Visitors can enjoy a variety of sporting events, music festivals, and the best of Caribbean culture throughout the year in Curaçao. Many events incorporate parades, with the most prominent being the annual Carnival, at the start of the year. The Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival in late August is another must-see for music aficionados.
Curaçao Carnival (Carnaval)
Starting New Year’s Day, Carnaval is the main Curaçao holiday event of the year and goes on through all of January. It features music, parades, and parties galore across all cultures that make up the island—Dutch, Portuguese, African, South American, and Jewish. There are also beauty contests and concerts, with the Festival di Tumba parade on Shrove Tuesday being the highlight.
Curaçao Heineken Regatta
Sponsored by a mega-brewer, the Curaçao Heineken Regatta is a fun, sporty high season event in late January. The international regatta sets off from Willemstad and goes over three days. While sailors race for a substantial dollar prize, on land are beach barbecues and parties.
International Kite Festival
Though not a must, the Curaçao International Kite Festival in February is worth a look as it highlights the creativity of the islanders. Along with flying and competitions which feature weird and wacky designs, are workshops where novices can learn to make and fly kites.
Curaçao Dive Festival
Curaçao is right up there with other areas of this region of the Caribbean for its scuba diving potential, and this festival in May has classes and dives for beginners and expert divers alike. Take note though, while this is the best time to dive in Curaçao, good visibility is apparent year-round.
Curaçao Restaurant Week
A great event for tourists in the low season, Restaurant Week sees hundreds of restaurants in Curaçao partake in the offering delicious three-course meals at a great value. The event spans over a week and is the perfect opportunity to taste Curaçao cuisine without breaking the bank.
The week-long Salsa Tour in August draws some of the best names in the business and features live concerts and workshops on the beach. Together with dance are scuba diving and snorkeling events, along with horseback rides.
Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival
This two-day North Sea Jazz Festival in Piscadera Bay is the most high profile jazz festival in Curaçao. It features visiting artists from around the world who perform at the World Trade Center grounds, to the west of Willemstad. Along with jazz is a week of soul, hip hop, and R&B, leading up to the main event on August 31.
Amstel Curaçao Race
A mini Tour de France on Curaçao, the 50-mile long (80 km) Amstel Curaçao Race is run at the beginning of the high season in November, and usually attracts some big names in cycling. From Willemstad, the peloton goes around the island, with presentations at the Lions Dive & Beach Resort.