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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.


Must Do Site Seeing

  • Snoa - Mikve Israel Emmanuel Synagogue. You know, where I had my Bar Mitzvah. Very interesting building and history.
  • West Punt - The western most tip of the island. Because it's a small island, westernmost is really not that far. If it wasn't for traffic you could get from Punda to West Punt in 30 minutes.
  • Boca Tabla - Shete Boka (7 mouths) includes the fantastic cave in/on top of/the very rocky and rough North coast of the island. As usual, remember that it is sunny and the sun is bright and hot. It will be very windy. THe place looks like a moonscape!

Things to do and see

  • Shete Boa National Park - Includes the famous Boca Tabla. One of the top attractions IMO.
  • Den Dunki - Nice walk hike, salt flats (zout pannen). There is a personal story connected with this place that I can tell you about.
  • Hoffi Mango - this is a very pleasant outdoor walking and hiking and sightseeing experience. Not strenuous at all. But a great way to get close to nature, to be outdoors and walk through a kind-of forest, climb up a small hill with a great view.
  • ATV Tours - This is one of many. It is a popular activity but I've never tried it myself. Remember it is very hot and the sun is always out. So keep that in mind.
  • Black Sand Beach - Kind of cool but not as black as the Hawaii black sand beaches.
  • Blue Room - Unique snorkling spot. Only accessible by water. You take a boat tour out to it and then jump in. Memorable.
  • Christoffel Park - Nice walk hike, but don't climb to the top, it's too hot.
  • Dina's Botanical and Historic Garden - If you are into natural remedies, growing herbs and tropical plants.
  • Historical Harbor Tour - Wednesdays at 2pm, really interesting tour looking at history, industry, polution etc.
  • Hoffi Mango - Have not been but I am told it is a very nice walk/hike.
  • Hoffi Pastor - Have not been but I am told it is a very nice walk/hike.
  • Kokomo Beach and Restaurant and Beach
  • Kura Hulanda Restored neigborhood, nice walking around, restaurants, shops
  • Landhuis Daniel - Try these unique meal-size Dutch pancakes.
  • Landhuis Klein St Marta - Cute little hotel plus restuarant.
  • Mangrove Park - Boardwalk through mangroves. Pleasant and pretty.
  • Punda Vibes - Thursday Night happenings in the down town
  • Sunset Boat Tour - Haven't tried myself but comes highly recommended.


The word in Papiamento for beach is playa. This list is certainluy not a list of all the beaches. There are many more. These are the ones that I like and have been to. I would recommend any of them.

  • Jan Thiel - Towards the east part of the island, very nice too. One of my favorite places to swim because there are several beaches and pools, and several restauants. Great atmosphere.
  • Blau Baai - Restaurant and beach
  • Blau Beach - Developed beach, closer to town. A little expensive.
  • Cas Abao Beach - Similar to Porto Marie, also very nice.
  • Kokomo Beach and Restaurant and Beach. Closer to town, and one of my favorites
  • Playa Lagun - Very rustic, small and pictoresque beach. A favorite for snorkling
  • Playa Porto Mari - One of the favorites towards the west end of the island


Restaurants here are "expensive, but... slow!". 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.


  • Restaurant Heeren By The Sea. They have a really nice restaurant right on the beach. The menu is not fancy but really interesting and creative. The location is spectacular. One of my favorites.
  • De 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.
  • Restaurant Number Ten. Also in the "suburbs" of Mahaai. Created in an old residential mansion. Hip light food and coffee.
  • San Tropez Restaurant - 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.
  • Ginger Restuarant - a nice old Curacao neighborhood
  • Karakter restaurant and beach and spa. Restaurant plus great Spa The Eight is worthwhiile. with its Spa the eight experience is great ( we are going there on Wednesday)
  • Kome - A favorite "nice" restaurant.
  • Landhuis Brakkeput Mei-Mei We also had a good experienc here.
  • Landhuis Daniel. A really cute place, an old Landhuis. It is on the way to Westpunt. You eat on a patio of the old Plantation House. Dutch pancakes are the specialty. They are more like unrolled crepes. Yummy.
  • Pirates Cove Restaurant and Beach
  • Restaurant Bij Blau - Claim to fame is the building where this restaurant is housed used to be a residence 50 years ago... and it was where my own mother lived when she was a kid.
  • Restaurant Dames. Also in the "suburbs" of Saliña. Light, delicious sandwiches, coffee and local stuff
  • Restaurant Estys. New restaurant that is highly recommended. Also owned by a friend of a friend 🙂
  • Restaurant Omundo. In the "suburbs". A nice kind of hip restaurant recently under new management.
  • Roebi's Eethuisje - for casual Indonesian food at zuikertuintje.
  • Soi 95 Restaurant. Asian style food. Very popular!
  • VillaVis. No web site that I can find. Recommended by the locals. It is at the rotunda di Caracasbaai and is by the same owner as de Visserij in Piscaderabaai. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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
  • Swimming With turtles - Really not worth it. I heard that it's become really overrun because of popularity. It used to be a very "local" fishermans harbor where turtles naturally congregated. Now it has been tarted up and become too touristy.
  • Jaanchi (or Jan Kristian) restaurant
  • Ostrich Farm


The last time I went scuba diving was around 2020, so everything has changed and my info could be out of date. Basically all dive sites are really good and pretty similar. There are dive operations all over the place. Some are more professional than others.

For an operator that is on a beach (there are many) most will offer just shore dives. Some have a boat. The ones that operate from a hotel or developed area will often not have shore dives but will have one or two pretty big boats and they usually offer two dive packages, with a 1 hour or so stop at sea between them. They will give you water or juice or granola bars during the break. Getting in the water is easiest with a beach even if it is rocky. Next is off of one of the bigger boats although if the water is choppy you have to time your self to grab onto the ladder to get back on board which can be a little gnarly but very doable. THe crew on board is super helpful and qualified.I

You can find any dive depth you want. The bottom falls off gradually and then fast. THere is a lot to see, corals and lots of fish etc. Sometimes there are man made objects like boats or cars etc to swim around. You can go by the name of the dive site realizing that they usually exaggerate what there is to see. Mushroom Forest is not really a forest for example.

  • superior producer - my favorite - about 100’ so on the deep side but really cool. Entry is a little gnarly but ok
  • tugboat - very very shallow. FIne to bring snorkelers along. They will enjoy it as much. There is a beach in Caracas Baai near Fort Beekenburg that is very close to it so you can swim out to it without paying for a boat if you want. But everyone goes to it.


Things are priced in the Curaçao guilder and/or US Dollars. The exchange rate is pretty consistently $1.00 = NAf 1.75. Anything different is a little suspicious. Often you can ask to pay in one or the other.

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Again there you can say what currency you want to pay in. Occasionally for bigger ticket items (like a car rental) they will tack on a 3-5% service fee to cover the credit card fees.

Tipping is not as mandatory as in the USA. I tried to tip 10% for decent service in restaurants which I think is typical. Note that often the credit card machine does not offer a "tip" option. You need to remind the server that you want to put a tip on your card so they bring the "right" credit card macbhine to your table. You can always leave a cash tip.

Web Sites and Resources

These are some excellent resources for knowing what's going on.

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 - Kind of old timey hotel. Very popular with traditional.
  • Trupial - Motel-like, in Mahaai, one of the residential neighborhood
  • Renaissance - American-style large hotel, right in down town