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Trip Report-Fantastic time in Curacao

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I started to have doubts about this vacation destination when I read a few negative reports on various sites, but I am happy to say their objections were not important to me or were not observable. Let me address them first. Yes, twice we smelled the slight odor from the refinery and the refinery is observable in the distance, but it did not bother us. The island is not lush because it is has desert climate like Aruba, but we found charm in our surroundings and did not feel it was a drawback. The roads were well paved & the drivers less crazy then other countries we have been to, but their signs are non-existent. We found the people to be very friendly & the service at bars & restaurants to be very Caribbean which means you need to ask for refills & the bill. The shopping is not great, but we found the usual t-shirts for the kids, perfume deals for us & Curacao liquor.
I believe one of the reasons we had such a wonderful time was that we stayed at the Marriott. Having reached middle age, we have decided that we like our comforts. The Marriott fit the bill. Yes, the rooms are not as luxurious as some resorts we have been to, but the beach, grounds, snorkeling & service were fantastic! We arrived late on Saturday & they were out of garden view kin bed rooms, so they upgraded us to a beach front, 1st floor room which was just what we wanted. Every morning we ate breakfast on our little patio (we bought groceries & used their refrigerator) and fed the many small lizards & birds that came for handouts. Then we would walk about 15 feet to the beach & snorkel. The snorkeling was great right there at the Marriott. The Marriott's restaurants were all good except I found them to be a bit expensive. The deli did have very good sandwiches, but we found a grocery in the vacinity & bought lunch supplies for those days when we traveled. We rented a car for a week from National which is right in the lobby & they were very good. I had booked on-line before we went & decided to book a small manual drive vehicle. When we arrived, they gave us an automatic instead for the same price. We found we did not need a 4 wheel drive anywhere.
We did not find a restaurant that was poor the whole time we were there. For a reasonable price & great ribs we tried The Rib Factory & for our anniversary meal that was rather more expensive we went to The Wine Cellar where we were greated with a glass of champaigne & had a wonderful meal including music because it was Wednesday night. The owner was very friendly especially when he found out we are not very fond of President Bush. We also enjoyed eating at the marriott Seaside Cafe. It is outside overlooking the water & very romantic. We also spent a lot of time in town exploring & found the Gouvenor Restaurant to be pretty good. We had the local specialty that is Gouda chees with chicken, prunes, raisins & onions. We both loved it. Another day we went to the local market in town & were probably the only foreigners there! I had to use my limited Spanish to communicate with the witress, but the food was cheap & very good. We sat at a trestle table with a retired teacher & had a nice conversation. Also in town, we ate at Bon Tapas which is near the old synagogue & had good food especially the apple pie. The owner, Ellen, is from Holland & is trying to get a start in the restaurant business.

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