governeurImagine an island where hidden coves reveal an emerald-blue sea. Where arcs of golden sand stretch out beneath vibrant, multicolored sunsets. Where a rich historical heritage meets Caribbean vitality. Where the only thing you need to worry about is deciding how to spend your next day in paradise. Imagine Curaçao: the best-kept secret in the Caribbean.

Curacao has, in our opinion, more to offer than other neighboring islands. This includes a rich culture, relatively diverse nature and more than enough bars and restaurants to enjoy your relaxing holiday.

Curacao has a colonial past. And it shows. There are lots of old buildings that have been restored to its former glory in recent years. Not infrequently, these buildings are now used as offices or for a restaurant. These old houses are usually built taking into account the nature. You see porches in all kinds of buildings, these porches offer shade and the wind breezing through these porches makes it really comfortable relaxing on these porches. A good example is Cafe Restaurant “De Gouverneur”. Everyone who comes to Curacao should actually go there. A great terrace, almost always with a cooling breeze and a fantastic view of the Anna Bay and Punda. There you will see life in Curacao at its best and you have great chance to see big ships set our for sail. This remains an impressive sight. Incidentally, the Anna Bay is directly connected to the Schottegat, the largest natural harbor in the Caribbean.

kurahulanda

Across Café Restaurant The Governor you will see the world famous Handelskade which was appointed by Unesco as a world heritage. All this while enjoying a refreshing glass of ‘frozen limunchi awa’ and a very friendly staff. You think this is commercial chitchat? Well it is not because we do not exploit Cafe Restaurant ‘De Gouverneur’, we exploit AZ Curacao Car Rental. We do however want to give your our opinion about great places Curacao has to offer.

Behind Cafe Restaurant ‘De Gouverneur’ the Hotel Kura Hulanda is located. The hotel also houses the slavery museum that at least is impressive. This hotel is a story in itself. This story has a special role to Jacob Gelt Dekker. The hotel was built in the district Otrobanda that until 10 years ago was not very well known. With the help of unemployed in this area this hotel was built and by now this ‘open air’ hotel is worth visiting. Not in the least because of the art that can be found in multiple locations in this hotel. On the grounds of the Hotel Kura Hulanda there is also the Slavery Museum. This museum is worth a visit as it contains an impressive amount of historical material about the history of Curacao.

Pietermaai the district on the south coast of Curacao east of Anna Bay. Until approximately 10 years ago this was a ‘no go area’. Historic houses directly by the sea were in deplorable condition since these are mostly owned by several families who often could not agree on the destination of the property. A number of investors have invested in this area by buying properties and bring these back to their original condition with many materials being reused.

For more information about the historic town of Willemstad look at the website of Monuments of Curacao.

On the website www.curacao.com you will find an excellent overview of the beaches, restaurants, bars, diving spots and other tourist highlights. In the text below we have actually copies some of the commercial texts but we added our own opinion to it. We think this may be far more useful.

 

janthiel

Jan Thiel Beach

Lounge on a beach bed under a palm tree and enjoy the beautiful open bay, which has excellent diving and snorkeling. Jan Thiel Beach is located in a new upscale residential area east of town. With a full service dive facility. Jan Thiel is a real family beach. There are also different restaurants that serve a wide range of snacks and drinks on the beach but also offer excellent a la carte menu’s.

This beach usually is pretty crowded since the number of apartments in the near surrounding have increased considerably over the last ten years. So if you prefer a quiet beach, you may want to visit Blue Bay, Porto Marie or Kas Abou.

On saturdays and sundays lots of events are organized such as ‘Bubbles on the Beach’ at Zest’s and happy hour with live music on Saturday at Zanzibar. Many Dutch people who live on Curacao go to Zanzibar during the weekend.

Restaurants at the Jan Thiel beach are:
Zanzibar
Zest

 

blue

Blue Bay Beach

Blue Bay Beach is a large shady beach just northwest of Willemstad, near the village of Sint Michiel, with lots of facilities. It’s popular with local families and visitors because of the soft white sand. The sea floor slopes gently from the beach, so children enjoy playing here. There are lounge chairs, palm trees, shade umbrellas, a nice bar and restaurant, a water sports center (diving and sea kayaking!), and a bikini shop. There is a children’s playground, a fairly large pool, and showers and toilets. An admission fee for Blue Bay, Curacao is charged.

This beach is far more quiet than the Jan Thiel Beach.

Blue Bay also offers an excellent golf course. At first, Blue Bay’s golf course will seduce you purely with its looks: its location right on the Caribbean Sea, its spectacular views and its tropical vegetation along the fairways.If you look beyond the surface, however, you will see a golf course that has plenty of personality, a course that can challenge and surprise players of any level.This is due to the inspired design by William ‘Rocky’ Rocquemore, who has taken full advantage of the natural surroundings. Height differences, rocks, sand and sea are all part of the experience. A prime example is hole 5, which requires a long shot across the sea.

At restaurant Azurro you can enjoy your lunch, beachsnack or dinner.

This beach and restaurant usually seems to attract elderly people who are enjoying the golf course and are not very keen on being at the hot spots of the island.

 

ccs

Caracas Bay beach

The beach is made of coarse sand and pebbles and is popular for snorkeling and diving because its part of the underwater park. Also popular with the island residents who visit the beach during the weekend and bring their own food and drinks. Sometimes the bring their own BBQ. There are several small, local restaurants where you can have typical local food such as chicken, porkchop or lomito. Prices are relatively low and the staff usually is very friendly. So do not expect high end restaurants here. The water is usually calm and the admission is free. However sometimes large vessels from all over the world sometimes berth in the bay. On one hand it is exiting, on the other hand it sometimes spoils the view and the atmosphere.

 

Cas Abou

Cas Abao offers you a white sandy beach, crystal clear waters, waving palm trees and many gazebos for shade.The beach combines a natural country setting with all the conveniences of a full service beach. Cas Abao is ideal for swimmers of all ages and its reefs are a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers. A raft for sunbathing and playing is moored off the beach. There is a bar, restaurant, showers, massage facility and dive shop. Cas Abao is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.

This beach is suitable for anyone that is looking for peace and quiet. There is plenty of space so you do not lie shoulder to shoulder. The bar only offers some snacks and simple dishes such as satay and fries. It is located on the Western part of the island. From Willemstad it is about half an hour drive.

 

portomarie

Playa Port Mari

Playa Porto Mari is a beautiful sandy bay to be found on the private estate of Plantations “Porto Mari” on the west coast. Its white coral sand beach, with clear and calm water, is a true paradise for water lovers. The unique “double” reef is easily accessible from the shore, providing a fascinating snorkel and dive site. There’s a dive operator at the beach.
For landlubbers, two nature trails have their starting point at the beach parking lot. All activities at Playa Porto Mari are managed in an environmentally responsible manner. For example, water is recycled and used for the toilets and irrigation purposes, the boardwalks are made from discarded pallets or “Trex”, a recycled product, and their publications are printed on 100% wood-free recycled paper.
Playa Porto Mari is open every day and the beachside bar and restaurant offer visitors a variety of delicious tropical drinks and meals.

This beach is also very suitable for people for peace and quiet. The bar offers simple snacks. So do not expect ‘haute cuisine’. From the main road on Curacao, it is still a 5 minutes drive over private territory. You may think that you end up in the middle of nowhere but that is not the case. The staff is extremely friendly. At this moment *march 2013) they are doing some modifications to the bar.

 

forti

Playa Forti

The view from above Playa Forti is right out of a postcard, with the fishing boats and a panorama of the island’s western tip. Here you’ll find pleasantly different coarse brown sand and tiny smooth pebbles but almost no shade. There are several snack bars and a restaurant at the parking area above Curacao Playa Forti, with a steep ramp and steps down to the water. The water is extremely clear which may be caused by the fact that this beach is covered with pebbles.

Sitting at the restaurant on top of the cliff you can sometimes see sea turtles, stingrays or even sharks. Many people jump off the cliff of approximately 10 meters high. This is not without risk. The restaurant on top of the cliff really offers a local atmosphere. It seems like a living room of the family who runs it but unfortunately the food is bad and the prices to high. Just have a drink or a small snack.

 

kalki

Playa Kalki

This small cove is popular for snorkeling and diving, and has a roped-off area with a floating platform. It is located down steep stone steps from the parking area. Halfway between the parking area and the beach is a shaded terrace with a snack bar and dive shop. From Curacao Playa Kalki another set of steps leads to the Kura Hulanda Lodge on the bluffs above, which has a restaurant. Entrance to the water is somewhat rocky.

It is located at the westside of the island and one can see fishing boats passing by driving to the North of the island where they meet heavy seas. The terrace offers some typical Dutch snacks and plate service but is also extremely expensive.

 

 

daaiboi

Playa Kenepa & Daaibooi baai

These beaches are accessible free of charge. They are both located in the West of the island and do not offer exclusive restaurants or bars. You can buy some local drinks and snacks. The beaches are less clean then the other beaches since it is not commercially exploited so there is no one who is cleaning the beaches. Many people from Curacao visit these beaches and the bring along al lot of food and drinks and the stay there the entire day with their family sitting and talking below the trees on the beach.

 

 

 

seaquarium

Seaquarium beach

This beach, right next door to the seaquarium has all facilities, palmtrees and beautiful white sand. During the day it’s the perfect place for children to play in the shallow water. There are shops, several bars like Mambo, Cabana, Wet & Wild, Aloha and Blue Oceans. There are facilities for all watersports. The beach is popular with families and young people. At night, specially in the weekend it can be a very crowded hotspot. There are concerts and even movies on the beach. So if you are looking for peace and quiet this may not be your beach. Besides they are reconstructing the entire are and therefore the entrance of the beach does not give you the feeling that you are in the right place. If you enjoy a crowded beach with a lot of music, snacks, drinks and if you want you children to have a good time, then this is a great place.