In the southern Caribbean, just north of Venezuela is Curacao, the largest of the Dutch West Indies, and part of the ‘ABC’ islands, the other two being Aruba and Bonaire. This is a great place for those who enjoy sightseeing with sunshine as there is plenty of interesting Dutch architecture, churches and museums, the capital of Willemstad (dating from 1634) is well worth a wander.
In the city you can explore alleyways hiding shops and cafes, hire a guide or take the city train tour. Don’t miss the Maritime Museum, the Sea Aquarium (where you can feed sharks), and the Curaçao Postal Museum to see bright Antillean stamps. Visit the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the Caribbean’s oldest continuously operating synagogue, with a fine display on the island’s Jewish history. The winter-time Curaçao Carnival (Jan-Feb) has outrageous costumes and floats. A wonderful photo opportunity can be enjoyed at the Floating Market where merchants come to sell their goods with a colourful string of Venezuelan boats and yachts trade in fruit, fish, vegetables and handicrafts.
Serious divers come for the spring Curaçao Dive Festival to participate in a weeks’ worth of workshops such as Underwater Digital Photography. The Beach Express will take you to the remote west coast via a scenic route where you can enjoy diving and snorkelling reefs and wrecks directly from the beach. The beaches on this west coast have separate coves, the most popular include Daaibooi, Palya Lagun and the Knip which opens onto a huge luminous water bay.
Also in the west is Christoffel Park. Drive, hike, or ride a horse through kadushi cactus, tamarind, divi-divi trees and lignum vitae trees, the road curving upward to amazing vistas of Mount Christoffel. The interior is nearly always warm and sunny and the habitat is quite stark and arid.
Curaçao also hosts a jazz festival, a gospel festival, a food festival and a kite competition. The locally famous Jazz Night at Blues Restaurant on a pier overlooking the sea is a mellow and classy experience. The brightly coloured liqueur from which the island has been made famous can be sampled at the Curacao Liqueur Distillery.
Ask me to tailor made a Caribbean holiday to include Curacao which combines well with Venezuela or other nearby islands.