Spending your day in Curacao

Located just north of South America, Curacao is part of the “ABC” islands, which also include Aruba and Bonaire. These islands have become popular cruise stops because they offer a variety of options for day visitors. Among other things, these islands have some of the best scuba and snorkeling options in the Caribbean.

I’ve been to Curacao a few times now and have a few suggestions on how you can spend your day on the island without scheduling an excursion.

    1. Willemstad, the capital of Curacao and the place where your cruise ship docks, has a very walkable downtown located very close to the pier. You can walk over the Queen Emma bridge, a floating bridge that occasionally opens to let ships through. Important note! The bridge sometimes stays open for quite a while, so when you hear the horn sound, it’s important to hustle to the other side if you don’t want to be trapped on the bridge for an indeterminate amount of time.
      Photo Jan 15, 10 32 46 AM
      You’ll find plenty of places in Willemstad to sit down for lunch or a beer. It’s easy and very safe to walk around downtown and look at the brightly colored buildings. In Willemstad you can also find the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, built in 1732. (There’s also a fantastic place to get a Mojito right across from the synagogue!)

      On many of our visits to Curacao, we’ve walked around the downtown area quite happy for a couple of hours, then returned to the ship. If you have a late departure, you can even come out again to get dinner – just remember to watch the time and don’t get caught on the wrong side of the bridge if you’re cutting it close to being back in time for all-aboard!

    2. Another option for your day in Curacao is to buy a day pass for the pool/beach area at the Renaissance Rif Fort Hotel, located right next to the cruise pier. This amazing spot is where I took the picture that I use for all of my Nerdy Traveler web/social media header pics.
      header pic
      For $20 per person, you get a day pass to the infinity pool (which you see in the picture). It has a small man-made beach, and you also get chairs, an umbrella, and a towel. There’s a bar and restaurant on-site, and while the prices are slightly high, you have to remember that you’re in a tourist location – they’re not really above the norm for that kind of context.  Photo Jan 15, 1 42 58 PM

The Renaissance is a lovely hotel and even has a casino if you get tired of being out in the sunshine! To buy a day pass for the Renaissance pool, look for the entrance that looks like this. Go in through the door marked “Carnival Casino” and you’ll see a front desk for the hotel. They’ll be able to show you where to go up the stairs to the pool area, where you can buy your day pass. This hotel is very close to where the cruise ship docks, so if you want to go back to your cabin on the ship after you swim to shower up and change, it’s super easy to do so!

 

3. Are you the kind of person that wants to spend as much time on the beach during your cruise stop? Well, Curacao’s got something for you, too! Once you get off the ship, follow the signs to the taxis and find a driver to take you to Kokomo Beach. I spent a day here recently and it was fantastic!

The beach at Kokomo is fairly large and is packed with lounge chairs, which you can rent for $5 for the day. Pick one and sit down, and an employee will come by to collect your money. There’s a smaller bar as well as a large bar and restaurant where you can have a tasty lunch. When your taxi driver drops you off, you can ask for him to come back to pick you up at whatever time you’d like to go back to the ship.

I really liked Kokomo because it had so much shade – in addition to the restaurant, there were lots of couches and chairs in the shade. Swimming was great, and even though the entry was a little rocky, you could avoid the rocks by climbing down a ladder at the end of the pier.

Are you a beach person? A pool person? A wander-around-downtown person?
Whichever you are — Curacao has something for you!

2 thoughts on “Spending your day in Curacao

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