Okay, so you’re tired of lounging on the beach, soaking in those delicious rays at this tropical paradise (does that happen?). If you’re artsy, pop by Scharloo, Curaçao’s “Wynwood,” and check out all of the gorgeous street art. Or hop on an ATV and go visit the Ostrich Farm or Dinah Veeris’ herb garden. If you’re feeling something a little more low-key, just get lost in your thoughts strolling by the waterfront in Punda. Here’s what to do in Curaçao that’s not at the beach. There’s a lot.
Curaçao has a rich history of folk art, and a new generation of locals is using it to help revitalize a historic neighborhood. Scharloo is an incredible collection of elaborate houses and baroque mansions from the 1700s and 1800s, including the Maritime Museum. In the late 1900s, the neighborhood fell into disrepair. A few years ago, revitalization efforts began. An initiative called Creative Lab helped bring street art and murals to the area with the creation of Street Art Skalo. Nonprofits like Curaçao Cares also helped and initiatives like Creative Lab and Startup Curaçao moved into refurbished buildings in the neighborhood. Take a walk across the bridge from Punda for a look at locals’ efforts to reshape and renew this part of Willemstad.
What they do: Street art
Website: Visit Here
Address: Scharlooweg, Willemstad
Museum Kura Hulanda traces the origins of Curaçao’s predominant cultures, with an especially powerful exhibit on the slave trade that began in the 1660s with the arrival of the Dutch West India Company and dominated the island for more about two centuries. This museum is a must-see for an honest look at the horrors of the slave trade and how they shaped the region. Try to call ahead and make an appointment with a guide.
Dinah Veeris runs this beautiful medicinal herb garden with knowledge passed down from her mother, who Dinah says changed her whole view of life and of health. After experimenting with the herbs her mother recommended, she quit her job as a teacher and started to bring plants here from all over the island, turning it into the lush sanctuary it is today. Even the most cynical folks will find Dinah compelling – and might even try some of her herbs, which she says resolve not just physical ailments, but spiritual ones as well. Don’t leave without hugging her tree. She says it absorbs all of your sorrows.
The Arawaks, an Ameri-Indian tribe, used these caves to shelter during bad weather. They were rediscovered by slaves fleeing nearby plantations in the 1700s. Come here to scope out cave drawings and petroglyphs that are 1,500 years old – as long as you can handle the bats. There are a lot of them.
Curaçao Ostrich Farm
If you’ve got kids in tow, this is a great place to take them. They can play with lemurs on the playground and then take a tour through the desert-like property. The guides will teach you all about ostriches, and even let you feed them. Make sure they show you how male ostriches dance. It’s amazing.
Eric’s ATV Tours
Enough lounging on the beach. It’s time to get a little dirty. Hop on one of these ATVs – with a tour guide, of course – and get off the beaten path a bit. Leave some time for a few stops along the way – we recommend the Ostrich Farm or Dinah Veeris’ herb garden.