Black Women, Curaçao Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

“Curaçao is so much more than the little island next to Aruba, dushi,” my tour guide Tirzah said when she picked me up from the airport. Two of the first things I learned when I touched down were that Curaçao is NOT the same as its neighbor Aruba and “dushi” is a uniquely Curaçaoan word that I would be hearing a lot over  the next few days. The Papiamento (a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean) word basically translates to  “sweet” and in Curaçao it’s often used as a term of endearment. Think a less romantic “babe” or a less shady “sweetheart.” Dushi is a perfect way to describe the small Dutch Caribbean island off the Venezuelan coast; in fact there is a huge dushi sign in the heart of Curaçao where tourists can take photos. 
The essence of dushi is captured by people who live in Curaçao, specifically the Black and Brown people who make up the island. As a Black woman traveler this is one of the things that is most important to me and Curaçao lived up to this and so much more. Even though I traveled with a group, anytime I ventured out on my own, I felt safe and taken care of. 
After four jammed packed days on the island, I can say for sure that Curaçao is the island you never knew you needed to visit. 

Living In Luxury In Curaçao

Like most islands in the Caribbean, Curaçao is home to many charming hotels and expansive resorts. I had the pleasure of staying at Kura Botanica, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Willemstad, the capital city of Curaçao. The hotel, built in the 18th-century, is located in a historic and notable village in central Otrobanda. The historic quarters feature eye-catching street art and colonial buildings that look like art pieces themselves. 
Because the hotel is located in such a historic village, it felt unique to Curaçao and an experience I could not get on any other island in the Dutch Caribbean. During my stay I learned of many new resorts and luxury hotels that were being developed all over the island. While a resort is always up my alley, staying at Kura Botanica was an opportunity to be fully immersed in the culture of Curaçao.

Eating My Way Through Curaçao

The history of Curaçao is far too complicated for me to do it any justice, but it’s important to understand the impact that colonialism and slavery had on Curacao’s culture today. The European, African and South American heritages that make up the population of the island represent more than 50 nationalities. This mixture of cultures and heritages can be seen in the way people look on the island, the languages they speak (many people speak Dutch, English, Papiamento, and Spanish), and the eclectic gastronomy. 
From bitterballen (a traditional Dutch bar snack) and oliebollen (the Dutch version of doughnuts) to arepas (a traditional Venezuelan dish) and keshi yena (​​the signature dish of Curaçao), the influence of many different cultures is front and center on your plate. 
Some of my favorite dining experiences in Curaçao included Lion Fish Caribbean, where they catch lionfish and serve it fresh in the restaurant and also use the fins to make natural colored jewelry;  BKLYN, a Brooklyn inspired Gastrobar with a contemporary Curaçaoan menu; and  Komedor Kriyoyo, where the authentic taste and feel of Curaçao is front and center.

Learning About Afro-Curaçaoan History

One of my favorite things about traveling is learning about the unique history of the place I’m visiting. I was able to learn about Curaçao’s history and experience local traditions at Museum Kas Di Pal'i Maishi. The museum illustrates the history of the Afro-Curaçaoan heritage, how enslaved Africans lived in rural Curaçao, and most importantly how the culture still exists today. While the cottage at this museum is one of the protected “slaves houses” of Curaçao many people have inherited the houses and they are now used as an outdoor shed.
I learned more about the the history of the African slave trade in Curaçao at the Kurá Hulanda Museum. The  anthropological museum consists of 15 buildings that trace history through artifacts and guided tours that dive into the cultural impact of slavery and colonialism across the world. If you visit Curaçao both of these museums are a must see to fully understand the history of not only this island but all of the Dutch Caribbean. 

Playing On The Beaches Of Curaçao

A trip to Curaçao (or any Caribbean Island, tbh) is not complete without visiting its beautiful beaches. Curaçao’s beaches are quite unique as they are spread out and tucked into coves. You can drive around the island from beach to beach or you can beach hop on jet skis like I did! I can’t lie, this was a top 10 experience of my life. This was my first time riding on jet skis and the experience did not disappoint. Each beach and cove was distinct from the others and honestly unlike any beach I’ve been to before. Led by Touriffic Curaçao, this experience was Curaçao at its finest. 
Curaçao’s motto is “feel it for yourself.” If you’re reading this, I hope you get to do just that.

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