CuracaoWillemstedThe latest news from budget-friendly airline JetBlue is that they are beginning service to a new destination this winter. Starting December 2, the airline will fly from New York City to the Caribbean island of Curaçao twice a week, operating one round-trip flight each Tuesday and Saturday, making it the only airline to offer a direct service between New York and Curaçao. This opens up more appealing flight options, flights with Avianca take over 10 hours and require a stop in Bogota, while flights with American Airlines take more than seven hours with a layover in Miami, as well as more attractive fares, December flights with Avianca and American cost $653 and $689, respectively, while you can fly round-trip with JetBlue for less than $400.

To launch the new route, JetBlue is offering fares of $139 (each way) for travel between December 2 and February 10, but you need to book before this Wednesday, August 6. Even so, we found February, March, and April fares starting at $147 each way. JetBlue have not yet opened up booking beyond April, but if those fares stay around the same, this would make Curaçao, which lies outside the hurricane belt, a great year-round destination.

What to Do Once You Get There
Situated just 35 miles north of Venezuela, the island boasts more than 35 beaches and 60 excellent dive locations, including Playa Kalki (also known as “Alice in Wonderland”) and the Tugboat site, a wreck that sunk more than 25 years ago. Hikers can head to Christoffel National Park, a 4,450-acre wildlife preserve, and follow one of several hiking trails or climb to the top of the 1,240-foot Mt. Christoffel, the island’s highest point. The island’s main city, Willemstad, is home to brightly colored, preserved Dutch colonial buildings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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Where to Stay
Appearing often on lists of best hotels in Curaçao, the Avila Hotel offers old world charm and two private beaches in the heart of Willemstad. December rates start at $238 per night. In the bustling Rif Fort area, the Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino has its own private beach club and has December rates starting at $139. At the spendier Baoase, December rates start at $450 per night for a room and $700 per night for a suite (not including a 13 percent per-night resort fee). If you visit before December 15, though, and stay in a suite or villa, you can take advantage of the hotel’s $200 resort credit offer. Use the credit in the restaurant or spa, or put it toward the room rate (four night minimum stay required and must be booked by August 31).


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