From tiny to large, mountainous to flat, populated to sparse, the Caribbean has hundreds of islands to choose from, all offering their own special something. The Caribbean is a truly unique region, where the weather and the landscape have influenced the culture and heritage in different ways across its vast history.
For many the Caribbean serves as an idyllic escape from the busy schedules of regular life. Relaxation abounds in this region filled with an incredible number of perfect weather days, warm inviting waters, and a care-free attitude. For those interested, there’s much more depth to the Caribbean than meets the eye. Because of the incredible weather, waters, and all around energy of the Caribbean, throughout history it’s attracted people, cultures, and nations from across the globe.
One island in particular, has played host to such a myriad of civilizations and cultures, it’s become a “Caribbean Stew.” The Dutch island of Curaçao, 44 miles north of Venezuela, has developed an incredibly rich culture that is a mixture of more than a few influences.
Everybody Wanted a Piece of Curaçao
Curaçao’s first inhabitants were the Caiquetios – Amerindian Arawaks, who migrated from regions of South America around 6,000 years ago. The 15th century through today has brought the Spanish, Dutch, and British nations, as well as French and English colonists, African slaves, and Portuguese Jews, to name the vast majority. Not to mention the close proximity Curaçao has to Venezuela and South America. As you can imagine, the culture on this petite island is off the charts! With an abundance of museums, cultural sites, and real-life islanders to interact with, you can learn about the history and culture and experience it first hand! In between relaxing on the beach of course.
Where to Go For a Slice of Culture Pie
Dance contests, rooftop parties, annual holidays, concerts, sporting events, art festivals, and more await curious visitors and enthusiastic locals. Carnival is the quintessential Caribbean event. Happening before lent, Carnival is a mixture of Dutch, African, and Carib cultures. This event takes place over a few weeks and includes the traditional Tumba festival, several parades, beauty pageants, and street festivals.
Get a glimpse of what life was like on the island during the 18th and 19th centuries, by taking a tour of one or more Landhuizen’s, also known as “country homes.” Typically former plantation homes, they were built from coral, brick, and Dutch tiles. Around 55 of the houses are still in existence scattered around the island, and many of which are open for tours.
Unbeknownst to many, Curaçao is home to the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Americas, the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, more affectionately known as “the Snoa” to locals. Many of the Jewish settlers were originally from Spain and Portugal, who fled the Inquisition and found refuge on the island.
For a taste, literally, of Venezuela, you won’t want to miss the Floating Market in the capital city of Willemstad. Each week, Venezuelan schooners arrive in the early morning, unpack their wooden fishing boats filled to the brim with delicious fresh produce. Technically the market itself isn’t actually floating, the stalls line up along the street on solid ground, but it’s a hustle and bustle of colorful goods and a mixture of languages.
Curaçao is brimming with culture, events, excitement, and relaxation. It will never be a question of running out of things to do, it’s a matter of having enough time to do and see everything you want to! The above suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg, to begin discovering even more about the island, visit here.
To experience the utmost in luxury during your stay, let the welcoming folks at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort take care of your every need, and even provide useful information about what to do and where to go. Curaçao island looks forward to taking you back through its history, while sharing its past and present culture with you!