Curaçao is an island country in the southern Caribbean Sea, approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast, that is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Formally called the Country of Curaçao, (Dutch: Land Curaçao; Papiamento: Pais Kòrsou), it includes the main island and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao (“Little Curaçao”). It has a population of over 150,000 on an area of 444 km2 (171 sq mi) and its capital is Willemstad.
Beginning in early 2015, the Lynx rocketplane is expected to be flying suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions from a new spaceport on Curaçao.
The island’s insular shelf has a sharp drop-off known as the “Blue Edge.” Scuba diving tourists often visit for this vista. Coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving can be reached without a boat. The southern coast has calm waters as well as many small beaches, such as Jan Thiel and Cas Abou. The coastline of Curaçao features numerous bays and inlets which serve as popular mooring locations for boats.
Some of the coral reefs are affected by tourism. Porto Marie Beach is experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef’s condition. Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish.
Local food is called Krioyo (pronounced the same as criollo, the Spanish word for “Creole”) and boasts a blend of flavours and techniques best compared to Caribbean cuisine and Latin American cuisine. Dishes common in Curaçao are found in Aruba and Bonaire as well. Popular dishes include: stobá (a stew made with various ingredients such as papaya, beef or goat), Guiambo (soup made from okra and seafood), kadushi (cactus soup), sopi mondongo (intestine soup), funchi (cornmeal paste similar to fufu, ugali and polenta) and a lot of fish and other seafood. The ubiquitous side dish is fried plantain. Local bread rolls are made according to a Portuguese recipe. All around the island, there are snèk’s which serve local dishes as well as alcoholic drinks in a manner akin to the English public house.