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Visiting late Aug, talk me about the golfing and jeep rental

Travel & news discussion about CuraƧao

Moderator: els

Visiting late Aug, talk me about the golfing and jeep rental

Postby natedog5 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:51 am

Hello board... So talk to me about the golf on Curacao. I hear the 18 hole course at BlueBay is the only 18 hole course on the island ? A bit dry but interesting and worth playing ? I heard something about an 11 hole course at a beach club ? We'll be visiting Aug 22nd-29th, have yet to book lodging yet. Anything to note while visiting during that time ?
How about rental cars..was thinking of renting a jeep but didn't know how important A/C is on Curacao.

Thanks
natedog5
 
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Re: Visiting late Aug, talk me about the golfing and jeep re

Postby Pat » Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:47 pm

I'm not sure about the golf. You can get by with a car on Curacao. We rented a jeep last year thinking the roads were not too good or very steep. Beaches, snorkeling, and diving is awsome. We stay at the Royal Sea Aquarium. I would HIGHLY recommend it. Very small resort, very clean. They have a little restaurant on site with pretty good food. You will need a car to get to the other restaurants. The state park is a must. Have fun, we are headed back in January!

Pat


natedog5 wrote:Hello board... So talk to me about the golf on Curacao. I hear the 18 hole course at BlueBay is the only 18 hole course on the island ? A bit dry but interesting and worth playing ? I heard something about an 11 hole course at a beach club ? We'll be visiting Aug 22nd-29th, have yet to book lodging yet. Anything to note while visiting during that time ?
How about rental cars..was thinking of renting a jeep but didn't know how important A/C is on Curacao.

Thanks
Pat
 
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:43 pm

Postby els » Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:39 am

Hi,
the 18 hole golf course is Blue Bay Beach and Golf resort. I'm not a golfer, only hit grass instead of a ball, so please look it up on the internet, they do have a website.
The smaller one is a club, you have to be a member.
As to A/C: driving a jeep is fun and enhances the holiday feeling, but it has disadvantages: your hair is always a mess, you can't leave anything in the car etc.
The roads are okay, so you don't need a jeep. Even the plains of Hato can be visited (exept in the rainy season) with any normal car, also the Christoffel Park.
In August there are (till now) not many special events, just the Curacao Cuisine Cultural Heritage Festival on the 15th of August, when tourists can visit museums, galleries and restaurants at specially reduced prices. On the 17th of August is Slave Uprising Commemoration, but this is mostly a local affair.
els
 
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Re: Visiting late Aug, talk me about the golfing and jeep re

Postby Golf&Dive » Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:40 pm

natedog5 wrote:Hello board... So talk to me about the golf on Curacao. I hear the 18 hole course at BlueBay is the only 18 hole course on the island ? A bit dry but interesting and worth playing ? I heard something about an 11 hole course at a beach club ? We'll be visiting Aug 22nd-29th, have yet to book lodging yet. Anything to note while visiting during that time ?
How about rental cars..was thinking of renting a jeep but didn't know how important A/C is on Curacao.

Thanks


Hi Nate,

I've been to Curacao 3 times and have played six rounds on the Blue Bay course (3 each of my first two years there).

Let me try to give you an accurate description of Blue Bay and then share an experience we had there last year.

Blue Bay is in the middle of a private housing development, but thankfully the homes are not crowded around the course.
- The clubhouse area is fairly nice.
- Nice pro shop (very limited selection)
- 19th hole is a nice sized bar
- Restaurant down on the developments beach (which you have priviliges on based upon playing the course)
- Driving range is awful, mats only, range balls are in poor condition
- practice green and chipping area are a complete waste
- Outside services (bag drop, club cleaning, refreshment cart, etc) are there but good luck trying to get much service

Ah but you want to know about the course:

The course is very well laid out. There are a couple really stupid holes (like any course has) but I do like the layout of the course.

The opening hole is a pretty easy par 5 (a nice start to the round) followed by a mid-length par 3 which in my experience has been the best conditioned hole on the course. There are some nice elevation changes throughout the course.

Five holes really stand out in my memory.

#4 is a downhill par 4 with a slight dogleg left. You are hitting from an elevated tee towards the towards the sea and if you are brave can try to cut off a little of the dogleg. Nice layout and great views.

#5 is a seaside par 3. You tee off high on the cliffs to a nearly island green. Probably about a 100 foot drop. The shot from the back tees is all carry over water to the green. This is a very exciting hole.

The finishing holes #16-#18 are also very nicely laid out.

#16 is a short par 3 from an elevated tee to an elevated green. Great layout and a fun tee shot but be prepared to walk up on down some hills if you miss the green

#17 long par 4 back out towards the sea. Use lots of extra club on that shot into the green. Not a great hole but the views are fantastic.

#18 another long par 4 but this runs along the sea, nice layout and the views are fantastic. When you walk up onto the green don't be surprised if you see a dive boat tied in right off shore. I've also had the pleasure of diving here and found many a golf ball in the water here.

Conditions are another story here. Granted Curacao has a very dry climate but the course was nearly barren at times. We were playing off of dirt, kind of like those nightmare municipal courses I played as a kid. The greens are very slow and do not roll true. The only good green was #2 (the hole you can really see as you drive into the course).

By contrast Tierra Del Sol in Aruba is actually pretty lush and as I mentioned #2 is in great shape so it's not just a Southern Caribbean thing...the courses can be maintained if the proper effort is put forth. And for the prices they charge more effort should be put forth, that is if they cared about their customers.

I don't know what kind of golfer you are, but all that to say... if you're looking just to get in a couple rounds on vacation, the course is fine. But if you're looking for an upscale seaside golfing experience (which their website and the surrounding community seem to make the place out to be .... Blue Bay is not the place.

One word of advice, make sure to pickup lots of water or powerade at the bar before you go out. It gets very hot out on the course.

Earlier I eluded to an experience I had there last year (our 3rd year in a row at Blue Bay). Without going into detail here on the forum let me just say that my wife and I were treated very rudely by the pro shop staff and even worse by one of the pros (whom I asked for after being treated poorly in the pro shop). We in turn left the course which cost them over $500 in revenue (greens fees and extras) as we had both planned on purchasing 3 round packages for our stay.

This treatment was so poor that I will not return to Blue Bay.

You also asked about renting a jeep. On each of our 3 trips to Curacao we rented a Toyota RAV5 from Budget. While rental car rates are pretty high on the island we were very pleased with the car and the service each year.
Golf&Dive
 
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Thanks for the Info, Golf and Dive...I have another question

Postby natedog5 » Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:47 pm

Golf and Dive, thanks for the sweet course breakdown. If the pro gives me any trouble I'll be sure to take issue and inform this board regarding. The other half of your handle..dive. We also dive and I have yet to research my best options. We've never done a shore dive. Who and where should I go ? The Mrs and I have yet to crack the 30 dive mark so we're fairly green.

Thanks Again

Nate
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Postby els » Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:30 am

Nat, do you already know where you will be staying? There are a lot of diveshops, some offer more facilities than others (boattrips/dives etc), but there is also a wide pricerange.
Els
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Re: Thanks for the Info, Golf and Dive...I have another ques

Postby Golf&Dive » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:35 am

natedog5 wrote:Golf and Dive, thanks for the sweet course breakdown. If the pro gives me any trouble I'll be sure to take issue and inform this board regarding. The other half of your handle..dive. We also dive and I have yet to research my best options. We've never done a shore dive. Who and where should I go ? The Mrs and I have yet to crack the 30 dive mark so we're fairly green.

Thanks Again

Nate


Hey Nate,

Glad I could help with the golf course info.

As for shore diving: It's kinda funny how different folks paths take them. I've got about 100 dives under my belt and I've only done a few boat dives. The rest have all been shore dives either in Curacao or near home in Michigan or Ohio.

My favorite shore dives in Curacao have been at Habitat Curacao and Playa Porta Marie on the NW side of Curacao, and at Baya Beach on the southern portion of the island.

Each of these sites is very beginner friendly.

At Habitat Curacao there are lots of dive masters running around so it's easy to schedule a guided dive if you wish. If not, just follow the rope out from the pier (which runs out and down the reef to about 85fsw). When you get to the reef, drop to your desired depth (plenty to see, even as shallow at 25fsw) and turn left or right. Go out until you hit your pre-determined turn pressure (maybe ascend a little to get a view of a different part of the reef) and head back. When you see the rope turn towards shore. Don't forget to look around in the shallows, I've seen young eels, octopi, peacock flounder etc. etc. in the shallows there. Habitat does require that you use their tanks, but rental is very reasonable. Also, most times there is no current here but if there is, be aware of it's direction and strength at all times, it can change quickly. Also, just a word of advice...watch your depth. It's very easy in those clear waters to get deeper than planned.

At Playa Porto Marie (a 5 minute drive from Habitat) there is a small dive shop where you can rent tanks etc. There is a map of the double reef there. I would recommend staying on the part of the reef closer to shore as the outside of the second part can get fairly deep. Don't neglect to look around the reefballs that you will see before you get to the reef itself. Also on the beach is a little isthmus protuding into the water, there are always lots of fish hanging out around the end of this. Can make for some nice pictures.

At Baya Beach there is a small dive shop called Dukes Diving. My first time there I did a couple dives with one of their DM's. The first dive we went out a long a fairly steep drop off until we hit turn pressure, ascended to the top of the reef to a sunken tugboat at about 20fsw, played around there for a while and then, on the way back in swam around some old moorings. The second dive I did with them, we had someone drop us off just outside the little inlet to the left and worked our way back along the coast and back into the inlet. Both dives were very relaxing.

There is also an outfit called the Dive Bus on Curacao. They take groups to different shore diving spots on a daily basis (and can also arrange boat dives for you). They are located right next to Breezes (south of Willemstad). I have not dove with them but did observe their operation one day last year at Playa Porto Marie. I was impressed with their staff and how they ran things. Their clients seemed to be having an absolute blast.

There are many other shore diving spots but those are the ones I am most familiar with.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of any other help.


Mark
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Thanks Mark

Postby natedog5 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:47 am

Mark, I checked out Habitat's website. This look's like a great way to start our shore diving. Thanks for the recommendation on that.

Els, we're staying at the Hotel Hulanda and its sister resort on the coast each for 3 nights.

Any must visit restaurants ?

How about horseback riding? We can't stand the nose to tail trail rides. We like to get the horses moving. If anyone knows a good horse outfit let me know.
thanks
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Postby els » Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:12 am

Hi,
as to Westpunt, a very nice place to have diner is Landhuis Daniel, great food at reasonable prices, also a very cozy location. It is about 15 minutes by car from Kura Hulanda Lodge back in the direction of Willemstad. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed in the cuisine of the Lodge itself, the menu is very limited. Normally I have a hard time making a choice because there is soo much I would like tot try, this time I was glad I could find anything worth while trying (loved the mushroom lasagna).
Close to the Lodge is Jaanchi's, which is famous for its authentic CuraƧao cuisine (funchi, tutu, iguana, goat stew, etc). They only offer lunch, if I remember correctly. There is a restaurant at the cliff of Westpunt beach, great view, food not much. There is a new one a little further down the road next to appartments Marazul, the name won't com to mind at the moment. Haven't eaten there myself, heard it was moderate.
Staying at the Kura Hulanda Hotel, you have many options as to restaurants. I would just pick up the Red Restaurant Guide, which gives you information about location, type of cuisine and pricecategory. I do like the Astrolab, as the menu offers original dishes and the service is great, but I hate the last part of dining there: paying the bill. If you are just looking for a bite, at Jacob's Bar they offer Happy Hour daily from 5 - 7 PM and they have a nice tapas menu, also the paella is very good.
Fort Nassau is also worth a visit, though somehow we always managed to get the wrong waiter. This has put me off as far as this restaurant is concerned, but others love it. The location is great.
Have fun!
Els
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