Are you looking for a one day in Curacao itinerary from the cruise ship in Curacao? Then I got you covered!
The beautiful island offers many amazing things to do! So many things, it can be hard to choose what to do if you only have one day in Curacao.
I have stayed many weeks in Curacao this year and I know all the best spots! As an avid cruiser, I know that not every itinerary fits in with your schedule, so I have prepared multiple options for a one day in Curacao itinerary here in this post!
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- What to Do in Curacao in One Day – Possible Itineraries
- About the Curacao Cruise Port
- 1. Best Excursions and Day Trips in Curacao
- 2. Get a Rental Car And Explore the Island
- 3. Explore Willemstad
- 4. Spend a Day at the Beach Or at a Hotel (Day Pass)
- What to Wear in Curacao on a Cruise
- Conclusion: One Day in Curacao
- More 1 Day Cruise Itineraries
- FAQ: One Day in Curacao From Cruise Ship
- About the Author
What to Do in Curacao in One Day – Possible Itineraries
The island of Curacao is pretty big, and you can’t possibly see everything amazing in one day.
If you arrive with a cruise ship in Curacao, you have a couple of different options to pick from. I will explain all the possible options in more detail later in this post.
You can either:
- rent a car and explore the island by yourself
- book an excursion or a day trip
- go Scuba Diving in Curacao
- explore Willemstad by foot
- go to the beach
- book a Private Curacao Tour for a personalized shore excursion
About the Curacao Cruise Port
Cruise ships that dock in Curacao will arrive on one of two major cruise ship terminals in Willemstad. They either dock on the Mega Pier Cruise Terminal or the Mathey Wharf.
On days where only one cruise ship docks in Curacao, the Mega Pier Terminal is used. The Mega Pier has an open air terminal with all kinds of amenities next to it. Find information booths, restrooms and a taxi
If you walk outside of the Mega Pier Terminal you will immediately pass through the Renaissance Resort with the Rif Fort Mall. Find all kinds of shops and cafes there. There is also a Budget Car Rental, an ATM and some good restaurants.
The Mathey Wharf is the other possible docking pier for cruise ships in curacao. It has a capacity for as many as 4 ships. It is located next to Queen Juliana Bridge across the St. Anna Bay. Nowadays, only smaller ships dock here.
Same as at the Mega Pier, you can find an information booth, restrooms, and a Taxi stand. There is also a stand for independent tour operators, and souvenirs shops.
The Marichi Pier is sometimes also still in use, but only if the others are blocked.
1. Best Excursions and Day Trips in Curacao
The easiest way to explore Curacao is with an excursion or a day trip. I suggest not booking them with the cruise company – because they are usually much more expensive.
Make sure to book you tours with a trusted operator, like VIATOR. They offer free cancellations, in case the cruise ship is delayed.
Personally, this is my preferred option to explore Curacao in just one day. Most trips usually include pick-up at the ship and you don’t have the hassle of arranging any more things for yourself.
Here are my favorite day trips and excursions in Curacao:
⭐ Day Trip to Klein Curacao with a Catamaran or speed boat! Klein Curacao is a small, uninhabited island off the coast of Curacao. It is the most wholesome and special experience you can have. The boat ride is about an hour long. Then, you can enjoy the pristine white sandy beach and have lunch on your vessel. Cost: about 130 USD (my favorite day trip)
⭐ Snorkeling with sea turtles – half day guided tour. Cost: about 85 USD
⭐ Small group island tour: Shete Boka, Landhuis Chobolobo, Kenepa beach and much more! Cost: about 110 USD
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.
2. Get a Rental Car And Explore the Island
Willemstad is in walking distance of the cruise port. If you are mainly interested in checking out the city, you won’t need a car.
If you want to see more of the island, I suggest booking a rental car. I prefer booking via this website in advance.
Parking is free in most places on the island. For tips on fuelling and driving on Curacao check my Ultimate Curacao Travel Guide for more detailed info.
It takes about an hour to drive from Willemstad all the way out to the west. Make sure to account for that when picking your activities – many people underestimate driving times on the island.
Things to Do in Curacao On a Cruise
🌴 Go to the beach: there are 39 amazing beaches in Curacao. If you enjoy serviced beaches, I suggest Jan Thiel beach, Mambo beach, Cas Abao Beach, Kokomo Beach or Playa Porto Mari. For more info about Curacao’s beaches head over here.
🌴 Snorkeling or diving: Curacao has amazing marine life. Many beaches have snorkel and dive shops where you can rent gear for your underwater adventure. The most interesting beaches for snorkeling and diving are Tugboat Beach, Playa Lagun (sea turtles), Daaibooibay and Playa Kalki.
🌴 Hiking and adventures: Shete Boka National Park, Christoffel National Park, Hato caves or the Tafelberg are great places for your trip.
🌴 Art lovers: Check out the chichis at Serenas factory, see the street art in Willemstad, participate in a Driftwood painting workshop at Tugboat beach or Playa Porto Mari
🌴 Landhuis Chobolobo – home of the Blue Curacao liquor: join a cocktail workshop, tour the museum and buy great souvenirs
🌴 Explore the secret beach of Curacao – Playa Gipy
3. Explore Willemstad
There are many amazing and exciting things cruise ship passengers can do in Willemstad.
Cruise guests will love the proximity of the Willemstad Cruise Port to the inner city. It is really only a couple of minutes of walking.
Visiting Willemstad on your cruise is a great idea for everyone interested in culture and shopping. It is also ideal for cruise guests that don’t want to book excursions or drive around on the island.
Otrobanda is the district to the west of Sint Anna Bay, where the cruise ship is most likely docked. Taking a walk around the scenic district will offer cultural insight and amazing photo spots. There is much street art in this district.
The former fort “Rif Fort” is a waterfront mall with a courtyard, stores & bars as well as cafes. This is a great place to get some shopping in or simply sip a coffee in a relaxed atmosphere.The wall of the fort offers a great view over the bay and the Handelskade.
Queen Emma Bridge
The Queen Emma bridge is a floating pontoon bridge. It connects the two districts Otrobanda and Punda. From the Queen Emma bridge you can see the famous Juliana bridge.
After crossing the Queen Emma bridge, you can see the famous Handelskade. The row of colorful houses is an amazing picture spot in Willemstad. There are many fabulous stores and cafes in Punda. You can also find lovely street art here.
A great spot to visit is the Plasa Bieu (Old Market) in Punda. Try local dishes there, like cactus soup or goat stew. Also check out the floating market. You can buy souvenirs and local arts and crafts there. The historical Fort Amsterdam is worth a visit.
Curacao has one of the oldest harbors in the Caribbean. The Curacao Maritime museum in Scharloo will show you all 500 years of harbor history.
The Pietermaai district is famous for being the SoHo of Willemstad. The vibrant and colorful part of town is home to many restaurants, ocean clubs, and hip bars. Check out Saint Tropez Ocean Club for a dip in the pool and some nice lunch.
There are loads of cute, colorful buildings. This place is ideal for young people. It is very Instagram-worthy, so make sure to check it out before heading back to the Willemstad Cruise Port.
4. Spend a Day at the Beach Or at a Hotel (Day Pass)
Another great and relaxing way to experience Curacao is catching a cab and driving to a beach. There are quite a few amazing spots close by, so it will not cost too much money to go there.
Check out the 247taxi app or grab a cab at the cruise port. Make sure to agree on the price in advance. Many people try to scam tourists this way.
Great beaches in the area of Willemstad are:
- Mambo Beach Boulevard
- Blue Bay Beach
- Kokomo Beach
You can buy a day pass (around 100 USD) for following hotels close by the port:
- Renaissance Hotel Curacao
- Baoase Hotel Curacao
- Marriott Beach Resort Curacao
What to Wear in Curacao on a Cruise
When going on a cruise to Curaçao, it’s important to pack a variety of clothing options to suit different activities. The weather conditions are usually similar, so packing should be easy.
Here are some recommendations for what to wear in Curaçao on a cruise:
- Lightweight and breathable clothing: Curaçao has a tropical climate, so pack lightweight and loose-fitting clothes made of natural fabrics like cotton or linen. This will help you stay cool and comfortable in the warm temperatures.
- Swimwear: Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits or trunks since you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful beaches and waters of Curaçao. Consider bringing a cover-up or a light beach dress as well.
- Casual daytime outfits: During the day, you can wear casual attire such as shorts, skirts, sundresses, t-shirts, tank tops, and lightweight pants. Opt for comfortable and breathable clothing suitable for exploring the island, visiting attractions, or going on excursions.
- Light layers: While Curaçao is generally warm, it’s a good idea to pack some light layers for unexpected weather changes or cooler evenings. A light cardigan, a thin jacket, or a shawl can come in handy.
- Comfortable walking shoes: As you’ll likely be exploring various areas of the island, comfortable walking shoes are essential. Pack sturdy sandals, sneakers, or closed-toe shoes for excursions, hiking, or walking tours.
- Sun protection: Curaçao has strong sun exposure, so remember to pack essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a beach umbrella. These will help protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s rays.
Conclusion: One Day in Curacao
In this post we answered on what to do in Curacao from cruise ship. We saw the Willemstad Curacao Cruise Port and dove deep into all the options on what to do from there.
Whether you rent a car and explore by yourself or book a guided day tour, there is much to explore on the island.
You can also take it easy and relax on the beach or enjoy a scenic walk in Willemstad – the choice is up to you!
Make sure to check out my other cruise itineraries for more info about various ports of call.
More 1 Day Cruise Itineraries
FAQ: One Day in Curacao From Cruise Ship
Yes, especially during day times Curacao is very safe. Willemstad is a great place to explore and I have not ever felt unsafe there.
Many things are quite expensive in Curacao. Especially in Willemstad, many shops raise their prices for cruise ship guests. Be aware of this!
There are many amazing things you can do with one day in Curacao, such as: Willemstad Tours, Shete Boka National Park, Mambo Beach, Christoffel Park, Spanish Lagoon, Klein Curacao, Beach Hopping Tour in the West, Swim with Sea Turtles and much more.
Yes, you can drive around Curacao in a day. Many areas in the east are not open for the public. However, you can drive all the way out west and in the area around Willemstad and also in the north. Renting a car for a day and driving around the island is a great way to spend one day in Curacao.
Yes, you can walk to Willemstad, the capital city of Curacao from the cruise port. However, you can’t reach any of the beaches in Curacao by walking. Rent a car or join an organized day trip for your one day in Curacao itinerary.
Cruise ships usually dock at the new MegaPier in Willemstad just next to the Rif Fort Shopping Center. Sometimes cruise ships even dock in the Sint Anna Bay.
You can grab a cab and go to Mambo beach from the cruise port. Another option is to get a day pass at the Renaissance Hotel next to the cruise port, they have an artificial infinity beach that is worth visiting. If you have a rental car, you can explore all the fabulous beaches in the west.
About the Author
Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. 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.