Christmas in Curaçao

Christmas in Curaçao

This is our third Christmas since we moved aboard Sava, and again we are in a new location, this time the biggest of the ABC islands, Curaçao. As an island with rich history and many cultural influences, of course it’s an interesting place to spend the holiday season! Curaçao got into the Christmas spirit early, with stores displaying holiday cheer in October, and early celebrations at the beginning of December. As we are enjoying Christmas in Curaçao and all the decorations that come with it, I thought I’d share some stories and photos of what the celebrations are like in the Leeward Antilles.

Interested in Christmas in other places? Read about spending Christmas in the Caribbean , Panama and in Florida

Christmas in Curaçao Starts Early

The decorations have been up since Halloween but that’s not even what I am talking about. One of the holidays has already happened.

St. Nicholas Day is the traditional day for presents from Santa and people get excited! Men dress in colorful costumes, paint their faces and jump into cars and drive around yelling out the windows and honking. At least that’s what we’ve seen. So many of them get into one car it’s like a clown car, more noticeable in the days of social distancing.

St Nicholas costumes
St Nicholas celebrations
St Nicholas Day
Driving around in circles – literally – at a roundabout in Curaçao

The festivities continued on the water! On December 6th, a party of costumed men took to boats just like St. Nicholas does and drove around the anchorage of Spanish Waters playing drums and dancing. How can you not smile and even dance along to a group of grown men dressed in colorful court jester costumes? I say yes to St. Nicholas Day in Curaçao!

Christmas in the Malls and Stores

Decorations are similar to those we see at home except pine trees don’t grow here, so there are lots of fake trees and garland popping up in all the shopping areas of Curaçao, the restaurants and people’s homes.

Christmas tree
Christmas decorations are in all the stores in Curaçao

Crafty Christmas Dècor

One of my favorite displays is at Tugboat Beach, a popular snorkeling and dive site near Spanish Waters. The in-house artist paints driftwood signs and offers workshops and “paint your own” sessions. For Christmas, he made colorful ornaments and decorated the walls with them, and is selling them. We don’t have a tree on board Sava (imagine what Domino would do with that!), but the colorful ornaments are tempting.

Christmas decorations
Crafty Christmas decorations at Tugboat Beach

Christmas in Willemstad

Downtown Willemstad is quiet lately, but step off the Queen Emma bridge and you’ll see a beautiful (fake) Christmas tree just behind the Lock Hearts. Walking around the neighborhoods, some buildings are decorated for the season.

Christmas tree Willemsted
Christmas tree in Willemstad
Wreaths in Willemstad
Wreaths on a balcony in Otrobanda

Christmas in Restaurants and Bars

Outdoor restaurants are open here in Curaçao and they’re decorated for the holidays too. With the Covid crisis, no restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol, which is less festive, but that isn’t damping the holiday spirit.

holiday decorations
Lights and garland in an outdoor restaurant at Spanish Waters
Christmas tree
Crafty Christmas tree in a waterfront restaurant in Curaçao

Low-Key Christmas in Curaçao

Brian and I are enjoying a low-key Christmas in Curaçao. The good news is the grocery stores here offer traditional Caribbean favorites and European imports, so we can’t go wrong. After Christmas, we hope to make it to Colombia, depending on weather, before or soon after the new year. Wishing you and your loved ones the best of the holiday season wherever in the world you are! And please share in the comments your tales of Christmas in foreign lands.

Curacao Christmas Pin
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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, scuba diver, cat parent, cyclist, blogger, love the water and exploring new places.

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