When sweaters start emerging from the depths of dresser drawers, travelers start dreaming of the sandy beaches and clear blue waters of the Caribbean. For most of the region’s islands, however, the fall months are also the peak of hurricane season. However, not all of the Caribbean is in the “hurricane belt”. Tucked all the way down near Venezuela, you’ll find a trio of islands known collectively as the ABC islands. The ‘C’ stands for Curacao. 

Like its sister islands of Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island is a unique blend of cultures, particularly in the bustling capital of Willemstad, where the majority of locals live. Brightly colored buildings and cobblestone streets give off the feel of a tropical Dutch village. The city is full of restaurants with menus featuring typical Caribbean dishes based on fresh seafood and tropical fruits, alongside Dutch classics like Bitterballen and Stroopwaffles. 

And then, of course, there are the beaches. Curacao’s white sands and bright blue waters rival the very best of the Caribbean. You’ll find the most picturesque of Curacao’s beaches away from the capital and the majority of the resorts, which makes this a great island to rent a car. Beaches like Boka Hulu and Playa Lagun are nestled in rocky outcroppings, giving an “away from it all” feeling. In addition, Playa Porto Marie and DaaiBooi Beach are surrounded by lush green cliffs with secluded bays perfect for snorkeling. 

For those looking to stay active while on vacation, this is our favorite of the ABC islands to visit. Start with a visit to Christofell National Park on the west end of the island where you can hike the 1230 feet to the top of Mount Christoffel. Plan to start early and allow 2-3 hours to make it to the summit. Views from the top are as gorgeous as you’d imagine. Sound a little too intense for vacation? For a more leisurely nature walk, there are plenty of other trails where you can simply enjoy the local orchids, birds and white-tailed deer. 

Off the coast of Curacao, there are even more opportunities for adventure. Scuba divers will find over 60 dive locations around the island with some of the best visibility in all of the Caribbean. Dive sites include famous shipwrecks and plenty of opportunities to see marine life like dolphins, rays and turtles. 

Hop a catamaran to Klein Curacao, an undeveloped island off the coast, for some laidback time on the water. This barrier island is home to nothing more than an abandoned lighthouse and a shipwreck, making it a great place to escape resort life for a day. The waters here are also great for snorkeling. 

If you want something a little different from the mountains and beaches, Curacao is also home to a hidden underground world. The Hato Caves are the largest cave system on the island and are more than 300,000 years old. Visitors can explore the caves including drawings left behind by island natives over 1500 years ago. Hire a guide to hear more about the history of the caves, including their prominent role during times of slavery on the islands. 

No need to let your Caribbean island dreams slip away simply because it’s hurricane season. Enjoy hiking in the mountains, snorkeling with sea turtles and exploring vast underground caves on this Dutch island full of unique culture, delicious food and perfect beaches.

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About The Author

Danie is a full-time traveler and freelance travel writer. She’s been on-the-move since 2015 from Albania to Zambia (and 70+ others in between). She’s developed a very sophisticated algorithm that evaluates countries based on a thorough analysis of their wine, hot sauce, local friendliness, and how hard she happy-cries at their nature. You can find her portfolio at owentheglobe.com or her photos on Instagram @danieelizabeth

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