Visitors to this island, located about 60 kilometres off the coast of Venezuela, are sure to hear locals speaking Dutch and Papiamentu—a Creole dialect that is a mix of European, African and Arawakan languages. Curaçao is home to a diverse population of 160,000 people representing more than 50 nationalities and includes many descendants of the island’s former slave population. Willemstad, the waterfront capital, offers a taste of this cultural mash-up, but there’s plenty to explore all over the island.
Morning: Spend the day exploring Willemstad and its unique neighbourhoods. Start by wandering the narrow, cobbled streets of Punda. Enjoy a cappuccino at Wandu Café before touring the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, which was consecrated in 1732 and is the oldest in the Americas.
Afternoon: Experience an island tradition by dining on spicy stewed beef at Yvonne di Plaza in Plasa Bieu, an indoor market. After, cross the iconic Queen Emma Bridge to the Otrobanda quarter and its alleyways filled with brightly painted homes. Visit Museum Kura Hulanda, housed in a 19th-century merchant’s house and slave quarters, which chronicles how the brutal slave trade shaped the Caribbean.
Evening: Hang out with locals in the up-and-coming Pietermaai district, where historic mansions have been converted into hip restaurants, bars and hotels. Caña Bar & Kitchen embraces South American flavours and local ingredients; try the fish ceviche topped with mango, baby corn and cilantro.
Read the full 3-day Curaçao itinerary on WestJet Magazine's website.