Curacao’s Bucket List Top 10

This island has so much to offer for every type of traveler with delightful adventures and unique surprises at every turn. You might need an extra week’s holiday to check all these experiences off your bucket list, but at least we can show you where to start!

1. Wander around wonderful Willemstad
Take a guided walking tour or wander at will around one of the Caribbean’s most colorful little cities. The Handelskade is a UNESCO World Heritage site! The many pocket neighborhoods each hold their delights and new outdoor art is everywhere sandwiched between gorgeously restored colonial buildings like Penha. Sashay across the “Swinging Old Lady” (Queen Emma bridge) after a visit to the Floating Market, it’s a floating pontoon bridge that swings open when ships need to enter the harbor. But no worries about crossing the water then as the public ferries are free! Don’t miss it at night; it’s beautifully lit up. It connects the two major neighborhoods Punda (the Point) to Otrobanda which literally means “the other side”. Venture among the charming streets and alleys to be rewarded with amazing finds both historically significant and trendy, cool, and new, too.


2. Sail to the uninhabited island Klein Curacao
Did you know that Curacao has a little satellite sister island called Klein Curacao (“klein” means little) that is entirely undeveloped? No one lives there but the sea turtles and the visiting dolphins, sea birds, and tons of colorful tropical fish that make the pristine reefs all round it their native habitat. Sights of interest on land include an old, abandoned lighthouse, a shipwreck, and arguably the brightest white paradisiacal beach you’ve ever seen. Enjoy a full day adventure out there and back with music, food and drink, snorkeling, and/or diving with outfits like Miss Ann Boat Trips or Bluefinn Charters.

Wondering what a day to Klein Curacao looks like? We’ll show you in a short video!


3. Hit the road for a trip around Banda Abou/Westpunt
Rent a car and map out a route to find some of this island’s most coveted out-of-the-way natural treasures in the regions of Banda Abou/ Westpunt. Don’t miss Shete Boka National Park (meaning seven inlets) for wild waves crashing ancient cliffs and the intriguing Watamula water hole. Discover the beauty of the twin Knips- Grote (big) Knip and Klein (little) Knip are pristine sister coves side by side that are hugely popular with locals and tourists. Like to swim with sea turtles? Then Playa Piskado/Grandi is the spot, or sleuth out the secluded cove called Playa Lagun for crystalline waters full of magical marine life ideal for snorkeling away from the crowds. Looking for an adrenaline rush? Then find Playa Forti were jumping off the limestone cliffs into the clear waters is the thing to do. Or head out to find The Blue Room, a unique underwater cave accessible to both snorkelers and divers, it is bathed in a haunting neon blue light. Surreal. Nearby, find the long staircase to discover a real gem of a tiny beach cove excellent for photos and solitude called Playa Kalki.


Let’s discover Banda Abou / Westpunt together in this short video!

4. Eat like a local
Though this island has a wealth of international fare choices due to its large tapestry of nationalities that have settled here, there are places to eat local if you know where to look. Plasa Bieu (Old Market) in Punda is as authentic local as it gets. Choose from different stalls where locals often lunch for dishes like goat stew and cactus soup. For goat burgers, Toko Williwood is the original creator. You’ll find them out in St. Willibrodus, where you can also spot wild flamingos. But their famous signature “Williburger ” can also be found on menus in other locations around the island now, too. Keep an eye out for it. If you’ve always wanted to try iguana meat, Jaanchies out in Westpunt is the place to sample it in different ways in a lovely country-style garden. Other garden settings in the interior called “hofi’s” are also big on farm-to-table fare now. Just look for the words Kuminda Krioyo on the blackboard specials at many places and you’ll know that they serve authentic local food as well as other dishes. And this island’s food truck scene is off the charts. The massive number of rolling restos are called truki’pans (bread trucks) and they open late and stay open until the wee hours to satisfy the appetites of hungry partiers. Pastechies, (savory filled pastries) batidos (fruit shakes) and great BBQ are all on tap at those spots.


5. Walk back into ancient history at Hato Caves
Did you know that you can visit a surreal ancient cavern that’s over 300,000 years old? Hato Caves is the place, and the grounds and mazes have been beautifully equipped to host the public safely with enlightening guided tours suitable for all ages. Marvel at the stalagmites and stalactites in a magical labyrinth showcasing Mother Nature’s artistic side at its best. Meet a colony of rare bats and become enchanted by a secret pool. Outside, walk the Indian Trail that retraces the paths of the Arawaks, the island’s original peoples who left their own artwork behind over 1,500 years ago. Then enjoy the Cactus Garden to learn about Curacao’s flora and encounter indigenous animals. It’s an ideal way to spend half a day.


We give you a quick glimpse of the Hato Caves through this video!

6. Set out on unique active adventures on land & sea
Unique land and sea combo adventures can be had with Curacao Activities jeep and UTV tours where you can get the best of both worlds. Enjoy thrilling rides through the wild outback and then take a dip and/or snorkel in one of the best coves afterward. Highlights can also include a stop at the Aloe Vera Farm and a stop at a secret cave. Or explore the underwater world of the island with great trips via Scuba Do Dive Center. Other unique sea escapades include swimming with dolphins in a natural lagoon with the Dolphin Academy at the Curacao Sea Aquarium, or if you don’t want to get wet and still see marine life, check out their Ocean Lens observatory there. And you might find it surprising to be able to interact with ostriches on this island, but you can! Visit The Ostrich Farm for this fun and unique experience.


Also can’t wait to see what this cool UTV tour looks like? We’ll show you in this video!

7. Time travel at amazing museums
History buffs will be delighted with the incredible range of intriguing and interactive museums on this island. From establishments tracing Curacao’s important maritime history to tracing back typical plantation life to literary collections whispering pages from the past about many generations of The Dutch Caribbean and Jewish cultural history… and many more.

We will take you to our favorite museums in this video!

8. Hike and climb in nature
Elevate your holiday expectations by climbing the peaks or by hiking in the wild. The vast protected nature preserve in the interior called Christoffel National Park holds the island’s highest peak for avid climbers, but there are many more moderate to beginner nature trail hikes- guided and not- that will also get you close to nature there. Climbers will also enjoy tackling Table Mountain (Tafelberg) in Santa Barbara with Rock Climbing Curacao, and lesser known Zoutpannen in Jan Thiel has a marked loop trail for hikers and cyclists to explore the salt pans and wild regions. Closer to downtown, the Curacao Rif Mangrove Park is a brand-new urban nature retreat with modern boardwalks and bridges for an enlightening trek among the ecologically important and protected mangrove forests. They also offer guided kayak tours through the channels that are full of wildlife including many sea birds.


9. Enjoy eclectic shopping options
Locally made souvenirs are always the best choice for authentic island keepsakes, look for Chichi® figurines in many shapes and sizes handcrafted at Serena’s Art Factory and available at many different stores. Or sample some locally made spirits (try before you buy) at Landhuis Chobolobo Liqueur Distillery or at AnnaBay Rum outlet, but you’ll find them both easily available for purchase island-wide too. Another great keepsake is handmade Don Caribe Cigars and all the Don Caribe stores also have gorgeous locally made and handcrafted souvenirs as well. And you can never go wrong with anything from CurAloe, the island’s premium aloe product company. For higher-end shopping and excellent take-home treasures at great prices, check out the designer lines of fashion, big brand-name items, and fine jewelry at places like the Renaissance Mall and Freeport Jewelers.


10. Celebrate sundown during Happy Hours

Happy Hour is a big tradition on Curacao, and there are some famous ones to attend to rub shoulders with the locals and barefoot dance and socialize with buckets of beer at reduced prices, 2-for-1 drinks specials, and DJs or live music on the beach. The most popular happy hour haunts are Jan Thiel Beach and Mambo Beach, each with their own set of lively bars all located side by side. Cheers!


We show you in this video when and what time the island’s best happy hours are.

Road trip in style with Mister Paradise

Completing Curaccao’s Top 10 bucket list requires a car. If you want to road trip in style, then rent one of the vintage Suzuki Samurai compact jeeps. These highly Instagrammable, nineties jeeps come in cool art colors. It will provide you with an awesome ‘wind-in-your hair’, vintage experience. Grab your gear and explore all the bucket list points in style. Will you achieve them all? Contact Mister Paradise to book the ultimate island ride.
+5999 515-8004


By Susan Campbell