I'm looking for a nice 5-day Caribbean getaway this August and I've always been intrigued by Curacao. I want a relaxing vacation with a few adventures and enough to do to keep me from being totally bored. What do you know? Any advice?
Jun 1, 12, 9:45 pm
Please follow this thread in the FT Caribbean Forum.
Jun 2, 12, 5:19 pm
We are headed back to Curacao in November, third trip for me and my husband, second for my kids and first for my mother-in-law. We like it a lot.
Things you won't find in Curacao that you might expect in a Carribean island-
Lush/jungle-like scenery, waterfalls, etc. There's pretty mush no fresh water on Curacao, it gets little rainfall and reminds me a lot of home (Southern California) when you go inland, except a lot more humid
Long white, soft sand beachs- the beaches tend to little coves and can be a litte rocky, but are gorgeous in their own way, the from shore snorkeling is better than anywhere we've been (Puerto Rico, Cayman, Hawaii, etc)
Beach vendors selling trinkets, braiding hair, etc. there's not a ton of cruise ships or tourists coming in and there are other jobs on the island, so the economy is not totally tourist focused although they have good tourist services
Luxury, all inclusive resorts. There's a scant handful of chain American hotels and smaller localo utfits, but there's no Sandals, etc.
Hurricanies- generally they don't come this far south
You will find:
Things to do- snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV tours, hiking (early morning to avoid heat)
Cute UNESCO downtown Willemstad
Safe roads that are easy to navigate with a few more potholes than the US but no real issues
good food! The Dutch, Indonesian, South American influences have led to some yummy inexpensive food if you are will to venture out of the Americna chains and hotels and hit some roadside stands. The goat stew is to die for. Be sure to buy some fruit at the floating market downtown as well.
A very diverse mix of tourists, I believe about half of the tourists come from Europe, primarily Dutch, and quite a few from South America as well. Most people working in hotels and restaurants speak at least three languages Dutch, English, Spanish will be heard constantly in additon to the local language.
Jun 3, 12, 8:03 am
A very diverse mix of tourists, I believe about half of the tourists come from Europe, primarily Dautch, and quite a few form South America as well. Most peopel working in hotels and restaurants speak at least three languages Dutch, English, Spanish will be heard constantly in additon to the local language.
I would echo almost everything Vicki said. We liked it a lot. Would recommend renting a car and driving around the island and being able to visit all the other areas/beaches. When we were there, I would say it felt like Americans were a distance 3rd behind the Dutch and Venezuela/Colombians. We went to Jan Thiel beach and I swear we were the only Americans there. It was fun. Also recommend Playa Portamari.
Jun 4, 12, 7:56 am
i have only been there twice, both times passing through. on both passes my airline travel documents were not forwarded. mia-cur-bon. when i called to confirm return, they wanted to know who we were and how we got there(bon). getting on a plane out of there was not easy.
second time were routed bon-cur-dominican republic-hati-ft myers-dca. no records after cur. flight from ft myer to dca was cancelled. big problems again.
Jun 4, 12, 9:34 am
I have visited many islands through various cruises I've done. Curacao is one of the only islands I can easily say I'd go back for a week-long stay.
Jun 4, 12, 2:21 pm
I would echo VIckiSoCal's comments generally, other than I don't believe that the beaches match up well with other Caribbean destinations. And the feel is at times somewhat European rather than your typical Caribbean island feel. Interesting culture and lots of great food options.
Jun 4, 12, 4:54 pm
It really depends on what you are looking for in a beach or island. We, as a family, don't lie on the beach, we snorkel, we race each other to various points and and back (2 current competetive swim kids, and one former one) we climb on the rocks looking at marine life and lizards, we kayak, etc. If you are looking for a white sand beach stretching miles in either direction with a pool boy bringing you drinks, this is not the island for you. We don't stay at our hotel and eat hotel food, we drive around exploring, eating and getting out anywhere that looks interesting. We DO NOT SHOP. I'm a little hesitant to reccomend Curacao to a typical American tourist, or even a family with kids the same ages as mine, because even though mine have been begging to go back for the last year and a half, and voted for MArriott Curacao over Marriott Wailea/Maui for Thanksgiving despite the water slides, I'm not sure they are typical.
Jun 5, 12, 9:50 pm
I am 26 years old, married with no kids. I think Curacao sounds great. I am just trying to plan a trip for the end of August before I go back to school. I thought Curacao would be a nice trip because I live on the east coast and have some miles and points I could use. I've always wanted to go to Curacao and just wanted to get some insider opinions.
Even though a lot of the beaches there are rocky, it does seem like there are a few smaller sandy beaches where you could lay out and relax, right?
Jun 5, 12, 10:53 pm
There are, but it can get windy in the afternoon (which happens all around the Carribean) and you may find the wind plus sand not a good combo.
Cas Abou and Playa Porto Mari are very nice beaches with a small entrance fee, snack shops, etc. as well as snorkeling.
Jul 6, 12, 10:25 am
AA is having some great premium fares to Curacao in August from NYC. I just booked a short trip for the end of July. All-in at $492 with wide open availability, only $30 more than the cheapest economy fare. The EWR-MIA legs book into A class while the MIA-CUR legs book into I (which is business but it's the same two-class 738 as the EWR-MIA flight).
Jul 8, 12, 12:25 pm
It really depends on what you are looking for in a beach or island. We, as a family, don't lie on the beach, we snorkel, we race each other to various points and and back (2 current competetive swim kids, and one former one) we climb on the rocks looking at marine life and lizards, we kayak, etc. If you are looking for a white sand beach stretching miles in either direction with a pool boy bringing you drinks, this is not the island for you.
Understood. But I think that when most (uninformed) people think Caribbean beach, they are probably thinking the the white sand variety.
Jul 8, 12, 12:26 pm
You can catch a glimpse of Curacao on tomorrow night's episode of The Bachelorette. :o