Latest update: 17 February 2023
Of course: you go to Curaçao for a beach holiday. But don’t forget to discover the island in between sunbathing and swimming. There is, in fact, quite a lot to do: Curaçao offers many sights and all kinds of activities. Check out the 23 tips for a wonderful stay on the island.
Tips for Curaçao and rent a car
Curaçao is very far away from the Netherlands and yet: so close. It is about a 10-hour flight to Curaçao, but I speak more Dutch on the island than in Amsterdam. It immediately feels familiar and yet so different. The many beaches, the wildly overgrown winding roads, cacti along the road, and potholes everywhere give an adventurous feeling, even though tourists have long discovered it.
The most important tip for Curaçao is renting a car. Of course, there is public transport, but you are a lot more flexible with a rental car. I prefer to rent from Sunny Cars or EasyTerra because you can arrange all insurance in advance. At Sunny Cars, this is called all-inclusive, at EasyTerra worry-free.
Rental car arranged? On to the tips: what to do in Curaçao?
Tip 1 – Visit Klein Curaçao
A visit to Klein Curaçao should be on your Curaçao bucket list. So book a day trip and let go of the planning: the tour operators have taken care of everything down to the last detail. The boat trip can be a bit intense for some people (seasickness pills are not a luxury), but the reward is more than worth it.
Klein Curaçao is an extinct island with bounty beaches and bizarrely clear water. There are only a handful of sights on the island, so you’ll have ticked them off in no time.
Read all the details about a visit to Klein Curaçao, including an overview of all tour operators.
Tip 2 – Snorkel with turtles
This is what you want! But where do you find them? The turtles of Curaçao have their go-to places to chill and eat. Sometimes you have to be patient to spot them, but usually, the turtles are not afraid to show up. They are used to having so many tourists admiring them. Always treat the animals with respect: do not touch or feed them.
Tip 3 – Spot flamingos
Flamingos reside in various places on the island. However, the best chances to see them up close are at Sint Willibrordus.
Tip 4 – Nena Sanchez Art Gallery
Nena Sanchez is a famous artist who creates colorful landscapes and still lives. You can admire and buy her work in the Landhuis Jan Kok.
More about this Curaçao tip: What to do in and around Sint Willibrordus
Tip 5 – Hollywood? Williwood!
You’ve probably seen the Hollywood sign on the hills of Los Angeles in movies – or maybe even in real life? Well, Curaçao has them too: not Hollywood, but Williwood.
Check the location in the blog article about Sint Willibrordus.
Tip 6 – Pigs on the beach
Okay, maybe you too imagine cute little pigs in the sea. But no, two pretty sturdy pigs live on Playa Porto Marie. They come and go as they please. Sometimes they just come to sniff for food, and occasionally they snore extensively on the waterfront.
Tip 7 – Visit (and climb?) the Christoffelberg
In the largest national park of Curaçao lies the highest mountain of Curaçao: the Christoffelberg. Now, you CAN just drive around the park with your rental car (via Sunny Cars or EasyTerra), nothing wrong with that and great fun. But, you can also climb the mountain. That is a good workout with beautiful views.
Tip 8 – Go out for dinner
You absolutely do not have to go hungry in Curaçao. There is a lot of choice in terms of restaurants. From chic to simple fries with mayonnaise (yes, we Dutch love our mayonnaise). So what are you up for?
More about this Curaçao tip: Foodie guide – best restaurants on Curaçao
Tip 9 – Discover the capital: Willemstad
Willemstad is the city you know from the pictures with the colorful trading quay (Handelskade). In real life, it is just as bright and colorful. In Willemstad’s center, you can enjoy shopping – in the shopping center or at the market. And there are several sights, such as the Jewish Synagogue and Fort Amsterdam.
Tip 10 – Kura Hulanda museum
Pay a visit to the Kura Hulanda museum. I definitely recommend it, because the tour gives you a much better idea of the slavery history of the island. Not a fun topic, but interesting.
Tip 11 – Street art in Willemstad
The Handelskade may be colorful, but it can even get more colorful. In Willemstad, you will find impressive murals and graffiti works in many places. You can wander a bit on the gamble, but a street art tour is highly recommended to learn more about it and discover the best works.
Tip 12 – Serena’s Art Factory
Are you looking for a unique souvenir from Curaçao? Then consider a Chichi from Serena. According to Serena and her team, a Chichi is a cheerfully painted statue of a woman, sensual and well-shaped. You can buy a ready-made figurine, but you can also paint one yourself.
Tip 13 – Plop down on the beach
You were probably already planning to enjoy the beach in Curaçao. You have 37 options, so it’s decision time. The two most popular beaches? Mambo and Jan Thiel. At Mambo Beach, you will find a shopping center with many shopping options and restaurants, and you will also see nice beach bars. Almost everyone ends up at Mambo Beach at least once, and it’s a lot of fun during Happy Hour. Jan Thiel is also a famous beach. There is also plenty of choice in restaurants here.
Discover the finest beaches of Curaçao.
Tip 14 – Visit Landhuis Bloemhof
You wouldn’t expect it from the road, but Landhuis Bloemhof is huge. The Mansion now serves as a museum, and there is a gigantic garden to walk through. You will find historical relics and works of art, including a colossal Cathedral of Thorns.
Tip 15 – Admire Shete Boka
Shete Boka is a beautiful, natural spectacle. The sea’s water hits the rocks with enormous force in the national park. A route has been set out for walkers and cars so that you can view all the coves and caves.
Tip 16 – Go on an ostrich safari
During the ostrich safari, you drive in a jeep bus over the grounds of the ostrich farm. You hear all kinds of fun facts about ostriches and see them at different ages: babies to grannies. But the best part is that you get to feed them AND you can stand (!!) on an ostrich egg. The eggs are solid. And afterward, you can try an ostrich egg omelet in the restaurant.
Tip 17 – Go on Aquafari
The Aquafari is a kind of underwater scooter. It is a bit of a pricey underwater experience but unique. You are ‘driving’ underwater, sort of speak. So you don’t have to be able to dive. Very special!
Tip 18 – Riding ATV
Ride through the rugged landscape of Curaçao in a buggy or ATV. Accompanied by a guide, you take the most beautiful route, but secretly it is also fun to go not watch the amazing views and just speed up as fast as you can. Don’t wear white clothes, because you are guaranteed to eat sand!
Tip 19 – Tour or cocktail workshop at Curaçao Liqueur Distillery
You probably know the drink Blue Curaçao. Well, that’s made on the island, of course. So be sure to pay a visit to Landhuis Chobolobo. That’s where the distillery is. It is wise to book in advance because the tours and workshops start at fixed times.
Tip 20 – Snorkeling at the tugboat wreck
You can enjoy fantastic snorkeling in various places in Curaçao. Often just straight from the beach. And snorkeling with turtles is probably already on your wish list, but add the tugboat wreck to that too!
Tip 21 – Eat iguana
There is only one place on the island where you can eat iguana. At Jaanchie’s. The restaurant has been around for years, and Mr. Jaanchie is in charge. Expect a warm welcome, and so be sure to try the iguana. You have to be careful with the bones because there are many and they are small. But there’s more on the menu. Traditional Curaçao food.
Tip 22 – Take a little East Curacao road trip
In the east of Curaçao, you will find a few smaller sights that make excellent stops during a mini road trip. For example, there is an old fort (Fort Beekenburg) with a beautiful view, a dilapidated Quarantine building, Dinah’s herb garden, and you will find the tugboat wreck.
Tip 23 – Rain?!
I hope you don’t need this tip, but it can rain in Curaçao. Fortunately, there are quite a few indoor activities that you can undertake.
More Curaçao travel tips?
Useful links for your Curaçao trip
- Travel guides. There is plenty of choice at Bol.com and Amazon. Happy reading and traveling!
- Flights. Compare all your options! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
- Accommodation. All-time favorite: Booking.com. Book hostels via Hostelworld.
- Money. Your bank cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel.
- Activities. Book the best tours and activities at GetYourGuide, Caribbean Tours, and Viator. And for bike tours, try Baja Bikes.
- Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
- Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
- Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? Too many options to mention. Here are a few for my Dutch readers: ANWB vakanties, Corendon, Tui, D-reizen or Vakantie Discounter?
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission.
First published: January 2022. Updated since.