Curaçao puts the C in ABC

Curaçao (pronounced "Cure-a-sow") is a fabulous and gay-friendly island located just 35 miles north of Venezuela. Curaçao is home to more than 140,000 residents from 55 different cultures and the official "C" in the Netherlands ABC Caribbean islands. English is spoken everywhere on the island and it's a safe and fun destination to bring your boyfriend, enjoy resort life, sip tropical drinks by the coast, meander through town, or just relax. The bars tend to be more mixed than most cities, with great overlapping crowds. So don't expect to find exclusive gay crowds most places listed here in this guide.

Willemstad is the capital of Curaçao, a charming UNESCO World Heritage site with it's colorful waterfront 18th Century buildings and historic landmarks. Willemstad is divided by the calm waters of the St. Anna Bay into two main sections: Punda and Otrobanda. Punda is the oldest part of Willemstad and referred to as the "Amsterdam in the tropics" with it's shops, museums, Governor's Palace, and Fort Amsterdam. Otrobanda is connected to Punda by the Queen Juliana Bridge and the Queen Emma Floating Pontoon Bridge (a site to be seen). Otrobanda is a maze of twisting streets where locals pound the pavement to and from work. The Rif Fort, built at the beginning of the 19th century, houses many popular shops and restaurants and is traditionally the entry point for tourists arriving from cruise ships.

Leave your suit and tie at the office and fill your suitcase with beach attire, sunscreen and diving necessities. There are many gay-friendly options but the best resorts and accommodations fill up quickly (especially during their famous "Get Wet Weekend" and during Carnival). Be sure to check out the Western part of the island and plan on stopping in a few museums, going on adventure expeditions and sampling exotic foods. We recommend renting a car so you can go beach hopping and drive out of town to explore.

There aren't that many books available about venturing to Curaçao so we have illustrated some of the best and most intriguing. The Curaçao Tourist Board (www.curacao.com), Gay Curaçao, and the Curaçao Gay Plasa are three additional resources for planning your sunny vacation.

Restaurants to check out