The tiny island of Curaçao, which is the ‘C’ in the ABC islands and previously part of the Netherlands Antilles, is often passed over for its more commercialized neighbor Aruba. Thanks to noteworthy new spas and a revitalization of its historic architecture and healing traditions, that’s all changing. The name Curaçao can be traced back to early explorers who experienced the island’s healing powers. It’s said that the first Spanish explorers on the island left sick crew members before continuing on their journey. When the ships returned one year later, the crew was miraculously healed and christened it “Island of the Cure.” Soon after it was recorded on early Portuguese maps as Curaçao. Fast-forward 400 years and the capital Willemstad’s natural harbor is now a bustling port for cruise ships with a vibrant UNESCO World Heritage Site seafront to welcome travelers in search of wellbeing and relaxation. It’s no surprise spa-goers are eager to dive in to the island’s healing havens—Atabei Spa at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Mazzai Spa at Morena Resort, and Water Club Curaçao at Floris Suite Hotel Spa & Beach Club.
Last summer heading to this lesser-known island, my husband and I went in with an adventurous attitude. And adventure we found, navigating the island from end-to-end in our tiny rental car; it was the best way to find cove beaches, explore through the national park, and experience the local culture. Along the way, I also got a taste of the island’s own brand of wellness, including its boutique spas and aloe plantation. We even got to try a bite of freshly cut aloe while touring the plantation’s manufacturing facility where CurAloe skincare products are made to order. I may not have a taste for aloe, but the rest of the island’s spa offerings are truly tempting.