Home of Curacao Liqueur

Friday 14 to Wednesday 19 November 2014

Curacao. Yet another country I didn’t know existed and a name I pronounced entirely incorrect (it’s cure-a-sow not koo-rac-o). But a country that has intriguing character, great people and many turquoise bays to explore. And to be fair to myself for another geography failure, it is a country that only became official in 2010 when the Dutch Antilles were separated under the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Getting to Curacao from Fort Lauderdale I became trapped in a terrible traffic jam of gridlock hell that amplified frustration when trying to get to the airport for a 10:50am flight. I roared into the rental car return, raced to check-in and then I became one of ‘those people’ trying to cram 4 bags into 2 to meet the TSA requirements of only 2 pieces of hand-luggage. All along I was worried they’d weigh my bags but instead it was all about the number of items. Rejected by the TSA security, I was against the wall between the water fountain and the toilet stuffing souvenirs, food and belongings into my back pack and then kneeling on my carry-on suitcase to zip it up. In the end I got to the gate only to be told my suitcase was now too fat and would have to be checked. Free of charge. $25 saving, a lot of sweat and a bit of stress. Next time I’ll know better. This could be the first and last attempt at carry-on only.

3 hrs later and I landed mid-afternoon in Willemstad, the capital of Curacao. In Fort Lauderdale the night before, and under the influence of some beers, I booked the Marriot beachfront hotel through an app on my phone. I have a policy of not staying in Marriot’s because they tend to be the ones targeted by terrorists. But the Hilton was booked and the Marriot had the beach hotel vibe I was chasing for 5 nights ahead of my return to work. Getting to my room and any concerns about expense or being blown up washed away literally with the waves outside my room. I love these kind of hotels and have always enjoyed these vacations whether it be in Zanzibar, Turks & Caicos, or Broome. The check-in process was the best I’ve experienced anywhere.

The sea water here is perfect temperature. It rained a fair bit though and was cloudy 70% of the time which meant it wasn’t really hot enough for me to feel like beach weather. People smoke on the beach which annoys me. I used the steam room everyday. I’ve added ‘steam room’ to my ‘Dream Home’ list.

Other highlights included renting a scooter for a couple of days and cruising around the island to the Sea Aquarium, along the coast to some truly beautiful bays and out to the factory where the Curacao liqueur is made. It’s a brief tour here, but interesting to learn how this orange flavoured blue drink originated and is now the component of many cocktails around the world. All because of importing Spanish oranges that suffered in the hot Caribbean climate to generate the famous liqueur that now comes in many colours but blue is the most recognised. Wandering around the two sides of Willemstad was enjoyable. The harbour inlet separates the two sides but is joined by a mobile pedestrian bridge that opens for ships, tug boats etc. Very relaxing to sit at one of the waterside restaurants with beer in hand watching the ships go by. Ahhhhhh island life.

Websites Used to Make this Trip

Booked the scooter through www.curacaoscooters.com