Curacao may be one of the most under appreciated islands in the Caribbean. As many cruise ships make brief stops at Curacao's ports, visitors only get to spend a few hours on the island. Hence, Curacao may seem like any other Caribbean destination on the surface – beautiful weather, pristine beaches and plenty of shopping and dining. However, Curacao possesses a truly unique small-town ambiance and a diverse cultural heritage unknown anywhere else in the world. With a wealth of activities available to visitors, Curacao is a great destination for families and couples alike. If you are looking for a truly unique Caribbean vacation, visit some of these sites off the beaten path on one of the Caribbean's most unique islands. Christoffel Park, Curacao's premier natural attraction, is composed of three former Caribbean plantations. Visitors can explore the park in a number of ways, from hiking and biking trails to horseback tours and jeep excursions. Along the way, you will see giant cacti, several species of exotic flowers and divi divi trees while protected wildlife roams amongst the vegetation. In addition to iguanas, rabbits and rare birds, you might catch a glimpse of the elusive whitetail Curacao deer – a species thought to have come from the coasts of South America in the 14th and 15th centuries. The park offers guided deer watching expeditions each afternoon from 4pm to 6:30 pm. As only eight people are allowed in each deer-watching group, space is extremely limited and reservations are required.
When in Curacao, you should also try to take advantage of Christoffel Park's other activities. With options as diverse as cave excursions, full moon walking tours and presentations on the area's flora and fauna, the park has something for every inquiring mind. Christoffel Park tours can be arranged through your hotel or travel agent and everything from mountain bikes to off-road vehicles are available for rent.
One of the most unique attractions anywhere in the Caribbean is the Curacao Seaquarium. Constructed in 1984, this beachfront complex is renowned for its open-water system that continuously pumps fresh seawater into its aquaria. If you are traveling with young children, the touch tanks and feeding shows offer great opportunities for safe and informative interaction with sea creatures. The Curacao Seaquarium also allows visitors to snorkel and dive with sea turtles, tropical fish and other exotic animals. You might even have the chance to hand feed a shark or stingray. Even if you don't want to get wet, the Underwater Observatory Boat will allow you to watch divers interact with these exotic creatures. After you've had your share of fun in the water, check out the on-site museum and theater for some added education on Caribbean Sea life. The beach outside the Curacao Seaquarium is also great place to relax with your family, highlighted by kid-friendly water sports options and pleasant shops and restaurants.
Though it may sound strange, Curacao is home to one of the largest ostrich farms outside of Africa. At the Curacao Ostrich Farm, children can interact with both day-old chicks and adult birds. Between 8am and 5pm you can take a tour of the farm, hold ostrich eggs, pet the newborns, watch over 600 birds wander about the grounds and learn about the lives of these fascinating birds. The gift shop is full of distinctive souvenirs, from local products to African artwork. There is even a nice café on site to enjoy a sunlit Caribbean lunch.
If you are looking to escape the crowds while on your Caribbean vacation, Curacao may be the island for you. With activities as diverse as those detailed here, you certainly won't regret your journey off the beaten path in Curacao.