Curacao is a Caribbean island located just off the coast of Venezuela that is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Made up of over 50 cultures, Curacao has a very vibrant and rich culture. The island is less touristy than other Caribbean islands, which makes it feel less discovered.
After spending a week exploring Curacao, I discovered that this small island has so much to offer any type of traveller. The following is a list of the “must do” things every traveller should experience while visiting Curacao:
1. Eat the Local Cuisine
Curacao’s food is as varied as its residents making it fairly simple to expose your taste buds to many international dishes. However, if you’re the adventurous type, head on over to the Old Market in Punda to taste some of the local dishes the island has to offer.
Eating “Yuana” which is stewed iguana is a culinary adventure you won’t soon forget. Taking a good look at this scaly reptile when it’s alive, and you really aren’t sure what to expect when it’s on your dinner plate. Surprisingly, Iguana tastes quite similar to chicken with a little more bone. Iguana can be difficult to find on a daily menu, so if Old Market doesn’t have it, get yourself over to Jaanchies Restaurant where it’s pretty much a guarantee.
Another local favorite is an okra stew called “Giambo.” This dish is a mixture of seafood, beef, okra and other vegetables. Giambo is always served with “Funchi’ which is polenta. The okra gives the dish a slimy consistency making it not the most attractive dish, but definitely worth a try.
2. Taste True Blue Curacao
You know that world famous blue liquor you see behind most bars around the world? Well, as delicious as you think it may be, you haven’t tasted true Curacao unless you have tasted the traditional kind on the island it originates from.
If your visiting Curacao, be sure to stop by the Curacao Liqueur Factory to see how the alcoholic beverage is produced, in the traditional way. Also be sure to try the various falvours and colours of Curacao. From coffee to chocolate to Rum Raisin flavour to green, yellow, red and orange in colour; each type of Curacao is sure to be a treat for your taste buds. Just remember to pace yourself, or you may find yourself on the floor sooner than expected.
3. Explore Under the Sea
Curacao is known as one of the best dive spots in the world, and it truly lives up to that reputation. No visit to Curacao is complete without diving into the turquoise water that surrounds the island.
4. Get Your Dance On
Many influences make up the music of Curacao. Miley Cyrus may have recently put twerking in the limelight, but the women of Curacao have been shaking their goods before Miley could even crawl. If your up for a challenge, you may be able to show off your booty shaking skills at a belleshake (another name for twerking) competition at Tantra Lounge. If you prefer a difference scene, hit one of the many nightclubs around the island that offer live music. You can dance the night away to anything from salsa and bachata to oldies and Top 40.
5.Get to Know the Locals and the Language
Curacaoans are very friendly people who almost always have a smile on their face. Who can blame them when they come from a land made up of such beauty?
The locals of Curacao are diverse as they originate from both European and African decedents. Getting to know the people of Curacao is what is going to make your visit extra rich. Curacao has such an interesting history and what better way to learn about it then from the people who inhabit the island.
The island is also home to quite a few languages. Although Dutch is the official language of the island, Spanish and English are widely spoken as well as Papiamentu – a Creole mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, English and Arawak Indian. The best way to get to learn the languages of the island is to sit down and converse with a local just as the best way to learn about the locals is to sit down and speak the native tongue.
With endless activities to do for all types and ages, definitely consider this Caribbean gem when choosing your next vacation destination. Not only is it less touristy than neighboring islands, it has a history, look and feel like no other island in the world.