Looking for unique, street art, and 3D visuals in the Downtown core of Curacao, known as Punda, was like a hidden treasure hunt. In no other place, did I see sunflowers shoot out from the wall, parrots look so lifelike they could almost sit on my shoulder, or #Pundawings that made me “look” angelic.
The island of Curacao is a colourful feast for the eyes. The city centre of Punda is at the heart of it. With artistic expressions of street art that takes on an authentic Caribbean vibe, Punda is alive with hidden treasures one can search for without a map. I got lost in a maze narrow streets with wall art as my guide.
The locals would refer to the wallart as a reference point for street directions and shout out, “Did you walk past the parrots?” “Did you see the boy angel with wings?” “If you walked passed the Dushi Flamingo’s, you’ve gone to far!”
During the day, Punda is an artistic expression of the local culture. This expression is heightened by the presence of the ocean. A tantalizing display of colour in the form of a floating market can be found on most weekdays. Fruits and products from Venezuela, a South American country approximately forty minutes away, provides tourists and locals with a wide selection of fresh fruit. The full-sized, mouth-watering fruit is beyond comparison to fruits normally found in Northern Ontario.
Aside: “Dushi” means sweet. This is similar to the word “Dolce” in Italian. Everything in Curacao is “ultra dushi” – not to be confused with the Canadian or American slang version of the word. It is used to describe “the good things in life” and locals refer to themselves as being “super dushi!”
The streets of Punda are very sweet. Sweet with a “love for life” not normally seen elsewhere. This expression for the “good things in life” is captured in the form of eternal artistic expressions on the walls of buildings and walkways. The artistic representations of the “good life” makes a tranquil tapestry one can compare to birth marks. These birth marks are uniquely attributed to “everyday” life in Curacao.
Read the full blog post, originally published on June 7, 2019, on Cities & Oceans.
All Caribbean islands are not created equal. Seeing one doesn’t exempt you from seeing the 27 others. Every island has its own vibe and distinct flavor, which is why the Caribbean circuit is so popular amongst Black travelers.
While it may not be as popular as some of its Caribbean Sea cousins, the Dutch ruled country of Curaçao is an island that Black travelers should not sleep on. From colorful streets filled with friendly locals to picturesque views and delicious cuisine, if a visit to Curaçao isn’t already on your list, it should be.
Curaçao native Jeandra (@curioustides) can’t get enough of showing off the beauty of her beloved homeland, and with each photo she posts on her Instagram feed, she makes us fall deeper in love with Curaçao.
1. Welcome to Curaçao
Part of the Netherlands Antilles (also known as the ABC-Islands) which includes Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao is an island in the southwestern Caribbean and serves as a cultural melting pot with over 65 nationalities living within its borders. If you want to save a few coins, try visiting during off-peak season (May - November) when prices are low and flights are affordable.
2. Home Away From Home
There are plenty of great vacation home rentals and resorts to choose from in Curaçao. From the Renaissance and Santa Barbara Beach hotels to romantic all-inclusives like Baoase, you'll have no trouble finding a picturesque home away from home for your getaway - and at a reasonable price!
Read the full article, originally published on May 28, 2019, on Essence.
I think of the Caribbean as the extreme opposite to all of my winter doom and gloom, offering warm climates, sunshine, and relaxation, even at the height of our cold season. Nonetheless, December, January, and February can often mean big crowds of so-called “snowbird” visitors in this area of the world. To experience a warm winter vacation without a flood of fellow tourists, I recommend Curaçao.
Where is Curaçao?
As I chatted with friends about my upcoming trip to Curaçao, I couldn’t believe how many people had never heard of this candy-colored island. Curaçao forms part of the ABC Islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire) and is located just north of Venezuela, in the Caribbean Sea. It boasts pristine beaches, a very Insta-worthy capital (Willemstad), and year-round sunshine.
In fact, temperatures don’t tend to fluctuate much throughout the seasons. While January is Curaçao’s coolest month, its average temperature during this time of the year is 80 °F (26.5 °C). Due to its location below the hurricane belt, it is rather rare for Curaçao to encounter any weather that would mess with your vacation. I was shocked that my hotel lobby was located in an open-air area, indicating how unusual it is for Curaçao to experience rain. Furthermore, my American readers may be interested to know that U.S. currency frequently circulates the island. Thus, it’s possible to visit without even having to exchange money. Most restaurants and shops will advertise their prices in both the Netherlands Antillean guilder (abbreviated as Nafl) and the USD.
Curaçao’s rich history
Curaçao is currently a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Nonetheless, it has its own diverse culture, which blends together Dutch, Papiamentu, Portuguese, Jewish, Spanish, and English traditions. Papiamentu is recognized as an official language as well as Dutch and English. Thus, American visitors to the island can easily get by with their native English. Papiamentu, the most widely spoken language in Curaçao, is a beautiful blend of African languages, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Arawak. The society as a whole is polyglot, meaning that most Curaçaoans are able to speak multiple languages.
Curaçao has been on my radar for a while now and I’m excited to share that I finally got the opportunity to experience this Caribbean gem for myself back in May. From the pastel-colored colonial architecture in Willemstad to the crystal clear beaches, I had a wonderful time exploring Curaçao with my best friend.
If you are planning a trip to Curaçao but you’re unsure of how much to budget, you are in the right place. To help you create a more realistic Curaçao travel budget, in this destination budget breakdown I’ll share how much a Curaçao vacation costs. Although your travel budget may end up looking different from mines, use this Curaçao vacation cost breakdown as a guide.
What currency to use in Curaçao?
Curaçao’s national currency is the Netherlands Antillean guilder (NAFl). Although most prices are listed in the local currency, the US Dollar is accepted everywhere on the island so there’s no need to exchange your money before you go. Plan to use cash when either tipping or taking public transportation.
Visa and Mastercard are also widely accepted and there’s plenty of ATMs downtown. These ATMs charge high transaction fees so bring enough cash with you to avoid having to spend extra money.
Read the full post, originally published in July 2019, on The Thought Card.
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