Curaçao: A Colorful Retreat from the World

A three-hour flight from Miami, Curaçao is a perfect destination to just escape the struggles of life and go into full “relax-mode”.  Turquoise beaches, rainbow-colored architecture, caves, snorkeling, diving, shopping – this island has plenty to occupy your days. 

Upon arrival at the Curaçao International Airport, it was a quick process disembarking, retrieving luggage, and picking up the rental car.  The airport is quite small but in the process of being expanded.  The Curaçao International Airport has one of the longest runways in the Caribbean, accommodating up to B747 aircraft. Amenities include restaurants, easy-access car rental, and shopping.  Curaçao has a great road system and renting a car is a perfect option to allow you to travel the island without an expensive cab or ride-share prices.  If your hotel doesn’t charge parking fees, I strongly recommend renting a car.  When renting a car, if you plan to visit off the beaten path areas, you may opt for a four-wheel drive vehicle.  I chose a basic economy car that performed very well.

I have to include the fact that I use T-Mobile as my mobile phone service and doing so has come in handy especially for those that travel.  T-Mobile basically gives free international data for my plan.  Thus- using Google Maps is a blessing.  If you don’t have T-Mobile or a plan that gives you free data, you can pick up a local SIM card at the airport.  Google Maps was very handy on this vacation as it helped me get to some out-of-the-way (dirt road) places I would have never otherwise ventured to.

Willemstad, Curacao

Willemstad, Curacao

Arrival at the Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino was one of the most fantastical experiences I’ve ever received checking in.  I do not think I have ever been made to feel so welcome at a hotel ever.  Besides being the “Guest of the Day” and a free ocean view room upgrade, I was greeted with smiles from multiple staff members all welcoming me to the hotel.  Offering any concierge service imaginable. This friendly service and smiles continued throughout the visit at every turn.

This resort has a tremendous amount to offer any visitor.  It is perfectly located in Willemstad, with free parking for that car you just rented. The hotel has a private man-made sand saltwater beach with infinity edge along the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.  The hotel offers large LCD TVs, high-speed WiFi, Queen and King beds, and oceanfront rooms with balconies. Outside, there’s the aforementioned infinity saltwater beach with umbrella and chairs and alongside, a freshwater pool. To keep you refreshed- there’s poolside drink service with one of the most amazing takes of a Long Island Ice Tea with Blue Curaçao.  The poolside café also has a great menu of food that can also be ordered and delivered to your chair.  Standard prices one would expect- $11 cocktails (on the rocks or frozen), food $5-$25.

Hotel Poolside Restaurant and Bar

Hotel Poolside Restaurant and Bar

Inside, the resort offers a banquet hall for meetings, fitness center (quite large and fully equipped), a large Starbucks, and a small casino gaming area complete with multiple roulette tables and a plethora of slot machines. One note of disappointment: At the airport, there was a sign on the luggage carousel that stated if you take a picture and show it at the casino, you would get $10 free play.  When I did this, I was told that promotion was no longer available.  (When looking at the “Things to do” magazine in the room, another ad was there as well.  There is no availability/end date on either- the magazine was published January 1019.  If you’re going to place ads- date them, remove them, or honor them.  This left a bad taste of disappointment and therefore, I put $20 in the slots and never returned.

The weather in Curaçao was quite warm and muggy with 81% humidity.  I chose to tour the island in the mornings and relax by the pool in the afternoon.  This is where having a car really comes in handy.  If you are only here for a day- ie. Cruise ship visitor, I would enjoy Mambo Beach as it has lots of restaurants, chairs, and a great beach. Otherwise, there are plenty of places your handy rental car can take you.

Some great beaches and places to check out:

  • Jan Thiel Beach
  • Mambo Beach
  • Cas Abao Beach
  • Playa Kenepa
  • Watamula Hole
  • Hato Cave
  • Christoffel National Park
Boca Tabla

Boca Tabla, Sheta Boca National Park

There are many others, and many off the beaten path locations to watch crashing waves into cliff-sides or secluded white sandy beaches.  You should note- If you’re going to a beach you should get there early.  Chairs fill up quickly and umbrella/canopy areas even quicker. Some beaches offer no facilities, chairs, or shade.

Curaçao is located just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate all year round. The average temperature is about 27° C (in the mid 80s F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the east, picking up in the spring months. It was quite windy on my visit- one day so much so I felt sandblasted on the beach. While tropical, the predominant plant life you’ll find is cacti. Towering cacti to small globes.  Touring the national parks, discovering ancient caves with fossils, watching hermit crabs scuttle across the ground- and one can’t omit the numerous iguanas that are taking over the island.  There is so much for one to do on this island, you could spend a week and still have more to do.

Great activities are:

  • The Curaçao Sequarium
  • Curaçao Ostrich Farm
  • Biking
  • Diving/ Snorkeling
  • Walking tours
  • ATV tours
Rif Fort

Rif Fort

Curaçao is just an amazing place to get away, relax, and not worry about life for just a sweet moment in time.

On this trip, I wanted to get a taste of all the island had to offer- there just isn’t enough time to see and do it all.  So for two days I opted to visit various beaches and get some great pictures, visit the national park and get some great pictures, and relax by the pool- and get some great pictures.

 

Kleine Knip

Kleine Knip Beach

 

Watamula Hole

Watamula Hole

 

Kleine Knip

Kleine Knip Beach

 

Sunset Over Willemstad

Sunset Over Willemstad

 

Mambo Beach

Mambo Beach

 

Sunset Over Mambo Beach

Sunset Over Mambo Beach

Thanks for tripping with me.