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Things To Do In Curacao
Curacao - Things To Do
Curacao has it all - SCUBA diving, snorkeling, a glass bottom boat tour, ATV or Buggy tours, sightseeing, shopping, and relaxing on the beach. If you go snorkeling or SCUBA diving there you will see some of the most beautiful underwater scenes anywhere in the world.
If you don't know how to SCUBA dive you can get lessons there and dive that same day. If you want to see the spectacular underwater view but you don't want to get in the water, there is a glass bottom boat tour. They have exciting outdoor adventures exploring the island in a buggy or on an ATV. If that is a little too fast paced for you, they have a wonderful bus tour available. Not only do you get to see the beautiful sights, they give you a lot of information about the island.
You can go sightseeing, shop, and feel safe in the bright and colorful capital of Willemstad. There are many beautiful beaches where you can just lay back, relax, read, or do some people watching. If you ever get the chance to go do not hesitate for even a second, go. I did and found paradise. It was so beautiful, relaxing, safe, and with so many things to do, I went back again the next year.
All Curacao Photos seen on this website were taken on my 2 trips to Curacao.
Scuba Diving Adventure or Lessons
When you stay at Breezes you are entitled to one free shore dive per day. They will provide the equipment, but you can bring your own if you want to. They also offer boat dives and night dives at an additional cost if you are certified.
However if you are like me and have never been SCUBA diving before they offer a basic course. You take some training in a classroom, to learn theory and hand signals for communicating underwater.
Then they take you to the pool to let you get comfortable with the equipment and verify that you can recover if you get into trouble. Most other places if you take the SCUBA lessons you only get to stay in the pool. At Breezes if they decide you are ready (and you agree) they then take you for a shore dive off the dock at the dive shop. You will have the instructor with you to make sure you are okay. It is an awesome experience.
If you go, give it a try. Just remember you are not supposed to fly right after a dive so try to do it at least a couple of days before you are scheduled to leave.
Ocean Encounters Curacao is located right on the premises they are the ones who provide the lessons. They also have boat diving available for certified SCUBA divers. You can go on a snorkeling boat trip with no certification required. If you want to check them out here is the Ocean Encounters Curacao Website
SCUBA Lessons and Dive PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Guide For The Reef Creatures in Curacao
If you are a certified diver there are many great dive sites around Curacao. You can also explore many of these areas snorkeling as well. The guide listed below has information about the reef creatures that you may see in Curacao.
I loved having this card. After each snorkeling adventure we could go over the card and identify which fish we had encountered that day. It also provided incentive to go out again and see if we could get to see them all.
Buggy Adventure Tour
A group of us went for a half day off-road adventure tour with Bazz Fun Tours. They showed up at the hotel parking lot with the vehicles. Then we got in the cars and they guide you through the city to get to the off-road portion at the San Pedro Plains.
Once we hit the San Pedro Plains we started driving like maniacs, doing donuts, and going through huge puddles. When we got to the first stop, a lookout point on the North shore, we were all covered in dirt. So, a little tip if you plan on taking an off-road tour, pack something to wear that you wouldn't mind having to throw out. At the North shore stop you can also see the huge windmills that are for generating energy. The view of the water here is amazing, my picture does not do it justice.
Then we all got back in our cars and drove like maniacs again to our next stop, the Hato caves. There is a bit of a climb to get into the cave so I recommend you wear running shoes. They give you flashlights and take you on a tour inside the caves. There are bats inside the caves. Which is fun when you have someone who is very jumpy like we did.
Next we drove to a private beach at the San Juan Plantation. We got to go for a swim (try to get some dirt off) and then we got something to eat and drink at the little restaurant hut that is there. There is a washroom at this stop, just be warned you have to pay to use it.
When we were finished eating we drove to our last stop, before returning to the hotel, a place where you could see flamingo's in the wild. They are beautiful creatures, I wish I had gotten a better picture of them.
It would appear that they no longer offer this model of buggy for a tour of the island. They do still offer a buggy tour it is just a more rugged looking buggy. You can check them out at Curacao Buggy Adventures website
If you do not feel comfortable being boxed in inside a car you can tour the island on an ATV. They will provide pre-tour training for how to drive one (you do need a normal drivers license). You will have a local tour guide with you. For more information go to the Eric's ATV Adventures Website.
Curacao Buggy Adventure Tour Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
Some of the people that I travelled with were not comfortable with swimming. So snorkeling or SCUBA diving would be a bad idea for them. I did not want them to miss out on seeing all of the beauty that underwater Curacao has to offer. So I did some research and found there is a glass bottom boat tour was available.
You start out on the top deck of the boat. When you get further out in the water you to the lower deck. This is where the sides of the boat are glass. There they will be able to see all the underwater sea life.
They picked us up at our hotel and took us to the resort where they dock the boat. If this sounds like something you would like to do you can get more information at Atlantis Adventures Glass Bottom Boat Tour
Sightseeing and Shopping
At Breezes you can book a free ride into town. They will drop you off and come back about 4 hours later to pick you up at a designated spot. This gives plenty of time to walk around for sightseeing and shopping. I can't say what it is like at night, as we never were in town at night, but during the day time I felt perfectly safe.
The streets are clean and the buildings are beautiful. There were musicians playing on the street, but they were all respectful, not up in your face. You could stop and grab something to eat from places that served local cuisine or food from home. They have beautiful places to sit and enjoy your meal outside along the waterfront.
There are stores that are big brand names that you would see at home. They also have stores that are only found in Curacao. They have plenty of jewelry stores and they are willing to negotiate on the prices. Both of my Aunts got some really good deals.
There are also little vendor stalls along the streets selling a variety of merchandise. Some sell bracelets, towels, t-shirts, and the other standards branded with Curacao for souvenirs. They also have sculptures, paintings, and different types of art that are truly beautiful.
While in town you can shop on both sides of the waterway by crossing on the Queen Emma bridge. It is a floating bridge that opens to let boats pass through. If you are crossing the bridge and a siren goes off you have to get to the other side as soon as possible. That is the signal a boat is coming and the bridge will be moving to open for the boat to pass. If you want to cross to the other side when the bridge is not available, there is a free ferry to take you across.
Bus Tour Of The Island
We took the half day City and surroundings highlight tour with Tropical Tours (signed up for it in the hotel lobby). The tour guide we got was fantastic. Not only did she know her stuff she had a sense of humor and made the tour fun. You get a tour of the island showing off the different and colorful architecture, while learning about the history of the island.
You get a very brief stop in town to shop at the local street vendors. If you really want to shop, just look around now and see what is available, then come back another day to sight see and shop in town.
They make another stop at the Chobolobo estate which is the home of the Curacao Liqueur. You get to taste free samples of the many different flavors of Liqueur, chocolate was my favorite. You can buy bottles of the Liqueur in regular form or special packages here. They also show you Table Mountain and Spanish Waters Bay.
Curacao Bus Tour Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Enjoy The Beach At The Hotel
One of the many things I love about Curacao is the beaches. They are clean, have nice sand, and beautiful, clear, warm water. While all of these things are nice, perhaps what I love most is that no one is trying to sell you things. I was at the beach everyday and not once was I approached by anyone trying to sell something. So you can truly just relax and enjoy yourself.
Snorkeling at the hotel beach is fantastic. They will provide you with the equipment for 2 hours at a time for free. There are a wide variety of fish and coral to be seen. The entrance to the water in front of the Flamingo wing is the least rocky (it is mostly sand there). It starts and stays fairly shallow for awhile, and the water is fairly calm. Some of the fish are close to shore. So even if you have someone who is not a strong swimmer, they can still participate. For the more adventurous, the water can become very deep and you can swim out to the rocks that act as a breaker wall. This is where you will see the most fish. It is a phenomenal sight to see.
They have Hobie Crafts that you can sign up for a free ride, where they will take you out well past the breaker wall and back. They have a wide variety of other crafts for you to try. There are kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and wind surfing boards. You can also just sit back and relax. Get a tan out in the sun or stay in the shade under one of the many natural umbrellas.
Prepare For The Hot Sun - ... or you will be sorry
You will definitely need a good sunscreen as you are only 12 degrees north of the Equator and it is sunny every day. I recommend you also bring some Aloe Vera.
In case you forget to put sunscreen on your back and then go snorkeling all day, like I did. I didn't pack any Aloe Vera. My back was very red, I was so grateful that someone I went with had some of this stuff!
This was the stuff that my Uncle brought that helped to relieve my sunburn. I don't think I would have been able to get any sleep if I didn't use this stuff. You will want to have a bottle of this in case you miss a spot with the sunscreen.
Key Facts About Curacao
- Water - The water is safe to drink right from the tap.
- Language - Most of the people who live there speak English, Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamentu. I never had any problems with a language barrier.
- Weather - Curacao is located outside of the hurricane belt. All year round the average temperature is about 27Â° C (in the mid 80s F).
- Currency - Netherlands Antilles Guilder or Florin. However U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. It is recommended that you use $20 bills or smaller.
- Electricity - Electricity is 110 - 130 volts/50 cycles. This is close to North American electricity. I had no problems with any of the things I brought. Dual voltage appliances from Europe and South America will need an adapter plug.
Beach Reading and Plane Ride Distraction
I like to bring books for the plane ride and to read while laying out at the beach. When I am on the plane I like to read, especially during take off and landing. I find reading keeps me calm by distracting me from thinking about or seeing what is happening. If you don't like flying either, try my reading technique, it helps me.
I chose The Hunger Games as I was traveling with family. I figured I could read it and so could my niece. If you have not read it, no matter what your age is, you should read it. I was sitting on my beach chair laughing at some points and crying at others. It is not just a good story it is moving. Put yourself in the main characters shoes and see if you would make the same choices.
Have You Ever Been To Curacao?
We Stayed at Breezes Curacao - It is an all inclusive resort
We stayed at Breezes Curacao an all inclusive resort. It is not an upscale resort. It is a lovely place, with a laid back atmosphere, that has everything you could want and more. I have already covered what you can do at the beach. There is so much more to do at Breezes.
They have a rock climbing wall, beach volleyball court, shuffleboard, giant chess board, ping pong tables, and pool tables. There is also a games room building with video games, pinball, and an air hockey table. The onsite casino has table games and lots of slot machines. During the day time they also run Bingo games inside the casino.
They have a spa that offers massages, facials, body scrubs, reflexology, manicures and pedicures. I wish I could remember what the name of the massage I got was called so I could recommend it better.
They just massage your feet and legs up to your knee, and your hands and arms up to your elbow. Therefore there is no need to disrobe and it is incredibly relaxing. I would have packed that lady into my suitcase if I could have. I would certainly love to have that treatment after working a 12 hour shift standing all day.
On the resort grounds there is also the Koral Art Gallery which is run by Bert Knubben. He creates jewelry out of coral and from a shell. There are many on display you can choose from including dolphins and sea turtles.
If you see him at the beginning of your stay you can even request a design for a different animal and he will make it for you. On the Breezes resort map it is labeled Black Coral Art and it is located between the Seagulll wing and the Plover wing.
Photos of BreezesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Breezes Resort Map
This is a map that shows where everything was when it was the Breezes resort. When you arrived at Breezes this picture was on the back of the envelope of your welcome package. I took a picture of it so you could see the resort layout ahead of time to help you figure where you want to stay.
Sunscape Resorts Curacao
In November of 2012 the Breezes Curacao became Sunscape Resorts Curacao. I have not had the opportunity to go back since Sunscape took over. However I have heard that they have updated the spa, guest rooms, restaurants, and the fitness center.
It is also nice to know that they have kept some of the great staff that worked there. If you want the friendliest bartender anywhere you can still find Norma (baby doll) working at the bar. You can still get a great show from Sherman at the Japanese restaurant.
Keeping In Contact With Home
Calling home from Curacao using your hotel room phone can be very expensive. One of the other wedding guests had an almost $200 phone bill. I know many people were not even able to make a phone call with their cell phones.
I avoided these problems by bringing my netbook computer. I was able to pick up the free WIFI signal from the hotel next door when in or near the Royal Tower complex (near the dive shop). That way I was able to contact back home for free. People ended up asking me to send messages for them.
When my niece went to Cuba this year she chose to bring the Kindle Fire HD. It has WiFi which allowed her to stay in contact with home. It allowed her to have access to the internet and she could watch videos on it. Plus she downloaded some books onto it so she could have something to read.
Video of Curacao
Curacao Information Sites
- This is the Curacao Tourist Board site
This is an excellent resource for all information about traveling to Curacao. This is where I looked before I went.
- Sunscape Resorts Curacao
This is the website for Sunscape Resorts Curacao.
- Curacao Weather Information
This will show you the weather forecast for Curacao. It also shows the average high and low temperature per month.