Getting there was a mere 2.5 hour flight from Miami which was amazing as I love quick getaways! However as the plane prepared to land my initial reaction was like a scene out of Catfish. Where was the lush greenery and white sand beaches that you see in all the pictures? A little discouraged yet still eager to explore the island I made my way to the customs line (Tip: Fill out their ED-Card online before you go as they have a dedicated area with kiosks where you can breeze through!) and over to my resort which looked dated on the outside but featured a much nicer interior & grounds even though the beach wasn’t that soft pillow-like white sand I was looking for. So I wasn’t completely cat-fished! My airport transfer driver shared that they had been experiencing an extreme drought for some time and the island was basically turning into a desert which I later read on the Curaçao Chronicle .
After some research and a half hour ride to the other side of the island I found myself at the picturesque Jan Thiel Beach which had a number of different restaurants, bars, and most importantly white sand! I started off at the Papagayo Hotel’s Beach Club for happy hour with a great 3-piece live band and then walked next door to Zest Beach Café where they host a Lobster & Fish fest every Friday starting at 7 PM. I swear if you only had to pick 1 thing to experience on the island this was it! The chef comes over to your table and welcomes you to the beachside open kitchen where you’ll select your lobster. While waiting for it to be prepared there were two salad offerings; one being a tomato, mozzarella & basil and the other was some sort of mixed green salad with breaded fish bites along with warm slightly grilled baguette slices to enjoy as you watched the waves crash and the sun start to set. After dinner head back to the Hotel Beach Club where it turns into a night beach party with a DJ.
Strolling around downtown in search of the infamous colorful buildings brought me to the floating market, the old market (a popular lunch spot by the locals), along with many restaurants and shops. At the very end I found myself at Queen Emma’s Bridge – a pedestrian pontoon bridge. Luckily this was less scarier than my first floating bridge experience at The Demarara Harbour Bridge in Guyana (5th largest in the world) where we drove across! If you have enough patience hang out there until a boat comes in so you can ride the bridge as it swings open and back close. Unfortunately, I missed it twice but it looked like an amazing Snapchat opp for the lucky few that did happen to get “stuck” there.
Overall, Curaçao was quite an interesting island. Would I go back? Maybe, but only if I’m staying at the Papagayo by Jan Thiel Beach for that Friday night Lobster & Fish Fest!
Until next time….
Sincerely Shanti xo