You can’t separate a place from the locals who live there. Locals prop your travels up: They drive your taxi, change your money, check you in, cook your food — hell, they probably built the damn building you’re in. The local beliefs, art, architecture, language, and history are what create the experience of place-ness beyond the vast tracts of unmitigated nature.
Locals know everything there is to know, and they are positively everywhere. Guidebooks and such can only take a traveler so far — at some point you need a solid local (or three) to really plug into the energy and flow of a place.
However, not all locals are created equal.
Some are more friendly and approachable than their ordinary countrymen, and fewer still are passionate and precocious enough to be willing to drop everything and indulge some lucky visitor. On my recent trip to Curacao, it was this particular breed of local I sought to spend time with: the Stoked Local. I wanted to hang with people who loved Curacao and had some special places they wanted to show me.