A Dutch Caribbean island known for beaches tucked into coves and expansive coral reefs. Get your signature Curacao liquor for your bar at home, choose from 4 flavors. Shop among candy-colored buildings, cross floating bridge Queen Emma Bridge on foot and visit the sand-floored, 17th-century Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue.
Curacao was a major player in slavery so you will see real history here. Get into the street culture with colorful murals across Willemstad’s buildings, especially in the Otrobanda and Pietermaai neighborhoods, (Pietermaai, a cool new avenue for food and night life) with geometric shapes, portraits and political opinions. Any time is a good time for us to plan your Curacao travel, special events or celebrations because Curacao is outside the Hurricane Belt!
We loved wandering the winding streets of the city and went to Handelskade (Merchant’s Wharf), an iconic hang out with bars, authentic dining spots, and the technicolor market, where fruit vendors from Venezuela dock to sell their wares including brightly hued stalls full of mangoes, plantains and papayas! Get your breakfast here! Get sticky, laugh with the locals, and important in downtown Willemstad is also home to Museum Kura Hulanda which is housed in 19th century slave quarters, the museum's exhibits extensively cover the history of slavery in the Caribbean, a story Curaçao played a central role.
Listen with a smile as Curaçaoans ping pong between languages from Dutch, Spanish, Papiamentu, the local creole, and English! Find your one-of-a-kind jewelry, crafts, clothing and goods. Find the famous blue women paintings around the city, and for music expect radios blasting bachata, reggaetón, American pop, tumba and ritmo kombina, the island’s own genre of tunes. An amazing food scene, be sure to check out the Iguana stew (recipe below) with a side of bitterballen*!
Iguana Stew It’s going to be difficult to find iguana at your local supermarket, so I suggest you substitute fresh tuna or chicken for the reptilian meat. Since the spices and other ingredients are the same as used in Curaçao, you will have rough approximation of the dish. Note: As this recipe cooks, you might have to adjust the consistency with more water or coconut milk. Ingredients:
* 2 pounds iguana meat, or substitute tuna or chicken, in large chunks * Juice of 1 lime * 3 cups water * 1 cup coconut milk * 10 small potatoes, diced * 3 tomatoes, chopped * 3 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces * 1 cup noodles, such as macaroni * 2 bay leaves * ½ teaspoon oregano * 1 sprig parsley * 1 sprig thyme * 3 stalks celery, cut into ½ inch pieces * 2 habanero chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped * 3 cloves garlic, chopped * Salt and pepper to taste * 1 ounce whiskey of choice
Instructions: In a bowl, toss the meat with the lime juice. Cover and while the meat is marinating, combine all the remaining ingredients, except the whiskey, in a large pot or stockpot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Add the marinated meat, adjust the consistency if necessary, cover and cook over low heat for the following times: iguana, 1 hour; tuna, 20 minutes; chicken, 40 minutes. Just before serving, add the shot of whiskey and stir well. Servings 4-6
* Bitterballen: a Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux