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A Curacao travel guide – Dutch colonial structure

Curacao sits in crystalline waters dotted with fish-wealthy dive sites. Choose from 40 white sand beaches, browse bustling avenue markets or go to good-looking colonial-period districts. Holidays in Curacao aren’t complete without tasting the island’s eponymous liqueur.

Get your bearings

Curacao’s beaches span from ribbons of alabaster sands to small, intimate coves. On the south coast, calm waters lap the island’s most popular beach hold-outs whereas the rolling surf of the rugged northern coast is just for the brave. Most of Curacao’s a hundred and forty,000 Caribbean-Latino residents live in the east of the island where Willemstad, the cosmopolitan capital, sits on the leeward coast. Cross a bridge to enter Punda’s cobblestone streets trimmed with brightly coloured colonial buildings. Enterprise into Otrabanda (“the other side”) to discover Curacao’s more up to date character.

Dive, delve and explore

Year-spherical dry climate and sunshine make Curacao a coronary heart-pounding outdoor adventure, from sea kayaking forays into the shoreline’s coves to diving among the reefs and offshore wrecks. On dry land, choose from mountain bike trails, Jeep safaris, scooters or horseback to find Villa Royale Curacao’s caves, bushland and bluffs.

UNESCO buildings in bubble-gum hues

To wander round Curacao’s stone-constructed forts, protected port and ramparts is to delve into a bygone period when the nice European maritime powers battled for colonial rule. As the historic nexus of the Dutch Antilles, Curacao is happy with its indigenous heritage. Go to salt mines where African slaves once toiled or discover Punda’s UNESCO- preserved sixteenth-century streets. Gaze at monuments to the island’s ailing-fated occupation by the British (1807-1816) and marvel on the sand-scattered floor of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogue, consecrated in 1732.

Spices, tropical fruits and aphrodisiac soup

Curacao’s cuisine blends a myriad of culinary influences, from Africa’s salted goat meat and Caribbean seafood to Holland’s tasty Asian-European delights. In cosmopolitan capital Willemstad, the cultural hybrid is at its most vibrant. On the Old Market authentic dishes run from okra cooked with cinnamon, coconut, lime and mango to conch stews and sticky Dutch pancakes. Conventional cafés serve Afro-Caribbean soul meals and Indonesian stir-fries. Attempt hen cooked with gado gado (green beans and peanut sauce) or rijsttafel (mixed rice dishes) or grab a beer at a waterfront restaurant before attempting iguana soup, which is alleged to have medicinal and aphrodisiac powers.

Duty free, markets and glitzy boutiques

Curacao’s 57-acre Harbour Duty Free Zone is the Caribbean’s largest, although items island-huge are often “duty- relaxed”. Go to Punda’s bustling floating market to haggle with Venezuelan traders aboard vibrant barges loaded with tropical fruits and wares. The small artisans’ market on Plaza Jojo Correa is famed for its local crafts. Outlets within the capital’s industrial centre stock every thing from clothing to watches and souvenirs. Stoll along pedestrian-solely Heerenstraat and Madurostraat for one-off gadgets or be a part of the throngs in Breedestraat and Roodeweg for low cost buys.