37 Hours on Curacao

37 Hours in Curacao
The island of Curacao sits outside of the hurricane belt and the tourist belt (as compared to Holland’s other Caribbean islands), though it’s got plenty to offer. While you could easily spend a lifetime there, here at Somewhere Or Bust, we give you at least 37 Hours to experience the best of Curacao, just in case there were any other publications out there brazen enough to recommend travelers to a destination for fewer hours than that. Without further ado, here are the best things to do on Curacao.


The Best Things to do On Curacao




The Best Things to do in Curacao


10 AM: Walking and Lunching in Willemstad

This UNESCO-prized city, which is famous for its facades–a row of buildings painted in pastels and primary colors sit along the bay–offers more than that requisite snapshot that is replicated on every license plate. The charm of Willemstad is found on Punda street where Venezuelan fisherman dock, selling the day’s best catch. Follow the road to the food market, Plasa Bieu, stopping along the way at the batido trucks for frozen fruit smoothies. At Plasa Bieu, cauldrons of oxtail and goat stew bubble away at the half dozen stalls. For lighter fare, try the pumpkin pancakes.


The Best Things to do on Curacao


Most interesting in Willemstad is the Snoa Synagogue, more formally known as the Mikve Israel-Emanuel. The yellow building is the oldest, continuously operating synagogue in the entire Americas. While the white-walled and blue-stained-glass interior only holds services for about ten to fifteen people each Shabbat, hundreds visit the synagogue daily to step across the white-sand floors of the temple. Before departing, visit the synagogue’s museum, where one of the oldest Torahs is housed. The 14th century scroll is believed to have been smuggled out of Spain before the Inquisition.


The Best Things to do in Curacao


2 PM: The Curacao Winery

Near the airport, tipplers can experience Curacao’s first winery. Built on land that once belonged to the island’s largest plantation, this is one of the few microclimates in the Caribbean suitable for grape growing. While the first harvest won’t produce drinkable wine before April 2016, the Dutch vintner is serving plenty of reds and whites from his vines from across the Atlantic. Ask for a tour of the property, as there are a number of historic relics that make the property as much a museum as a winery. In the brush behind the property sits a former slave prison and cemetery, from the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively. On a more accessible walk through the vineyard, guests will pass slave-dug wells and slave-built walls, though they’ll have to hop over corrugated steel fencing set up to keep the iguanas from destroying the crop.


The Best Things to do in Curacao


7 PM: Dinner in the Pietermai District

New and emerging as a relaxed nighttime hangout, this area has a number of bars and restaurants worth exploring. While I ate at a decent restaurant, it’s not worth recommending or knocking here. But the area is certainly filled with plenty of hits and more to come.


The Best Things to do in Curacao




9 AM: Getting Active

Always the best way to experience a Caribbean island is to go for a hike or head to the waters. I had a bit of a disastrous paddle on account of the winds, which forced me to hitch a ride back by boat. But, should you find more peaceful conditions, stroke to your heart’s content. For hikers, you can head to Curacao’s highest peak at Mount Christoffel for top views. It’s only a two-hour return.


The Best Things to do in Curacao


12 PM: Lunch at Sea Side Terrace

Appropriately named, as all three words define this no-frills, shady spot situated before a lagoon, the Sea Side Terrace offers simple fare, limiting the best choices to fresh fish. (Shameful diners can also opt for beef or chicken.) Go with the seafood mix deluxe, which offers conch, shrimp, a choice of red snapper, mahi mahi, or lionfish, and a side. The polenta, as well as the rice and beans, are tops.


The Best Things to do on Curacao


2 PM: ATV Riding

A bit slow at first, as safety concerns are ironed out and asphalt roads need to be traversed, once Eric’s ATV Adventures releases riders into the wilderness of Curacao things get exciting. The terrain is hilly and, in some sections, narrow. All is cactus-lined, which gets the adrenaline pumping, too. On some routes there are caves that the team will quickly hike riders to, which, at the top, offer incredible panoramic sweeps of uninhabited Curacao.


The Best Things to do on Curacao


8 PM: Dinner at Shore

The Santa Barbara Resort’s best restaurant is Shore. The chef, a local, received his training in a Michelin star restaurant in Holland and brought that culinary prestige to the menu at Shore. Everything is exceptional, though steering clear of the pan-seared scallops and seafood fettuccine could be a grave mistake.




The Best Things to do in Curacao


9 AM: Brunch

Hofi Cas Cora is Curacao’s first farm-to-table restaurant, (if you exclude all the local places that were never chic enough to label themselves as such). Regardless, this brunch spot, only open on weekends, offers beautiful vistas across the farm, and serves up entrees that are all equally good, albeit equally small. But the taste and setting and good drinks makes up for the size of the offerings.


The Best Things to do on Curacao


11 AM: The Beach

Much of Curacao is quiet on Sunday, so there’s no better way to enjoy the tranquility than at the beach. A jewel along the coast is Klein Knip. While distant from the airport, on the west side of the island, it’s a gorgeous retreat and should be worked in at some point during the stay.


2 PM: The Grill

Before leaving Curacao, ask a local “Where’s the grill today?” All across the island, homeowners host informal gatherings on their properties, which are open to the public. A tourist will certainly stand out at these mostly local events, but there’s not a more authentic experience to be had. Purchase a tray of food from the host, sip back an Amstel Bright, and listen for the bell, which means that the rum bottle is making the rounds.


The Best Things to do in Curacao

Posted on by Noah Lederman in 37 Hours, Canada & The Caribbean, Somewhere

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