48 Hours in Curacao
First, head towards the west coast to spend the night. We stayed at the Kura Hulanda Lodge and Beach Club, which is a wonderful resort, but there are other places to stay as well, such as the Blue View apartments that we hear great things about.
Once you are in the west, start off your morning with a dive or snorkel at the Alice and Wonderland reef. The sea life here is abundant and the colors are breathtaking. If you aren’t certified to dive, this is a great spot to test the waters with a discovery dive program, as the reef is right off shore and the guides at Go West are great! Also, this reef happens to be just off the beach that is located in front of the Kura Hulanda Lodge and Beach Club, making it super convenient if you chose to stay there.
Next, head to the Playa Forti beach down the road for some cliff jumping and relaxing beach time. There is a platform near the edge of the cliff just off to the left of the beach–here you can take the 40 ft. plunge into the crystal clear waters below. This is also a great beach to relax on and waste away the afternoon in the sun.
For dinner, make sure you stop at Sol Food (it’s only open Friday-Sunday so plan accordingly). Sol Food is a delicious and affordable “backyard” restaurant popular among locals and travelers alike. Without a reservation, you will sit at the community table, but you are sure to meet some interesting and fun people. If you do make a reservation, try to request a spot overlooking the water near sunset and you are guaranteed a stunning view. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate and the owner, Sunshine, is super nice and helpful. Make sure you say hi and she will give you a nice little packet of her special tips for the island. We enjoyed the pizza so much that we had it two nights in a row. The pizza is a constant on the menu, but the rest of the menu changes weekly depending on what foods are in season. Sol Food is by far our favorite restaurant on the island, and are so glad we discovered it during our short 48 hours in Curacao.
The second morning of your 48 hours in Curacao, wake up early and drive to Christoffel National Park. Here you will climb to the highest part of the island, by hiking Mt. Christoffel, which is around 1,400 ft. high. Along your hike you will see cactus and other unique flora and fauna as well as some amazing views overlooking the island. The hiking trail starts out easy, but make sure to wear good shoes as it quickly becomes challenging; the incline becomes steep and you have to climb up and around large rocks. You will have to do a little climbing to get past the scramble near the top, but the views are worth the effort. On a clear day you can see as far as Venezuela. If you don’t like to hike, there are other activities in the park as well, such as horseback riding, jeep tours, kayaking and even lounging on the beach.
Once you have finished exploring the park, you may want to rest at your hotel for a bit and grab a quick bite to eat before heading into the town of Willemstad. Make sure not to rest too long though, as there is lots to see in town as well!
Once you get to town, you have a few options. If you are into museums, make a stop at the Kura Hulanda Slave Museum where you will learn many interesting and harrowing facts about slave trade and Curacao’s history. If museums aren’t your thing, go over to the Curacao Liqueur Distillery instead, where you can take a self tour through the visitor center to learn about the production process and history of the liqueur. You can also sample the famous Blue Curacao liqueur as well as the other types produced onsite.
Now you are ready to explore the downtown area of Willemstad. Visit some shops, the floating market and cross the Queen Emma floating pontoon bridge. The pontoon bridge is quite a sight, and it floats on top of the water and swings open to let ships pass through into the harbor. If you need to get to the other side when the bridge is open, you can hop on the ferry that runs back and forth.