There are many picture-perfect places in the Caribbeans, but Curaçao (which is now open to foreign visitors) stands out as one of the region’s most alluring destinations. Known for its rich heritage, brightly painted colonial architecture, and exciting culinary scene, it offers an island escape with a difference.
Planning a trip to Curaçao in 2022 and looking for travel recommendations? Check out my travel tips below:
Top activities in Curaçao
History and culture
Visit historic Willemstad to admire the Handelskade. A vibrant reminder of Curaçao’s Dutch heritage this stretch of painted buildings line the waterfront of St Anna Bay and have become one of the most photographed places on the island.
Take a walk across the iconic Queen Emma floating bridge. Known as the “Swinging Old Lady”, this floating pedestrian bridge connects Willemstad’s two halves, Punda and Otrobandawhich, and passes many UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Rif Fort.
Art lovers should check out the street art and open-air galleries in the vibrant colonial neighbourhoods of Otrobanda and Scharloo. Here you’ll also find a number of artist initiatives designed to engage the local communities in preserving their neighbourhoods.
There’s a whale of a time to be had in Curaçao’s underwater world. Known as one of the best scuba diving spots in the world, its crystal-clear blue waters, natural coral reefs, shipwrecks, and caves make it suited to all dive abilities. And with over 60 dive sites and more than 30 beaches, you won’t be short of opportunities to explore the island’s coastal environments.
If really wild activities are your bag, head to Shete Boka National Park which lies on the far north coast of Curaçao. Known locally as Shete Boka (meaning “Seven Inlets”) its rugged terrain of rock and coral terraces hints as to the volcanic origins of the island.
In general, when choosing where to stay on Curaçao it’s a good idea to look at the amenities and activities you think you’ll need during your stay and book something that has everything you need within easy reach. The island has lots of scenic enclaves so wherever you choose to stay, book a rental car to make the most of the opportunity to see the island.
There’s very little in the way of beaches and family-friendly activities on the island’s east coast, but if you love hiking, this is the place to be!
Avoid the south, unless you’re booking a resort stay, as the beaches here are generally man-made or for resort guests only.
Best self catered stays on Curaçao
Choose a hosted stay or book a self-catered apartment in historic Willemstad (the capital of Curaçao) to soak up the island’s rich colonial culture. The city is spread out over much of the south, but the architecture and panoramic ocean views of the Pietermaai neighbourhood make it an ideal choice for an urban island stay.
To experience the best of Curaçao’s nightlife, book a self-catered stay on Mambo beach. Here there is no shortage of lively locations for dining, cocktails, and entertainment.
Best beach resort stays on Curaçao
If you prefer to relax at a resort, take note of the latest Curaçao resort. Sandals Royal Curaçao opens in April 2022. Enclaved on 3000 acres, Royal Curaçao is a romantic paradise with 350 rooms and suites.
The resort also has the first Awa Seaside Bungalow and if you want to take pool photos for your Instagram, then opt for one of the Kurason Island suites overlooking a heart-shaped pool and the DOS Awa 2-level infinity pool. The island’s first-ever floating restaurant this Sandals resort has 12 all-new dining concepts and three new food trucks.
It is a perfect getaway for a luxurious and romantic stay while exploring Curaçao.
READ MORE CARIBBEAN TRAVEL GUIDES FROM WANDERLUSTERS
Do you have to quarantine when flying to Curaçao?
The Curaçao Tourist Board, the Ministry of Public Health, Environment and Nature, and other government agencies have firmly committed to a safe and controlled reopening for travel in 2022.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to visit:
Fourteen-day isolations are mandatory for those in contact with Covid patients.
You will need to arrive with proof that you are not carrying the COVID virus. EU countries can now use the EU Digital Corona Certificate (EU DCC) as proof of testing and vaccination for Curaçao’s entry policy.
If you are connecting through an international airport, be sure to adhere to the respective country’s travel regulations.
Make sure your travel insurance offers enough coverage for medical care abroad and understand whether there are any limitations on cover for Coronavirus.
IMPORTANT – These guidelines are subject to change, so please check the Curaçao Travel advisory for up to date information before you travel.
What COVID restrictions are in place for travel to Curaçao?
As of Sep 13, authorities in Curaçao require all visitors to take a pre-travel test within 48 hours of departure. All travellers entering the island are required to have medical insurance to cover their trips. They must also carry printed or digital proof of their negative pre-travel test.
Local COVID measures
There is a strict curfew from 00.01-4.30, during which only people working in essential service are allowed outside their house.
Public gatherings must not exceed 100 people
Businesses must close at least one hour before the curfew. Additionally, everyone must wear a protective facemask indoors and when using public transportation.
It is very important to abide by all restrictions and national health and safety measures. Before you travel to Curaçao, reconfirm your travel and accommodation arrangements.