Travel: Tracing our roots to Curacao (video)

Colorful dwellings dot Curacao harbor. / Miki Turner for

By// Miki Turner

Everything is colorful in Curacao — the buildings, the flamingos, the art and even the liqueurs.

Located in the southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch colony is the largest of the three ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao — in the Lesser Antilles. And while the indigenous people were Arawak Indians, Curacao has a larger Black population than the other islands because it was the center of the slave trade in the 1600s. That history is still very prevalent on this island that the locals call “Dushi Korsou” (Sweet Curacao).

In addition to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Curacao is also a top destination for its SCUBA diving (there are tons of coral reefs), art galleries and low crime and unemployment.


Because Curacao has more of an island feel than its neighbor Aruba, you won’t see a lot of designer shops or precious gem stores. Instead, the local markets are filled with native crafts, fresh fruits and pig snouts!

The People:

Are a unique blend of African slave descendents, Arawak Indians, Dutch, Asian, Spanish, East Asian and Portuguese. They speak Dutch, English, Spanish and the local dialect — Papiamentu.

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Top Attractions:

  • The Willemstad harbor where you’ll see a lot of the buildings on the UNESCO list.
  • Kura Hulanda Museum features a lot of sobering artifacts from the slave trade.
  • Curacao Liqueur Distillery is where they make those flavorful and colorful liqueurs derived from orange peels.
  • The Ostrich Farm is the largest breeding ground for these big birds outside of Africa.

Where To Stay:

Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino. They have a great infinity pool that looks as though it spills into the sea.

How To Get There:

American Airlines has non-stops from Miami and New York LaGuardia.