Three of my favourite places on my island of Curaçao3 minute read

Curaçao is by far my favourite place on earth, simply because it is my home. I was born and raised on this Dutch Caribbean island, rich of histories, cultures and people. Even when I moved abroad for my studies, I made sure I always got to spend my long summer days at home. Curaçao has many treasures, but here are some of the places I choose to spend my time every time I return.

Doggy Beach

A small secluded beach with shallow waters makes the perfect spot for all the dog-moms and dads to spend their Sundays with their pups. A trail passing this little oasis also leads to some beautiful saltpans, making for great hikes. We always had dogs at home growing up, but we never really took them out to places, except for the occasional visit to the vet. Because we have a big garden, my parents didn’t feel the need to take on the hassle of taking the dogs to the beach. I always dreamed of going on swims with my dog and as soon as I got my very own dog-baby ‘Shiva’, that was the first thing I did. She is in love with the water and goes absolutely nuts once she realizes it’s time for us to hit the beach. While she plays and swims, I relax and enjoy the beautiful colours of Doggy Beach.

Amazing murals in Scharlo / Skalo

Growing up on Curaçao I never really appreciated the beauty of the historic city centre Willemstad, especially not Scharloo (or Skalo). I am sure I was not the only one, just like I am sure I am not the only one admiring the revival of the newest of Willemstad’s four historic district. A long time ago, Scharloo was home to Curaçao’s richest citizens, which is clearly visible by its abundance of stately, Italian style mansions in bright Caribbean colours. Unfortunately, the districts glory days did not last long. In the ‘50s, many of the wealthy residents left their homes and moved towards more modern neighbourhoods outside of the city centre. With their departure and the high costs of maintaining the mansions quickly started to deteriorate. At one point the homeless started to occupy the residences.

Recently, however, more and more businesses and private investors once again saw the potential of the area and started to restore the buildings to their past glory. Because this is a time consuming and costly process, not all buildings can be restored at once. Local artists came up with a brilliant idea to use the remaining abandoned buildings as canvases for giant murals. This way new life was brought into the community which helped to improve the status of the area. Today, Scharloo has become one of the most iconic places to wander on Curaçao. Not only to admire the restored buildings, but to admire the work of crazy talented artists and the locals who continue to reside in this historic gem.

The hammock in my backyard

Alright maybe this is not fair to share as I am quite certain not many of you will be able to visit this spot. But it is one of my favourite places on earth, so it had to be mentioned! The hammock underneath the mango tree in my backyard. Many naps have been take and books have been read in this serene place. But what has happened most are the long stares up towards the sky, through the branches of the tree. The most special moments I had, were those I shared with a flock of parrots loudly enjoying our ripe mangoes, only hoping a mango wouldn’t fall on my head.

Catch up on our “Three of my favourite places” series here.

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Stacey Mac Donald is a part time editor for ‘OF AFRICA’. She grew up on a small Caribbean island, Curaçao, one of the six Dutch Caribbean islands, and she has a BA in Child and Family Studies and an MA in Social & Organizational Psychology. Currently she is working on her PhD research on nature and cultural heritage preservation in the Dutch Caribbean at the Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean studies (KITLV).