Islands in the Caribbean are a dime a dozen, each with their own unique charm and allure. Islands such as Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas are among some of the most popular Caribbean destinations being visited by millions of people each year, but there are a whole host of other hidden gems that are starting to creep onto bucket lists the world over. One such island is Curaçao.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the name has been shared across South Africa as the island that will serve as the picture perfect island backdrop for the 9th season of the hit show Tropika Island of Treasure. Soon, celebs Simphiwe Ngema, Kay Sibiya, Nadia Japhta, Siphesihle Vazi, Ntando Duma and Bouwer Bosch will be living their best lives in this tropical paradise – and you and I could very well be joining them. Auditions for #TIOT9 are happening as we speak, and the best part is that auditions are happening online which means that wherever you are in SA, you can enter and stand a chance to win a spot on the island. Full audition details can be found on Tropika’s website.
For now, here’s a little more information about this dreamy destination in the Caribbean.
Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean island, feels like a little piece of Europe on the edge of the Caribbean with glorious hidden beaches, amazing onshore snorkeling and diving, and a wild undeveloped windward coast.
Located 64 kilometres off the coast of Venezuela and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the 64km-long, 12km-wide island of Curaçao represents a lively amalgam of different cultures. Part of the Lesser Antilles, also known as the ABC Islands — Aruba is to the west, Bonaire to the east — Curaçao was once a booming trade hub for merchants in the Dutch West India Company. Today, travelers stroll along Willemstad’s Handelskade Street, lined with sherbet-colored homes that resemble Amsterdam rowhouses, and stay in former Dutch colonial buildings now reimagined as luxurious beach resorts.
With over 35 palm-lined beaches, 65 dive sites to explore and friendly locals who represent over 55 cultures, Curaçao is quickly garnering appeal as one of the most progressive and pristine islands in the Caribbean. Playa Knip, the island’s most famous beach, offers up crystal-clear waters and good amenities, while Playa Lagun is a more intimate and quirky spot, with weathered rowboats strewn across its golden sand. If you’re looking for a little more space to move around, head over to Porto Mari, a wide expanse of beach with breathtaking waters – sit on the pier for a jealousy-inducing photo opp, or grab a cold Amstel Bright at the conveniently located beach bar. Porto Mari is also a great stop for divers looks to explore the undersea treasures of Curaçao’s coast. Want a beach experience with a dose of luxury? Head down to the man-made coast at Jan Thiel Bay and Papagayo Beach.
If you plan on travelling to Curaçao on a South African passport, you’ll be pleased to know that no visa will be required! Getting there is also made a whole lot easier with the likes of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines who have regular flights to the island. Why not make an adventure out of it by stopping over in *Amsterdam for a few days on your way to Curaçao? This will allow you to explore two spectacular destinations in one trip, and the bonus will be splitting your travel time up making the journey to paradise a breeze!
*Note: you will need a visa for Amsterdam.