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Jhomar Loaiza, one of Curaçao's celebrated painters and muralists at his home art studio in the Ortobana district of Willemstad.

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Falling in Love with Curaçao

The unknown playground of the Caribbean

I was not really sure what to expect when I stepped off the plane in Willemstad, Curaçao. I had heard about Curaçao before, but never imagined such a beautiful island overflowing with culture and history. Located some 44 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao is the largest of the islands, both in size and in population, that make up the Dutch Caribbean. 

Everyone is welcome to share in the “Dushi” life of Curaçao. In the local Papiamentu language, Dushi is affirmational and all meanings are positive. Dushi is tasty, beautiful, sexy, sweet, delicious, or just plain old nice. It is literally the favorite adjective of the island. The country of Curaçao even has a nickname: Dushi Korsou.

Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, accommodates some 743 notable international monuments. Its rich, globally-influenced history illustrates the organic growth of a multicultural community over three centuries. Willemstad’s people and maritime history are vibrantly expressed through the city’s incredible public art installations. Beautifully colored sculptures and murals adorn the buildings, courtyards, and park benches throughout this breathtaking seaside paradise – each telling a different and unique story of Curaçao. 

Grab a scooter and get lost amongst the pastel crayon-colored Dutch colonial buildings that give way to hidden sculpture gardens, neighborhood art galleries painted staircases and adorned alleyways. Be sure to catch Curaçao’s “big sister," Chichi, the ubiquitous Rubenesque lady of the island who is always portrayed with brightly patterned, vivid fabrics. Downtown Willemstad boasts some of the city’s best sites including the one-of-a-kind Queen Emma Floating Bridge and Wilhelmina Plaza. For a real taste of the island, don’t forget a local rum tasting at Annabay Club or catch an authentic island lunch at Plasa Bieu Food Hall.

Whether you feel like a quick snack or a gourmet meal, there are many options. Restaurant Nultwintig, with its sleek beachside dining room, is the ultimate island dining experience. Artfully plated local ingredients dazzle thanks to an international team of very gifted chefs. Ceviche 91 Gastrobar lives up to its name by offering creative and innovative ceviche as well as international cuisine and tapas. Also, be sure to check out Number Ten Café for lunch. Located in a restored mansion located on the grounds of Landhuis Bloemhof, Number Ten is eclectically decorated and offers a simple but upscale café experience.

Get out and explore the island. Curaçao is only 171 square miles so you can really get anywhere and back in just one day. There are 38 sun-soaked beaches in Curaçao to explore and the beach life is incredible. While some of the beaches are developed, most are tucked into the hidden coves that dot the island's shores. Whether taking in some sun on any of the perfect white sandy beaches, hiking along the rugged coastline, or jet-skiing across pristine blue waters, each beach and cove is unique and offers a different glimpse into island life. The waters that surround this tiny island nation are home to expansive coral reefs brimming with marine life and are perfect for snorkeling or diving. Beach hopping is a common pastime and no one does it better than Touriffic Curaçao.

Be sure to experience Shete Boka National Park’s underground seaside caverns or the beautiful beach at Playa Kenepa Chikitu. Kas di Pal’I Maishi, a plantation house that doubles as an interactive museum and village, offers visitors a chance to embrace the rural history of Curaçao while making outdoor stone oven bread, pan será.

After a whirlwind day of touring the island, there is no better place to call home than Zöetry Curaçao Resort & Spa. This luxurious tropical paradise is the embodiment of fine service and attention to detail. A world-class resort, Zöetry celebrates the culture and heritage of the island while offering each guest the highest level of personalized service. Just a quick shuttle away you can enjoy your personal tropical paradise, as well as the beautiful beaches and waters of Piscadera Bay. Feeling a little hungry? Kick back and enjoy the amazing pool while enjoying artful edible creations from Restaurant Botanica or explore the island-influenced menu at Zöetry’s fine dining restaurant, Bloom. The staff at Zöetry are always there when you need them; graciously waiting to be of service.  

Curaçao is a vibrant island nation that offers an inner peace that flows from the soul of its people into the hearts and minds of each and every visitor.  It should be on the top of everyone’s bucket list!

  • Sunken private dining room at Bloom Restaurant at Zöetry
  • The perfect way to see all that Willemstad has to offer on Greenwheels Scooter
  • Jhomar Loaiza, one of Curaçao's celebrated painters and muralists at his home art studio in the Ortobana district of Willemstad.
  • One of the many brightly colored murals along the tour of Willemstad
  • Renowned visual artist Francis Sling at his art studio in the Scharloo neighborhood of Willemstad.
  • Kas di Pal’i Maishi museum and outdoor Pan Será oven.
  • Carlos Blaaker's "Punda Love Hearts" harborside sculpture.
  • The crystal clear waters of Curaçao beacon to all who visit to enjoy!