Curacao is the last letter in the Dutch ABC islands of the South Caribbean consisting of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao and certainly its most dynamic. Aruba possesses the best beaches by far, Bonaire the best diving by far and Curacao has decent of both but more importantly it has a cool, cosmopolitan vibe to it that makes it a very pleasant place to spend a few days.
Curacao is a large, somewhat lush island that acts as the capital of the Netherlands Antilles. Willemstad, it’s capital and the largest city on the three islands acts as the centerpiece of Curacao. This is where the cruise ships dock, this is where you can bargain for endless amounts of duty free goods and assorted other crap and this is where the famous colorful, waterfront is located.
While the main action takes place in Curacao’s casinos, the relaxed sounds of the Caribbean can be heard along the docks of the waterfront area. Live music is king here and you can be assured of a high amount of vacationing Venezuelans dancing in the streets-they are easily spotted because of their Latin flare and of course their fanny or manny packs. I swear, more Venezuelan men wear fanny packs than any other country in the world-I used to live there so I actually do have some insight on this!
Renting a car is the only way to get around Curacao. The island is beautiful and the best parts of the island are at the Western tip where cliffs dot the coast, similar to Jamaica and you can jump off them or head down to the small and rocky beaches. However, I highly suggest heading up to one of the fancy resorts at Westpunt (pronounced Vest-Poont) and hitting up their amazing views and awesome amenities. If paying $500 a night isn’t for you-they actually allow you to enter for something like $5-although I managed to sneak in for free by simply telling the gate guard that I wanted to come in-athough make sure and bring your own towel because otherwise it can get hairy.
Afterwards, enjoy the local treats along the waterfront and my biggest piece of advice from this trip to Curacao is to have a hotel booked before you get there-especially in the high season which is now. I had to pull my patented but always annoying maneuver of not having anything booked and just kind of picking a place, in this case the Howard Johnson Plaza on the Waterfront, and just kind of hanging out in the lobby until the desk guy finally just gives up and gives you a room while cursing you under his breath in Papamiento.
Anyway, Curacao is definitely one of the best islands I have been to in the Caribbean and along with Bonaire and Aruba, makes a nice little triumvirate of islands to check out. Besides, any island that tops off every pina colada with blue curacao is OK in my book.