Looking for things to do in Curacao for an upcoming trip?
Between the white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant reefs teeming with marine life, you’ll undoubtedly spend most of your time in Curacao in, on, or near the water.
But there are also plenty of other attractions on the island. This guide will help you make the most out of your trip by showing you the hot spots that should make it on your Curacao bucket list.
Top-Rated Things to Do in Curacao
- Best Beach
- Best Secluded Beach
- Best Place to Snorkel
- Best Diving Spot
- Best Day Trip
- Best Sporting Activity
- Best Arts & Culture
- Best Hikes
- Best Adventure
- Best Nightlife
It’s not enough to just know what you want to do on your trip, you need to know where to go, how far is it in relation to your resort or hotel, and when the best time to check it out is.
You’ll find all those details and more below.
#1. Best Beach: Playa Porto Marie
Beautiful white sand, exuberant shades of blue water, and wild pigs. Yes pigs. A unique touch to say the least, but this is one of the best beaches in Curacao.
There’s a great restaurant on the beach so you don’t have to leave to get some grub. The beach bar will also serve you cold drinks right where you sit, and speaking of sitting, you can hire chairs and umbrellas at the beach.
Three nature trails are available from the beach if you’re feeling active, which you can either hike or conquer by mountain bike. There’s plenty of coral reef around for the average snorkeler.
Neighbourhood: Located at the Porto Marie Bay, near the village of Sint Willibrordus. 20 miles northwest of Willemstad.
Hours of operation: 9:30am - 6:30pm. Closed on December 31st and Carnival Sunday.
Best for: Beach bums of all denominations.
Time to spend here: However long it takes to get your perfect tan.
#2. Best Secluded Beach: Playa Lagun
Nestled between two rock formations, this cove-style beach gives you a more peaceful experience if you prefer to be away from the crowds and want a quieter place to soak up some sun.
Naturally, if you want a quieter experience it may be a little harder to get to, but finding the perfect secluded spot has to feel like you’ve “discovered” it all on your own. While it may have a secluded feel to it, there is still a snack bar on site for your convenience.
A great place to snorkel in peace, if you don’t want your tranquil experience disturbed by splashing kids and boats. If you fancy going a little deeper, there’s a dive school as well.
Neighbourhood: Near the village of Lagoon
Hours of operation: N/A
Best for: Loners and deep thinkers.
Time to spend here: All day.
#3. Best Place to Snorkel: Caracas Bay
You could snorkel just about anywhere in Curacao and not be disappointed, but this spot has a unique feature; below that stunning blue surface lies a sunken tugboat.
The ship is now covered with hard and soft coral making it a sanctuary for diverse marine life of all sizes, shapes and colours.
The boat rests in approximately 25 feet of water making it easily visible, and the clear water makes it perfect for underwater photography. Being a popular attraction, there are cruise packages you can book, or go at it alone. The choice is yours.
Caracas Bay is a beautiful beach apart from the snorkelling. With a restaurant, chairs and umbrellas for hire, you could easily spend the entire day here.
Neighbourhood: Located on the South coast of Curacao, 5 miles southeast of Willemstad.
Hours of operation: N/A
Best for: Snorkelling enthusiasts and the overly curious.
Time to spend here: All day.
#4. Best Diving Spot: Smokey’s
Smokey’s, also called Punti Sanchi is located near Fuik Bay. What makes this site a must for underwater babies is the profusion of marine life you’re likely to find here. Apart from plentiful reefs, large coral and vase sponges you are odds-on to spot reef sharks, large turtles and stingrays.
The current in this area can be strong, so we advise that only divers with some experience maneuver these waters, and preferably with a guide or group of divers. The current also makes it a great drift dive site; let the current carry you from Smokey’s to Kathy’s Paradise!
It gets even better; the reef slopes by around 98 feet, taking you down to a sandy floor.
Neighbourhood: Nieuwpoort, Curacao. Near Fuik Bay.
Hours of operation: N/A
Best for: Experienced divers.
Time to spend here: 3 hours maximum, as long as you do not dive deeper than 100 feet.
#5. Best Day Trip: Klein Curacao
Klein is the Dutch word for “little”, and this place is called Little Curacao for being a mini version of the larger island. It’s a short boat ride to this secluded paradise and there’s more to this place than just being a smaller Curacao.
It has the longest stretch of white sand beach, longer than any in Curacao itself, which is packed with coral for snorkelling.
Scattered around its shores you will stumble upon a few real shipwrecks, and a very old and abandoned lighthouse building, which is what most people go there to see.
In Klein Curacao the air is filled with the music and barbecued food aromas of the locals. If you want to immerse yourself in local culture and spend a relaxing day in what feels like the middle of nowhere, be sure to take this mini trip!
Category: Mini trip
Neighbourhood: 20-30min boat ride from main Curacao
Hours of operation: Depends on the operating times of the boat cruise you choose.
Best for: Explorers, and anyone who’s watched every season of Lost.
Time to spend here: Allocate a day for this trip since you have to go off-island.
#6. Best Sporting Activity: Deep Sea Fishing
Curacao is not just a place to sunbathe and engage in shallow water activities. Its deep drop off points mean that you only have to go about a mile in to encounter deep waters that are perfect for deep sea fishing.
As the largest of the ABC Islands, Curacao complies with European standards and has a strong emphasis on conservation, making the waters here abundant in fish. The variety of fish is also sure to catch the attention of avid fishing fanatics visiting the island. Among these are Billfish, Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Great Barracuda, Mahi-Mahi, Bull Shark, Wahoo, Atlantic Bonito and Yellowfin Tuna, just to name a few.
There are several fishing boats for hire that will take you out and you can hire fishing gear as well, since your favourite rod may not fit in your suitcase.
Category: Deep sea fishing.
Neighbourhood: Most beaches on the island.
Hours of operation: For safety, stick to daytime trips
Best for: Ardent fishermen or anyone wanting to try it.
Time to spend here: 3-5 hours, but plan to be back before it gets dark.
#7. Best Arts & Culture: Museums
The world is a big place and we want to see as much of it as possible, while possible. Visiting a museum can give you a historical perspective on your holiday destination and help you appreciate every place you visit. There are quite a number of museums to choose from for such a small place, but here’s 5 you might want to check out:
- Curacao Museum: Discover the geographical origins of the island.
- Kura Hulanda Museum: Learn about the history of the slave trade here.
- Tula Museum: After you’ve been to Kura Hulanda, visit the place where the slave uprising began.
- Landhuis Bloemhof: An historic art gallery, for lovers of fine art.
- Maritime Museum Curacao: For a nautical history of Curacao, with interactive video presentations.
For the religiously inclined you will also find Jewish historical museums and an old Synagogue.
Neighbourhood: All over Curacao, depending on which ones you choose to visit.
Hours of operation: Please check each museum for their operating times.
Best for: History buffs, and those feel they were born in the wrong generation.
Time to spend here: All day.
#8. Best Hikes: Jan Theil, Kokomo, and More
Going on a hike can show you parts of the island that you would not otherwise have seen. The most breathtaking and memorable moments of your trip may just be awaiting you off the beaten path.
Some of the beaches in Curacao open up to hiking trails, meaning you can easily “take a hike” during one of your beach trips. Jan Thiel Salt Pan, Kokomo beach, Sorsaka Park, Roi Rincon Park and Caracas Bay are some of the most recommended hiking spots.
If you’re staying at a resort, most of them offer hiking trips as part of their entertainment packages, so be sure to ask when doing your booking.
Neighbourhood: Spread across the island.
Hours of operation: Certain trails are linked to the beach it starts from, so check the operating times of that particular beach. Trails starting from resorts may also have a closing time depending on the resort. Be sure to check before heading out, and always aim to be back before dark.
Best for: Those who love the outdoors.
Time to spend here: Depends how good your cardio is!
#9. Best Adventure: Safari Trips
If you’re tired of blue, beaches and bikinis aren’t the only things Curacao is known for, the island also boasts impressive wildlife that nature lovers won’t want to miss. On on a safari tour of up to 7hrs you can view white-tailed hawks and owls, or the reptilian world of iguanas and snakes
Apart from the actual wildlife, you will see a different side to Curacao and take in sweeping views from Christoffel Mountain. Most hotels and resorts can arrange Jeep Safari trips for you. There are also specific 4WD tours to get to those hard-to-reach places.
Neighbourhood: The great outdoors!
Hours of operation: Dependent on the tour you decide to go with.
Best for: Nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
Time to spend here: Usually a full day trip.
#10. Best Nightlife: Bars & Live Music
You spent all day at the beach perfecting your tan, you’re dressed to impress, got your dancing shoes on and heading out the door to paint the town red.
From bars to clubs, beach concerts, live music from the open terrace of a restaurant, here’s a quick list of the 7 best places for nightlife.
- Start your night off low-key at Miles Jazz Cafe. Have a cocktail, and listen to some mellow music before you really let your hair down.
- Go to Madero Ocean Club, Wet & Wild, Cabana Beach, Jan Thiel beach, Papagayo Beach Club, Zest Beach Cafe, Tinto or Zanzibar if you’re looking for a beach party.
- If you like house music, go to The Alley Bar Lounge in Punda.
- The Hangover Party Bar at the Fokkerweg. Guess what you’ll have in the morning…
- To hear the best DJ’s on the island, go to Grand Cafe Emporio at the Caracasbaaiweg in Salina.
- Want to spend your night spinning a roulette wheel? Check out Carnival Casino in Otrobanda, Emerald Casino in Piscadera or Casino Awasa Sports & Race Book if you’re into sports betting (also in Otrobanda).
- Put those salsa lessons to use. Outdoor salsa dancing takes place between the walls of the Rif Fort every Friday night from 7pm.
There’s a lot more than 7 places to see at night in Curacao, but this list should point you in the right direction.
Neighbourhood: All over Curacao, just follow the sound of music.
Hours of operation: Usually starts from around 7pm until late.
Best for: Anyone wanting to replicate the movie Hangover.
Time to spend here: All night.
We could easily write a list of 50 things to do in Curacao but you don’t have all day to read, and sometimes too many choices becomes overwhelming.
These 10 things to do in Curacao will help you see and experience this island the right way.