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Vacationing in Curacao or Bahamas: Differences and Similarities

Deciding where to go on vacation is a stressful decision. Most people only take one vacation annually, so it’s important to make it count. You need to go where you want to go, where you’ll have the most fun, and where you’ll get the most out of the trip. Your hotel should be beautiful and accommodating, with wonderful food and views of the landscape. If you’ve chosen a beach vacation, the water should be crystal clear, with friendly locals and sprawling beaches.

You want to feel as relaxed as possible when you’re vacationing, yet have no shortage of planned activities and things to do. If you’re traveling abroad, you should try and experience as much of the local culture while you’re visiting. A major issue for most people when choosing a vacation spot, is that many vacation destinations can seem pretty similar to one another. When your list of spots to vacation all have the aforementioned sprawling beaches and crystal-clear waters, how do you choose one?

Curacao and the Bahamas are two super popular vacation spots that bring in millions in tourism every year. They are incredibly similar in some ways, and so very different in others. If you can’t decide between these sun-drenched spots for your next vacation, we can help you choose...Curacao or Bahamas.

The Similarities

Let’s start with how these spots are similar. Clearly, they’re both sunny. They both boast miles of ocean views and water friendly things to do, such as snorkeling. The similarities are obvious. The long stretches of sparkling sand will appeal to beach lovers of all ages. The beaches are dappled with bars that come alive and sundown, where you can happily sip drinks and while the sun sets and the nightlife starts.

If partying isn’t your thing, both Curacao and the Bahamas are packed full of spots to set up and lay on the beach for hours a day. If you’re feeling sporty or adventurous, book a windsurfing session and take in all there is to see for miles. When it comes to setting, it’s undeniable that these two places are very much alike. On the outside, they both seem like idyllic vacation destinations that promise relaxation and fun. While all of this is true, they do have significant differences that help vacationers decide which one to plan a trip to.


Photo: Cas Abou beach on Curacao by the Curacao Tourism Board

The Differences

This is where deciding between Curacao and the Bahamas gets real. The differences between them, though occasionally subtle, can make a huge difference in the way your vacation planning will go. Often, it’s something small that will make vacationers choose one over the other.

   


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Getting there

The Bahamas are very close to southern Florida. There are a ton of options for getting there, mostly cruises. Three or four night cruises that allow you to explore the Bahamas are plentiful. A ship that leaves from Fort Lauderdale, or even Miami, will have you in the Bahamas by morning.

However, a cruise isn’t always what vacationers are looking for. It takes more fuel to get to the Caribbean, so it’s easier to find an affordable cruise to take you into the Bahamas rather than Curacao. Both the Bahamas and Curacao are easily accessible by plane, if cruises aren’t really your thing. Many people planning a vacation want to stay put, and if you’re one of them, booking a flight is the best way to go about getting where you’re going. Flying is the better option for those wanting to take in everything there is to see at your vacation spot.

In our opinion, if you’re planning an actual vacation, with activities and a minimum of a four day stay, then go with Curacao, as there’s much to see and do. The Bahamas, being so easy to get to, is wonderful for a quick getaway.

 

 

Beaches

A quick internet search can tell you that Curacao claims some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Truly a hidden gem, you can sunbathe and relax while children build sandcastles and play in the waves nearby. The rolling sand is a prime example of natural gold. The beauty is incomparable to most everything.

Of course, the beaches in Nassau can definitely give Curacao a run for its money, but doesn’t quite stand up. The beaches of the Bahamas are beautiful, there is no doubt about that, but there are definitely fewer options if you’re staying right in Nassau. Also, take into consideration that the Bahamas get chilly in the winter months, ocean included. If you’re using February or April school breaks to take that family vacation, this can be a major deciding factor. Curacao has great weather year-round and very important; Curacao is outside the hurricane belt.

   


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History

When it comes to Curacao or Bahamas, each location is riddled with fascinating history. Both places were initially explored for gold. To make a very long story short, when the search came to an end and colonial powers took leave of the islands, they left quite a bit behind.

The history in Curacao is rich, and holds more evidence of the past in the form of ruins than the Bahamas. This includes remnants of the Dutch, who took hold of Curacao in the 16th century. Especially the historic but vibrant Pietermaai area has beautiful leftovers from the early days. Also, the oldest hotel on Curacao is in the Pietermaai neighborhood. It’s not to say the Bahamas doesn’t contain that history, but tourism has played a role in how it’s explored and displayed.

 

Food and Drinks

Due to the fact that it’s part of the Caribbean, though originally claimed by the Dutch, Curacao has a ton of influences when it comes to local bars and cuisine. Food and drink show heavy influence from Spain, France, Holland, England and Mexico. This has much to do with cultural holdovers regarding the way the Caribbean was first discovered.

The Bahamas has a few basic places along the beach to grab food and drink, and some upscale establishments as well, but they tend to lack the character that you’ll find in Curacao. Since so many people on the hunt for the perfect vacation spot are looking for just that, it’s hard to recommend the Bahamas when it comes to a choice between Curacao or Bahamas.


Conclusion: Both places are beautiful, that’s for sure, but there is one that comes out on top. The best kept secret of the Caribbean...Curacao.

   


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