I've traveled to my fair share of islands around the world, but one that I never knew that I needed to visit is Curaçao. The tiny Dutch Caribbean island hadn't crossed my radar until recently, but now that I've visited, I can't stop talking about it. I want everyone to know how much fun I had on the trip, and how unique of a destination I think it is, so I've rounded up some things to do in Curaçao that I think that you absolutely have to check out if you head down there.
In Curaçao, I had the amazing opportunity to snorkel to an abandoned shipwreck, indulge in a relaxing massage in an open-air treatment room, paint my own traditional chichi doll, and take pictures in front of the candy-colored buildings in Willemstad. Overall, my time on the island was a fun and unique vacation that I would do all over again if I had the opportunity.
Though Curaçao wasn't initially on my travel bucket list, now that I've been there, I think that it needs to be on everyone's. It's a beautiful island, home to wonderfully welcoming people, delicious food, awe-inspiring views, and plenty of Instagrammable moments to fill your feed for weeks. Here are just a few of my favorite things that I did on my trip to Curaçao.
1. Go On A Snorkeling Trip To The Tugboat
Having grown up in Florida and traveled to tropical destinations all around the world, I've been on my fair share of snorkeling adventures. But my trip to Curaçao gifted me with my first-ever shipwreck excursion.
Ocean Encounters offers a snorkeling trip to their well-known tugboat wreck, which is an abandoned boat that has now become home to hundreds of fish and some of the brightest corals I have ever seen. The fish literally swam around my body; it was surreal experience that I'll never forget.
2. Mix Up Your Own Drinks At The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur Distillery
If you love touring distilleries when you travel, you absolutely have to visit the Genuine Curaçao Liqueur Distillery at Landhuis Chobolobo. The Blue Curaçao cocktail experience gives you a tour of the facilities, as well as a guided mixology class so you can make your own cocktail with the liqueur. (I loved feeling like a bartender for a hot second, and even got a cute Boomerang of me shaking up my mixed drink!)
3. Paint Your Own Chichi Doll
One of the most recognizable icons of Curaçao is the chichi doll, which, according to chichi-curacao.com, was designed by an artist named Serena Janet Israel. The website goes on to say that the chichi doll is named after the Papiamentu word for "big sister," and is a symbol of a nurturing figure in a family.
Serena opens up her Art Factory on Fridays for people to come in and paint their own chichi dolls in a workshop setting. You will be guided through the creative process, and return home with your very own chichi doll. This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
4. Get A Relaxing Treatment At 8 The Experience
I'm all for a relaxing spa experience when I'm on the road, and it really doesn't get better than a massage at 8 The Experience. My massage was in an open-air room that overlooked the beautiful ocean views just outside, which was a really unique experience that I would do over and over again.
My favorite part of visiting the spa was using the facilities. The spa has two cliffside jacuzzis that overlook a beautiful view of the ocean and make you never want to leave.
5. Enjoy A Homemade Iced Tea And Snap A Pic On The Swing At Number Ten Cafe
I visited a ton of trendy spots in Curaçao, but my favorite was Number Ten. The café has a beautiful outdoor patio for an aesthetically-pleasing dining experience, and the sandwich I ate was accompanied by some of the best homemade chips I've ever had. And because it's a café, you can bet that all of the drinks I had were delicious — I enjoyed one of their homemade iced teas, and a Curaçaoan favorite, awa di lamunchi.
Plus, if you're looking for a good photo opp, there's an adorable wooden swing just outside the patio. (Bonus points to you if you can hold your drink while you swing — I couldn't do it!)
6. Check Out The Candy-Colored Buildings In Willemstad
Curaçao's capital, Willemstad, features brightly-colored buildings scattered all around the city. It's an Instagrammer's paradise. The colors feel tropical, fun, and flavorful, and you'll have a blast taking pics in front of all of the beautiful colors around the city.
7. Enjoy All Of The "Dushi" Artwork
If you visit anywhere in Curaçao, you'll hear people say the word "dushi." It's a Papiamentu word that is used to describe your sweetheart, or when your food is delicious.
All over Willemstad, in souvenir shops, and around the rest of the country, you'll see the word on display. (There's even a giant life-sized "dushi" sign in the middle of town in Willemstad.) I even left with a little bracelet that says the word on it to commemorate my trip.