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Curaçao Highlights

Travel & news discussion about Curaçao

Moderator: els

Curaçao Highlights

Postby KarenS » Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:28 am

CNN Travel reports:
"Curaçao

Best for: Those who can tear themselves away from the beach to explore Caribbean heritage and culture will enjoy Curaçao.

Location: 35 miles north of Venezuela.

Getting there: Curaçao has daily nonstop flights from the United States to its International Airport, which has the longest runway in the Caribbean.

Highlight: The Museum Kurà Hulanda, in the heart of Willemstad, reveals what life was like when enslaved Africans arrived in Curaçao.

Allure: Curaçao's (cure-a-sow) candy-colored colonial buildings are topped by peaked gables, and traces of the Dutch language run through the island's rhythmical native tongue, Papiamentu, a reminder that this now independent country was Dutch for more than three centuries (1634 to 1954). For its size, the island is home to a surprising number of museums, art galleries and historic sites, including Landhuis Brievengat, once the hub of a working plantation and now a cultural center and museum.

Walk across the 100-year-old swinging Queen Emma pontoon bridge, connecting the Punda (eastern) side with the Otrobanda (western) side of Willemstad, the Netherlands Antilles capital and a U.N. World Heritage Site. Then head to the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western hemisphere.

Local fare: In Punda, visit the Mercado Flotante, the floating market where vegetables and seafood arrive by boat from Venezuela each morning. Also go to the Marsche Bieu market, where you can enjoy local specialties like erwten soep (thick pea soup), fried plantains, and kabritu (stewed goat).

Catch the beat: Curaçao's music is a mélange of styles -- merengue, calypso, reggae, salsa, and cha-cha, all with an underlying African rhythm. In late April, local folklore groups participate in the Séu Harvest parade and at the Cuisine, Culture, and Heritage Festival, where there are more than 50 stands to check out.

Where to stay: The Hotel Kura Hulanda, in the center of Willemstad, features 100 luxurious rooms in 18th- and 19th-century buildings set around flower-filled courtyards. There is a fitness center, spa, and two swimming pools -- one in a grotto with a waterfall (rates from $210 per room; (877) 264-3106, www.kurahulanda.com). The new Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club, a sister property, is set on coral cliffs above the ocean. A prime diving destination, the lodge has an on-site dive shop, as well as an array of water toys.

Did you know?: Curaçao's capital, Willemstad, is one of the Caribbean's most important architectural centers. Several of the 765 buildings in the historic area are listed as monuments."

Anyone have anything to add?
Karen for Caribbean-On-Line.com
KarenS
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Things to do.

Postby Todd » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:12 pm

Thanks for the great info on things to do in Curacao.
I am going to be there on a cruise in late may. Is there any snorkeling tours that shouldn't be missed? What is the best beach for sunbathing and what is the best beach to snorkle off of?

Thanks
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Postby els » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:52 am

The Bounty offers a great snorkling tour, but as it is a woode 'Pirate of the Caribbean'-type of ship and you are just coming off a ship, it is perhaps not what you had in mind.
great beaches for snorkling are Porto Marie, Playa Lagun, Playa Kalki (and lots of others), all located on the westside of the island, about a 40-50 minutes drive by car/taxi.
a good alternative is the beach of the Marriott hotel, at the far east side of this beach is located a good diveshop which also offers snorkling trips, but it is also great snorkling here just outside the breakers of the small sandy bay the diveshop is located on.

Els
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A couple more ?

Postby Todd » Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:09 am

Thanks for the info!!! I have a few more questions.
What is the approximate cost for a taxi to Porto Marie, Playa Lagun, Playa Kalki.
I have heard there is some good snorkeling at the ‘sunken tug boat’ where is this in relationship to the beaches above? Are there good facilities ( chairs, restaurants/bars,restrooms) at these beaches? Is there public transportation to these beaches? Just trying to figure out what is the best way to get there at the most reasonable price.
About the Marriott hotel beach. Where is that located? Do you have to pay a fee to Marriott or can you just walk in? Are there good beaches close to it, so that we could spend a couple hours at Marriott and then move on to another beach?
Thanks!!!!
Todd
 
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Marriott location

Postby KarenS » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:18 pm

Go to the Map located on this site at http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/islands/cr/wsmap.shtml (Wiilemstad area map). It's at F-1. The hotel icons look like little houses. It's number 8. Looks like a great location!

The main island map is at http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/islands/cr/crmap.shtml
Karen for Caribbean-On-Line.com
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Postby els » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:14 am

the Bounty snorkling trip stops for a dive/snorkling at the tugboat. You can also reach it from shore from the Baya Beach Club at Caracasbay, but it is quite a swimm, too far for most people.
Officially you have to pay an entrancefee for the Marriott beach, though they never charge tourists. Just tell them you are heading for the divecenter. If you arrive by taxi, the diveshop (CCS or CSS, I always mix them up) has their own entrance, just follow the signs on the parkinglot of the Marriott, directing you to the westside of the hotel.
Just around the corner is Hook's Hut, a nice bar/restaurant on the beach in a bay. The Marriott is located along the seeside with full view of the ocean, Hook's Hut is located in a nice bay.This is at walking distance of Marriott, other beaches you'll need a taxi. There used to be a beachbus shuttling from hotels to the western beaches like Knip, Lagun and Playa Kalki, I'll check if it still excists and also look into the taxifares.
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thanks

Postby Todd » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:55 am

it has been a couple of years since I posted out here. I had forgotten what great people and info you can get.
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Postby els » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:20 pm

Sorry Todd, I have been a little busy the last few days, just made the call. a taxi to Porto Marie costs about $ 50, to Westpunt (Lagun, Playa Kalki) about $ 60 - $ 65.
Els
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Thanks for the Info ELS.

Postby Todd » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:17 pm

That is pretty expensive.... I wonder if renting a car might be a better deal, or going to the Marriot.

Thaks for the help.
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Postby swimmomx2 » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:11 pm

We just got back on Saturday... A rental car (tiny) cost us $53 US for 24 hours (including insurance etc.)
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Postby els » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:17 am

if you opt for a rental (which I would prefer to a taxi, it is easy to find your way on the westside of Curacao, the main road is more or less a large lasso), make sure you make a reservation in advance, so they have the car ready for you when you arrive. This saves you at least an hour waiting!
Els
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Postby Tedly » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:08 am

Rent a car Todd. it is so easy to get around. Roads to beaches from the main road are well marked. If you are looking strictly for snorkelling you can go to the beaches that Els has mentioned, but if you are looking for a nice swimming beach and perhaps with less crowds you must go to Groot Knip. As you are driving and walking up to the hillside the beauty and colours are breathtaking. I regret that we didn't hang here. there would also be some snorkelling opportunities along the rock walls I presume. Maybe Els can elaborate on that.
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Postby els » Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:48 am

that's true, Ted. Great Knip is the most beautiful beach and worth many a picture. as it is a natural sandy beach, snorkling is different from the other beaches like Playa Kalki: most colourful fish you'll find near the rocks or coral seabottom. Stingrays and turtles however you have more chance of seeing at bays with sandy seabottoms, like Knip. But if you rent a car, you can visit both beaches Knip and Playa Kalki. Above Playa Kalki you'll find the new Kura Hulanda Lodge where you can have lunch with a breathtaking view over the Caribean sea and beach.
I can give you a routedescription with highlights, if you like. just mail me directly and state time of arrival and departure.
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