Walking along a boardwalk with European-styled buildings on one side of me and a floating market on the other, my senses are awash in colour. From the art to architecture, everything around me is saturated in bright, lively hues. This, I learn, is the very essence of Curacao.
This Dutch-Caribbean island is home to people originating from 55 different countries, making it one of the most diverse and interesting Caribbean islands. Would you like to promenade along the ritzy shops of Mambo Beach Boulevard or take a kiteboarding lesson? Sip a local Blue Curacao cocktail on the beach or take an ATV ride touring the island's hidden pathways? This is the place to pick your pleasure. Here’s how:
Get up close and personal with the depths of the Caribbean Sea.
If you like water, sea creatures and exploration, check out Substation Curacao. This underwater adventure is home to the one and only mini-submarine of its kind, which holds up to four people. Venture as far as 168 metres under the sea, slowly following the island’s expansive coral reef on the journey down. Stop to gaze at eel, coral, sponges, fish dawning all colours of the rainbow and, if you're lucky, other mysterious sea life you'd only otherwise only see in National Geographic documentaries.
Tour the island the local way.
Love to get a thrill and can't sit still? Go visit Eric and his team at Eric’s ATV Adventures. Tour in and out of hidden paths only locals know about, up rugged rocks, along the beach and through valleys of cacti, all on four wheels and under the direction of an experienced guide. It's the perfect way to take in the island's sun, sand and landscapes. With a pit-stop for lunch and a dip in the lake, this full-day adventure should be a top priority for anyone who loves nature, fun and stunning views.
Enjoy a slow-paced urban experience.
If a light walk, shopping and scenery is more your speed, downtown Willemstad is the perfect spot to spend a day. The historically-rich World Heritage Site is full of history; tales written through wall paintings, locally-made structures representing pieces of the island's past, and endless stores with local food, books, jewellery and clothing. Make sure to ask about the moving bridge; every day at noon, the bridge connecting both sides of the city moves to allow large cargo ships to pass through. You can watch from the side, or jump on and wait for it to reconnect to get back on land.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to enjoy this beautiful Dutch-Caribbean paradise?