Hi Hunnis!! I am so excited to finally share my trip to the beautiful island of Curaçao, one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets! I was super excited about this trip for a couple of reasons: One, it was our (Mark and me) first trip as a couple. And two, I haven’t really traveled for a bit over a year since my fiance passed January 2018. So it was really wonderful having that travel bug again and sharing it with My Fellow who’s just as eager to travel!
Curaçao is one of the islands that make up the ABC islands, along with Aruba and Bonaire (neither I’ve ever visited) and lies just north off the coast of Venezuela. Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island that is still owned by the Netherlands but is independently run.
The island is popular amongst divers as there are expansive coral reefs but is appealing in other ways, as well. The colorful capital of Willemstad offers unique colonial architecture that makes the Dutch influence inevitably easy to see. Curaçao is also home to the only moving pontoon bridge, called the Queen Emma Bridge, in the world. It might not be the most popular destination in the Caribbean, but I almost think that gives it even more appeal. You can truly get away and relax if you want to. But there are things to do if you’re looking for that kind of vacation!
Where to Stay
Mark and I had the pleasure of staying at the Avila Beach Hotel, which is about a 15 – 20 minute drive from the airport and just outside of the city center. One we arrived, we were greeted by a wide open, breezy lobby and warm salty air, inviting you to hurry and get settled in so you can start enjoying your vacation. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier as they checked us in and escorted us to our room. We initially had an 807 square foot room with an incredible ocean view. But Mark wanted ocean front. And boy did we get it!!!! I’m not going to get into how incredible this hotel is. But I will tell you this: It has not one, but TWO private beaches, you’re a short fifteen minute walk to the city center (you will pass colorful buildings along the way), and there are three hotel wings, each with its own unique style and personality…something to fit everyone’s likings.
Where to Eat
Fishalicious – This favorite seafood restaurant was located right across the street from our hotel. So we decided to hit it up on our first evening there. They serve local seafood fare that we don’t really see in the U.S. I tried to play it safe by having crabcakes and another American favorite (can’t remember what) and even they both were very different than what we’re used to. I knew right then and there I had to adjust my tastebuds and mind.
Scuba Lodge – We had both breakfast and lunch here and both were very enjoyable! I was super excited when I saw PUMPKIN PANCAKES on the breakfast menu (they’re my absolute fave!!!) The restaurant is right on the ocean which makes for the most perfect views and mood.
Katsu Sushi– The sushi here immediately put me in the mind of Red Koi here in Memphis. And if any of you are in the Memphis area and have been to Red Koi, then you know how awesome this place is. Check this out: The bartender created a sweet and fruity cocktail for me. It was sooo delish that he told me how to make it. When we made it back to our hotel, I had the bartender create it for me (I told him it was called ‘Candy’s Sweet Surprise‘). They liked the recipe so much that they started testing it on other patrons! (I’m sure it’s on the menu now!!!) Also, when we got to the airport to leave the island, I made sure to purchase the two liquors that were part of the ingredients for this drink. Now I just need to give it a special name because every drink I make, I name it Candy’s Sweet Surprise!!!
Rozendael’s – There was a guy who was doing a touch-up paint job on the outside concrete wall of the restaurant who convinced us to try this place. He was the son of the owner and was so very nice. Even though they were closed, he let us come in and marvel at the patio. Because of his hospitality and invitation, we decided to dine here one night for dinner. Not only was he super nice, so was his dad…and so full of knowledge. Just about everything on the island is closed on Sundays…except this place. He said he’s opened Sunday – Friday and being opened on Sundays, he gets ALL the customers. Smart Man!!! Oh, it was right across the street from our hotel.
Kenchi’s – There is absolutely nothing fabulous about Kenchi’s. Come in shorts and a tank and you’ll be perfectly fine. I love how the entire restaurant is open-air and right on the water. Everything is fresh throughout the day. And the owner, Kenchi, is super friendly!
Bijblauw – Mark and I went for lunch here on the second day we explored the capital city of Willemstad. I was drooling over the aesthetic and decor. It is located on the water just up the street from our hotel…which is just outside of the main city center, offering anyone who needs to find a little sanctuary from the crowds the perfect oasis they are looking for. The food was good, but nothing I went crazy over. But the decor was amazingly pleasing to the eye!!!
What to Do
Eric’s ATV Adventure – This was THE BEST ATV experience I’ve ever had!!!! Actually, it was my first experience and it was SOOO amazing!!! Our guide was Mikey who was the best. Mark had a blast as well. He is such a thrillest and dare devil, so this ride/tour was right up his alley. We were shown all over Curaçao. We went through residential neighborhoods, viewed the jail, went to various beaches, toured the country’s aloe vera farm, went through Indian Cave, and was able to drive at full speed on our own. Trust me, I was grabbing on to my imaginary pearls!!!
Blue Room Underwater Cave – This was my first time snorkeling and I thought I was going to die!!! Literally!!!! I can’t remember our tour guide’s name, but he was the BEST!!! There was one other couple on this tour with us and they were prepared…although they said they’d never done this before. #eyeroll The tour guide helped Mark and me from the boat to inside the cave. Once I was able to contain myself and control my breathing, I was confident enough to look underwater and it was spectacular!!!! I was much better leaving the cave and swimming back to the boat. Mark said he will never do this shit again!!! But I would! Also, leaving the cave (in our boat), the dolphins surprised us with their presence!!!! It was absolutely awesome!!! Halfway back to our destination, we stopped by Cas Abou Beach for lunch. It was a pretty cool experience. After returning home, I found out there is someone named Captain Goodlife who charges $22 per adult for this tour. We paid $222 total via Viator!!!!!
Mood Beach/Mambo Beach – OK, now these are the beaches to visit for some nightlife, shopping, dining, music, etc. Mood Beach has an extraordinary set up in bohemian style. With an impressive array of comfortable beach beds, which are divided in different categories such as: comfort beach beds, cabanas, family cabanas and VIP cabanas, they provide superior service in a luxurious and relaxing environment. Their mission is simply your satisfaction and it shows. Our hotel was actually on Mood Beach. Thank God I found a different one!!! The partying goes on til the wee hours of the night. If that’s your thang tho!!!!! If not, you should still visit during the day for daytime excitement!
Curaçao Aquarium – The two most fun things about visiting the aquarium was feeding the flamingos (free) and the dolphin kiss!
What I Wore (most under $20!!!)