that will help you understand more about the 200-year-old buildings that house the best boutiques and most authentic dining spots. You can also enjoy tours of the old plantations and national park on the northern tip of the island, multilingual tours of Hato Caves by the airport, and tours of the respected Museum Kura Hulanda.