What is this?
As I am always asked for tips on doing stuff in Curaçao, I thought I would write them down here.
Beware that all this is just my own, biased, weird, opinions. There are perfectly good restaurants, even popular ones, that I don’t like because of the atmosphere or the price or the location. There are restaurants considered boring, that I like, for the same reasons. So buyer beware.
Geography and Weather
Curacao is a very small island. It’s about 40 miles long and about 5 miles wide. It’s as if you cut off Cape Cod at the Canal and straightened it out. However the roads are not as good. Still, the longest drive you can make without doubling back is around 45 minutes.
It’s basically tropical. Or desert. It’s always around 80 degrees and with a good breeze. In the “summer” there’s almost never rain, sunny, blue skies every day. In the “winter” it might rain a little more.
If you wear shorts, bring multiple sets. I wear only shorts almost all the time. No need for a sweater of any kind.
Bring sunglasses, a hat, and suntan lotion!
Driving is pretty easy. Google maps will work, better still if you download the maps so you don’t need to use your data plan. Driving is on the right, just like the USA. However the signs will not all be familiar, but common sense. Yes people drive a little crazy but really not more than Boston.
Where to stay
Always a very personal decision. There are tons of hotels and inns on the island. I’ve stayed in a few of them. So here’s a very idiosyncratic listing:
- Royal Resort – A beautiful private resort with rental suites. It’s not really a hotel in that it has just a minor restaurant but it is a gret setting with pools and beaches and fantastic setting.
- Avila –
- Trupial –
- Renaissance –
- Bona Vista –
Restaurants here are 1) expensive and 2) have slow service. Those are generalizations but it’s good to set expectations. That way you won’t be surprised.
Everything you eat here, almost, has to be imported, by plane or containership. Also it’s a tourist destination which also add to the costs.
Overall the food will be familiar to you. You will have no trouble with the menus. Many of them are in Dutch, but almost all of them will have an English menu if you ask.
You will see standard “American” food, or “French” food. You will also see Indonesian (because Indonesia, like Curaçao used to be a colony of the Netherlands.) Also a lot of “Dutch” food.
- Scuba Lodge: They have a really nice restaurant right on the beach. Not fancy but with a great atmosphere. Especially on Sunday night they (used to have) an Indonesian night, with Sate and Special Rice and other good stuff.
- Kome: A favorite “nice” restaurant.
- The Grill: Outdoors, informal, decent and good for kids
- Omundo:In the “suburbs”. A nice kind of hip restaurant recently under new management.
- Goeverneur: The Dutch word for Governor. I am not really sure I spelled it right. But anyway, the big attraction here is the view. It has tables on a patio overlooking Punda and the harbor. It’s very pretty. The food is also interesting and tasty.
- Number Ten – Also in the “suburbs” of Mahaai. Created in an old residential mansion. Hip light food and coffee.
- Dames – Also in the “suburbs” of Saliña. Light, delicious sandwiches, coffee and local stuff
- San Tropez – In the hip neighborhood of “Pietermaai”. All white, bright, kind of Euro-cool. Very blue swimming pool. Along the ocean on the south. Try the fish tacos, they are awesome.
- Roebie’s – for casual Indonesian food at zuikertuintje.
- Landhuis Daniel – for delicios Dutch Pancakes.
- We also had a good experience at Landhuis Brakkeput Mei Mei.
- Karakter with its Spa the eight experience is great ( we are going there on Wednesday)
Must See Site Seeing
- Snoa – Mikve Israel Emmanuel Synagogue
- West Punt
- Boca Tabla
Places to Go by car
These are not “sight seeing” necessarily, they include destinations that might have a bunch of good restaurants together, or a fun thing to do, or stuff to look at. I list “beaches” separately.
- Zuikertuintje – In the “suburb” of Mahaai, it’s a typical small shopping area with various restaurants.
- Karakter – Restaurant plus great Spa The Eight is worthwhiile.
- Lion’s Dive/BLVD “area”
- “West Punt”
- “Boca Tabla”
- “Otrabanda” + “Rif Fort”
- Hato Caves (near the airport.)
- Klein Santa Martha for beautiful views, atmosphere, food is not bad. You can also stay there as it’s a small hotel.
Not as good as they sound
You might hear or read about these places but in my opinion they are not worth the trip. Although I was surprised to hear recently of someone who loved the Ostrich Farm, so, who knows!
- Zoo or Botanical Garden
- Janchi (or Jan Kristian) restaurant
- Ostrich Farm