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See allThe 10 Best Budget Islands in the Caribbean

by , SmarterTravel Staff - February 27, 2010
Curacao: Willemstad Architecture

Curacao

The colorful buildings in Curacao, not to mention the year-round 80-degree weather, minimal rainfall, and 65 individual snorkeling and diving sites, are sure to brighten up your stay. See 1,500-year-old Caquetios Indian drawings at the Hato Caves, visit the oldest synagogue still in use in the Western hemisphere, or take a dive to the Mushroom Forest, Airplane Wreck, or Tug Boat.

Why It's a Good Value

Competition from several airlines, including American, Continental, and Delta, helps keep prices low. Air Jamaica also offers connections via Montego Bay. Like Aruba, Curacao provides reliable, affordable bus service that serves the resort areas.

The Curacao NOW program is offering $200 in instant credit, $200 food and beverage credit, one free night, and more when you book a vacation package by March 15. The offer is valid for travel May 1 through July 4 and August 15 through December 18. For more specials, check out Curacao's official tourism website. The site also has a handy Vacation Matcher, which generates a list of suggested activities based on who you're traveling with and your interests.

Best Beaches

Lizabet suggests Cas Abao, since "the water was crystal clear and perfect for snorkeling ... This was a cove, but even so it was not crowded." She also notes the "gorgeous view" and the "huge rock formations framing the cove."

Other beaches to try include Kenepa, whose two coves offer some of the most popular beaches; Klein Curacao, an uninhabited island formed by volcanic rock eight miles from the coast that has the longest beach; and Plata Lagun, complete with fishing boats, and calm, shallow waters close to shore that are great for snorkeling and family activities.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Torsten Stahlberg)

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