Buildings in Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Curacao Tourism Board)

View of the water from boat on Klein Curacao Island, Netherlands Antilles (Nathan Borchelt)

Colorful houses of Willemstad in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Philip Coblentz/Digital Vision/Getty)

Boats on Lagun Beach, Curacao (Digital Vision)

Knip Beach in Curacao (Digital Vision)

Girl watches dolphins at Sea Aquarium, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Roger Gibbs/Curacao Tourism)

Governors Square in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Go Caribbean)

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What to do in Curacao

In Curacao, locals, not tourists, make up the majority of sun-worshipers on the postcard-worthy beaches that line much of this island, just 37 miles off the northern coast of Venezuela. Kenepa, Grandi, and Cas Abou are just a few of the white-sand havens. Locals are also enthusiastic about the island’s Caribbean cuisine and nightly seaside dance parties, where you’ll always hear the rhythmic thump of tumba, the African-derived music unique to Curacao. Willemstad, the island’s capital, anchors this paradise to reality. The port drives much of Curacao’s economy, supplemented by tourism from the cruise ships that dock here year-round. Willemstad’s pastel façades, duty-free shopping, and art galleries are nice, but the island boasts parkland with miles of hiking and horseback trails, and some of the Caribbean’s best diving.

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