Curacao is the second ABC island we visit, but it’s our first time visiting Curacao. For those who aren’t familiar, the ABC Islands consist of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. Our trip was better than we expected it to be. Unlike our previous visit to the ABC islands, in this visit we opted to be more budget conscious and make some meals at home. Don’t get me wrong, we did splurge for a couple special dinners to celebrate a birthdays. Here is a guide of what we explored on this amazing week full of beaches! Curaçao is definitely a “Dushi” island ?.
In order to travel to Curacao, U.S citizens must have a passport valid for the duration of their trip. For stays less than 90 days, no visa is required for US Citizens. To check other travel requirements click here.
Let’s Talk Money
The local currency in Curacao is the Antillean guilder (also called the florin). US visitors can use US dollars are they are widely accepted.
When booking Curaçao, we knew we wanted to stay at an Airbnb. Some of our requirements for the apartment were: a pool, full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, washer/dryer, parking, AC, and close proximity to the beach and our Airbnb did not disappoint. We stayed at Kaya Felpa in Sint Michiel. The property manager, Hilda, was phenomenal. She was super attentive (we worked through the language barrier) and responsive.The Airbnb was relatively inexpensive- about $85 a night (total was $787 divided by 4 people on the trip). It had all the amenities we had hoped for! To get up to $40 Off your first Airbnb booking sign up here.
Since we love exploring our destinations at our own leisure, we HIGHLY recommend the use of a rental car. We rented our car through Expedia. We chose ACE car rentals as they had some of the better reviews. Our experience there was awesome as well. The clerk was helpful and had a great sense of humor. The cost for the rental was about $350 for the 8 days we were on the island. American Express, our credit card provider, offers renter’s insurance on cars, so we opted for no insurance which forced us to leave a $1,000 deposit on a credit card(keep that in mind when renting cars). Ps. If you’re going to be using the insurance via your credit card, make sure it offers both collision and liability insurance. Trust me, they’re both important if you don’t have car insurance of your own that cover these.
We purchased all of our groceries from Centrum supermarket, which was about a 5 minute drive from our Airbnb. Again, on this vacation we opted to eat more at home so we cooked breakfast almost every morning, as well as dinner. Groceries for an 8 day trip cost us around $300 and we were able to get some good stuff. We even had food leftover (uncooked and canned) for the next round of guests. Keep in mind, this is what WE spent, the price will be different based on what your needs and wants are.
Things To See/Do
This is the capital of Curaçao and if you google search for Curaçao, it is probably the first image that appears. The Queen Emma bridge and brightly painted buildings are the most famous images of the island. Here you will find many touristy shopping areas, as well as spots for dining. We saw some familiar US restaurants such as KFC and Subway in this area, as well as McDonalds, which seems to be everywhere. You can see some great sights in this area and when cruise ships are docked, the town comes alive. This is also a great place to get your souvenir and duty free shopping done. It is also home of the famous Curaçao & Dushi signs you see all over Instagram.
Grote Knip/Klein Beach/Knip
This beach has many names but it quickly became our favorite on the island. We spent most of our trip on the northwest end of the island because that’s where we found the most beautiful beaches, with this one being the best (in our opinion). The beach is organized so you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas (we rented 4 chairs for $20 US and if we wanted an umbrella it would have been an extra $5). The water is super clear and warm. If you are lucky enough (like we were) you’ll also get some sea turtles swimming in the waters with you. You can also cliff dive from a safe spot near the lookout point if you’re up for it. There is a charge for the use of restrooms here. The fee is $1 for only two uses. There is also a small hut/BBQ place that has beers, burgers, chips, fries and grilled chicken. The food was pretty good and not too bad on price. We brought our own alcohol to the beach everyday in a cooler with some bottles of Tito’s ?. PS, try our new favorite drink: Tito’s and White Zinfandel, but be warned it is a spiked rosè and it will get ya! Ps. This isn’t sponsored but Tito’s if you are reading this, call us!
Playa Porto Mari
This was our second favorite of the island. This beach is more organized than Knip, as it has full functioning restaurants and dive shops. At the beach, we rented a bed on the beach and bought a bottle of Rosè from the restaurant and spent the day listening to music and swimming in the crystal clear, warm waters. The food here was pretty good and relatively cheap (didn’t get a picture because we dug into it before I could). For our stay, we bought 3 bottles of Rosè and 4 meals for a total of $90 US. This is also the island’s famous “Pig beach”, as you will find your occasional pig or two roaming the sands. Our bed rental was $20 US.
This is another super popular Instagramable beach and is well known for its swing in the ocean. Unfortunately, when we got to Kokomo we did not like it very much. They had a huge sign outside with a lot of restrictions on what you could do on the beach and what you could bring, so we opted to go elsewhere (ended up at playa Porto Mari). I did manage to get a few pics for your enjoyment.
Playa Kenepa Grandi
This was another amazing beach. Organized, but had no restaurant or hut. There was a person there on certain days who would have hot dogs, chips, sodas and water for sale, as well as some beach towels. This is another great beach to enjoy a relaxing day in the sun. The beach chairs and umbrellas were the same price as Knip, $5 each.
Playa Kenepa Chiki
Very similar to Kenepa Grandi, just smaller. Super quiet and relaxing and great for kids as well.
This is another renowned beach of the islands because here you will definitely get to swim with sea turtles. This is a fisherman’s beach so they often discard of the parts of the fish they don’t want, which lures in the sea turtles. This beach has rental chairs and umbrellas, you have to pay for the bathroom, but no restaurant, bar or hut. The water here is not so great, as it has all of the fish carcass, but it is still swimmable and the fish in the water aren’t that bad (they’re all the way at the bottom, on the sand).
This is a pretty, lagoon-type beach that is right by a cute resort, Lagun Resort. It has chairs for rent, massages on the beach and a cute restaurant that serves delicious food and drinks. Bring your snorkel gear as here you will find some of the prettiest reefs and fish we have seen.
We made a quick stop here and quickly turned around. Super small beach, was crowded when we arrived and is not organized. Maybe it was just a bad day.
We stopped at the flamingo reserve on the way to Playa Porto Mari. It is on the side of the road and very easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. It was a cool experience to see the flamingos in their natural habitat. The flamingos look closer in person than in our pics (you’ll just have to trust us lol).
Where to Eat
Like we mentioned before, we did most of the eating based on what we cooked ourselves, but we did find some good local food and some nice dinners. We also have a guest blog here with additional suggestions.
This was our Valentine’s Day dinner spot. It was a bit far from where we stayed, but it had awesome reviews. It is located on a golf course/ resort and was relatively busy for a holiday night. They also had a special menu for V-Day which was a 3 course meal for $60 a person. The portions were super small, just an FYI.
Pretty good lunch spot located on Lagun beach. It had some tasty food and awesome views. You will have some cute visitors in the form of iguanas while you dine and they are super friendly (proceed at your own risk).
Fort Nassau- $$-$$$
We opted for this place for a Birthday dinner and it did not disappoint. From the limited dinners we had on the island, this was by far our favorite. From the location, to the food and the service, everything was amazing. This restaurant has some beautiful, scenic views of the entire island and would HIGHLY recommend sitting by a window to get the best views.
Cafe de Buren- $-$$
We came here on our last day for a quick breakfast and were pleasantly surprised with how good everything was. Definitely a spot to visit if you want some good ol scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. They also had some amazing coffee, so drink up!
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-There are a few McDonald’s on the island if you want to grab a quick bite. There is also a Starbucks at the renaissance hotel. Look out while driving for some of the awesome street BBQ trucks that are all over town.
-BYOB to the beach! Trust us, you will definitely want to do this
-Bring a portable speaker
_Bring a GoPro for underwater excursions
-Purchase some lenses for your iPhones/Androids for some great pictures. All of our pictures were taken with our iPhone.
-Bring a waterproof beach bag to hold your belongings.
Overall our trip to Curaçao was one for the books. We had an amazing, relaxing and beach filled vacation. If you are looking for your next Caribbean island to visit, this may be the one. We can’t wait to visit Bonaire to complete our ABCs, stay tuned for that trip ?. Be sure to tag us on your adventures on Instagram and let us know on the comment section what you thought of the guide!
Some of the local people we encountered at restaurants and shops can come off a bit “rude”. If you can, try to learn some quick phrases in Papiamento before you go so that you can communicate a bit better at the shops and restaurants.