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Curaçao Island: a piece of Old Europe in the Heart of Caribbean Paradise




Curaçao is a Caribbean island located near Venezuela. It was discovered by the Spanish navigator Alonso de Ojeda back in 1499. An old legend says that the captain of the ship dropped the crew members hopelessly ill with scurvy on the island. Imagine his amazement when, on the way back, having stopped at the island, he found his team completely healthy. The reason for such a miraculous healing was the local fruit that the abandoned sailors ate.

Curaçao is is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is a real part of old Europe in the middle of the tropical paradise of the Caribbean. Although the island is relatively small, it is extremely popular. Tourists are attracted by sunny warm weather at any time of the year, small coves where you can find magnificent white sand beaches, stunning nature and, of course, local attractions.

Birdseye view on Curaçao
Birdseye view on Curaçao. Photo: dronepicr (CC BY 2.0)
Jan Thiel Beach
Jan Thiel Beach. Photo: dronepicr (CC BY 2.0)
Grote Knip from the southern cliff
Grote Knip from the southern cliff. Photo: BalusC at the Dutch language Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The capital of the island is the small town of Willemstad, founded in 1634. Its main attraction is ancient houses, the facades of which are painted in all colors of the rainbow. Cultural attractions include the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel synagogue. This synagogue is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere and was built in 1733.

Willemstad Harbor
Willemstad Harbor. Photo: Mtmelendez at the English language Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Penha building, Willemstad
Penha building, Willemstad. Photo: Evandria (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Rif Fort, Willemstad
Rif Fort, Willemstad. Photo: -JvL- from Netherlands (CC BY 2.0)
A street in Willemstad
A street in Willemstad. Photo: Mariamichelle / pixabay (Pixabay License)

The city also houses a stunning Kurá Hulanda Museum which is dedicated to the culture of the peoples living on the island.

Bulawaya dance
Bulawaya dance. Photo: The original uploader was DirkvdM at English Wikipedia (CC BY 1.0)

In the old port area of the island, the ancient Fort Amsterdam, erected in 1634, has been preserved. It houses a museum now.

Fort Amsterdam
Fort Amsterdam. Photo: Niels Karsdorp, Dh3201 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Christoffelpark is located on the low hills of the island. It is home to white-tailed deer, lizards and sea turtles. You can also find several species of iguanas and exotic birds here.

Curaçao Sea Aquarium Dolphin Show
Curaçao Sea Aquarium Dolphin Show. Photo: Niels Karsdorp, Dh3201 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Around the coral formations near the northern coast, the Shete Boka Nature Reserve is formed. Here you can go diving to explore the life of the coral reef dwellers.

Shete Boka Nature Reserve
Shete Boka Nature Reserve. Photo: JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Sea coast in Shete Boka Nature Reserve
Sea coast in Shete Boka Nature Reserve. Photo: pxhere (CC0 1.0)

The flora of the island is also rich. Hundreds of cactus species can be found here. The island’s symbol is the divi-divi tree, the crown of which always points to the west due to the constantly blowing east winds. And it is better not to even approach the Manzanita tree: not only are its juice and fruits poisonous, even touching the bark can be harmful.

Northern coast of Curaçao
Northern coast of Curaçao. Photo: DorotheaWeber / pixabay (Pixabay License)
A beach on the Island of Curaçao
A beach on the Island of Curaçao. Photo: Mariamichelle / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Curaçao
The Island of Curaçao. Photo: Tioman2014 / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Curaçao
The Island of Curaçao. Photo: grafic-vision / pixabay (Pixabay License)

Not far from the capital city there are very interesting Hato caves where you can admire huge stalactites, waterfalls and underground reservoirs. The inhabitants of these caves are unique bats.

Hato caves
Hato caves. Photo: JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Hato caves
Hato caves. Photo: -JvL- / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Hato caves
Hato caves. Photo: CP Hoffman / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Local people are extremely friendly and are the greatest treasure of the island of Curacao.

Tropical lagoon in Willemstad
Tropical lagoon in Willemstad. Photo: Maria Michelle / Good Free Photos (CC0 / Public Domain)
Curaçao
The Island of Curaçao. Photo: pxhere (CC0 1.0)
Curaçao
The Island of Curaçao. Photo: Jim Larrison / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Curaçao
The Island of Curaçao. Photo: Skitterphoto / pexels (Pexels License)
Fort Beekenburg
Fort Beekenburg. Photo: dronepicr / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Willemstad
Willemstad. Photo: Mariamichelle / pixabay (Pixabay License)

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