In February 2018 I was in desperate need of some sunshine and so I decided to catch a last minute flight to Curaçao. I had always wanted to go to this Caribean gem and I thought to myself, why not? And what do you know, I managed to convince a friend to join me (didn’t take much convincing though). We scoured the web and found a great deal for March. Let the waiting begin!
Preparing for Curaçao
Nutter as I am I started packing and unpacking and repacking my suitcase at least once a week until we left! That’s how excited I was! When the week of our departure finally arrived, I stood in front of my mirror in my favorite summerdress and was surprised to see my summer clothes still fitted. Yay me!
But I also noticed my almost translucent skin. It was too late to hit the tanning beds but they had another trick up their sleeve. A spray-tan! You know, the one Ross gets wrong after counting Mississippily. After watching that ‘Friends’ episode again I decided I wasn’t going to let Ross put me off. I entered the cubicle and 15 minutes later I emerged looking like I’d just been on a three week holiday to a sunny destination. Mission accomplished.
Next up, it was time to pack my suitcase for the very last time. If you wanna know what I always take with me in my carry-on, check out this blogpost.
The flight to Willemstad
Our flight to Willemstad, Curaçao was a direct one and about 10 hours after boarding in Amsterdam we touched down on Caribbean soil. The airport isn’t that big so you should have your bags without much delay. We were dropped off at our hotel and the vacation was officially on! Cocktail please!
First things first: rent a car. And don’t wait until you get to the island, but rent one from a reliable rental company in your own country. I used sunnycars.com.
Our hotel: Trupial Inn
We booked a package deal and stayed at the lovely Trupial Inn. It’s a small hotel with cute cottage like rooms with a veranda. The hotel has a swimming pool, an Italian restaurant and there is something they call a casino, although I think it’s mostly slotmachines (we only went in there to use the ATM).
The one downside of the hotel is that it’s not near a beach, so you’ll need a car. Or you can use the daily shuttle service to Mambo Beach. Although we had a great time at the Trupial Inn, I will definitely spend some more money to stay at one of the hotels right at the beach next time.
Highlights of Curaçao
Now, you can go to the beach every single day. I mean, there are around 35 beaches to choose from and every one of them is equally breathtaking! But while you’re down there, I would also recommend you do the following:
1. Visit the capital Willemstad
Willemstad is the capital of the island and is divided into two main neighbourhoods: Punda and Otrabanda.
Both are highlights in itself so definitely visit both! To get from one to the other, you cross the Queen Emma bridge: the pontoonbridge named after the Dutch former Queen Emma. Or you take the free ferry. Both are recommended!
The famous Handelskade, with its colorful houses, is situated in Punda and best viewed while crossing the bridge or taking the ferry to and from Otrabanda.
It is said that a former governor of Curaçao suffered from migraines and blamed them on the water reflecting on the white facades of these houses. He ordered them to be painted in bright colours to relieve his pain. The other part of the story however, is that he owned a paint factory! You do the math.
Colorful houses can be found all around Willemstad, so take some time and wander around. And be sure to head to Pietermaai as well, another part of the city close to Punda.
2. Museum Kura Hulanda
In Otrabanda, you should definitely visit the museum Kura Hulanda. A very thought provoking and interesting museum about the history of Curaçao and the slave trades of the East India Company.
3. Shete Boka
4. Cristoffel Mountain and National Park
5. Flamingo’s at Jan Kok
6. Beaches of Curaçao
And last but not least, the beaches I visited:
Bring water shoes and a snorkel! The underwater life is so pretty! But with rocks and sea urchins it’s best to wear water shoes.
Swim with sea turtles at Playa Grandi
See the sunset at Grote Knip (Kenepa Grandi)
Enjoy life at Cas Abou
Relax at Mambo Beach
And did I mention that these are just 4 out of more than 30 beaches? Don’t forget to bring your snorkel!
Just for fun, a bonustip: lunch at Jaanchies!
A (tourist) experience in it’s own right. Even if it took a while to get our order in and then even longer to get served, it was worth the wait. Especially because the owner, Jaanchi himself, goes by every table to list his menu, flirt with the guests and explain that every dish on his menu is made with a lot of vitamine L, for love.
Also worth the wait because it gave me time to reflect on the hectic “we want it right now” life I live back home… I must say I prefer the Caribbean way of life!