Last month, I took an amazing trip to Curacao! Did you know Curacao is one of the cheapest islands to travel to during the winter? Airline tickets drop as low as $300 and hotel accommodations start at $96 during the winter months. If you’re on a budget like me, it’s the perfect travel destination!
Curacao is the most colorful island in the Caribbean, it is known for its brilliantly hued buildings and beautiful beaches. You’ll fall in love with just exploring and learning more about the culture.
Curacao is beautiful all year round! It’s not extremely hot, they have the perfect weather. One of the best things about Curacao weather is that the island is generally not affected by hurricanes, the hurricane frequency is about every 28 years. The last hurricane to hit Curacao was Hurricane Felix in 2016.
Life in Curacao is just as laid back as it is on any other island in the Caribbean. I had to remind myself when service was slow, that I was used to everything being so rushed back home.
Most of the people on the island are Afro-Caribbean, however there are also many Dutch, French, Latin American and Asian people on the island as well. It’s a melting pot just like America!
While English is widely spoken on the island, we took time to learn the local language Papiamento, it’s a mix of Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch.
Some of the phrases we learned were:
Bon Dia – Good Morning
Bon Tardi – Good Afternoon
Bon Nochi – Good Night
Ayo – Goodbye
We also learned the term “Dushi”, which sounds like a bad word but it actually has a beautiful meaning:
There’s very little crime on the island, the local jail only has 75 inmates. Clearly, a huge difference from here in the US.
For the most part, the people are friendly. We did run into a bit of racism in the Jantiel area of the island. Nothing too extreme, just a lot of pointing, staring and laughing. We brushed it off and continued to have a great time.
The Punda District in Willemstad is known for its’ colorful buildings. Buildings in the area used to be all white. Word on the street is, the Governor of the island suffered from severe headaches which he believed stemmed from the brightness of the sun hitting the stark white buildings. He ordered that all buildings be painted any color but white. It was later discovered that the Governor had a large share in the islands only paint store… #shadyboots
Street Art is EVERYWHERE… every corner we turned we found beautiful murals
One of my favorite things about Willemstad was the shopping. There were so many cute shops and restaurants in the area. I highly recommend stopping past Bamali, it’s a cute accessory and apparel shop in the middle of the Punda District. It’s owned by a woman name Marjorie and she makes everything in the shop by hand.
While you’re in Willemstad be sure to buy a Chichi. Chichi’s are symbolic in Curacao, they represent the older women in our lives that we hold in high esteem, like mothers, grandmothers, mentors, aunties etc. The Chichi statues are curvaceous and beautifully painted. I didn’t buy one, but I def took a pic with one… and I may or may not have checked to make sure she didn’t have breast cancer.
Oh and be sure to stop by the Punda Love Heart to “Love Your Love” before you leave Willemstad! The Punda Love Heart was created to celebrate the local artists in the community. But, love locks have a deeper history. Over 100 years ago a school mistress and a Serbian army officer wrote their names on a lock and placed it on the Bridge of Love in Serbia. This tradition spread throughout Europe and people have “locked their love” on bridges all across the continent including the Ponts de Arts Bridge in Paris.
As I mentioned before, the beaches in Curacao are amazing. We were fortunate enough to get to two of the beaches, Kokomo and Mambo beach. The most popular and most beautiful one is Klein Knip beach. I can’t speak for Klein Knip beach, but be sure to bring water shoes with you to the beach, the rocks in the water are slippery and kind of painful to walk on.
Kokomo Beach has the cutest swing in the water that is perfect for snapping a pic for the gram. Unfortunately, my lack of upper body strength and coordination wouldn’t allow me to get on the swing. I’m determined to able to get on it next time!
Food in Curacao
Food is a major part of my decision to travel to Curacao. One of my foodie friends told me how good the food is in Curacao and she was right! Everything we ate in Curacao was absolutely amazing! It’s a big difference from the junk so many of the restaurants here in the US serve. I didn’t see one McDonalds while we were there, but they love Subway – I saw quite a few of them. I highly recommend Zest Beach Grill in Jantiel, Mistral Bistro in the Punda District in Willemstad, and De Visserij in Piscadera Bay. Fresh seafood is incredibly inexpensive and will not disappoint.
Here are a few things I wish someone told me before I left:
- Taxis are expensive, rent a car it will cost $40 per day. We spent $250 on taxis in just three days. (someone actually told me this but I thought I knew what I was doing)
- Racism is Alive and Well – Certain areas like Jantiel seem to not like persons with highly melanated skin. It’s nothing too extreme but it’s definitely noticeable.
- DO NOT stay at the Floris Suite Hotel, they have cockroaches, the rooms smell like mildew and the customer service is terrible. Even TripAdvisor will make you think this hotel is beautiful… trust me it’s not!
- If you like to partake in libations, bring your own alcohol, the majority of cocktails we had were severely watered down.
- Don’t leave without visiting Klein Knip beach… the locals call it Kinippa
- Bring mosquito spray, the mosquitoes are definitely hungry down there. Oh, and beware of the flies… there are a lot of flies!
- When you go to Mistral Bistro, ask Robert to make you a Rum Punch… its BOMB!
- Stay at the BijBlaw (pronounced BAY-BLOWWWWW), the hotel is beautiful and the food is bomb!
- Bring cash with you, they accept US currency everywhere!
- Oh, and remember “Dushi” isn’t a bad word!
I really hope you’ll check out Curacao! I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Ayo Dushi!! (Goodbye Beautiful)