There’s plenty to love about being on a small Caribbean island — cool blue water, warm sun, charming, pastel-colored buildings all around — but another advantage this setting offers is the ability to see and do a lot in a short amount of time.

The island of Curaçao has become an increasingly popular destination for lovers of all things warm and sunny. This quiet former Dutch colony stays true to its picturesque appearance.

For those who choose a vacation spot like Curaçao, relaxation is generally the top priority. But, if you’re headed down to Curaçao to do nothing, SPF 40 in your hand, you may want to consider all the different avenues of relaxation you can take.

Beaches

Planting yourself on a beach and letting the stresses of normal life melt away is hardly the worst way to spend a week or two, and Curaçao’s beaches feel custom-made for that exact mindset. The serene Cas Abao beach, beloved by travelers and locals alike, might be a good place to start. Located just north of the capital city Willemstad, the beach’s white sands and crystal-clear water have an almost postcard quality to them. Cas Abao’s location makes it easy to turn this getaway into a full day excursion, with nearby food and shopping to attend to between snorkeling sessions. Of course, simply melting into the sand and letting your mind unwind to the sound of gently crashing waves can easily take up a full day if you’re so inclined.

Scuba

If just admiring the ocean’s beauty from a distance begins to lose its charm, you can always get up close and personal. Diving in Curaçao is considered second to none by scuba enthusiasts. The wide variety of marine life and dazzling display of coral formations need to be seen to be believed. Highlights include the Mushroom Forest, a network of towering corals that serve as a city skyline to the assortment of tropical fish living there; the “Blue Edge” – the island’s insular shelf known for its steep drop off into the deep ocean; and the wreckage of several ships that seasoned divers love to traverse.

Sightseeing

If you’d rather keep your feet on dry land, Willemstad’s historic Handelskade neighborhood is another great option. With a vibe that is simultaneously Caribbean and European, but still uniquely its own, it’s not surprising that its bright, lively architecture sends a welcoming call to travelers. Whether you’re grabbing a bite from a local café, perusing the freshest catches at a farmer’s market or admiring the Queen Emma bridge — a unique sight by day that is radiantly illuminated at night — you will quickly get a sense of why photographers love the area.

And More

These are just a few of the exceptional spots on the island for travelers. Other rewarding destinations – scenic hiking trails, mountain climbing, wildlife tours — can also be found without having to venture too far from your home base.

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