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Curacao & San Juan Questions

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Sep 11th, 2003, 08:49 AM
  #1
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Curacao & San Juan Questions

My DH and I are planning a 2004 vacation based on our Marriott Rewards points. We have decided on Curacao for 7 nights (St. Kitts was a close second ... maybe next time) and we could use some planning help. Right now I mostly need info on timing the trip ... will be looking for more specific info on restaurants and snorkel spots ect closer to the actual trip. Thanks in advance for any help!

Curacao Questions -

What is this best time of year, esp. for snorkeling visibility (we love to snorkel and will be taking a day trip to Bonaire)?

Bugs? Are insects either on the beach (sand flea types) or when dining outside (gnat types) a particular problem at any time of the year? If so is it just at particular times like dusk?

Can anyone estimate a reasonable food budget? We generally do a light breakfast at the hotel and look for inexpensive lunches but more upscale dinners w/ appetizers, desserts and wine.

San Juan questions -

I haven't done much flight research yet but we thought we might spend 2 nights in San Juan on the way down. Does anyone have any advice on the flight schedules for doing this ... any days of the week that are best for going to/from Curacao by way of San Juan?

We were thinking the San Juan Marriott but there is also a Courtyard in Isla Verde ... any comments on these?
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Sep 11th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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The flight to Curacao is one of the few that does not stop in SJ (if using AA or Air Jamaica). Most flights are to Miami, then a direct flight to Curacao from Miami...so that might influence staying in SJ. For being so far south, Curacao is one of the easiest flight-wise to get to because you get to skip over SJ, at least that has been our experience.

Don't remember having any problems with bugs ever.

Budget at least $100US for dinner alone (with a few drinks). Lunches and breakfast are less, nice to have them at the sidewalk cafes by the pontoon bridge.




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Sep 11th, 2003, 04:35 PM
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Bugs-no problem. Hope you like geckos. I don't recall the food in Curacao being too outrageous. Don't know about snorkeling but I have never read where it is seasonal in any way. Isla Verde is very nice and you are close to old San Juan. Enjoy!
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Sep 12th, 2003, 06:39 AM
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Thanks for the info ... so if bugs are not a problem at any particular time of the year and snorkeling visibility is about the same all year ... what would be your favorite time to go and why?
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Sep 12th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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Summer-I like it hot!
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Sep 13th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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The marriott is very nice there. We used our pints there as well. (march) The snorkeling right outside the hotel is actually very good. There is a little shack to rent the gear. The hotle will provide detailed descriptions fo the different beaches on the island and which are good for snorkeling, etc..
I do not recall bugs at all.
All of the restaurants there are good at the resort. Not cheap though.
Ask for an upgrade, ocean view.
The staff is very freindly too.
Have fun!
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Sep 13th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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that would be points not pints!
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Sep 15th, 2003, 06:18 AM
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The summer months can be very hot in Curacao. We always go over Christmas, and it is good then, but I have been told that around Easter is good too; and not as busy. Hurricanes are quite rare in Curacao. I have never been bothered by bugs (and have been many times), but my brother last year stood on a poisonous fish, and that was very very painful (don't know what they are called, but they look like stones). Wearing special swimming shoes is a good idea. Can't give an exact budget for dinner, but there are lots of places in all price categories.
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Sep 15th, 2003, 07:32 AM
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We went to the Curacao Marriott in November 2000, around Thanksgiving. The weather was great and the resort was not crowded. We had light showers each day for maybe 10-15 minutes and sunny skies the rest of the time. The snorkeling was very good that time of year - you could snorkeling right off of the beach at the Marriott and we also took a snorkeling trip on the Insulinde. Unlike the other posters, I did have a problem with no-see-ums and received several bites although my husband didn't (I am one of those people where if there is only 1 bug on the whole island, it will find me!). It was certainly no worse than home, though, and limited to the evening hours. I also thought that the restaurants at the Curacao Marriott were pretty reasonably priced (dinner for 2 at Portofino was about $80 with wine and about $150 at the Emerald Grille with wine, dessert, after dinner drinks) but I guess it is all what you are used to and depends on how much you eat, drink, etc. We usually just eat a light lunch (sandwiches/salads at the pool bar) and then a full dinner. There is a great little restaurant that is walking distance from the hotel called Hook's Hut that is quite inexpensive and right on the beach (you sit with your feet in the sand). I have a detailed trip report at http://www.epinions.com/content_26026086020

Although it is now 3 years old, it might be useful.
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Sep 15th, 2003, 07:36 AM
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I, of course, meant that you could "snorkel" right off the beach, rather than "snorkeling" - that tricky keyboard!
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Sep 15th, 2003, 01:13 PM
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aaaaaahhhhh ... I want to go RIGHT NOW! Thanks for all the good info. Alex - the trip report was great.
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Sep 15th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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The other restaurants that we ate at (I am jumping the gun here) were Blues at the Avila Beach Hotel and Fort Nassau. I would recommend Blues - it was fun and they served good food. I would not recommend Fort Nassau - the service was downright surly and the food mediocre. It was also the most expensive meal we had at about $275 for 2 people. I don't mind spending a lot on dinner but not when you get bad service and food. I wish we had tried one of the other nice restaurants on the island - I have heard Bistro le Clochard is very good.
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Sep 16th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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Bistro Le Clochard is great, and you see oil tankers and cruise ships passing very close by, on their way to port. Blues is fun too, and the Avila Beach has a happy hour once a week that attracts a lot of local expats (not sure which night). Mambo Beach is fun too; nice casual meal on the beach; they do weekly barbeques, sometimes Indonesian food too.
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Sep 16th, 2003, 08:13 AM
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I think I'm going to try for October 2004. I will have enough point to book 7 nights fairly soon. If I want to upgrade to an oceanview right now that is 5,000 more points per night. Any opinions on if its worth the extra points for the view? I'm also going to check on paying for the upgrade and see what it will cost. This is my first time using my rewards points so for those with experience using Marriott Rewards ... if they have a points special for Curacao after I book can I still take advatage of it?
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Sep 16th, 2003, 08:17 AM
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In my opinion, at the Curacao Marriott, it would not be worth it to upgrade unless you just wanted to use up points. We had a resortview room and it had a partial ocean view. The buildings are at a right angle to the water so almost all of the rooms have at least a partial water view, especially from the balcony.
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Sep 16th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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I think my husband is a platinum rewards member, so they don't charge extra or take more points for the upgrade. Check it out, if there is not an extra charge I would request the ocean view, it is so gorgeous. We had a first floor room so we could walk right out on the beach!!
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