Located in the Caribbean Sea, near the Venezuelan coast are the sister islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. The “ABC” islands. Curaçao is the largest of the three in size and population (Curaçao has 151.066 inhabitants, Aruba 107.000 and Bonaire 20.104). All three islands are stunning and have something unique to offer. Today I want to share 10 things to do with your kids in Curaçao.
1. Discover Willemstad (Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai, Sharloo and the harbour) an Unesco World Heritage Site
I am starting in the heart of Curaçao, Willemstad. It is here where the Dutch (the West India Company) started to build first after they conquered Curaçao in 1634. The deep natural harbor (St. Anna Bay) was excellent for trade and the town was built around it. Willemstad has 4 historical areas that each have a special ambiance you need to experience for yourself and they are on the Unesco World Heritage list. You can read more about Punda here. “Otrobanda” means “the other side”.
Take a stroll in the newly renovated area of Pietermaai. When I was young, Pietermaai was not an area we would stop for. As we drove out of Punda, we would have to pass Pietermaai but it was filled with homeless people and most of the buildings were deserted and in ruins. Nowadays it is so changed and is very trendy and it looks beautiful. The architecture has been brought back to its original beauty and it’s nice to walk around there.
2. Climb the highest peak of Curaçao, Christoffel Mountain
Another top thing to do in Curaçao with your kids is to climb to the top of the Christoffel Mountain. If you are worried you can’t because you think your kids are too small (not babies though), then go over to this post where I wrote about it. Of course you know your kids best so use your own judgment but the view at the Christoffel Mountain is worth all the hard work!
3. Visit Shete Boka National Park
The Shete Boka National Park is one of the two national parks the island has. This park was established to protect the essential nesting areas of sea turtles. Sea turtles are endangered nowadays so it’s important to protect their nesting areas as they return to the place they were born to lay eggs once they mature. You can’t actually see them laying eggs (that would be cool though) although the website says that occasionally you might in Boka Kalki. The nesting season runs from (approximately) May to December.
Go early in the morning when it’s not that hot and check out the different “Boka’s” (inlets). Our kid’s favourite was Boka Pistol where the water smashes hard into the rocks and causes an explosive effect.
4. Discover your favorite beach
According to the Curaçao tourist board website there are 35 beaches, maybe there are more I don’t know for sure. With so many beaches to choose from you are probably not going to see them all, but have fun discovering your own favourite beaches! You can read another blogpost of mine about beaches in Curaçao here.
Some beaches you have to pay an entrance fee (for example Cas Abou, Playa Porto Mari), other beaches are part of a resort (Avila’s Beach, Blue Bay Beach, Renaissance Beach) and then you also have beaches that are free for all (Playa Kalki, Daaibooi). They are spread out over the island. I will write a blogpost about our favourite beaches soon.
5. Learn how to snorkel or scuba dive (if old enough)
Many years ago I got my Padi in Curaçao and learned how to dive. I think I only used it actively for one year and after that I never dove again but I am very grateful that I had that experience. The waters of Curaçao are beautiful and great to experience it underwater.
From the age of 7,5 kids can do a Bubblemaker course which is especially designed for children. They go for one dive with the instructor after receiving instructions of course. (I saw that Dushiliving has specialized themselves in children’s dives) Then from the age of 10 kids, if your child really wants to learn how to dive, he or she can follow an open water course which takes about 2 to 3 days.
6. Have a local dish
Okay so as I write this, I know that some kids are very picky eaters. If that is your kid, maybe skip this one. However, I think letting kids get used to different kinds of food is helpful and it also lets them get to know the culture. There are a couple of good local spots to have lunch with your family. In Punda there is Marshe Bieu, in Piscadera there is Awa di Playa (but unfortunately it is now closed), in Maripampoen you have Seaside Terrace and in Westpunt you have Jaanchies. Our favourite place to eat local food is Landhuis Dokterstuin, or Restaurant Komedor Krioyo. It is also located on the west side of the island (road to Westpunt). You can see photos of different meals at Tripadvisor. Keep in mind that for most of the local spots you are to eat for lunch time as people have their warm meal at noon here.
7. Visit the oldest synagogue still in use in the western hemisphere
It’s pretty amazing but the oldest synagogue still in continuous use in the west, is in Curaçao. It is located in Punda, at the hanchi Snoa. If you are in Punda with your kids, you should check it out even if for a short visit. I wrote about it in the section about Punda. You can read about that here.
8. Swim with turtles (but be respectful and don’t touch them)
One of the top things to do in Curaçao is definitely swimming/snorkelling with turtles. If your kids are still too little for that, they could also sit at the dock and just look at them. We’ve been to Playa Piskado to swim and we’ve also been there just to hang out and check out the turtles. We usually don’t go there to hang out all afternoon, we swim at different beaches that we find more childfriendly.
9. Visit the Sea Aquarium/ Dolphin Academy
The Curaçao Sea Aquarium was always a fun day out for the kids. It has been around for a long time and over the years they have expanded it with more attractions. I’ll be honest and say that the last time we saw it, certain areas looked dated and needed an up-tune. However, that didn’t bother our kids and they had fun. You can feed flamingos and sharks, there is an underwater observatory, you can watch the dolphin show or even swim with dolphins. I just remembered that I did that a long time ago with a friend. There is also an animal show and feeding of the animals at certain times. One last note, if you see the commercial on their website (the family that is feeding the flamingo or kissing the fish) those are our friends that still live there!
10. Check out the flamingos at the salt pans of St.Marie at Jan Kok or Jan Thiel
The last top thing I want to recommend is to check out the flamingos at Jan Kok or Jan Thiel. I haven’t seen as many flamingos at Jan Thiel but it is a nice area to walk around. Usually you can find them in the salt panes of Jan Kok, Jan Thiel or St.Michiel.
Here is a video about birds of Curaçao made by Carmabi. At about 29 minutes there is a section about the flamingos of Jan Kok.
Those were my top 10 things to do with kids in Curaçao. Of course there are many more activities to do! If you have any questions, please let me know. Also, leave a message and let me know if this article has been helpful to you. Until next time!