Palm trees swaying in the light breeze, sparkling turquoise waters, and secluded white sand beaches around every turn. Sound familiar? That scene could describe hundreds of islands in the Caribbean, and though it’s a beautiful picture to paint, it isn’t necessarily unique. So when it comes to narrowing down which island(s) to visit in the Caribbean, where does one begin? No one will argue that any island in the Caribbean isn’t worth at least a day trip, but certain islands have much more to offer. Consider your own interests. If relaxing on the beach all day everyday is what you desire, then choose the island rumored to have the best beaches in the region. If a more well-rounded Caribbean experience is desired, with lots of available activities, water sports, culture, hiking, eating, and more, your search has now been successfully narrowed down.
World famous for a certain special liqueur, the Dutch island of Curaçao offers a Caribbean richness in more ways than alcohol. Happily located South of the hurricane belt, a mere 44 miles from the coast of Venezuela, and filled with history and culture, it’s more difficult to find a reason not to visit than it is to see why you absolutely should experience this island paradise.
Not Just Beauty, Brains Too
Beginning with the Amerindian Arawaks, to the Spanish explorers, to the Dutch hailing from the Dutch West India company, and then the Africans, Curaçao has seen many cultures and events over the course of its history. Though many of the Caribbean islands have similar histories, few have worked as diligently as Curacao to preserve their history.
There’s quite the array of museums to visit on the island, which will help any visitor guide their way through understanding the history of Curaçao. A great place to start the historical journey is at the first ever museum on the island, simply called “Curaçao Museum.” If boats and maritime history intrigue you, then the Maritiem Museum is the place for you. The island, and much of the Caribbean, is laced with African influences, and you can learn why at the Kurá Hulanda Museum.
It’s Just a Colorful Caribbean Stew
Today Curacao is most closely associated with the Dutch, but the last 500 years was full of invasions and immigrations from a wide range of cultures. The Arawaks landed first, but were then displaced by the Spanish and Dutch explorers, and later French and English colonists. Unbeknownst to many, Portuguese Jews, who were run out of Portugal during the inquisition, made their way to Curaçao, where they established the west’s’ oldest synagogue. Over time, the island became a hub for the African slave trade, a regrettable fact, but one that is central to the island’s rich and diverse culture.
Let’s not forget that Venezuela is a short distance to the South, and each week at the Floating Market, Venezuelan schooners arrive, early in the morning, and unpack their wooden fishing boats filled with delicious fresh produce. The Latin American influence is evident across the island in its cuisine, culture and language. Fluent in multiple languages, Curaçaoans have also developed their own language – Papiamento, a language rooted in many of the island’s founding cultures.
So, not just another island paradise, Curacao is much, much more. Of course, stunning beaches with warm tepid waters will be there to beckon you year round, but you also have an open invitation to explore the many layers of the island’s rich and colorful history.
As you get ready for your trip to our slice of paradise, make sure you book your stay at the luxurious Santa Barbara Golf & Beach Resort in advance! With its private beach, unlimited water activities, and accommodating and helpful staff, there’s no better place to make your home on the island. Come one, come all, to the Caribbean’s most diverse and interesting island!