Found in the former military hospital, the Curaçao Museum opened its doors in 1948, making it the oldest museum on the island. Its exhibits include world-class works of art, and period furnishings that pay tribute to the opulent past of the island’s richest days.
From now on, when I hear the word “Curaçao,” I’ll think primarily of soft, sandy beaches, and colorful buildings. But there was a time (not that long ago!) when the only connotation brought to mind would have been “liqueur.” Blue Curaçao has long been a staple at bars around the world, and we went to the Landhuis Chobolobo to see the factory in which it was originally produced.
Ever since the dawn of the 16th century, when it was finally drawn onto the maps of European explorers, Curaçao’s fortunes have been tied to the sea. The Maritime Museum, located across from the Floating Market at the beginning of the Waaigat Harbor, is a must for anyone interested in understanding the history of the island.
Between the town of Barber and the eastern coast of Curaçao lies a swath of land known as Patrick, named after a plantation house which used to sit roughly in its center. Rugged, isolated and mostly flat, this is a popular area for ATV tours, but you can also hike and easily reach the coast where there are a couple of impressive inlets.
A large, full-service beach between Playa Porto Mari and the beaches of San Juan, Playa Cas Abou is not a recommended destination when you feel like getting away from it all. But if you want an easy day on the sand, with food and drinks readily available, you could certainly do worse.
Without a doubt, Curaçao’s most popular hike is to the top of the Christoffelsberg. Practically speaking, it’s the island’s only popular hike. But as we’ve learned, there are plenty of other trails which merit attention. One of the best is also within the National Christoffelpark: a rarely-used path which leads through a region called the Zevenbergen (Seven Peaks) and to the summit of Seru Bientu, where a unique type of palm tree grows.
Four beaches can be accessed from a single entry point near the northern town of Soto. At the former Landhuis of San Juan, you’ll be asked to pay a small entry fee before continuing along a set of dirt paths that lead to the sea. It’s up to you which path you take.
Every Sunday morning in the northern town of Barber, the market hall is converted into a food court where you can find every type of Curaçaoan specialty imaginable, from fish soup to stewed papaya, along with a wide variety of baked sweets and homemade drinks. Show up hungry, because you’ll likely want to sample a little of everything.
Carved out over the course of millennia into the region’s limestone landscape, the Hato Caves are found next to Curaçao’s international airport. In the past, these caves served as a shelter for the Arwak Indians and a hiding spot for runaway slaves, and are now a popular tourist attraction.
As you might expect for an island nation, fish is a popular meal on Curaçao. And as you might expect for a Caribbean island nation, fried fish is where it’s at. I’m sure there are others, but we found two local seafood joints that we can recommend.