The sun smiles down on Curaçao, which sits on the outer fringe of the so-called hurricane belt. Gentle trade winds help keep temperatures generally in the 80s. Water sports—including outstanding reef diving—attract enthusiasts from all over the world. Curaçao claims 38 beaches—some long stretches of silky sand, most smaller coves suitable for picture postcards. In the countryside, the dollhouse
look of plantation houses, or landhuizen (literally, "land houses"), makes a cheerful contrast to stark cacti and austere shrubbery.