Curacao is a great holiday destination for people of every age. The versatility of the island makes it an attractive place for everyone. Whether you come for the tropical climate, sports, unspoiled nature, beautiful beaches or you simply want to celebrate life; the possibilities are endless. With so many options available, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. We would love to help you on your way with this list of the five most popular areas in Curacao.
One of the trendiest neighborhoods of Curacao is called Pietermaai. This colorful and vibrant area has a very rich (and visible) history. In recent years, the district has been renovated considerably and it sure is paying off. You will stumble across almost anything in this cultural area: restaurants, cafes, small shops and all kinds of people. Night life in Pietermaai is alive and kicking with plenty of bars and cafes. The Avila Beach Hotel is located in the Pietermaai District, so it is easy to wander around the whole district.
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Bapor Kibra (Sea Aquarium)
One area that you absolutely do not want to miss is Bapor Kibra. This is where some of Curacao’s best and most popular attractions are located, such as the world famous Sea Aquarium Curacao. Here you can discover the underwater world and the animals that live there; rays, sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, et cetera. The purpose of the Sea Aquarium Curacao is not only to entertain people, but also to inform them about the importance of keeping the ocean healthy. A visit to the Sea Aquarium Curacao is highly recommended for young and old.
After an afternoon at the Sea Aquarium, stroll down the beautiful Mambo Beach Boulevard – offering one of the most popular beach bars in Curacao. Along the way you will find many pleasant beach shops and restaurants. Take a break and relax on one of the beach beds or go for a refreshing swim in the clear blue water. Now, it really is time for a drink and some dancing! This popular area is just a 5-minute drive away from the Avila Beach Hotel.
As the name Westpunt (translated in English: West Point) suggests, it is located in the most northwestern point of Curacao. Westpunt is sparsely populated and a lot quieter than the lively Willemstad, which is about a 40 minutes drive away. The unspoiled beaches, hidden coves and impressive nature reserves near Westpunt are definitely worth a day trip (or more).
The most well-known beaches surrounding Westpunt are Kenepa Grandi (Big Knip) and Kenepa Chiki (Little Knip). These beaches are very popular among the locals, simply because they’re so beautiful. Bring your camera and snorkel gear if you go the beaches of Westpunt!
Located in the southeast area of Curacao is the versatile Jan Thiel. There often is a lot of traffic since there is just one road leading to this popular area, but it is loved by many for many reasons. The quiet setting is perfect for sports such as jogging or biking. The nearby Caracas Bay is where windsurfers go to get their kicks, or where aspiring windsurfers take lessons. Jan Thiel is a great place to fully unwind as well. Beach bar Zanzibar, Zest and Papagayo is among the popular of Curacao to enjoy food, drinks and to lounge in one of the many beach beds. The sand is white, the water is blue and the people are cheerful. The sea is calm and has a rich underwater world; snorkeling enthusiasts will certainly enjoy themselves here. Do you want to go deeper? There is a dive center located right on the beach.
Punda & Otrobanda
Willemstad (the capitol of Curacao) consists of two parts: Punda and Otrobanda. Punda means ‘Point’ and Otrobanda literally means ‘The other side’, because it is on the other side of the water. The two districts are connected by the Queen Emma Bridge, better known as the pontoon bridge.
Willemstad is best explored on foot. There are many restaurants, cafes, museums and a whole lot of stores to visit. The famous colored houses in the commercial quay of Punda (called the Handelskade) can be admired from the other side, Otrobanda. This old working-class neighborhood is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is well worth a visit. Punda / Otrobanda is just a 15 minute walk from the Avila Beach Hotel. Every weekday twice a day, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from this area.