Dutch colonial roots lend a European vibe to the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, just north of Venezuela. The capital city of Willemstad is continually turning once-derelict districts into chic little enclaves of arts and culture — cocktail bars, fine dining, music, art and all.

Extracurricular: Beach-hop your way along the island’s 35 beaches, slipping into the nooks and crannies, swimming with turtles and snorkelling the coral reefs.

Taste to try: Keep an eye out for keshi yena, the island’s signature dish — a baked cheese ball stuffed with spicy meats, olives, capers, onions and tomato.

Bonus Tip: Kurá Hulanda Museum holds the largest African collection in the Caribbean within 15 buildings, chronicling the African slave trade and West African empires, along with pre-Columbian gold, Mesopotamian relics and Antillean art.