Curaçao is a heavenly Caribbean island located just north of Venezuela. Formerly a Dutch territory but now an independent country, it offers island life infused with a distinct European influence. You can wander through the busy streets and admire the brightly painted houses that the island is famous for. Curaçao's rugged coastline has many coves and coral reefs to explore. It takes less than 2 hours to drive from one end of the island to the other, so, if you want, it's possible to explore all of its 35 beaches.
Get a flavour for the island at a Curaçao hostel in a former ice cream factory or step closer to history in a colonial house with a colourful exterior. A hostel constructed with bricks made of sea sand and coral is another offbeat option. Many Curaçao hostels have an outdoor area so you can take advantage of the island breeze. Travel light and book a hostel that provides linen and towels.
The bustling capital city of Curaçao is Willemstad. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's culturally diverse and steeped in history, and you'll find plenty of places to eat, drink and shop there. For a more rustic vibe, head to Pietermaai District, where the streets are boldly decorated with murals and come to life at night with bars and music. The white-sand Grote Knip and Klein Knip beaches are the most popular with locals, while at Playa Lagun you can see boats strewn across the sand in a more peaceful setting.
At Christoffel National Park, you can do some birdwatching, join a safari tour or follow one of the hiking trails. Get a feel for island culture at one of the many clubs and bars that play jazz into the early hours. Sample the local cuisine at a truk di pan (food truck), with Caribbean-style tapas and arepas (stuffed cornmeal pittas) among the delights on offer. If you've come for water sports, you can snorkel or dive and spot wrecks, including a sunken plane, at Westpunt.
Curaçao is served by its own airport, Curaçao International Airport. Getting to the island's capital, Willemstad, is easy by taxi and only takes about 20 minutes. To get around the island, you can hop on a "convoy" – one of the public buses that run through most areas. If you want to get around a little faster, try the local taxis that run around the main areas of the island.