Written by Kelli Furgason.
I recently had the opportunity to do a site inspection on the beautiful island of Curacao. I did some research before my trip and the one thing that stuck out to me was the slogan of the Curacao Tourist Board – “Curacao: Real. Different.”. How true this is! One of the most notable things is the wonderfully colorful buildings and homes.
Curacao is part of 5 islands that make up the Netherlands Antilles. It lies about 35 miles off the coast of Venezuela and is a Dutch owned island. Curacao has a warm, sunny climate with average temperatures in the mid 80’s year round. The blowing trade winds keep you comfortable throughout the day.
The native language of Curacao is Papiamentu, however, English, Spanish and Dutch are spoken widely. We learned a few words but the ones I used the most were: “bon dia” – good morning and “danki” – thank you. The currency is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder, but most places take US dollars and in fact, have prices listed in US dollars.
Willemstad, the capital of Curacao is divided in two parts, Punda (the point) and Otrabanda (the other side). The Queen Emma Bridge, a pedestrian only bridge that swings open to allow boats to pass, divides these 2 sides. Emma was recently renovated and is a spectacular sight, especially at night when she is all lit up!
My inspection of the island started at the Avila Beach Resort – what a wonderful hotel. It is a family owned property and is undergoing some major renovation. They are adding 50 rooms to the property. One of my favorite parts of this resort is the Blues Restaurant – it is small but has a lot of character and a wonderful location!
From there we visited one of my favorite hotels, the Hotel Kura Hulanda. This resort is basically a series of houses that were purchased and turned into hotel rooms. It is a village type of setting with very unique rooms – all are different as the houses were, of course, all set up a bit different from each other. One of the main draws for this resort is the Slave Museum. The founder of the property did extensive research on the land he purchased and found that it was the training base for slaves from Africa during the slave trade. He wanted a way to pay tribute to those held in slavery so he created this wonderful museum. It is worth a visit, even if you do not stay on property.
We visited many other hotels, as that was the purpose of the trip, but I must mention two of my other favorites, the Hilton and the Marriott. I know, I know, you are thinking, big deal, we have those here, but there are amazing properties. The Hilton has a spot to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see. The Marriott is amazing! The view of the resort from the open-air lobby, a must have in Curacao, is spectacular. I don’t think there is anyone in the world that wouldn’t love to stay here.
Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was our visit to Boca Tabla. This location has been rated one of the top 10 most romantic places in the Caribbean. Here we walked across massive volcanic rocks and watched as the sea crashed into the rocky coastline. I even walked into one of the caves and watched the waves crash in. It was a very slippery and dark place, but the view was breathtaking! When I was walking back to the bus, I even saw a heard of wild goats making their way through the rocks – that was quite a sight!
There was so much to this small island that I could go on and on. I had a wonderful time and can’t wait until I make it back to the island. I am also ready and willing to help you plan an exciting adventure to the island of Curacao!