Vacation in Curacao

A few days ago, I chatted with my friends from the Curacao Tourism Board, CTB, and learned that about 1,000 Arubans took the trip across the pond to visit our neighboring island, in June. To quote Peggy Croes, Chief Marketing Officer at Curacao Airport Partners – she is a successful an Aruban transplant, they made an excellent choice.

This summer with crazy airfares around the globe Curacao looks better than ever. My friends from CTB Janine and Elaine also revealed that the pandemic has become a catalyst for favorable development and improvement on the island and that Curacao is targeting as many as 10,000 Aruban visitors for 2022, probably more, in view of the progress so far.

Just as I got off zoom with Curacao, Michelle, my red-headed girlfriend called to announce she was taking her husband on an anniversary trip to Curacao, in August. Could I give her some pointers? She knows I recently visited, could I share some tips?

Michelle, I said, I have no time to hang on the phone, I’ll write, I will give you an incomplete list of recommendations, I have so many….

So here it is, for Michelle and the rest of the world, at no particular order:

Breakfast: We had a freshly made, loaded ham & cheese pastechi over a freezing Polar beer in Bandabou, the west point of the island, at one of the Kenepa beaches. Both Kenepa Grandi and Chiki are fantastic white sandy beaches, but the smaller is known for great snorkeling, where turtles and humans coexists.

Shete Boka: We visited the National Park, really nicely maintained, with natural walkways and an observation deck suspended above splashing, crashing waves. The park, with 10 small bays is also located in the western part of the island adjacent to Christoffel Park.

Happy Hour: The lobby Bar at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort employs some of the most engaged and engaging associates, friendly, educated story-tellers who take the time to connect with guests. It’s a fun spot for a fancy craft cocktail and delicious noshes. The  view from the open-air lobby is priceless.

Lunch: A creole meal at Plasa Bieu is a unique experience.  The iconic soul-food market is an al fresco dining-hall lined with food stalls offering traditional island cuisine. It was recently renovated, but still looks the same. One of the vendors, Zus di Plaza, a favorite creole chef offers arepa di pampuna, a sweet pumpkin pancake-like dessert. A sinful finish for any tasty meal.

Lunch: Restaurant & Café Gouverneur de Rouville, is blessed with a spectacular view of the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge and world famous Handelskade, the pastel-colored row of colonial merchant houses on the waterfront. The food is great too, the courtyard adorable.

Number 10: Flawless breakfasts and lunches are served here at Landhuis Bloemhof also the home of the Cathedral of Thorns, a one-of-a-kind monumental artwork/museum. Don’t miss an existential  chat with artist Herman Van Bergen. The restaurant is owned by a young husband and wife team, in a perfect garden, terrace environment.

On a former visit we spent the day on Klein Curaçao, a wow trip on board Miss Ann Yacht. The island off the island is uninhabited, and we loved the day on its virgin beach. Included in the trip a BBQ lunch, an introduction to a 19th century lighthouse, and a guided snorkel tour.

There so much great food in Curacao, the list of delicious dinner places is ridiculously long: Kome, is a chef-owned restaurant in Pietermaai. He is the executive chef in the spotless exhibition kitchen, and she is the gifted pastry chef, together they create lovely meals in a restored mansion. Other great culinary experiences may be sampled at Restaurant X, offering delicious Caribbean Fusion; SOI95 serves Asian Fusion on a colorful rooftop terrace, and Mosa/Cana delivers fusion of tapas, in a bohemian setting. Bario Bar in Otrobanda, is totally cool, featuring Urban Street Food, in a courtyard encircles by different food vendors.

Beach Life: The Infinity Beach at the Renaissance Wind Creek Resort is one of the seven modern world wonders. It is an engineering surprise, suspended above the ocean, with sand under toes. It offers a spectacular tourist experience. I had a Cappuccino in the shade overlooking the endless blue, then read a book in the shade. Opens from 10am to 9pm for food and drinks, it delivers a unique, chilled and relaxing vacation moment.

Kura Hullanda: No visit to Curacao is complete without a visit to Kura Hulanda. Their museums are a must. I met the late founder Jacob Gelt Dekker when he first came to the Caribbean and opted to develop a dream project in Curacao. After his passing Kura Hulanda went thru a rough patch but is now under renovations, the museums are open and very worth visiting.

The Slavery Museum is especially impactful. It highlights the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, between the 16th and 19th centuries, as millions of Africans were relocated and sold in the New World, mostly the Caribbean and South America. Dekker wanted to heal the wounds of slavery by showing it front and center.

His collection of artifacts from Africa is astounding, it is the largest collection in the Caribbean. He also tackled the Bible and Darwin, to demonstrates that our diverse cultural heritage is part of World Heritage.

#CURACAO #FEELITFORYOURSELF @CURACAOTB

 

 

 

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July 08, 2022
Rona Coster