Welcome Back to our Friday Blog Series: Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s, where our favorite Travel Planning Aficionado shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences about traveling the world! After every trip to a new destination, Jamie gives us her perspective as both a traveler, and a travel advisor, through a quick but comprehensive list of what to do or not do at each vacation location!
As many of you who follow along know, Jamie recently returned from a visit to Curacao, one of the most paradisiacal islands in the Caribbean. Situated in the Southern Caribbean below the “hurricane belt” (like Aruba), Curacao has perfect weather year-round, incredibly rich culture, and absolutely picturesque beaches. It’s no wonder this island gem is on so many travelers’ Caribbean Bucket Lists!
So Let’s Get Going to this Caribbean Paradise! But First…
Table of Contents
Jamie’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Curacao!
Top Favorites, and Jamie’s “Must Do” Experiences
1. Savor Local Cuisine
Each of the Caribbean Islands has their own unique cultures and traditions, and as always, the local cuisine is a huge part of each distinct culture (as it is all over the world). Curacao is no different, and the local culinary dishes are a must try! One of the most famous dishes from Curacao is Keshi Yena, which is a cheese crust filled with spicy meat, such as chicken, and it’s absolutely delicious! One of Jamie’s favorite restaurants from her time in Curacao is Caleo Restaurant, just don’t forget to make a reservation in advance!
And food isn’t the only thing you should savor while you’re in Curacao (or anywhere!); the drinks are local delicacies as well! The local liquor, Blue Curacao, is made from the dried peels of the Laraha citrus fruit. And speaking of drinks…
2. Visit the Curacao Liqueur Distillery
Local liqueurs are often defining traditions of a destination, as much as, or sometimes even more so than, the local cuisine. Anyone who has ever walked into their own local liquor store will have undoubtedly seen the signature blue bottles of Curacao’s famous liqueur, so it’s fun to be in a place where you can learn about the origins and process of something you’ve probably seen a multitude of times! Then you’ll be able to return home and share your knowledge with your friends next time you’re out for cocktails and you order that definitive blue drink! On a tour of the Curaçao Liqueur Distillery you’ll learn all about the history of the liqueur, how it’s made (and has been since 1896!), and of course get to enjoy some samples along the way!
3. Take a Jewish Heritage Tour
Though many people aren’t aware of it, Curacao actually has a very rich history of Jewish Heritage. The Jewish faith has been practiced in Curacao since 1651, since Curacao is a place where many Jewish people immigrated to escape religious persecution. Historical sites such as the Beth Haim Cemetery and the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue are not only important to those of Jewish faith, but also to the island of Curacao, with the Cemetery being named a Curacao National Monument. Jamie recommends this half-day Jewish Heritage of Curacao Tour that takes you to the important Jewish Historical sites, including the two mentioned above, and more throughout Willemstad.
Top “Must-Don’t”s, or Things Jamie Would Do Differently
1. Don’t Miss the Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad
Known to residents of Curacao as “Our Swinging Old Lady,” the Queen Emma Bridge is not to be missed during your time in Curacao. What makes the Queen Emma Bridge unique is that it’s a pontoon bridge, meaning that it floats on pontoon boats, and is powered by two motors that swing the bridge open and closed. The swinging happens multiple times a day whenever a ship needs to pass through, and during those times, there are ferries that take pedestrians across the bay. Though the swings and ferries aren’t scheduled, plan for a walk across the bridge one way, and a ferry back the other way to get the full experience!
2. Don’t Skip a Full Island Tour of Curacao
As always when traveling, the best part of discovering a new destination is…actually discovering it! Even if you’re staying at an All-Inclusive Resort! Yes, the convenience of staying at an All-Inclusive, where you have food, drinks, activities, entertainment and more at your beck and call is unparalleled, but so is opening your heart and mind to the traditions and history of the culture where you’re visiting. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is by taking a full tour on one of your first days in a new destination. Jamie recommends this Full Island Tour of Curacao, which includes stops at the island’s most notable landmarks and highlights, such as Fort Nassau, Kura Hulanda Village, the Salt Ponds of Jan Kok, and the Boka Tabla Cave at Shete Boka National Park, to name a few.
3. Don’t Forget Sun Protection
Curacao’s location in the Southern part of the Caribbean does gift the island with some of the world’s best and most predictable weather, but at the same time, its proximity to the Equator makes the sun that much stronger. It’s recommended to wear sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors anywhere and everywhere, no matter how close to the Equator you are, but it’s absolutely a necessity in Equatorial destinations like Curacao. A few tips from Jamie: reapply sunscreen hourly between the hours of 10am and 4pm when the sun is strongest, utilize UV protective hats and clothing, and stay hydrated! The last thing you want on your Caribbean vacation is to be sunburnt and unable to enjoy your time in paradise!
4. Don’t Leave Water Shoes at Home
While water shoes may not be your go to for the most fashionable footwear (though I have to say, Target had some unexpectedly cute options this summer), do NOT leave your trusty water shoes at home when you visit Curacao! And if you don’t have a pair, buy one before you leave! Curacao’s beaches are absolutely beautiful, but not all are made up of the soft white sand many of us picture when we think of Caribbean beaches. Many beaches on Curacao are a bit rocky, with coral shards that are NOT fun to walk on barefoot! Protect your feet (and whole body, because you for sure don’t want to wind up with an infection) with appropriate footwear!
And…that’s a wrap of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Curacao!
Ready to Plan?
Now that you have all of Jamie’s best advice for visiting Curacao, are you ready to plan your next Caribbean Adventure? Contact your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor or email hello@LOTMV.com to start planning today!
Just like last year, in 2023, a new Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s list will come out the Friday after Jamie returns from her latest trip! And you can find links to all of Jamie’s 2022 Travel Tips at this Blog: Jamie’s 2022 Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: A Recap.
Looking for more of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s?
So far, we have:
And don’t forget to check out our Inspiring Itineraries as well, featuring a Perfect Plan for your next vacation, and highlighting a new destination each month! You can find links to all of 2022’s Inspiring Itineraries in this Blog: A Year of Inspired Travel: 2022’s Inspiring Itineraries, Month by Month.