Laura Brown

Curaçao

With its delightful Dutch colonial architecture, thriving art and culinary scenes and excellent history museums, go-go Curaçao feels like a little piece of Europe at the edge of the Caribbean. A little piece of Europe, that is, with glorious hidden beaches, wondrous caves, amazing snorkeling and diving, and a wild, undeveloped windward coast dotted with prickly cacti and whiptail blue lizards.

Curaçao also has a surging economy beyond tourism, which means that Willemstad has factories, humdrum neighborhoods and sometimes bad traffic. Catering to visitors is not the primary aim here, which lends the island more authenticity than its neighbors tend to offer. So if you’re looking for a Caribbean destination that's busy setting its own pace – a place where the adventuring tends to be a bit more unbridled – Curaçao is right for you.

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