Know Before You Go: Family Vacation in Curacao

I am writing this in New York City and it is currently 31.8°, with a windchill feeling like its 22 degrees, and I am ecstatic because in just a handful of days, we will be having a family vacation in Curaçao for the Thanksgiving holidays. Back in March, I went to the Women’s Travel Fest (#WTfest) and won a 5-day / 4-night family trip to Curaçao with accomodations at The Hilton CuracaoA big thank you to the Curacao Tourist Board and Hilton Curaçao for hosting me and my family during this holiday season! This post is sponsored.

As always, I’m doing research before the trip, and below is what you’ll need to know for a family vacation in Curaçao:

Fun Facts about Curaçao

  • Curaçao is pronounced “Cure-a-sow”
  • Curaçao is located just 40 miles north of the coast of Venezuela and only 12° north of the equator = HOT!
  • The official language is Dutch, but Papiamentu is the local language, which is a mix of Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, French, English and Arawak.
  • There are 38 beaches on the island (!!)
  • Curaçao has a warm and sunny climate year round with an average temperature of 80 degrees. The rainy season is between October and February, but the short showers usually occur at night.
  • Curaçao is home to 150,000 people from 55 different cultures including African, Dutch, German, Indian, Spanish and Portuguese (which I bet means incredible local food!).
  • It’s known for its unique architecture, amazing diving, and warm weather.

Family Activities in Curaçao

Besides hanging out at the pool and swimming at its many beaches, there’s a HUGE amount of family activities in Curaçao. I don’t know if 5 days and 4 nights will be enough for us! Some things that have caught my eye for our family vacation:

  • Curaçao Sea Aquarium is a natural habitat aquarium for all of its marine creatures. It has an open-water system which allows all the marine animals to be in immediate contact with the open sea. There’s a dolphin show, sealion show, and various ways to interact with stingrays, nurse sharks and flamingos! Admission to the Sea Aquarium is $21 for adults, $11 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 0-4 years old. 
  • In the Sea Aquarium there are other additional animal encounters where you can snorkel or scuba dive in the Sea Aquarium’s natural marine habitat and feed sharks and sea turtles by hand. These are operated separately from the Sea Aquarium by the Ocean Encounters and are an additional cost. 
  • Dolphin Academy Curaçao: This is definitely one of my personal dreams to be able to swim with the dolphins and the Dolphin Academy Curaçao has several kinds of interactions that all family members can participate in — from a Dolphin Encounter (younger kids can do this) to an open water dolphin dive (dive certification is needed and you have to be 12 years old). Prices start at $99 per person for a dolphin encounter, so its not cheap, folks.

  • Hato Caves are over 200,000 (!!!) years old and are open to the public to explore or take a 45-minute tour. It’s family-friendly and the cool temperatures will be nice change, plus the kids can get their earth science lesson in during vacation.

  • Ostrich Farm in Curacao is one of the largest ostrich breeding farms outside of Africa. A 45-minute tour will teach you about the life of an ostrich, feed an ostrich and even ride one. We’ll see if we can get our girls on the back of one.

Food in Curaçao

Because of Curaçao’s rocky soil, most of the food is imported, but because of the island’s ethnic diversity, the food is very international with a touch of local flavor.

We definitely want to visit the Floating Market in Punda where vendors sell their produce along the waterfront. For a local meal, we definitely need to hit Marshe Bieuw (the Old Market) for an authentic (and probably the best and cheapest) meal in Curaçao. Basically it’s an open-air food court where locals prepare their favorites meals. Tables are first-come, first-served. Sign us up!

And, I know our girls are going to love trying the Kos Dushi, or desserts, such as Sunchi, which are meringue kisses; and Kokada, freshly grated coconut patties held together in sugar syrup.

Want to go? Here’s how to Get to Curaçao & Where to Stay

  • Daily flights on American Airlines and Insel Air from Miami, Florida
  • Weekly flights on Insel Air from Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Weekly flights on JetBlue from New York starting December 2, 2014

You fly into Curaçao International Airport, or Hato International as locals call it.

We’ll be staying at the Hilton Curacao which is located on the Piscadera Bay. It has newly renovated guest rooms and suites, two restaurants and two bars with casual dining. There are also two private beaches, an infinity pool and children’s pool.

A big THANK YOU to the Curaçao Tourist Board and Hilton Curaçao who will graciously host our family during this Thanksgiving season. Please follow our #TTMinCuracao adventures! This post is sponsored and all opinions are mine.