In El Salvador there’s a furniture/appliance chain store named: Curacao.When I was little my grandfather told me that this store was named after an island. That’s the first time I heard about Curacao the island. Years later, I saw some pictures online and I was amazed at how beautiful the island was. I hoped to one day see it with my own eyes.
40 miles long and 10 miles at its widest point, Curacao is the biggest of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao). They speak Papiamento, a local language that is a mix of African languages, English and Spanish words. Their currency is the same as in Aruba: Florins. Curacao won its independence as a nation within the Kingdom of Netherlands back in 2010.
We decided to visit Curacao because it’s a 30 minutes flight from Aruba, and why not? Upon our early arrival, the young attendant at the car rental asked us: “English, Spanish, or Dutch?” He’s merely 20 years old and he speaks 4 languages fluently (including Papiamento). After we got our rental car, we drove to Willemstad, the colorful buildings lining up on the waterfront awaited us. Willemstad is a historic capital listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Since Curacao is a bigger island there’s more people. Curacao feels more industrialized, there’s a huge refinery right in the middle of a natural deep bay in Willemstad, it was built in the early 1900s during the World War I.
We sat down in Iguana cafe to have lunch, from there we observed Queen Emma bridge. This is a pedestrian bridge supported by pontoons. The bridge swings open when boats have to go through the channel. While the bridge is closed, ferries are available for the pedestrians. An ingenious way to connect both sides of the city: Punda and Otrobanda. While eating our lunch, a cruise ship was arriving into Willemstad. An hour later, the city was inundated with tourists. After lunch, we walked around colorful buildings, there was a refreshing breeze with a unique sea flavor. After the required afternoon coffee with pastries, we headed back to our hotel. We came back at around 8pm to admire the bridge and the lovely buildings at night.
The cruise ship is gone. I don’t think I could ever be on a cruise, their stops are so quick, how can you enjoy anything? Half a day is barely enough time to see Willemstad. I know some people actually enjoyed all the comfort that a cruise offers but we’re explorers looking for adventures. Anyways, we headed to Manchebo and Cabaña beach to get here we had to go over the Queen Julianna bridge, this is a four lanes bridge. From its apex you get an amazing panoramic view of Willemstad. Once on Manchebo beach is time to relax. My hubby watched the final game of the European soccer cup in the bar while I snorkeled on the natural pool. Manchebo beach gets deep quickly, so be careful! There’s a floating dock that people can swim up to and then jump in to the sea…it’s so much fun! If you’re ever in Curacao, you must try the Blue Curacao Margarita…delicious drink! Essentially it is a margarita made with the island’s signature blue rum. There will be a beach festival in September just fyi. Boulevard mall is right on the beach at this location. Here you can find from Italian to Indian food.
Our curiosity always brings us to supermarkets, we wanted to see what they have available. And we found treasures: mamones and nisperos. These are tropical fruits that I haven’t had in a long time. I used to eat them back in El Salvador. I purchased some and I devoured them in the hotel 🙂 Have you ever try them?? They’re delicious!
We drove to the northern tip of the island. Curacao is just like Aruba: arid and dry but colorful. We get to the northern tip of the island within 35 minutes. Our first stop was in Knip beach. It has the most clear water I have ever seen, The pictures below are not manipulated in any way, I only watermarked them. The color is this vibrant and the water is clear, so transparent than from high up in the cliff where we were, we saw color fish swimming down below, isn’t that crazy?
Our next stop was Klein Knip beach. The huffington post recently named the 6 places with the bluest water on earth, Klein Knip was number three. (Link here) It truly is a surreal beach. There were few people at this beac. A groom and bride chose to take their wedding pictures in this marvelous place.
Playa Lagun was our final stop. This is a great spot to do snorkeling, eat, drink and relax. There’s a pretty cool restaurant up on the cliffs. As I was laying down resting, I heard a noise so I turned around just to be scared to death. There was a large lizard getting close to me, I guess he wanted his portrait taken!!
After Lagun beach, we headed back to Willemstad to prepare our luggage and get ready because the following day we were flying back to Aruba to take our flight home. What else can I tell you? Curacao is a photogenic island that we enjoyed. The food and the drinks were tasteful. It’s hard to say good bye to a place that gave us so many wonderful memories…Curacao life is truly better at the beach!!!