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There is so many things to do in Curacao

Parks and plantations: our top 8 things to do in Curacao

Combining UNESCO World Heritage sites with dazzling white-sand coastlines, Curacao sure packs a serious punch when it comes to filling up your itinerary. Among its secluded beaches, 16th-century architecture, fascinating museums, snorkelling opportunities and dotted plantations, you are sure to be at a loss of where to start, but here is a handy guide to the ten must-see attractions on this charming island.

Christoffel National Park

Running along the eastern coast, this preserve spans three old plantations. Reaching 1800 hectares, the park has two driving routes of over 32 kilometres and visitors will be able to experience a variety of treasures here, including staggering limestone cliffs, caves featuring ancient drawings, deer, orchids, iguanas and cacti. The main estate at the entrance of the park was built by the director of the Dutch West India Company in 1662, and now hosts a fantastic museum of the region's tumultuous and dark colonial past.

Tickets for adults and children cost $10 and $5 respectively, while the museum is open daily.

Shete Boka National Park

If that has not fulfilled your nature fix, then this festival in all things geological and oceanic takes you through limestone bridges, secluded beaches, treasure-filled coves, sea-turtle sanctuaries and a huge blowhole. Out of all the trails available, we recommend the Boka Table, a fascinating cave that faces the water in the cliffside.

Queen Emma Bridge

You may be wondering: "What's so special, it's just a bridge, right?". Well yes, but sitting here along the channel watching the large vessels pass by is one of the most tranquil and satisfying things you can do in Punda. When the bridge is open, hop onto one of the two old free public ferries that will cruise around the area - the perfect opportunity to see Willemstad from a unique angle.

Kura Hulanda Museum

Lonely Planet described this place as "one of the best museums in the Caribbean" and you'll soon learn why. Situated in 19th-century slave quarters, the site may now be part of a boutique hotel, but the rest is a haunting and moving journey into the brutal history of slavery in the region. With emotional exhibits and riveting testimonies, if it's going to be one museum you visit on your whole trip, make it this one.

Curacao Maritime Museum

Another great museum, this attraction in Willemstad looks back at the island's history and the Dutch West India Company's role in the area's commercial boom in the 20th century. Be sure to hop onto one of the 90-minute harbour tours that the museum offers - the views here are spectacular - which are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Floating market

There are markets, and then there are floating markets. Selling anything from fruit and vegetables, to herbal remedies and cheap household goods, this market is not just a place to nab a hard bargain but a great way to immerse yourself in local life. Note that it is only open until 2pm, and closed on Sundays.

Beaches

Boasting 38 spectacular beaches, Curacao offers its fair share of sandy spots to top up that all-important tan, but the best of them tend to be on the western side. One of the most beautiful is Cas Abou Beach, but it can get quite popular in the afternoons, so be sure to get there early. For a quieter experience, go for Playa Jeremi in the north-west, which also has great offshore snorkelling opportunities.

Party the night away

If you are holidaying in Willemstad, you may want to make a real night of it with its thriving nightlife scene. Whether it is casinos, martini bars or jazz clubs, you can go on until the wee hours of the morning, with Friday and Sunday nights the best for a boogie before you crash back at one of the many Curacao hotels. Glug down a rum cocktail, dance to hot salsa beats and feel the Latin fever - true ecstasy.

As you can see, Curacao is extremely varied in the treasures it offers, so be sure to diversify your itinerary to truly appreciate this magical and illusive island.

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