Isle of the Giants

Who doesn’t dream of sugar­fine sand beaches and pristine waters? Add to the mix rich history, great culture, beautiful nature and charming architecture and you would definitely get Curacao. Part of the Kingdom of Netherlands, the island bursts with all those qualities and much more. Its unique combination of spectacular vistas, lust for life and urban madness, makes Curacao one of the “unmissable” islands in the Caribbean.

Soak up the culture

The island’s capital – Willemstad, it is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the colonial architecture, boasts charming, pastel­coloured buildings, influenced by typical Dutch styles. The city itself is divided into two sections – Punda and Otrobanda – connected by the Queen Emma Bridge, a floating pontoon bridge which opens and closes in response to marine traffic.

The east side of Willemstad,Punda, distinguishes itself with narrow streets and Fort Amsterdam, today the seat of the Government. Otrobanda, on the other hand, has its own intimate charm with a maze of alleyways and streets that twist in every corner – the perfect place to savour the street life of the capital.

Embrace the nature

Visitors should not miss “looping around” the north of Willemstad, boasting with beautiful parks, villages and hidden beaches. The east coast of this region has incredible parks, such as the Christoffel and Shete Boka National Parks.

Christoffel offers once­in­a­lifetime views of Indian caves where paintings are preserved by the Arawak Indians. Shete Boka is the home of 7 bokas, such as the Boca Pistol, where you can often see sea turtles. This is the perfect day trip as it is a two­hour drive from the capital.

Let’s talk beaches

When it comes to beaches, Curacao has enough to fulfil every taste. The west coast of the north of Willemstad offers some hidden gems in terms of beaches. Cas Abao is a beautiful beach on a plantation – the perfect combination of natural country setting with all the conveniences of a full­service beach.

Another beach located in this area is Playa Lagun which sports rocky cliffs and crystal waters, perfect for diving and snorkelling. Just two hours off the coast of Curacao, a definite must for all the beach lovers, is the Klein Curacao – an uninhabited island which boasts with the longest and whitest beach on Curacao. Diving, beach parties, cookouts and muchmore will make it a day to remember.

Check the cultural sights

In terms of sightseeing, Curacao doesn’t stay behind. There are plenty of museums, galleries and historic buildings that will light up the interest of every visitor. The Maritime Museum traces the island’s history from the time when the Dutch captured it from the Spanish to the commercial 20th century.

The Museum Kura Hulanda has the largest African collection in the Caribbean, documenting the brutal history of slavery in the region. Another definite must see is the Mikve Israel Emmanuel Synagogue – the oldest operating synagogue in the western hemisphere, which today houses a museum with historic items from around the world.

The friendly island residents welcome visitors who are ready for a deep dive into the island’s rich history and interesting culture, inviting them on a journey of dreams and imagination.

Called “Island of the Giants” by the Spanish because of the physiques of its original inhabitants – the Arawak Indians ­ today you may not see those giants but you will see firsthand the giant hearts of the Curacao people. It is no wonder why the island is turning into the new hotspot in the Caribbean region.

Image Courtesy: 1, 2, 3, 4

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