Curacao's Events and Festivals

From Carnival to Dive Curacao, islanders honor those things that are most important to them

Photo credit: © Schoop Digital

Events in Curaçao

Any time is a great time to visit Curacao, but there are some things that just may help you to decide when exactly you will travel to the island.  Events and festivals, for example. 

There are a number of annual celebrations that you may find suit your interests perfectly, and help you make that final decision about when to go.

Cultural Celebrations

  • Carnival: Carnival is the quintessential Caribbean event.  This pre-lenten party comes in all shapes and sizes, and on Curacao a mixture of Dutch, African, and Carib cultures join together to create the colorful festivities in January. Over a period of a few weeks, there are numerous Carnival events, including the Festival di Tumba, several parades, beauty pageants, and street festivals.  
  • Harvest Festival: Also known as the Seu Harvest Festival, beginning the day after Easter with a folk lore parade, the Harvest Festival is a month long event honoring the days when slaves would carry the harvest through the streets in woven baskets. This event originated during a time when plantation and landowners had all the power, drawing from the strong belief in a human connection to Mother Nature. Elaborate costumes and traditional music flood the streets.

Sporting Events

  • International Release Blue Marlin Tournament: Anglers compete for a $12,000 cash prize during the International Release Blue Marlin Tournament each March.  There are both team and individual competitions, and any billfish weighing less than 30 lbs are released. 
  • Heineken Regatta Curacao: Featuring 4 days of boat races, sailors race off the coast of St. Maarten for a $5,500(USD) prize. On land, there are beach parties, barbecues, and many celebrations. 

...beach parties, barbecues, and many celebrations.

  • Sami Sail Regatta: The Sami Sail Regatta is a three day event that takes place in a tiny fishing village known as Boca Sami.  While sailors race their boats, those on land celebrate with live music and lots of food.
  • Curacao Dive Festival: The Curacao Dive Festival, in May, honors the island's most popular past time, diving.  There are dive classes, seminars, group dive outings, and more.
  • Curacao Challenge Surf Competition:  Another May watersports event, this competition is actually for windsurfers.  It takes place at Caracasbaai, and those who aren't competing can get a windsurfing lesson or participate in beach tennis.
  • International Kite Festival: The wind continues to keep active people busy on Curacao with this event which is about both flying and creating kites. 
  • Sunfish World Championship: For two weeks in June around 70 sailors from around the world come to race in both Youth and Open categories.  
  • Endless Summer Sports Festival: End the summer on a high note with this eent which get people up and oving.  Events include surfing, biking, kite-flying, running, ishing, and more. There is also demonstrations, and music. 
  • Amstel Curacao Race: The Amstel Curacao Race is an annual bike festival that takes place in November.  The race begins in Willemstad, is 50 miles long, and is likened to the Tour de France.
  • Drag Fest:  Home to an international speedway, Curacao is actually a popular drag racing destination.  Every year, speed demons meet to compete in a number of events that include street-legal dragsters, motorcycles, and stock cars.  

Music Festivals

  • Tumba Festival: In March, local composers, musicians, and lovers of Tumba join together for a four day event.  There is lots of live music, food, and drink. Many artists enter into competition for the title of Tumba King or Queen. The winner's Tumba will be made the official Carnival anthem of the year.
  • Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival: Top jazz, funk, soul, r&b, and Latin music converge on Curacao each September for the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. Big names like Ceelo Green, KC and the Sunshine Band, and CBurt Bacharach have been booked.
  • Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival: The inaugural festival, May 7-9, 2015, to be held at the Pietermaai District in Willemstad, promises a "celebration of traditional and gentrified jazz music" with a variety of international musicians.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Restaurant Week Curacao: For a week in June, over 300 restaurants on Curacao present great deals on three course meals.  This is a great opportunity to sample regional cuisine
  • Get Wet Weekend: Created with both gay and straight communities in mind, Get Wet Weekend is a festival for adults that is all about pool and beach parties. 
  • Tourism Week:  Each September Willemstad recognizes how important tourism is to the area with a series of fun events. 
  • Plein Air Curacao: This festival is the biggest project of Art Foundation Curaçao: an international art festival which takes place every other year. During the festival international plein air artists come to Curaçao to paint outdoors, together with local artists. With all kinds of media these artists bring to life the beauty of Curaçao, its people and its culture to be permanently exposed locally and abroad through paintings in homes, galleries and museums.

And there are more events than what is listed here because many are planned with limited notice.  Check the local paper while you're visiting Curacao, or ask the hotel's concierge for a list of local happenings.


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