Curaçao Travel Guide
Curaçao, the busiest and most populous of the ABC Islands, is a surprising jumble of ethnicities and languages – Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese, with a healthy dose of African idioms, all rolled into a mouthful of Papiamento. It can fairly be described as one part Caribbean charm, one part Latin flair, one part European sophistication, and one part African heritage – a wildly happening mix. Its capital, Willemstad, is bursting with Dutch colonial architecture, some of the most colorful and striking in the Caribbean, while its countryside and coastal waters beckon eco-tourists, travelers, divers and snorkelers to underwater reefs and wrecks, and historic plantation houses and nature preserves with tour-worthy caves and sea cliffs. And if that's not enough, you can catch a fast boat to Venezuela, which, for islanders. is "land ahoy!"
Curaçao is situated about 40 miles (64 km) north of the Venezuelan coast in the south Caribbean Sea, roughly between the other two ABC islands, Aruba and Bonaire, which are to the west and east of it respectively. The island itself is long and thin – 37 miles long and 8 miles wide at its widest point – with Klein Curaçao (Little Curaçao) lying just 7 miles off its southeast coast.
Curaçao's top draw is its capital city, Willemstad, which, for its supremely impressive collection of Dutch colonial architecture, is a UNECSO Cultural Heritage Site, and which also, for its pedestrian-only streets littered with European import shops, open-air markets, whimsical galleries, ethnic restaurants, elegant casinos and nightclubs with live music, is the center of the island's universe. Among other draws on the island are its miles and miles of picturesque beaches, its 100 or so historic plantation houses, and the Queen Juliana Bridge which, at a height of 185 feet (56.4 m) above water, is among the highest in the world.
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