The Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao is easier to get to than ever thanks to the new travel-trivia app, Trippzy, the sponsor of Vacay Network’s podcast. The host team of travel journalists Adrian Brijbassi and Jim Byers explain the island’s highlights and more reasons to visit.
These are 5 things you may not have known about Curaçao, the Dutch island in the Caribbean that is recognized for its European ambiance, diverse cultures, and array of snorkeling and scuba-diving experiences.
- It has a subterranean cave called the Blue Room.
Located at Santa Cruz Beach in the northern part of Curaçao, the Blue Room is a spectacular underwater cave. Boat tours often take adventurers close to the entry, where they can then jump into the water with their snorkeling or scuba gear and explore the cave known for its iridescent light and magnificent rock formations.
- Curaçao’s traditional music was banned by the Catholic church.
Tambú was banned from the 1600s until 1956 by the church, which claimed the dance was satanic and overtly sexual. But practitioners of traditional Tambú proclaimed that it is part of Curaçao’s heritage and emphasized that dance partners are not supposed to touch each other during their performance. These days, Tambú is enjoying a renaissance. It is central to the island’s annual Tumba Festival, which takes place in winter as part of Carnival celebrations.
- The island is home to the oldest surviving synagogue in the western hemisphere.
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in Curaçao’s capital of Willemstad is reputed to have been built in 1674. Visitors can enter the synagogue, which still features a sand-covered floor. The synagogue is often referred to as the Snoa (a short form of “esnoga”, the Portuguese word for “synagogue”). It is one of Curaçao’s most famous and most-visited attractions.
- It has a Black Panther connection.
And it has nothing to do with Marvel Comics or Chadwick Bozeman or even a real animal. The Black Panther was the nickname given to Ergilio Hato, a soccer goalkeeper who maybe the greatest sporting legend in the history of Curaçao — which is saying a lot considering the island has produced a number of outstanding Major League Baseball players. Hato was called the Black Panther because of his outstanding quickness. In the 1940s and ’50s he was considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He is so important to Curaçao’s identity that the island’ airport is named after him, as its largest sports stadium.
- Curaçao was once called Giants Island.
Curaçao was once called Isla de los Gigantes, or Giants Island, by early Spanish explorers. The Spanish, who first visited the island in the western Caribbean Sea in 1499, considered the Arawak indigenous people to be extremely tall (by European standards), hence the name. The island became Curaçao early in the 17th century when the Spanish adapted the Portuguese word for “heart” (coração) and applied it to their colony.
Download the Trippzy mobile app for more trivia about Caribbean destinations and play for a chance to win real travel rewards — including round-trip airfare for two to Curaçao, a five-night luxury hotel stay, $500 spending cash, and VIP experiences. Trippzy will be available for iOS and Android devices beginning in January 2019.