Have you ever heard of Curaçao? It’s not on many people’s maps. This little island lies between Aruba and Bonaire, just about 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It has a rich history, loads of delicious food to try, and countless beautiful beaches. It’s a little quieter than it’s more famous neighbor, Aruba, and much-less visited, especially by Americans.
In the past few years though, Curaçao has been popping up on more “must-see” lists. Thanks to the Tourist Board, more airlines are flying to Curaçao and the island is easier to access than ever before!
From North America
There are three main options for travel to Curaçao from the US. Jetblue is the most recent US carrier to add Curaçao to its list and as a result the flights are pretty affordable. They fly direct from New York (JFK) a few times each week and prices run between $200 and $400 round trip! If you can make this work, it’s definitely your best bet.
If that doesn’t work, American Airlines flies from Charlotte and Miami daily, so just get yourself there and you’ll be all set. I flew with American BOS-MIA-CUR. Round trip it cost about $400 including a bag.
Your last option is to fly with Southwest to Aruba (direct from BWI but also with connections from the west coast) and take one of the daily puddle jumpers to Curaçao. That’s going to probably be your most expensive option.
The main supplier of tourists to Curaçao is The Netherlands. It’s a super common vacation spot and I’ve seen Dutch tourists here more than anyone else. TUI Fly is usually the most affordable and direct option but there are all sorts of different connections.
I’m really excited for Condor, a German airline, to start its direct connections from Frankfurt in November. Round trip prices are as low as $350, including checked bag/meal/TV, so it’s a pretty good deal!
From South America
There are connections from all over South America to Curaçao. There are quick flights from Bogotá for about $400 and the airline Copa flies from several large airports in Brasil (but usually not directly). I have found that pretty much every flight from South America to Curaçao has a layover in Bogota, so you can get there from all of the major cities in the region.
From Asia and Africa
I haven’t been able to find any especially great routes from these regions. Your best bet is probably to find a flight to New York and go from there, or maybe to fly via Frankfurt. It’s not cheap though, and the journey is long, which would explain why there are so few visitors from those parts of the world.
The Curaçao Airport (Hato International) is quite small and easy to navigate. The main terminal is wide open and there is fresh air moving through it. You will be greeted with a view of cacti growing on a ridge.
If you want to get into the city, the buses that go to Punda (the eastern side) are 2A and 2C. They cost $1 and one or the other leaves every hour from the airport. To get to Punda on the bus it takes about 50 minutes. There is not really any effective signage at the airport (or anywhere really), so I just asked before I got on any bus if they were going where I needed to go. There weren’t many people relying on public transportation, however. Mostly people had buses specific to their resort or were renting a car.
I would recommend coming in May, June or July, during the low season (it’s still 83 degrees every day). Avoid September (when it’s the hottest and there isn’t much wind) and just know that November to April the island is more full of tourists (especially in February with Carnival).
There are loads of great options for finding flights, but my most favorite flight search engines are Google Flights and Momondo. They’re pretty fun… don’t get caught up with them!