You may not have heard of the southern Caribbean island of Curacao before, but it needs to be on your radar for a family vacation in the sunshine. Along with its sister islands of Aruba and Bonaire, the trio make up the Dutch, alphabet-inspired “ABC islands”, located just off the north coast of Venezuela.
Outside the hurricane belt, and blessed with year-round gloriously sunny days, Curacao offers a laid-back beach vacation destination that has more than enough activities to keep kids and adults entertained all week long. With this in mind, I headed there with my husband and five-year-old son for a much-needed family holiday.
Where to Stay
Book your stay at Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa and Casino, where the needs of the youngest guest are front and centre. Their beautiful and spacious playroom with indoor and outdoor space provides a full program of fun activities including excursions, beach games, cookery classes and movie nights. Parents are given an electronic beeper so that they can relax at the beach while the kids play and when it’s time for you to pick them up or if there are any issues at all you’ll be alerted instantly.
Select rooms come with kitchenettes which are incredibly convenient for whipping up early breakfasts before the buffet opens. My son is always hungry, so we appreciated being able to make snacks and quick meals right in our room. Every afternoon ice cream is served from a hutch opposite the swimming pool, and kid-friendly cocktails are available all day long. My son’s recommendation is to try the “Mickey Mouse.”
This all-inclusive hotel offers four a la carte restaurants, a cafe and a beach bar and a range of fun planned activities. However, the real star of a vacation here is the show-stopping private beach. A seawall has created a calm pool of water teeming with marine life which is perfect to kayak, stand up paddleboard or swim in. Borrow snorkel gear, for free, to see the vast array of fish.
It’s worth the additional fee to upgrade to the sun club. In addition to premium rooms, you’ll also have access to a VIP lounge, a concierge, room service and cartoons for the kids.
Where to Eat!
Although your stay at Sunscape includes unlimited food and drink, sometimes it’s nice to explore off the resort. Drive almost the length of the island, which only takes about an hour or so to The Blue View Sunset Terrace in Westpoint for lunch one day.
They serve lots of fish, chicken and homemade dishes, including traditional iguana. You’ll enjoy your meal with magnificent views of sea cliffs and the Caribbean ocean below.
Just for Kids
Lazy days at the beach making sand castles, swimming in the pool and playing at the edge of the ocean are what sun vacations are all about, but Curacao can offer so much more than that. On the way to The Blue View Sunset Terrace stop off at Playa Piskado where you can bring your snorkel gear and meet some turtles. It was my little one’s first experience of snorkelling, and it’s a great place to learn.
This activity is totally free, and as the fishermen throw a few bites to the turtles, they do come quite close. Be sure to give your kids clear instructions- the turtles are not to be touched. This isn’t a pretty beach, especially when you compare it to the pristine private beach back at your hotel. The name translates as Fishermans beach, and you can tell it’s a working site, but for a chance to get close to these beautiful animals it can’t be beat!
Continue onto the Ostrich Farm in Santa Catharina, where you can take a safari tour and view hundreds of ostriches.
Just as the afternoon sun heats up head to cooler climes underground at the Hato Caves, located minutes from the airport. Guided tours here show visitors around the 300,000-year-old natural cave system, and the petroglyphs created, by estimates, 1,500 years ago.
Curacao is a beach paradise, there’s no doubt, but it’s also a busy, bustling capital city. Take a trip into Willemstad, a twice-daily shuttle from the hotel is available free of charge or jump in a local bus taxi and see for yourself. The colourful trolley train is a fun way to get around town, make sure you cross the Queen Emma Pontoon bridge and take a snap of the candy-coloured buildings along the water.
If you don’t manage to enjoy all these activities, don’t worry, you’ll find a way to go back. I guarantee there will be a next time; we are already planning our return!