Friday, August 28, 2009

Colorful Curacao

Curacao - that's pronounced CURE-a-sow - is one of the most interesting islands you can travel to in the southern Caribbean (it's 38 miles from Venezuela).

It's not all flat, but most of where you'll want to go is so it is a great destination for levelers.

Willemstad, its capital, is split by the harbor but connected by the Queen Emma, a swinging passenger bridge, and continuously running passenger ferries. Punda, where the Dutch-style buildings look like a block of Amsterdam slathered in bright Caribbean pastels, is the most frequented; Otrobanda is more residential and less flat.

Tip: If you can handle a few uneven surfaces and elevation changes, Kura Hulanda in Otrobanda is a great place to stay. 

Walk through either side and around every corner is a vision to remember, a treat for the eyes and lens. Good shopping, too.

Tip: Don't feel like walking? there's a town tour by trolley train.

In addition to the expected exquisite blue water and sandy beaches, there are enough cultural layers to rival an onion.

Bon bini
The island, once a center of the slave trade where captured West Africans were sent to plantations to be "taught" to be slaves, is now a living example of tolerance. You'll find the oldest continuously operating synagogue in the Western hemisphere, the world's largest museum of slavery and a truly welcoming attitude.

Bon bini! - "Welcome!" in Papiamentu, the local Creole patois that blends English, Spanish and Dutch - is even on the island's license plates.

It's easy to take in both town and beaches. Better hotels in town provide shuttle service to beaches, beach resorts shuttle guests to town.

 Tip: All beaches here are public, including those developed by hotels and resorts. Buy a drink or a snack and you'll be welcome to use the facilities.

Speaking of which, the food is great. Don't miss the native dish Keshi Yena, kind of a meat and veggie pie in cheese, at Blues, the beach-front restaurant at the Avila Beach Hotel.

One new amenity is medical tourism. There's a dialysis clinic near the Otrobanda waterfront where guests can spend the night, get their treatments while they sleep then enjoy a vacation like everyone else.


 Tip: If you want to see the mountainous part of the island there are tours by van, jeep, scooters and for those with a touch of daredevil, ATVs. (I ATV'd it and survived.)

 This is one island that is a worthy destination. It warrants a much longer stay than cruise ships allow.

Useful site: www.curacao-guide.com.info/

2 comments:

Ferry Freight said...

Interesting... I was searching this info for my uncle. He will be happy for such a great info. Thanks for sharing...
Ana

January 9, 2011 at 3:55 PM
Mike Henson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. October 26, 2013 at 8:51 AM

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