Italy

Under $100: Curaçao

by Allie Menzione

Mar 12, 2018

Curacao © Sorin Colac | Dreamstime.com

Under $100 / Caribbean

Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of South America and is the “C” in the ABC islands, including sister islands Aruba and Bonaire. It is one of the most affordable Caribbean destinations and a best hidden gem to explore.

Similar to its sister islands, Curaçao is known for its stunning beaches and waters — making it a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling and other water sports. There are almost 40 beaches to explore on this 10-mile island. Some beaches require a small fee for admission, and/or a beach chair — usually around $3. Some of the best beaches include Blauwbaai, Playa Lagun and Knip Bay. Spend the day bathing or rent some snorkeling gear nearby to explore the turquoise waters, especially active with sea turtles at Playa Lagun

Once you’re tired from the sun and water, spend the day getting a little culture in historic downtown Willemstad. The UNESCO World Heritage site was established in 1634 and is littered with candy-colored Dutch colonial buildings filled with rich history and culture. Wander through the streets and traverse the open Technicolor floating market, where fruit venders from Venezuela sell mangoes, plantains and papayas from boats and stalls.

Downtown is also home to Museum Kura Hulanda, where you can explore Curaçao’s central role in the history of slavery in the Caribbean. Admission is $10.

If you’re looking for a little more adventure, Shete Boka and Chistoffel national parks are perfect places for a hike. There are plenty of options, trails and tours including a safari, bird watching or history tour. These can range $20–40.

Lastly, Curaçao is home to a rich culinary scene based on its Caribbean, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese influences. Experience some of the best of it all at Primas, located in a restored plantation mansion and serving traditional dishes at affordable prices.

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