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Introducing Curaçao

Curaçao balances the real with the surreal. The real is a bustling island with a traffic-bedeviled capital, Willemstad. The surreal is all the reasons that make it an appealing place.

It has a rich history dating back to the 16th century and central Willemstad boasts fascinating old buildings and excellent museums. Remnants of plantations dot the countryside and some are now parks. The west coast has oodles of beautiful little beaches, many good for diving.

Back on the real side, Curaçao has a lot of economic activity beyond tourism, which means that Willemstad, apart from its historical core, has factories, many humdrum neighborhoods and at times bad traffic. Catering to visitors is not the primary aim.

All this makes Curaçao the most balanced of the ABCs; urban pleasures vie with natural wonders for your attention.