Curacao itinerary – experiencing all the highlights in one week!
Curacao is a beautiful tropical paradise in the Caribbean sea, right off the coast of Venezuela. In the last two years, I have spent over 3 months on the island – and have seen everything there is to see in Curacao. The good news is – there are many amazing things that should be on your Curacao itinerary! The bad news is, it can be hard to choose which spots to visit if you only have limited time on the island. To make the planning a bit easier for you, I have created the ultimate one-week in Curacao itinerary for your next vacation!
There are so many great highlights and points of interest to see in Curacao, that it can be incredibly hard to choose. From stunning, white sandy beaches to historical, colorful buildings and impressive mountains there is something for everyone to see in Curacao! This Curacao itinerary shall include not only the most relaxing beaches but also all the fabulous adventures you can not miss when you travel to the island. If you want to know more in-depth info about the perfect traveling time, tips on where to stay, and other important info, check out my Ultimate Curacao Travel Guide!
Table of contents
- One week in Curacao itinerary – overview!
- Things you need to know about Curacao
- How to get around in Curacao
- Day 1: Porto Mari and Daaibooibay
- Day 2: Mambo Beach Blvd – Willemstad
- Day 3: Christoffelberg – Playa Lagun – Dinner at Bahia Lagun
- Day 4: Shete Boka National Park – Playa Gipy – Landhuis Chobolobo
- Day 5: Klein Curacao
- Day 6: Beach hopping and Santa Martha Viewpoint
- Day 7: Tugboat Beach – Cas Abao Beach
- Where to stay in Curacao for this one week itinerary
One week in Curacao itinerary – overview!
- Day 1: Relaxing at Playa Porto Mari and Daaibooibay – Dinner at Karakter
- Day 2: Mambo Beach Boulevard – Willemstad – Dinner at Mosa-Cana
- Day 3: Christoffelberg – Playa Lagun – Dinner at Bahia Lagun
- Day 4: Shete Boka National Park – Playa Gipy – Landhuis Chobolobo – Dinner at Fort Nassau
- Day 5: Day trip to Klein Curacao – Dinner at Mood Beach
- Day 6: Beach hopping: Grote Knip, Kleine Knip – Santa Martha Lookout Point- Dinner at Bij Blauw
- Day 7: Snorkeling at Tugboat Beach, Cas Abao beach – Dinner at Kooral Rooftop
- BONUS: Hotel suggestions
- BONUS: How to get around in Curacao
- BONUS: What you need to know about Curacao
Things you need to know about Curacao
- There are four different languages spoken on the island: Dutch, Papiamentu, Spanish, and English.It always helps to speak a couple of words of Dutch, however you will be fine with English as well.
- Curacao has its own currency, the Netherlands-Antillean Guilder (shortly NAFl, ANG, or f). However, most places also accept US dollars. In some places, the Euro is accepted as a currency as well. Many places accept credit and debit cards. If your debit card gets rejected (especially for Dutch cards) make sure they charge you in guilders.
- The tap water is safe to drink in Curacao, however, it does not taste very well in my opinion
- The most common voltage in Curacao is 120 V and 220 V
- The word Curaçao is pronounced as “Cure-ah-souw”
- During the months of November to March it is rainy season in Curacao. Personally, this is my favorite season because it is not quite as hot as during the summer months. Rain usually takes up half an hour per day, so it is only a small shower. It will not affect your holiday in a major way and you can still do most activities.
How to get around in Curacao
When you check out my one-week in Curacao itinerary, you will see many stops that require you to have a car. I strongly recommend getting a rental car at the airport for your entire stay, since you will be needing it almost every day. We have had good experiences with booking our rental cars here. Parking is free on most parts of the island, and fuel is not expensive.
However, most gas stations have a weird prepaid system in place, that requires you to walk up and pay a random amount of your choice with your credit card. If you do not use all of it, you have to walk back over to make them give credit.
Make sure to always be careful on the road, since many locals do not exactly stick to all the traffic rules. Traffic can be quite tricky on the island. If you wanna avoid this, you can try booking day trips to many of the famous spots suggested that include hotel pickup. I usually book all my excursions with Viator. You can also use the Curacao 247 taxi app, it works like Uber.
Day 1: Porto Mari and Daaibooibay
Beach hopping in Porto Mari and Daaibooibay
Playa Porto Mari is the perfect beach to visit on your first day in Curacao. The area is known for being “the beach, where nature comes first”. Two cute pigs, called Willy and Woody, live close to the beach. On special days, they will join the vacationers and enjoy a nice bath in the ocean or get a tan in the sun.
The main reason why this is a great beach to start your vacation is that it is completely serviced. They have a great restaurant for lunch on the beach, called Willywood. There are comfy beach chairs to rent and you can even book a massage by the beach. After a long travel to the island, this is an ideal first day on your Curacao itinerary. Bonus info: You can participate in a driftwood-painting workshop on the beach. This is a great way to make your own souvenir.
On your way back from Playa Porto Mari, make sure to check out Daaibooibay. Daaibooibay is literally the bay next door and only a five minute drive away. Daaibooibay is nestled in between two huge cliffs, which not only make for a stunning view but also great snorkeling spots. The water is (like anywhere in Curacao really) crystal clear and light blue.
You can see a lot of fish even without a snorkel. For the adventurous people among you, make sure to hike up a small trail on the left side of the bay. You will have an amazing view of the bay and the ocean.
Dinner at Karakter Curacao
Your first dinner on the island should be incredibly special, to celebrate your upcoming trip. I suggest checking out Karakter Curacao. This is our favorite restaurant for a special dinner on the beach. Karakter is located at the Koraal Estate. The service and the food are amazing and the sunset view is incredible. Make sure to reserve a table, they are incredibly busy. Book your table around 06:00 pm, then you can see the entire sunset while you eat.
Day 2: Mambo Beach Blvd – Willemstad
Mambo beach boulevard
After an amazing dinner, you probably need a slow morning to fully wake up. I suggest starting the second day of the Curacao itinerary on Mambo beach. Mambo beach is one of the most lively beaches in Curacao and is combining stunning blue waters with cute little shops, nice restaurants, and plenty of fancy beach clubs. The beach is very nice and clean and the water is very easy to enter and nice for swimming.
Mambo beach is our beach of choice if we want to spend a relaxed day, being pampered and comfy. Our favorite beach club is Cabana beach, where you can rent super comfy beds with umbrellas and be served delicious meals and cocktails right to your bed. Ambient music in the background makes for a very relaxing mood. Sip one of their amazing cocktails and enjoy the day at Mambo Beach. If you are still looking for a nice swimsuit or new sunglasses for your vacation, you can buy them in one of the many boutiques on Mambo beach.
A similar beach to Mambo beach boulevard is Jan Thiel beach. There are many beach clubs and some nice restaurants. However, I find it very Dutch and prefer Mambo beach.
The colorful capital city of Willemstad is only a short five-minute drive away from Mambo beach. You will start your evening in Willemstad in Punda. Punda is one of the most famous neighborhoods on the island, mainly because it is home to the famous Handelskade!
The Handelskade is a collection of picturesque, colorful houses near the water. If you cross the famous Queen Emma bridge, you can reach the other side of Willemstad, called Otrabanda. The Handelskade is a UNESCO World Heritage site and worth to be photographed.
Both sides of Willemstad, Punda and Otrabanda, are worth the visit. The Sint Anna bay is separating the two fabulous districts from each other. The Queen Emma bridge is a famous floating pontoon bridge, that moves when there is a ship coming into the bay. Make sure to visit the 19th-century castle Rif Fort when you cross over to Otrabanda. There is also some nice street art to be seen in Otrabanda, although the best pieces are definitely in Punda.
A couple of footsteps away from the Punda district is the Instagram-famous Pietermaai district. This is commonly referred to as the SoHo of Curacao, filled with great restaurants, fancy ocean clubs, and offering great nightlife.
During the evenings, the Pietermaai district turns into a vibrant center of activity. For that reason, I suggest having dinner at Mosa Cana restaurant in the Pietermaai district before checking out one of the many vibrant bars in the area.
Dinner at Mosa Cana in Willemstad
Mosa Cana is a tapas-style restaurant in Willemstad. It is great for a romantic dinner in an upbeat atmosphere. According to the concept, you will be sharing all the dishes with your partner or your friends. The food tastes amazing and there is something for everyone on the menu. They suggest roughly three small dishes per person. The restaurant is only open from Tuesday to Saturday in the evenings, so keep that in mind for your planning. For reservations head over here.
Day 3: Christoffelberg – Playa Lagun – Dinner at Bahia Lagun
Hiking the Christoffelberg
The Christoffelberg is with a height of 372 meters (1,220 ft) the highest point in Curacao and lies in the middle of a preserved wildlife area. You can explore the many trails in the wildlife park by car or foot, however, the peak can only be reached by foot.
If you want to climb the mountain to the top (for experienced hikers only) I suggest getting there as early as possible in the day, since it can get quite hot in the afternoon. The park opens at 06:00 in the morning, which is when you should get started. It takes about two hours to reach the top, but it is very much worth it.
The hike can be quite intense, especially the last part is basically a climb up some stones. The winds on top are quite strong and the sun is super intense. Make sure to be prepared! For more info about the National Park head over here.
This amazing bay is famous all over the island because it is one of the few places where you can casually spot sea turtles. Playa Lagun is a small, non-touristic beach far out in the west of the island. Also, it is very famous among snorkelers and divers because the marine life there is simply stunning.
You can rent some beach chairs and enjoy the sun after a tough hike. The beach is only a short drive away from the Christoffelberg. If you want to go for a dive or snorkel, there is a small dive shop right on the beach where you can borrow equipment from.
Dinner at Bahia Lagun
Bahia Lagun is a small restaurant located right above the beach. The restaurant has an amazing view of the sunset and the food is not only great but also relatively cheap in comparison to the rest of the island. This is a great place for a romantic sunset dinner, the view over the bay is super special and you will not find that anywhere else on the island. Reservations are not necessary, you can walk right in.
Day 4: Shete Boka National Park – Playa Gipy – Landhuis Chobolobo
Shete Boka National Park
Shete Boka is a big national park that covers almost 10 kilometers worth of cliffs on the north coast of the island. This part is quite different from the rest of the island. By now you are probably used to the calm waters on the southern coast. On day 4 of your Curacao itinerary, however, we will explore the rugged north a bit more.
The park has 10 pocket bays from where you can watch stunning waves crashing into the coastline. There is a walking trail that lets you explore the stunning coastline. The trail leads you to stunning underwater caves (Boka Tabla) as well as a natural bridge (Boka Wandomi) and some more amazing viewpoints. This is a great place for photos, so make sure to not forget your camera!
Make sure to bring good shoes, since you will be walking quite a lot. You should also bring enough water since you will be quite exposed to the elements here. For more info on how to get there and entry prices head over here.
This little gem is something that needs to be in everyone’s one-week in Curacao itinerary. Playa Gipy is a small, deserted bay, nestled in between some impressive cliffs. This is easily the most secluded and exclusive spot on the entire island – and it can be quite hard to reach if you don’t know what you are looking for. Many people don’t even know Playa Gipy exists, so you will have quite the story to tell once you reach it.
How to get there
The easiest (and only) way to reach Playa Gipy is by car. Since most navigation systems don’t know it, I suggest putting Watamula Hole as a reference point. This is a famous attraction in Curacao, and there is also a small parking spot right next to the hole.
The Watamula hole offers some great contrast to the white sandy beaches and calm waters on the other side of the island. I find it pretty impressive, and since you are already in the area it can’t hurt to check it out. You can look down on the crashing waves and get mesmerized by the turquoise waters underneath. I also find this to be a cool photo spot!
From the parking spot you will also be able to see a huge rock with the Curacao flag on it. Check out the rock first, since this is a great picture point as well. From there you can easily navigate toward Playa Gipy.
After taking some pictures with the rock, you can head towards the ocean and behind the rock. Then keep walking along the cliff on the left side. After a roughly 10 min walk on rocky terrain, you will be able to see Playa Gipy from above. Be careful, since the path is not secured. You can crawl down some rocks and reach Playa Gipy. The crawl is not too difficult, however you need good shoes and a bottle of water.
Spend some time at Playa Gipy and enjoy having the entire little beach for yourself. You can take a swim and relax in the sun before heading to your next stop. For more info about Playa Gipy check out my designated blog, with all the important info on it.
Landhuis Chobolobo – home of the Blue Curacao
The Landhuis Chobolobo is a beautiful 19th-century mansion, located close to Willemstad. Not only is it an interesting historical building to visit, but it is also the production place of the famous Blue Curacao liquor. You can tour the factory and check out the museum.
The company offers tours around the production with a small tasting and a free cocktail in a cocktail bar in the garden. You can also participate in a cocktail workshop and buy their products for a reduced price. This is a great place to stock up on some souvenirs. They also sell Glacial rub there, a great remedy for lots of health conditions that the locals here use.
The tour guides are super friendly and quite knowledgeable. We thought it was a very fascinating tour and we loved the colorful decor of the mansion. Landhuis Chobolobo is one of the must-see things on the island of Curacao and should be in your Curacao itinerary.
Dinner at Fort Nassau
After all these great activities you deserve a real treat for dinner. Fort Nassau is one of my favorite restaurants in Curacao and must be on every itinerary. The historical fort is located right outside Willemstad, and is a pretty unique restaurant, with a 360-degree view of the island. You can see the beautiful capital city of Willemstad from above as the sun sets over the sea.
The restaurant offers fine dining in a chic, renovated historical fort. If you make your reservations early, you can snatch one of the 4 tables that are out on a private terrace, from where you can see the sunset even better. You can enjoy your food in private out on the terrace. The food is an absolute treat – we chose the Chef’s menu and have definitely not been disappointed.
Day 5: Klein Curacao
A day trip to Klein Curacao
Klein Curacao is a small, uninhabited island roughly an hour sailing off the coast of Curacao. If you go by catamaran, the journey will take about two hours. The small island offers some of the most amazing white sandy beaches in the Caribbean and is an absolute MUST on every one week in Curacao itinerary. Make sure to visit the abandoned lighthouse on Klein Curacao. It does not only make for an amazing photo spot but is also of historical importance.
Because the island is uninhabited, the beauty of its nature is still (mostly) untouched. Klein Curacao makes for an unbelievable day trip, especially for snorkelers. With some luck you will see sea turtles and be able to swim with them. But not only sea turtles make the island worth visiting, the entire marine life there is incredibly special.
There are many different providers offering day trips to Klein Curacao. We have always booked with Miss Ann Boat trips so far, because they have great amenities on the island. Miss Ann offers a beautiful little hut there that provides great shelter from the sun. There are tanning beds for everyone and complimentary breakfast and lunch are served there as well. You can even borrow some snorkel gear and participate in a guided snorkel tour.
Most of the other providers do not have an infrastructure on the island, therefore you have to take meals and spend time on the vessel instead of the island itself. However, they offer great tours at a bit of a cheaper price point so it is worth considering.
Dinner at Mood Beach
After the big day trip, you will probably be pretty exhausted, therefore I have picked a dinner spot not too far out west. You will return around 16:00 from the boat trip, which gives you some time to freshen up before a nice dinner at Mood Beach on Mambo Beach.
Mood beach is a restaurant located on Curacao’s famous Mambo Beach Boulevard. This restaurant is decorated in boho-chic and is located right on the beach. You basically have two dining options to choose from when you make your reservation: either dine in the hut-like restaurant itself or sit down by the beach. There is also a cute little bar in the middle for a nice drink while you wait for your table.
Mood beach is known for fine dining in a very chic environment. The food is exquisite, but also quite pricey. The location is super lovely and is definitely worth paying a bit more for. This is definitely a great spot for a beach dinner. If you go around 18:00, you might even catch a glimpse of the sunset.
If you are the partying type, then Mambo beach is the place to be. Stay a bit longer and check out some of the best beach parties on the island, at the Wet n Wild Beach club or at Madero Beach, sometimes even at Cabana Beach.
Day 6: Beach hopping and Santa Martha Viewpoint
Kleine Knip beach
You will start off your beach hopping trip at Kleine Knip beach. Kleine Knip (Playa Kenepa Chiki, for the locals) is one of my favorite non-touristy beaches in Curacao. This beach is located far west on the island and is located between Westpunt and Playa Lagun. Entrance to the beach is free.
Tanning beds can be rented there, and they actually always come with an umbrella (which is not usual at Curacao’s beaches). Since the beach offers no other amenities, I suggest to only spend an hour or two there before moving on to the next beach.
The water and the beach have an amazing quality, and the beach is great for snorkeling. If you buy a ticket for a sunbed, you can also use it on our next beach on the agenda, the Grote Knip. The beaches are located super close to each other and operated by the same people, so it makes sense to combine your visit there.
Grote Knip (or Kenepa Grande)
Grote Knip beach is, just like it’s little brother Kleine Knip, located in the western part of the island is very popular among locals and vacationers both. It is far bigger than Kleine Knip beach. From the cliffs on the side you have an amazing view over the bay from the top.
Make sure to also bring your own food and drinks to Grote Knip beach, because there is no restaurant on the beach. The entrance is free and you can rent beach chairs on the beach. If you already rented something at Kleine Knip beach, make sure to bring your tickets so you can also use them there.
Sometimes they sell food on the Grote Knip beach, but ever since COVID that is not always a given. If you are in the area and crave a nice lunch with a view, head over to Playa Forti restaurant (for amazing seafood) or to Bahia Lagun. Playa Forti has an amazing once in a lifetime view over the ocean, you should definitely check it out!
Santa Martha Lookout Point
Before dinner, head to the Santa Martha Lookout point. Overlooking Santa Martha Bay we found an amazing little spot that offers a stunning view of the bay during sunset. Make sure to get there early for a nice spot to watch the stunning spectacle. For directions click here. This spot is nicely on the way back from the beaches far out West.
Dinner at BijBlauw in Willemstad
Bij Blauw is a fabulous restaurant in Willemstad’s famous Pietermaai district. It is located right on the ocean and offers great views. This is an amazing spot for dinner, and the quality of the restaurant is outstanding.
The dinner setting is more in a fine dining manner, than the other meals there. It is also a bit more expensive, but totally worth it. This is definitely a great restaurant in Curacao that should be on your Curacao itinerary. Make sure to check out the vibrant bars and streets of the Pietermaai district after your dinner, for some great vibes and a whole lot of fun.
Day 7: Tugboat Beach – Cas Abao Beach
Tugboat beach is one of the must-visit places for snorkelers and divers and is a great choice for your last day in the one week in Curacao itinerary. The beach is pretty special, mainly because it is named after a 30 year old shipwreck that lies there in the ocean.
The shipwreck is a bit of a swim from the shore, but it is very doable, even if you are not an experienced swimmer. You can easily explore the shipwreck with snorkel! In my opinion it is not necessary to rent diving gear. The wreck is surrounded by beautiful corals and marine life, which makes it extra stunning to see.
The beach itself is a little bit rocky. Make sure to bring water shoes if you are sensitive. On your way back from Tugboat beach you can find Fort Beekenburg, a old castle that you might want to check out.
Cas Abao beach
Your last day on the island should definitely be spend relaxing. And what better place to spend it on than Cas Abao beach. This beautiful beach is truly a gem and is located on the southwest coast of the island.
Cas Abao beach has been voted of the 21 best beaches in the world by National Geographic for many times in a row. And for good reason. The water is crystal clear, there is endless white sand and you can see so many beautiful fish during the snorkels.
The beach is fully serviced, so you can go there without worrying about packing stuff. There is a small restaurant, however it is self serviced. You have access to showers, a dive shop, and a massage parlor. You can also rent beach chairs and make use of the lockers if you plan on bringing valuables.
The water there is super shallow and amazing for snorkeling. Check out both sides of the bay for amazing access to beautiful marine life. Cas Abao beach should definitely be on everyone’s one week in Curacao itinerary, it might even be the prettiest beach on the island. Make sure to snap some nice photos there for your album.
Last dinner at Kooral Rooftop
Kooral Rooftop Restaurant is right above the Karakter Beach Restaurant and will offer you an even better view over the ocean for the sunset. The food and the atmosphere are pretty casual. There are many fabulous seafood dishes to try. I loved the flatbread pizza with barracuda! Make sure to also check out their cocktail menu, to have a final Blue Curacao before you fly back home.
You can have a great view over the ocean for sunset if you reserve your table early. Also, make sure to bring an ID-card, because they do check at the entrance to the resort for safety reasons.
They do not only serve seafood but rather all kinds of delicious meat and vegetarian dishes. On certain days you can enjoy live music or eat from they special BBQ if you are very lucky. They also offer sushi nights, so check in advance in case you don’t like it as much. What a great place to end an amazing one week in Curacao itinerary.
Where to stay in Curacao for this one week itinerary
There are quite a few options for you to stay in Curacao. They have a huge selection of hotels and accommodations for all budgets. We have preferred staying either in the area around Willemstad or all the way out west in Playa Lagun. Quite a lot of places on this ultimate one week in Curacao itinerary are far out West, so it makes sense to stay there.
If you prefer the quiet and appreciate an amazing view over the ocean, you absolutely should book Lagun Ocean Resort, they have the most amazing little houses with a stunning view. We absolutely adore these houses, there is nothing like this on the entire island.
If you prefer an all inclusive or luxury resort, I can suggest Sandals, it is currently the best luxury hotel on the island.
In Willemstad, I recommend Saint Tropez Ocean club. Another great option in Willemstad is the Renaissance, they are the only resort with a beach in Willemstad.