Curacao: 2012 Reader's Choice Award Winner!
Jul 2, 2012 / 5:00 am
Curacao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. Curacao, which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curacao (Little Curacao), is a constituent country of the Netherlands. Its capital is Willemstad, and the island has a land area of 444 sq.kms (171 square miles) and a population of just over 140,000. In 1634 the Dutch West India Company founded the capital of Willemstad but up until then Curacao had been ignored by colonists because it lacked many things that colonists were interested in, such as gold deposits. However, the natural harbour of Willemstad proved quickly to be an ideal spot for trade. Commerce and shipping — and piracy — soon became Curacao's three most important economic activities. In recent years, the island had attempted to capitalize on its peculiar history and heritage to expand its tourism industry. This small island now represents more than 50 nationalities speaking Dutch, Spanish, and English – as well as a local language, Papiamentu.
Curacao has become most popular with tourists who love the experience of diving the ocean. It has become well known for its coral reefs off its south side and has 16 beautiful public beaches for tourists and locals to access at any time. For scuba and snorkel divers alike, the sea floor drops steeply within a few hundred feet of the shore, and the reef area can easily be reached without a boat. This drop-off is known as the 'blue edge'. The coastline of Curacao features many bays and inlets to explore, and recently Porto Marie Beach has began experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef's condition. Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish. In total the island boasts of 38 beaches with 65 separate dive sites.
More than just sun and sand, Curacao hosts a variety of exciting adventures. Explore the capital city Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its rainbow bright pastel buildings. You can also watch a 19th century pontoon bridge open as ships enter the harbour. Engage on a self-guided tour of the countryside where you can explore natural caves, limestone deposits and Volcanic formations. Walk back in time at the Kura Hulanda Museum and trace the island's history from the Amerindians of South America, the Spanish, English, French and Dutch who came and stayed.
For more details on flights, accommodations and island transportation have a chat with your favourite Travel Consultant.
For more information on tourism in Curacao, visit the country's tourist board website: http://www.curacao.com/en
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