Below is an excerpt to a coworker regarding his query on Curacao:
Depending on your budget and taste for adventure, you options for hotels are varied. Actually, you can explore the new site www.curacao.com. There is an accommodations guide on there that will at least show you all the hotel options. If you want a romantic component to your trip, I strongly recommend Kura Hulanda (http://www.kurahulanda.com). There is also a list of dive operators on the site, as well as dive locations. If you tell me what you are interested in doing, I can have the director of operations make for the Curacao Tourist Board make some specific recommendations.
Curacao is a very interesting place. I think you will generally have one of two reactions: you will either fall in love with its rough-edged charm or hate it. Most divers love it. There is actually a dive camp there, so if you are really adventurous, that might be a way to go, but I do not know the name of it. One really good site is http://www.curacao-actief.com. I think you will find that it has more dive content and things you may be interested in. The dollar goes pretty far down there, but it is expensive to get there and the room tax is pretty steep, so while you may get what sounds like a really good room rate, the tax gets it back up to where you would expect.
When you get there, you will get a red bag at the airport. Be sure to get one; it’s right after you go through customs. There is a table set up, and it will have a lot of information about things to do, diving, etc., as well as some coupons. Taxis there are pretty interesting, but they are not metered yet, so it’s all a bit negotiable. About $20 will get you just about anywhere, but be sure to ask "How much to take me to… ". Driving there is not too bad, and right now it is off season, so rates are cheap, I had an economy car down there last week for $164 for 5 days, I think. There are some good package deals, and I think there is a way to get $200 off of your airfare or something.
The people there are fantastic. They all speak four languages. Dutch is their official language; the locals also speak Papiamentu, a Creole-like language that has many distinguishable terms; and they also speak English and Spanish, although I think they tend to speak better Spanish than English. They all speak very good English, and you will have no trouble understanding them. You may get strange looks when they hear you, not because they do not understand, but it takes some of them a second to figure out which language they are hearing. You see this more with people who do not have constant interaction with the tourists.
Curacao is a very safe place. I have been out on the streets late at night with no concerns. The clubs there are pretty fun, and they really like Americans.
You can use US currency everywhere you go, and the exchange rate is very favorable. It’s not a bad idea to get your change in a few places in NaFl (guilders). Be careful, particularly in smaller restaurants, as the tabs come in guilders and you will end up paying a lot more than you should (speaking from experience, like the time when I had a $25 hamburger from room service at the Howard Johnson my first night there). If you have time, I strongly encourage you to take a ride out to Knip Beach, as it is one of the quaintest and most beautiful beaches I can think of. I have attached a few pictures.
If you stay at Kura Hulanda, be sure to have drinks in the courtyard around 5/5:30ish, which is very relaxing, particularly if you are with your wife. When it gets dark, the tree frogs start chirping, a very nice sound. One other warning there, particularly since you are from New York and are probably used to a certain level of service: These are island people and not particularly service-oriented, so service is slow. Be patient, and if you are in a hurry, be sure to ask for your check at least 15 minutes before you have to leave.
There are lots of good places to eat. If you want just a quick sandwich, I highly recommend Delifrance. There are two or three of them on the island, and their sandwiches very good and very fresh. My favorite is the salami and brie on a brown baguette, and I don't even like salami. As far as nice dinners, Bistro Le Clochard is very good, and the Astrolab at Kura Hulanda and Jaipur at Kura Hulanda are also good. If you want to really experience something local, take a trip out to Westpunt (west point) and go to Janchees (pronounced Yanchees). The guy is very personable, there is no menu, and he will tell you what he has. If you are really adventurous and want to spice up your love life that day, try the Iguana Soup.
Let me know if you would like to know more.