Curacao

Is Curacao Worth Visiting? The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!

Are you wondering if Curacao is worth visiting? Then you are in the right spot.

There are lots of different opinions out there on whether Curacao is worth visiting or not. Its reputations is certainly not too great, depending on who you ask.

So before booking your (expensive) vacation, you’ll want to make sure that it will be amazing!

Luckily for you, I have spend over 16 weeks in Curacao in the last 2 years. I know every single spot and aspect of the island by heart.

And in this post, I’ll share all the tea with you – on the good, the bad and the ugly about Curacao.

Let’s get to it!

playa porto mari beach drone shot

Table of Contents

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Is Curacao Worth Visiting? Pros and Cons

Pros

🧡 Stunning landscape

🧡 Lots of things to do

🧡 Amazing resorts

🧡 Great restaurants

🧡 Relatively cheap

🧡 Outside hurricane belt

🧡 Colorful Willemstad

🧡 Good shopping

🧡 Amazing excursions

🧡 Fun atmosphere

🧡 Stunning marine life

Cons

💔 Extreme differences between rich and poor

💔 Lots of trash

💔 Safety issues

💔 Stray dogs

💔 Locals are not too welcoming

drone shot of the ocean in curacao with the author floating in the water on her back

My Honest Review Of Curacao – In Short

Curacao is one of my favorite places in the Caribbean. If you ask me, Curacao is 100 % worth it. The incredible landscape and the amazing restaurants are some of my favorite things about the island.

But when spending so much time there, you can’t help but notice all the downsides of the place as well.

The saddest thing about Curacao is the harsh difference between rich and poor. Rich, retired Dutch people live in gated communities while the locals live in small, trashy huts. The living standard in Curacao for the locals is absolutely not great, so it can’t come as a surprise that many neighborhoods have safety issues.

This situation (and history) kinda lead to locals not being very appreciative of the Dutch tourists. And I have full understanding for that. Sadly, you won’t see many locals working in fancy restaurants or with excursion companies either. They are usually staffed with younger Dutch seasonal workers.

That being said, there is a lot that needs to change on the political level of Curacao.

At the same time, this won’t impact your vacation. Most touristy places are friendly, clean and safe.

From all the Caribbean islands I have visited, Curacao has the most stunning landscape, interesting historical sites and best money/value relation.

So in short: Curacao is an amazing vacation destination and I would 100 % recommend it.

Why Curacao Is Worth Visiting – Detailed Overview

1. Landscape & Nature

My Rating: 10/10

The landscape in Curacao is unlike any other I have every seen. Dramatic cliffs, hidden bays and beautiful views of the deep blue sea are awaiting you.

My favorite part of the Curacao is the less-touristic West. In between all these high cliffs you can find the cutest, white-sandy beaches. These views never get old.

drone shot of stunning cliffs in curacao

Beaches like Playa Porto Mari and Cas Abao Beach have been voted the most beautiful beaches in the world in the past. And for good reason. The water is crystal clear and the sand is beautiful as well.

There are hidden beaches like Playa Gipy, or stunning National Parks like Shete Boka. And of course the uninhabited island of Klein Curacao is always worth a visit.

The landscape is totally dramatic, unique and beautiful. That is my personal number 1 reason why I keep visiting Curacao every year.

2. Hotels & Accommodations

My Rating: 9/10

Curacao has an amazing offer of luxury hotels, resorts, boutique hotels but also Airbnbs. Most things are very reasonably priced, and you can find some great offers.

We have stayed in many different hotels and areas in Curacao. The most charming places are Playa Lagun (far out west), Mambo Beach Boulevard (super central) or even in the city center of Willemstad.

All-Inclusive hotels are a bit more pricey, but the overall quality of food and drink has always been great.

My top suggestion is to split your time in Curacao: rent a house in the west for part of your vacation and spend the rest of the time in a resort. this way you’ll have the best of both worlds.

3. Safety

My Rating: 5/10

Lack of (total) safety is the only thing I dislike about Curacao. Many people wonder if Curacao is safe for tourists.

Now, to be fair it is not really unsafe and nothing scary ever happened to me. But I did get a weird gut feeling being alone in our rented Airbnb out in the countryside. Places like Mambo beach clearly have a drug problem though.

Most touristic places are super safe and you got nothing to worry about. But some of the villages on the island have a super bad reputation and you should definitely avoid them (not like there is anything to do there either).

The streets are a mess and accidents happen all the time. We never had any issues but I did see a lot of nasty stuff happen.

All in all, Curacao is by far not as safe as Aruba. But there is also no reason to be worried unless you crawl around the ghetto in the dark.

4. Price/Money Relation

My Rating: 7/10

If you are asking yourself, whether or not Curacao is expensive, I’ve got the answer: it depends.

Curacao is a lot cheaper than Aruba. If you are coming from the US, you’ll experience Curacao as relatively cheap.

Coming from Austria, the prices in Curacao were sometimes a bit shocking to me.

But to get you a bit of an idea, I have created an example of what you might spend in Curacao:

  • Luxury dinner at the beach for two people, 3 courses: about USD 130,00
  • Normal dinner, main dish and appetizer for two people: about USD 70,00
  • Day trip to Klein Curacao: USD 150,00 pp
  • Night in a luxury, All Inclusive hotel: USD 400,00
  • Night in a boutique hotel or Airbnb: USD 100,00
  • Rental car for a day: USD 40,00
  • Groceries for one week in supermarket: USD 150,00
  • Beaches: usually for free, entrance fee never more than USD 10,00

5. The Weather

My Rating: 7/10

Curacao has year round good weather, and it is located outside the hurricane belt. This is one of the top reasons why Curacao is worth visiting.

I have visited Curacao throughout the year, and I don’t really have a favorite season. Rainy season is in fall/winter, which means there are a couple of rain-showers and sometimes even storms.

Overall, this does not impact your vacation much. I never experienced a full-blown rain day. Showers usually last 30 minutes up to an hour.

I usually even prefer going in rainy season since it is a lot colder at night. This makes sleeping without AC a lot more convenient.

stunning drone shot of mambo beach in curacao

6. The Locals

My Rating: 2/10

My experience with the locals in Curacao has been somewhat mixed. As I mentioned before, history and the Dutch abuse of Curacao has made the relationship difficult.

From all the countries that I have visited, Curacao’s locals have been the least welcoming so far. Most people are not super happy to serve you in restaurants.

However, there are also exceptions. Gilmar, who hosts art classes at Playa Porto Mari or the sweet guides at Landhuis Chobolobo have been nothing but welcoming and lovely. Also at the Curacao Aloe Factory we met the most amazing and friendly people.

It is, of course, impossible to judge the population as a whole. But the overall impression I got on the island was that tourists are somewhat annoying and can be ripped off.

We were cheated out of a lot of money by cab drivers twice, so that is definitely something to keep in mind. The people with airport immigration completely harassed me because of small damage in my passport (minor wear and tear) and refused to let me call my embassy. They screamed at me until I cried before (after intervention from the airline) finally letting me pass.

Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao’s sister islands are a lot more welcoming in that regard.

ocean drone shot with the author floating in the clear blue water at daaibooibay

7. Excursions and Things To Do

My Rating: 9/10

Because the landscape in Curacao is so diverse and the country is so rich in culture, there is a lot to do on the island. This is one of the main reasons why Curacao is worth visiting to me, you simply won’t be bored.

From beach hopping to a day trip to a small uninhabited island over cocktail workshops and museums – Curacao has it all. One of my favorite places to visit are the Shete Boka National Park, the secret Playa Gipy and the stunning Christoffel Park.

An excursion to Klein Curacao is a must – the small island is paradise on earth. But also places like the CurAloe Factory, Serena’s Art Shop and the Ostrich Farm are nice to visit.

Since the marine life here is so great, the best things to do in Curacao are snorkeling or scuba diving.

There is so much to do in Curacao, that you can easily fill a 2-week holiday with adventures if you want to. I suggest to stay at least one week in Curacao for the best experience.

8. Willemstad

My Rating: 9/10

Willemstad is amazing – the colorful capital city of Curacao has so much to offer. When going to Curacao, Willemstad is definitely worth a visit.

From the cute, colorful houses of the Handelskade to the nice shopping streets and the historic Rif Fort, Willemstad has a lot to offer. Of course you need to visit the floating pontoon bridge, named after Queen Emma.

My favorite neighborhood in Willemstad is the Pietermaai District. The colorful houses, chic cafes and classy restaurants are simply great.

Willemstad has a cinema, shopping centers, stunning hotels and lots of history. The capital city is also relatively safe, so you can explore it without worries.

Willemstad is a great area to stay in Curacao if you like nightlife and culture.

9. Restaurants & Food

My Rating: 10/10

The food scene in Curacao is unmatched. And I have been to many places in the world. If you are a foodie, you absolutely need to visit Curacao.

There are so many amazing restaurants in Curacao, that serve anything from fine dining to seafood to casual tapas-style food.

My favorite restaurants are Fort Nassau (amazing view) and Karakter (fine dining on the beach). There are great sushi restaurants but also sweet beach bars serving comfort food with a view – like Bahia Lagun.

There is nothing you can’t find in Curacao when talking about food. I admit, most restaurants are a little pricey, but a far cry from the prices in Aruba. And it is always worth the money for me.

10. Infrastructure

My Rating: 6/10

The infrastructure in Curacao is a bit so-so. Some things are pretty well developed, while others painfully lag behind.

Pharmacies, doctors and hospitals here are pretty good. They mostly are up to Dutch standards, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick here too much. I have had some minor issues health-wise here, but we were always helped well.

Roads are another issue. They are in terrible shape and driving is kind of dangerous. People drive as they please and there are many accidents. If there is a little rain, everything gets flooded quickly.

If you plan on getting a rental car, I suggest good travel insurance.


Do you need travel insurance in Curacao? Yes, travel insurance in Curacao is highly recommended.
Unsafe roads, water sports accidents, and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy. EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.

Conclusion: Is Curacao Worth Visiting?

In this post we have talked about whether Curacao is worth visiting. I have to answer with a wholehearted yes.

There are some bad things here, without question. The locals are outright hostile at times, there is a lot of trash on the island and the infrastructure is partially a mess.

But the stunning nature, great restaurants and amazing marine life make up for it in my opinion. There is so much to do in Curacao, and the experiences have always left me breathless.

Rugged coastlines, hidden beaches and impressive mountains make Curacao so special and totally worth it.

If you are not sure if Curacao is the dream destination for you, read if Aruba is worth visiting or if Bonaire is worth it.

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

FAQ: Is Curacao Worth Visiting?

Is Curacao Worth Going To?

Yes, Curacao is definitely worth going to. The amazing landscape is unlike any other. The nature is so impressive, and the marine life has a lot to offer as well.

There is much you can do in Curacao, from water-sport to fine dining. And at the same time, Curacao is relatively affordable and not too overpriced.

In my opinion, Curacao is one of the most underrated islands in the Caribbean.

What Are The Downsides of Curacao?

Sadly, there are also quite a few downsides of Curacao. The biggest downside of me is that the locals are pretty hostile. We met some sweet people and had great experiences, but I have also had pretty bad ones. I have been scammed and harassed on the island.

Safety is another issue. There are a lot of places on the island you should avoid, especially at night. They do have drug problems here, but luckily you can avoid them.

There is also a lot of trash on the island, and streets are unsafe. Traffic is a mess and public transportation does not exist.

Luckily, these things don’t impact your vacation too much, you can still have a great time.

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.