Curaçao is an island located in the Caribbean just outside of the hurricane belt, which makes it a great spot to visit year round. Situated just over 30 miles from the shore of Venezuela, this Dutch-influenced island provides an interesting mix of cultures. Our favorite aspect of the island, however, is the abundance of exciting activities throughout the island, and most of our favorites happen to be near the western side of the island. Here is a round up of five fun activities that Curaçao has to offer.
Curaçao is home to some of the best shore diving on earth, meaning that there are many thriving reefs right off shore, no boat required. There are also many unique reefs a little farther off shore, such as the Mushroom Forest, Tugboat, and Car Pile. Not certified to dive? No problem. Just sign up for a discovery dive course like we did and get a look into a world of underwater beauty. We took the diving course from Go West in the small town of Westpunt and felt we couldn’t have made a better choice. The Alice in Wonderland reef just off the shore was breathtaking and teeming with sea life–we even saw an octopus!
2. Cliff Jumping
If you are feeling adventurous, why not try jumping off a 40 ft. cliff into the crystal clear water below? Just to the left of the Playa Forti beach on the western side of the island, stands a cliff that is perfect for cliff jumping. There is a narrow path that leads along the outside edge of a restaurant to a small platform marking the jumping point. Standing at the top is a little nerve-wracking, but it is an exhilarating experience and definitely worth the nerves. If you would rather watch, grab a spot in the restaurant next to the platform or watch from the beach below.
3. Hike Mt. Christoffel
Mt. Christoffel is located in Christoffel National Park and is the highest point on the island, standing around 1,400 ft. tall. You can drive to the base of the mountain where you will start your hike among desert-like flora and fauna, such as cacti. The trail starts out easy enough, but soon, the gradual incline isn’t so gradual and the dirt path turns quite rocky. Make sure you wear good shoes, as the last portion near the top gets a little intense–it feels as though you are rock climbing instead of hiking. But, the scramble near the top is more than worth it for the beautiful views. It is said that on a clear day, you can see as far as Venezuela. Take your time at the top to catch your breath and soak in the amazing views because the hike down isn’t any easier–you really have to watch your footing because there are no guard rails to catch you if you fall! When you make it back to the bottom, take some time to explore more of the park. There are numerous other trails and picturesque spots worth a stop.
Not only is there great diving in Curaçao, but the snorkeling is beautiful as well. Places such as the Blue Room cavern, which is a cave where everything magically seems to glow a bright blue, offers a unique experience, but there is also great snorkeling on most any beach you happen upon. Just grab your snorkel gear, head to the closest beach and hop in the water. We went snorkeling just off the Lagun Beach where you can see squid, turtles, spotted eagle rays, and more. Another great spot to snorkel is the same spot we did our dive, the Alice in Wonderland reef.
5. Shete Boka National Park
This park is a nature reserve not far from Christoffel National Park. The landscape here looks almost volcanic, but it’s actually old coral reef beds. There are trails for hiking (note: there isn’t much shade, so make sure you bring sunscreen), but the real draws are Boka Pistol and the Boka Tabla cave. Boka Tabla is a small inlet where the waves crash into the rocky shoreline and cliffs. You can go inside the cavern underneath and watch the waves crash wildly around inside. Boka Pistol is a blow hole where the water shoots up from the rocky land with every incoming wave–this is known as the “Breath of Curaçao” and is a stunning sight to see.
Jenna created a travel site called Wander The Map, along with her husband Micah, to share their experiences and provide tips and inspiration for others. Always up for an adventure, they travel as much as their schedules allow to capture the world through photos, videos and words.