Curaçao’s locals — their diversity refreshing and surprising — are among the friendliest people I have ever met. People originating from 55 different countries make up the island of Curaçao and, at any given moment, you could hear English, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch — or a mix of all — being spoken. The local dialect, Papiamentu, is a Portuguese-based Creole, with a mix of Spanish and Dutch added. Regardless of race or background, everyone seems to get along here. I never once felt like an outsider.
Traditional Curaçao dishes are Dutch inspired and Caribbean perfected. Local chefs have mastered the art of preparing rauwe haring (raw herring), a must-try dish. But, the sweet treats are what I favoured. Stroopwafels, a traditional Dutch treat, consists of a thin layer of caramel-like syrup in between two thin waffles. Oliebollen — literally translated as “oil balls” — are deep fried, sweet dumplings dusted with powdered sugar. Oh, and don’t forget about Pofferjes; fluffy, baby pancakes served with butter and powdered sugar. Yum!
If your typical beach holiday consists of sun bathing, snorkeling, eyeing the waterfront shops and sipping a margarita as you watch a faint red sunset, you’re probably not alone. As delightful as this is, what if you embark on a day of thrills, instead? If you can’t decide between a relaxing beach escape or a day of adrenaline pumping, on Curaçao you can do both. Try your hand at a game of adventure; Curacao offers a ton of exciting excursions, including touring the island’s rugged terrain on an ATV with a personal guide, exploring 550 feet under the sea onboard a mini submarine, and kite boarding high above the water with the pros.
Whether you take a leisurely beach stroll or a mountain hike through the rugged terrain, the views on this stunning island will leave you breathless. I kept thinking, “This must be the most amazing view,” only to feel the exact same about the next panorama. Riding around in our ATVs, we got to appreciate the sparkling ocean from the beach, copper toned pathways between a forest of cacti, and the view of the entire island from a mountaintop. My eyes have never been so pleased.
Curaçao is home to a plantation that grows more than 100,000 aloe vera plants. Without the use of pesticides, they create Curaloe, a product shipped across the globe. I grew up with a small aloe vera plant in my home, breaking off a piece to treat minor cuts, sun burns and bug bites, so seeing this massive green farm was extraordinary. The workers are so passionate, sharing their vast knowledge of this precious plant and giving us samples to taste and to use as a moisturizer. I now have a much better appreciation for something I have taken advantage of my whole life.
“I’d rather own nothing and see the world than to own the world and see little of it.” – Alexander Settler