Welcome to the island of Curaçao - where architectural, cultural, and culinary influences from across the globe melt together to create a Caribbean gem like no other. The island’s rich history is just as captivating as its idyllic scenery and natural landscapes, making it a destination to add straight to the top of your vacation bucket list!
As part of the Dutch Antilles, commonly known as the ABC islands, alongside Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao's past tells a fascinating tale of cultural fusion. Shaped by various colonial powers such as the Spanish, British, and Dutch, this enchanting island seamlessly blends European and Caribbean influences, evident in its architecture, language, and customs.
Not only will you find whimsical towns and expansive blue waters to explore, but Curaçao also beckons you to indulge your five senses through vibrant colors, tempting flavors, and traditional melodies which intertwine to create a destination you’re bound to fall in love with. Join us as we introduce you to some of the island’s greatest wonders, brought to life through the magic of hearing, taste, smell, sight, and touch.
Listen closely and you'll soon be swept away by Curaçao's captivating sounds. The island's lively streets showcase its rich musical heritage, with traditional tambú and tumba blending with upbeat reggae and salsa tunes. To get a taste of Curaçaoan music, all you need to do is wander throughout the capital, Willemstad, and see how street musicians bring the melodies to life amongst the chatter of market vendors.
Explore the island further and listen to the natural soundscape of the island as the waves of the Caribbean Sea gently meet the shore, while palm trees rustle in the breeze to create the perfect melodious soundtrack for a moment of relaxation. Make sure you also keep an ear out for the birdsong of native species like the bananaquit and trupial who love to add their voices to the island's chorus!
Immerse yourself in the sounds of Curaçao and effortlessly embrace the island's essence.
Curaçao's alluring fusion of Caribbean and European flavors promises to please even the most discerning palate. Pay a visit to the island and you’ll have the opportunity to explore a culinary adventure that showcases the rich history and cultural influences that define Curaçao's unique gastronomy.
So, what do the locals eat in Curaçao? Let’s meet some popular traditional Curaçaoan foods:
1. Keshi Yená: This dish is a real Curaçaoan classic, consisting of a large, round cheese that is stuffed with a mixture of spiced meat, onions, tomatoes, olives, capers, and raisins before being baked until it’s gooey.
2. Stobá: A hearty stew that can be made with a variety of meats, such as goat (kabritu), beef, or chicken, stobá is another of the island’s staple dishes. It is often served with rice or funchi, a local cornmeal dish.
3. Pastechi: These tasty fried pastries are a popular snack and can be found at bakeries and street food vendors throughout the island. Pastechi is typically filled with ingredients like seasoned ground beef, chicken, cheese, or even seafood.
4. Ayaka: A traditional holiday dish, ayaka is made up of seasoned meat - usually chicken, beef, or pork - mixed with olives, raisins, and capers, and then wrapped in dough and a banana leaf. The parcels are then steamed or boiled.
5. Arepa di Pampuna: Arepa di pampuna is a sweet pumpkin pancake that is a favorite treat amongst the locals! Made with grated pumpkin, flour, sugar, and spices, these delicious pancakes are often enjoyed for breakfast or dessert, sometimes topped with syrup or a sprinkle of sugar.
If you’re keen to explore the local cuisine, you can enjoy a $250 Dine Out Credit when you book a stay of 7 nights or more in a butler suite at Sandals Royal Curaçao, giving you the chance to sample some of the best restaurants in Curaçao. Prefer to stay on resort? You’ll find just as much to tantalize those tastebuds with the all-included dining options available.
Top tip - Ideal for a quick bite, Toteki food truck is our favorite for traditional Curaçaoan fare!
Of course, Curaçao isn’t only known for its vibrant cuisine but also for its array of tasty local drinks. Perhaps the most iconic of all is Blue Curaçao, a liqueur made from the dried peels of the Laraha citrus fruit, which is native to the island. This electric blue liqueur is a popular ingredient in many cocktails, such as the Blue Margarita and the Blue Lagoon. In addition to its famous namesake liqueur, Curaçao also offers a variety of refreshing, locally-produced soft drinks such as Awa Di Koko, Awa Di Lamunchi, and Fria. You’ll also find island-inspired beers like Amstel Bright and Polar to quench your thirst on a sunny day.
Embark on a sensory journey through Curaçao, where each breath fills you with the natural aroma and invigorating scents that permeate the island.
Start your adventure by strolling along the shores of the famous Mambo Beach, and inhale the refreshing ocean air as you take in the panoramic views of the waters stretching out into the horizon.
Venture inland to explore the island's lush and verdant landscapes where the fragrance of native plant species fills the air, from the sweet perfume of tropical flowers like the Divi Divi tree to the earthy scents of the towering cacti. Feeling energetic? Visit the Christoffel National Park where you can hike the scenic trails as the aromas of Curaçao's diverse and tropical flora guide you along your way.
Continue into the city of Willemstad, where the delicious scents of local markets and street food entice your senses. Among our favorites is the irresistible scent of warm, buttery pastechi, inviting you to indulge in the culinary delights offered by the city's market vendors.
With its lush verdant-green landscapes, azure blue waters, and a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors that leave visitors in awe - Curaçao is truly a sight to behold!
Begin your exploration in the charming capital of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site! The city's historic districts, Punda and Otrobanda, are lined with a striking array of multicolored buildings inspired by Dutch architecture and adorned with playful hues of Caribbean color. Wander along the iconic Handelskade waterfront and take in the vibrant facades that paint a picturesque scene against the backdrop of St. Anna Bay.
The dramatic coastline of the island showcases a stunning contrast of lush greenery and rugged, windswept cliffs. Nowhere is better positioned to fully embrace this natural beauty than Sandals Royal Curaçao, where the resort sits adjacent to the shoreline, nestled in amongst the countryside with scenery to admire from every angle.
Ready to take it a step further and explore what’s below the surface? Curaçao is also known for its many exceptional diving spots, such as the Tugboat wreck and Mushroom Forest, a unique coral formation. The clear waters of Curaçao are home to a dazzling display of marine life, with vivid coral reefs and all kinds of tropical fish that combine to create an underwater masterpiece.
Curaçao's enchanting allure extends beyond its vibrant visuals and captivating sounds, inviting you to engage your sense of touch through a world of rich textural details.
Begin at one of the island's many white-sand beaches and feel the warmth of the soft, powdery sands beneath your feet as you stroll along. Head closer to the shore and you’ll feel warmth turn to cool as the gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea make contact with your skin. What feeling says ‘vacation’ more than that first dip into the ocean?
For the non-ocean-goers, there’s just as much joy to be found in the cool, silky waters of the stunning two-level infinity pool at Sandals Royal Curaçao, or “dos awa” as the locals say. Trace your hands through the blue waters and feel yourself soak into a world of tranquility as you dive right in.
Visit Curaçao's local markets and engage your sense of touch by experiencing the textures of locally crafted souvenirs. From the smoothness of hand-carved wooden sculptures to the intricate weavings of textiles and the delicate craftsmanship of traditional Chichi dolls, each piece serves as a tangible memento of your unforgettable Curaçao experience.
After a day of adventure, there’s one more treat that remains for your sense of touch. As the sun dips below the horizon, notice the sensation on your skin and feel the temperature shift from a hot, tropical day to a cool, breezy evening - rounding off the perfect day on the island.
From mesmerizing coastlines and diverse culinary offerings to delightful melodies and captivating sights, the island of Curaçao has something to engage each of your five senses. With a vibrant tapestry of colors, cultures, and experiences that will delight and inspire, this small but incredible island’s sensory allure promises a vacation like no other.
Are you ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of Curaçao?