It’s been almost a month now since I came back from beautiful Curaçao. This was my second time visiting Curaçao and I fell even more in love with the island this time. Next to the gems I already discovered the first time I went, I discovered even more beautiful places this time, so I thought I’d make a travel guide for you including all my tips. Also don’t forget to watch my Curaçao travel vlog!
Jan Thiel area
This is probably the most popular area to stay and the place ‘where it all happens’. In this area you’ll find beach clubs, great restaurants and beautiful resorts. Most resorts are within walking distance of all of these facilities. The first time we went along with my aunt and uncle whom hired a stunning modern sea view appartement at the Boca Gentil resort. This time my boyfriend and I went alone and we hired an appartement at the beautiful and well maintained Morena Resort for the first part of our stay. The resort is perfectly sized: not too big and not too small. It has two beautiful pools, a nice restaurant and has lots of vegetation. The appartement was fully equipped, new and clean. But the best thing about our appartement was definitely the huge porch where we really enjoyed having breakfast and dinner, when we decided not to go out to eat. We didn’t book breakfast at the resort by the way, but went to the Albert Heijn supermarket which is only a five minutes walk away. It is quite an expensive supermarket though, but very convenient.
“Jan Thiel is ‘where it all happens’, but the best beaches can be found in Westpunt.”
The most beautiful beaches of Curaçao can be found in Westpunt area. Lagun is probably the most popular one, which is where our second accommodation ‘Lagun Blou Resort‘ was situated. The resort is build on one of the two cliffs surrounding the Lagun bay. The view was absolutely STUNNING! You can spot turtles swimming in the bay and some people even saw dolphins from a distance. The cliffs are also the home of many iguanas. Despite their scary dragon-like appearance, these animals are absolutely harmless and 100% vegetarian. If you want to you can even feed them your left-over pieces of fruit or bread and make them walk over you (check my vlog to see them walking over me). Don’t be afraid, they won’t do this if you have no intention to feeding them. The resort has a pool, which is okay, but also a jacuzzi situated on the edge of the cliff. Watching the sunset from the jacuzzi is magical! The resort has about twenty two-level houses. The house we stayed in had a kitchen, small porch and a bathroom on the first floor. The second floor had a bedroom, a second bathroom and a big balcony with a stunning view. Although the house was fully equipped, it was a little bit outdated. The owner told us that they were busy renovating the entire place though, so it might be totally different when we would decide to come back next year. It also doesn’t have a restaurant right now, but the owner also told us that it will have a four star restaurant in the future. For now the Bahia restaurant on the cliff on the other side of the bay was great if you wanted to go out to eat without taking the car. A disadvantage of Westpunt area is that have to drive quite some time for things like a decent supermarket or beach clubs. Westpunt is home to the most beautiful beaches, but it doesn’t offer much other entertainment. That’s why we decided to stay at Jan Thiel first and spend our last days at Westpunt.
Most people go to Curaçao by plane, which obviously is what we did. We decided to fly with KLM, since we’re always very satisfied about their service. To move around Curaçao I can really recommend you to get a car. I have no experience with public transport, but I wouldn’t want to depend on that. And since Curaçao is all about beach hopping you don’t want to spend your entire vacation at the resort. We decided to hire a cheap run-down jeep, since we thought it was funny. I must admit though that I regretted I sometimes wished we had gone for a ‘normal’ car. The fact that it was open gave me quite an unsafe feeling when we were waiting for the traffic lights at nights and I’ve been super scared for our suitcases to bounce out of the car. Plus the chance to get car troubles was quite realistic, which obviously isn’t something you’d want to happen when you’re on vacation.
Next to that the safety in general was quite concerning. The seat belts were extremely loose and there were no airbags. Don’t understand me wrong: it was a fun car and it was nice for pictures, but a reliable car definitely has its advantages as well. Plus the car rental company wasn’t situated at the airport and they were closed on Sundays. We flew back on a Sunday and therefore had to throw the keys in the mailbox and wait for our taxi which arrive way later (an hour!) than agreed upon. Another reason to rent from a bigger company. Next time I’d definitely use Easy Terra, a website that compares rental companies in Curaçao which saves you time and money!
Brakkeput Mei Mei
My absolute favorite place to eat at Curaçao is ‘Brakkeput Mei Mei’, situated in a historic country house decorated with cosy lights. The menu is Spanish orientated and they’re specialized in grilling. Definitely try their spare ribs! They’re so soft, that they just fall from the bones. This restaurant is situated at Jan Thiel area.
Landhuis Klein Santa Martha
Another nice restaurant situated in a historic country house is ‘Landhuis Klein Santa Martha’, which is a great option if you’re staying at Westpunt area. The food is great, but the view overlooking the Santa Martha bay might be even more incredible. I read that it’s also great to go here for lunch and use the pool at the back of the building as well, but I haven’t seen the pool myself.
“Definitely try the super soft spare ribs at Brakkeput Mei Mei.”
Vincent says that he got the best food of our trip at Tinto, specialized in Argentinian grilled dishes. I really liked it as well, but I really liked Brakkeput as well. Tinto is situated at the Jan Thiel Bay. The restaurant is actually build on the water, which gives it a very nice ambiance.
This restaurant is situated at the Coral Estate resort and is one of the most beautiful places to watch sunset. Vincent and I went there to have lunch first and enjoy the infinity pool, which has a stunning sea view. We watched the sunset whilst laying in the pool, changed into normal clothes and then enjoyed dinner at Koraal. The food was good, but the main reason I’d suggest to go here is definitely the view.
Perla del Mar
If you’re in Willemstad and looking for a place to eat, definitely try Perla del Mar. The food is great, but this restaurant is all about location as well. It’s situated right next to the sea where the water smashes pretty hard against the rocks breaking the waves. It’s a pretty cool thing to see!
You can’t leave Curaçao without having seen the underwater life, because it’s absolutely beautiful. The many bays are home to beautiful colored fishes and even sea turtles. Watching sea turtles gracefully floating through the water is such a magical thing to see! And if you’re really really reeeaaally lucky you might even sea a whale shark, since I saw a photo on Facebook last week of a whale shark which was seen at Playa Kalki! Don’t worry they’re harmless and other sharks are never seen around the coasts of Curaçao. Of course you can also dive to experience underwater life, which I’ve never done. I just don’t think I’d feel comfortable carrying around all that weight with me and going so deep. Snorkeling is magical enough for me!
As I mentioned before it would be an incredible waste to stay at your resort, since Curaçao has so many beautiful beaches to enjoy! My favorites are Cas Abao, Playa Porto Marie (they have pigs walking around on the beach here), Blue Bay, Kokomo Beach (they’ve got a very instagrammable water swing), Grote Knip (a public beach), Lagun and Playa Grandi. Lagun is well kown for the high chances of spotting sea turtles, but if you really want to spot lots of sea turtles all together you should really visit Playa Grandi. Playa Grandi is where fishers clean their fishes and throw the remains back in to the sea, which attracts many sea turtles. The fishermen typically do this between 12 and 3 in the afternoon, so these are the best times to go. The sea turtles come really close and really don’t care about all the people there. You could so to speak touch them, which of course you shouldn’t actually do but I’m just saying this to indicate how close they come. When I was there I spotted eight! Definitely check my vlog for great underwater sea turtle footage at Playa Grandi.
“Watching sea turtles gracefully floating through the water is magical!”
Catamaran boat to Klein Curaçao
During our first vacation in Curaçao we took a catamaran boat to the island Klein Curaçao, which was so much fun! The first part of the trip to Klein Curaçao was quite bumpy, but when we arrived the party really started. First we went snorkeling with sea turtles and beautiful fishes in the crystal clear waters and when we got back on the boat they fired up the barbecue for a yummy lunch. It was all inclusive meaning you could drink and eat as much as you wanted. The journey back was very peaceful. We hang in the nets enjoying a bit too many glasses of wine and just had so much fun along with the other guests.
Shete Boka National Park
Also make sure to visit the Shete Boka National Park to witness the incredible Boka Pistol where the waves hit the cliffs so hard it creates a water explosion. Another fun thing to see is the beach where there are lots of hermit crabs. The second time we went we hardly saw any though, whilst the year before the place was crowded with them. Maybe it has to do with the time of the year. The first time we went in September and the second time in January.
The capital of Curaçao is best-known for it’s picture perfect World Heritage ‘Handelskade’ of beautiful colored Dutch merchant houses and the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. The bridge connects the Punda and Otrabanda part of the city and opens regularly for ships. It’s the only floating wooden swing bridge in the world. Next to that it’s also fun to check out the beautiful colored houses of the Pietermaai district and the floating market. Willemstad is pretty small, so you only need a few hours to spend in Willemstad.
So far my Curaçao Travel Guide. I really hope these tips are helpful to you! Have you ever been to Curaçao or are you planning to after reading this article?