12 Things to Do in Curaçao: Discover the Caribbean Island

Curaçao is a breathtakingly beautiful Caribbean island known for its numerous impressive attractions. Unique architecture, influenced by Dutch and Caribbean styles, marks the waterfront facades in the island’s capital harbor area. Additionally, the famous Queen Emma Bridge dominates the image of Willemstad.

With a promising selection of museums in Curaçao, culture-enthusiastic tourists will find plenty to enjoy. For nature lovers, the stunning national parks, where you can admire the island’s unique flora and fauna, are a must-visit. Numerous white sandy beaches with crystal-clear water also offer a paradise for sunbathers who wish to spend a relaxed day by the sea and explore the underwater world.

Whether you’re interested in extraordinary architecture, diverse nature, or just relaxed days at the beach, there are a lot of things to do in curacao.

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#1 Things to Do in Curaçao: Queen Emma Bridge

The iconic Queen Emma Bridge is one of Curaçao’s most famous tourist attractions and a very popular photo subject. The bridge, built with a special turning mechanism in 1888, is known worldwide for its unique construction consisting of several floating elements. These floating parts allow the bridge to move aside, letting ships pass through the adjacent harbor.

Accessible only to pedestrians, the bridge connects the neighborhoods of Punda and Otrobanda. We recommend taking a short stop while crossing, as you can enjoy an excellent view of the harbor from there.

Insider tip: When the bridge is open, you can easily travel from one district to another using the free pedestrian ferry.

You can see the Queen Emma Bridge at night. A visit to the beautiful bridge is one of the things to do in Curaçao.

#2 Things to Do in Curaçao: The Bustling District of Punda

The district of Punda is characterized by picturesque architecture in the form of colorful colonial buildings. The most famous row of houses, known as “Handelskade”, is a popular attraction among both locals and tourists. You may have encountered images of these characteristic waterfront facades in travel magazines about Curaçao or on postcards.

Along the promenade stretching along Handelskade, you’ll find numerous cafes inviting you to linger. In Punda, you will also find the island’s main shopping streets, where you can equally find clothing stores from big brands and small boutiques, specialty stores, and souvenir shops inviting you to browse and shop.

Lively street in the Punda district of Curaçao with numerous restaurants.

#3 Things to Do in Curaçao: The Artistic District of Otrobanda

Otrobanda is another well-known district linked to Punda by the Queen Emma Bridge. The name “Otrobanda,” in the local language Papiamento, means “the other side.” The artistic district is one of the most popular things to do in Curaçao and enchants with various colorful buildings and striking Street Art.

#4 Things to Do in Curaçao: Kurá Hulanda District

The Kurá Hulanda district in Curaçao is a popular attraction and part of the old town, where you’ll find different museums, studios, and galleries as well as great restaurants and charming cafes. For culturally inclined travelers, the Kurá Hulanda Museum at the harbor is a real highlight. The historical museum, established in 2001 by a Dutch businessman, provides insight into the slave trade of the 16th and 19th centuries. The museum focuses particularly on how the slave trade impacted the Caribbean, especially Curaçao.

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#5 Things to Do in Curaçao: Hato Caves

The Hato Caves are located north of the island’s capital and just a few minutes from Curaçao’s airport, which was long known as the “Hato International Airport” before being renamed to “Curaçao International Airport”. Although not particularly large, spanning about 4,900 m2, the Hato Caves are nevertheless very impressive. The comparatively warm limestone caves feature characteristic stalactites and stalagmites that descend from the ceiling and rise from the floor.

The caves can only be visited with a trained tour guide, who will provide you with more exciting information about the history of the caves. Admission for adults is approximately $10.00, while children from four years old can explore the intriguing caves at a discounted price of $8.00. Additionally, a tour of the Hato Caves, combined with a trip to Flamingo Park and a relaxing stay at the beach, makes for a special experience.

#6 Things to Do in Curaçao: Blue Room Cave

The Blue Room Cave is an underwater cave that is accessible only through an entrance from the sea. A unique natural spectacle unfolds in the Blue Room Cave as the interaction of sun and water makes the cave glow in blue hues.

A tour to the Blue Room Cave is often combined with a coastal cruise and other activities, such as snorkeling with turtles. Such a day trip costs about $215.00 per person, but you will be in a small group of no more than ten people. This type of visit is particularly recommended for divers who require support from a professional guide. Experienced divers, who may live in Curaçao or have visited frequently, can also kayak to the cave entrance and from there dive into the depths of the underwater world.

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#7 Things to Do in Curaçao: Renaissance Mall & Rif Fort

The Renaissance Mall is adjacent to the historic walls of Rif Fort in Willemstad. In this shopping paradise, the largest shopping center in Curaçao, you will find a wide selection of various shops and boutiques. Additionally, there is a large array of restaurants and cafes offering local dishes and high-quality cuisine.

#8 Things to Do in Curaçao: Jan Kok Saline

The Jan Kok Saline is known for the many pink flamingos that you can observe there. To avoid disturbing the flamingos, tourists are not allowed to approach the animals closer than 100 meters. Therefore, be sure to pack binoculars to see the flamingos in all their glory.

Wooden information sign at the Jan Kok Saline, visiting the Jan Kok Saline is one of the things to do in Curaçao

But not only for observing the flamingos is the Jan Kok Saline a recommended destination. The Jan Kok Landhuis, located not far from the saline, is also worth a visit.

#9 Things to Do in Curaçao: Beaches of the Caribbean Island

An island without beaches is like a garden without flowers – this could well be the motto of Curaçao. The most beautiful beaches in Curaçao can be found on the western side of the island.

The most famous beach in Curaçao is Grote Knip, which is not only a sought-after attraction but also a popular photo spot. Grote Knip is cherished by tourists and locals alike for its pristine nature and is known for its crystal-clear water.

If you are interested in snorkeling, visiting the Playa Grandi is one of the things to do in Curaçao. There you can not only admire a beautiful coral reef but also, with great certainty, encounter several sea turtles. This beach is relatively unknown compared to many other beaches in Curaçao, so you are likely to encounter only a few other tourists there.

Hammock between palm trees on the Daaibooi Beach, a popular spot on Curaçao

The Playa Porto Mari is located further south and is famous for its extraordinary beach inhabitants, two tame pigs. In addition to the cute pigs that enjoy sunbathing there, the beautiful beach is known for its white sand, crystal-clear water, and the adjacent restaurant, which offers a selection of delicious dishes.

If you would like tips on recommended beaches, we suggest reading our article on the beaches of Curaçao. In addition to brief information about each beach itself, we also discuss the facilities and entrance fees of the beaches.

#10 Things to Do in Curaçao: Klein Curaçao

In the heart of the Caribbean, about 25 kilometers from the southeastern edge of Curaçao’s coast, lies the fascinating sister island named “Klein Curaçao.” This uninhabited paradise is an absolute must-see and should definitely be on your Curaçao travel checklist. In addition to the fine sandy beach, there are also a few other attractions to discover on Klein Curaçao. These include the prominent lighthouse as well as the wreck of the tanker “Maria Bianca Guidesman.”

In Willemstad, several boats depart daily heading to the small, paradisiacal island of Klein Curaçao. The meeting point for all travel-enthusiastic tourists is the harbor. On the day trip to Klein Curaçao, you will receive a breakfast and a rich BBQ at noon. Moreover, you will be provided with drinks and have several hours to enjoy the paradisiacal idyll on the small island. Explore the sights, snorkel in the crystal-clear water, or relax on the white sandy beach.

#11 Things to Do in Curaçao: Sights in nature

Visiting the Shete Boka National Park in the north of the island, established in 1994,  is an other thing you need to do in Curaçao. Covering an area of about 470 hectares, the nature reserve stretches along the Caribbean coast. A particular highlight is the numerous spectacular coves, as suggested by the park’s name, “Shete Boka,” which translates to “seven small bays.” The main attraction, the Boka Tabla cave, is located near the entrance of the national park and can be reached via a stone staircase carved into the large rocks. From the small viewing platform, the breaking waves can be observed especially well.

View of the sea and the beach in Shete Boka National Park.

Right next to the Shete Boka National Park lies the equally commendable and significantly larger Christoffel National Park. Covering an area of 2,300 hectares, it is home to a wide variety of animal and plant species. The park also offers ideal opportunities for adventurous hikes in Curaçao. Numerous nature trails wind through the park’s unique landscape. During your tour, you also have the opportunity to climb the eponymous “Christoffel Mountain”. For about $107.00 per person, you can also book a safari in Christoffel National Park. In addition to the extraordinary flora and fauna, which is rarely reached by most visitors, you will receive additional fascinating insights into the history and landscapes of this park from the experienced tour guides.

Viewpoint from Christoffelberg on the rocks and green nature

#12 Things to Do in Curaçao: Blue Curaçao Distillery

The Blue Curaçao Distillery is located in Landhuis Chobolobo and is the namesake of the world-famous “Blue Curaçao” liqueur. To this day, the liqueur is produced in this traditional craft distillery. During a guided tour of the distillery, you’ll get an insight into the distillation process and also learn what makes the liqueur so special. Of course, you’ll also have the opportunity to taste the blue liqueur (as well as the variants now available in other colors) and an exceptional cocktail prepared on-site. Even if you’re looking for an original souvenir from your vacation, the liqueur is a recommended gift. You can purchase it directly at the adjacent gift shop.

Tip: Pay attention to customs regulations!

Each person (over 18 years old) is allowed to export a maximum of 1 liter of liquor from Curaçao. Therefore, when choosing your souvenirs, make sure not to exceed this amount. Fortunately, you can also find small bottles at Landhuis Chobolobo, so you can bring a few more bottles for friends and family.