Curacao

Christmas in Curacao: Everything You Need To Know

Have you ever wondered about what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in Curacao? Then you are in the right spot.

December is a popular time to travel to the Dutch Caribbean – for many reasons. I think the island celebrates Christmas like no other. Decorations, festivities, and more make Curacao worth visiting in December.

This post will give you a great overview of what you can expect when visiting Curacao at the end of November and throughout December! Find festivities, traditions, and the best places to get in a festive mood in this post.

Let’s get to it!

A large festive outdoor display spelling "GRACE HOPE" in big letters, with oversized gift box and star decorations under a sunny sky, in a square lined with colorful buildings.

Table of Contents

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Why You Should Experience Christmas in Curacao

For me this is already the second time I am traveling to Curacao during the Christmas season. I have been on the island many times, but my travels in December are by far my favorites.

And there is one big reason for that: Curacao celebrates Christmas like no other place. The entire island is decorated to the brim with stunning Christmas trees and fairy lights. There are light installations everywhere, and the island is in a cheerful mood.

Seasonal dishes and drinks can be sampled everywhere, and they are nothing short of delicious.

But also weather wise December is a great time to go to Curacao. The stormy season is coming to an end and the weather is a lot more stable. It is not searingly hot, so you can experience the island nicely without getting sunburned.

There are many things to do in Curacao – especially during Christmas.

When Is Christmas in Curacao Celebrated?

Christmas celebrations in Curacao start early at the end of November or the beginning of December. This is when decorations go up and the first festivities start.

Throughout December, there are parades, festivals, Christmas markets, and more. All these celebrations are meant to gear up the Christmas spirit until the main festivities start at the end of December:

  • December 24th – Christmas Eve: This is often a time for family gatherings and special meals, and some people attend midnight church services. The locals call this evening Noche Buena. Some celebrate at home with family coming by, others go to special dinners at restaurants and resorts.
  • December 25th – Christmas Day: The main day of celebration, with some more family gatherings, special meals, and gift exchanges.
  • December 26th – Boxing Day: This is a public holiday in Curaçao, it’s a day for relaxation and spending time with family and friends.
  • December 31st – New Year’s Eve: NYE in Curacao is celebrated with Pagara. These are special fireworks that are lit around Willemstad. Some already celebrate the Dutch New Year at 07:00 PM local time.
  • January 1st – Nieuwjaarsduik: In Curacao it is traditional, to jump into the water with an orange hat on the first day of the new year. Bigger events are hosted at Zanzibar or the Blue Bay resort.
  • Fuik Dag is celebrated at the Fuikbaai on the first Sunday of the new year. It is basically a big party with boats.

Christmas Markets in Curacao

Throughout the month of December, there are a couple of great Christmas markets hosted on the island. They usually present local vendors selling handmade goods, delicious food, and winter cocktails.

The biggest Christmas markets in Curacao are:

  • Landhuis Chobolobo Christmas Village
  • Pietermaai Christmas Market
  • Christmas Fair at the Kura Hulanda Village

I have visited all of the markets this year and they were definitely worth it. It is a great place to buy some handmade Christmas gifts and sample some local dishes.

Check the event calendar of the Curacao tourism board for dates and times.

What to Eat During Christmas in Curacao

Curacao is my favorite destination when it comes to food and restaurants. And they also don’t disappoint during Christmas times.

Here are a couple of things you should try when visiting Curacao in December:

Ayaka is a real Christmas favorite on the island. Ayaka is like a tamale, made with a filling of spiced meat (usually chicken, pork, or beef) mixed with prunes, olives, and capers. This mixture is wrapped in cornmeal dough and then in banana leaves, which are then boiled. The banana leaves give Ayaka a unique flavor.

Ham Di Pasku, or Holiday Ham is another amazing Curacao Christmas dish. You can get it in most restaurants in December. It is a special, honey-glazed ham. I tried it and I am a fan!

Oliebollen are a typical Dutch Christmas dish, but they are still pretty common in Curacao. They are basically some deep fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar. You can buy them at the Christmas markets or the store.

A plate with smoked ham on a sandwich served with a side of mustard sauce, alongside a cold drink, set on a wooden table with a vibrant blue and white patterned plate.

Where To Go For Christmas Decorations in Curacao

I made it my mission to scour the entire island for the best Christmas decorations. And I have found them for sure.

The capital city of Willemstad is probably the best place to see Christmas decorations. The floating Queen Emma bridge is illuminated, and there are huge light installations in Otrobanda.

Throughout the Punda district of Willemstad, you can see big Christmas trees and stunning light installations. The Rif Fort Shopping Center is also famous for good decorations.

Most Curacao grocery stores also have some awesome decor.

Best Curacao Beaches in December With Decorations

Not only the city is decorated, but also the beaches are filled with Christmas trees and sparkly lights.

We have visited most beaches of Curacao in December, and I have a couple of favorites for sure.

The best Curacao beach in December is, without a doubt, Mambo Beach Boulevard. Their decorations are simply next-level.

Second on my list of favorite Curacao beaches in December is Kokomo Beach. They have a huge tree and lots of decorations in the restaurant.

But in all fairness, most of the beaches have fabulous decorations, so it does not matter where you go for some holly jolly good times!

Best Curacao Restaurants for Christmas

Most restaurants in Curacao have stepped up their decoration game in December. We haven’t really seen a place that has not had at least some sort of Christmas decor.

But a few places have very much stood out to me, so I need to mention them here for sure. If you are looking for some extra holiday charm, make sure to stop by any of those:

  • Gouverneur de Rouville in Willemstad
  • SuViche on Mambo Beach Boulevard
  • El Grill on Mambo Beach Boulevard
  • Bahia Lagun in Playa Lagun
  • Kokomo Beach Restaurant

If you want to eat on Christmas day itself, make sure to make your reservations early. Many places have special menus or events for Christmas, so be sure to think about your wishes early on.

The Weather in December in Curacao

If all of these holiday pictures have not convinced you yet to celebrate Christmas in Curacao, then an overview of the weather might. December is a great time to travel, not only for the decorations.

December in Curaçao is pretty lovely weather-wise:

  • Temperature: It’s warm but not too hot. The daytime temperatures hover around 29-31°C (84-88°F), and at night it cools down slightly. This is great for sleeping without the AC on.
  • Rain: December is towards the end of the rainy season, so you might experience some rain. It’s usually short-lived and not too heavy.
  • Sea Conditions: The sea is usually calm and warm, great for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Sunshine: There’s plenty of sunshine, making it perfect for beach days and outdoor activities.

Conclusion: Christmas in Curacao

This post has hopefully given you a great introduction about Christmas in Curacao. We’ve discussed where to find the best decorations and where to have some awesome Christmas food.

Fun Christmas markets and fairs, festivals and seasonal activities are one of my biggest reasons why I love traveling to Curacao in December.

Also, the timing is great weather-wise. The rainy season is ending and it is not too hot nor too cold.

All in all, December is an awesome time to go to Curacao and to get into the Christmas mood.

Read about the best time to go to Curacao to plan the perfect vacation.

FAQ:

How is Christmas Celebrated in Curacao?

In Curaçao, Christmas is all about bright lights and fun music. People decorate their houses and streets. They eat special dishes like ayaka and stoba. There’s lots of music everywhere. Families get together for big meals and go to church too. It’s a really happy and lively time on the island!

How do you say Merry Christmas in Curacao?

In Curaçao, where the main languages are Papiamento and Dutch, “Merry Christmas” can be said in either language. In Papiamento, it’s “Bon Pasku,” and in Dutch, it’s “Vrolijk Kerstfeest.” Both are commonly used to spread holiday cheer on the island!

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.