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Snorkeling and Dining in Curacao

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We will be at the Seaquarium Resort at the end of April.
We are very avid snorkelers having been to Belize, Honduras,Grand Cayman, St. John, British Virgin Gorda and Down Under.
We prefer power boats over motor boats.
Nor are we looking for boats that offer a meal.

We realize Curacao may not be as good as many of these but which are the best spots and which tour boat company (we like 25-30 ft. boats that take 8-12 people maximum that go out for 3-4 hours) and stop at 2-3 spots. In the week we would like to go out 2-3 times if there is that much to see.
Also, we will have a car, so where should we eat dinner at a price in the range of $30-$40/person for dinner and $10-$15/person for lunch.It may be warm so places with A/C or places with a comfortable breeze would be to our liking.Please give me suggestions from the past 12-18 months since if the chef/cook changes so may the food.
Suggestions please. Thanks.

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    Curacao usually has a pleasant breeze; It will not be too warm to eat outside at that time of year in the evening.
    We like;
    Landhuis Brakkeput MeiMei; steakhouse, not far, but a little tricky to find; it's in an old mansion. you eat outside.
    Gouverneur, on Otrabanda (other side of Willemstad); ask for a table on the terrace facing the water, and you can see cruise ships and oil tankers going in and out of the harbour.

    The Waterfront Arches in Willemstad have several restaurants, right along the seafront, not expensive.

    I don't know if these exceed your budget, but Le Clochard is very good; in an old fort, right at the entrance to the harbour. And Jaipur, in the Kura Hulanda hotel, for indian food. Try to go for a drink at this hotel otherwise; it's in old buildings that have been restored beautifully. This is in Otrabanda as well.

    If you are in Westpunt, on the other side of the Island, go to Jaanchies; simple food, the restaurant has been there forever.

    The restaurant at Jan Thiel Beach is good for lunch or dinner. It's a sort of lounge place, great for drinks too. The restaurant is called Zanzibar.

    Blues at Avila beach hotel is nice too; there's live jazz on Thursdays.

    And Mambo Beach, close to where you are staying, is fun for drinks, or simple meals.

    Sorry, can't help with the boats. Have a good time in Curacao.

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    We did not find any decent snorkeling, or snorkeling trips on our trip to Curacao. Many people do a day trip to Bonaire to get their snorkeling fix.

    As for restaurants, the Avila Beach is very good (there's 2 restaurants here-we liked the one that did not have the live jazz). Hooks Hut is so neat-chairs and tables out on the sand, eating by tiki torch on the beach, and food is great- snapper, lamb etc. Also try Sjalotte at the Floris Suites hotel-excellent refined atmosphere and food.

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    Hello. I am an Expat living in Curacao for the past 9 years and it is beautiful. My family who have travelled widely all over the world keep returning at least once a year to get their 'Curacao fix". But I agree with some of the posts here as Curacao is definitely not an island to be 'rushed'. There is so much to see and do. I will try to give as detailed a list here as possible while trying to list some of the things 'not to be missed' .
    1.Dinner on the beach at the container(Sea Side Terrace)restaurant next to Breezes. The red snapper is the best !!! It is a simple place but believe me when I say that even the highest of society eats there.There are two restaurants here but I can only speak for the one in the CONTAINER.
    2. La Plage Hooks Hut. This is next to the Hilton Hotel. You have a choice of eating on the beach or in the very rustic restaurant. My choice... the beach!!! Service is great and the menu is great. Ambience wonderful.
    3. De Heeren restaurant and bar. This is adjoining the Zuikertuinje Supermarket.(not on the beach) Try here on a Thursday or Friday night when a live band performs and you can see and take part in great salsa and meringue dancing. The menu is great as you have choices of small soups, salads,sandwiches OR a full meal. The ambience is wonderful and it is one of the best places ... for me... on a Friday night.
    4. Barbecue shishkebabs of tederloin or chicken at the Equis Horse farm off Caracasbai road. No It is not horsemeat but you do sometimes smell the horses depending on the wind... not really a problem.The restaurant opened by chance when the owner (Who used to barbecue only for his friends) was convinced by them to start doing this commercially. The owner thoroughly enjoys himself and dances while he barbecues.. This is truly a hobby restaurant and is only open on a Friday night. If you are lucky to be in Curacao on a Friday this is also a unique experience. There are other little surprises here but it's good to leave something to look forward to.
    Some of the other good places to visit have already been mentioned on other posts like Brakeputt Mei Mei, Bistro le Clochord, Fort Nassau(beautiful view).The Riffort village also has a good Indian restaurant and a Very Good local restaurant. (dont remember the names.
    Curacao is always breezy and quite frankly I avoid the A/C restaurants as they tend to lack atmosphere.
    Having a car is absolutely necessary if you REALLY want to enjoy Curacao as the taxis do NOT go off the beaten tracks and it is only by exploring that you find these sometimes hidden treasures.
    For snorkelling try the following beaches.
    Cas Abao and Klein Knip( also do not miss Groot Knip for the view and the excellent beach and swimming) are very good and there is also good snorkelling OUTSIDE the water barriers along the beach at Mambo beach and Breezes. The breakwater stones are only to protect the beaches and allow for safe swimming but I have snorkelled on the outside many times and it is great. One word of advice though... if the water is rough with white caps I would not venture outside the rocks on my own. Also bring sea shoes so that you can really explore the rocks and reefs.
    Enjoy your vacation and do not be afraid to explore. Take normal safety precautions but Curacao is generally safe.

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    We just returned from Curacao last week, and I will submit a trip report when I finish all my laundry.

    However, I highly recomend Mambo Beach on Friday they do a Fresh fishmarket. The restaurant has a very Dutch feel to it, and the fish was outstanding.
    Also, we enjoyed Sjallote at the Floris Suites. We were disappointed in Hook's Hut. The menu was small, and so were the portions. However, the atmosphere was great sitting right on the beach.

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    Been to Hook's Hut recently and enjoyed the beautifull setting and lovely food. Jazz and Blues, and every Wednesdaynights a beautifull local band with a gorgeous! female singer, RUMBA band. Hemmingway would have loved this place. Hook's Hut is made out of wood, rope, oil-lanterns, a pier, barefoot dining on the beach, and good music & cocktails. Some nights a cool relaxing atmosphere and some nights steamy hot!!. Highly Caribbean.

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    I can now answer my own question on snorkeling in Curacao. We were there 6 weeks ago for a week. In the West End of the island such places as Knip are great despite what others have said and we have traveled the region a great deal.
    A fellow who runs a modest speed boat service will take you to several amazing spots on the West End of the island. He is at Sta. Cruz Beach and for $10-$12 he will give you some of the best snorkeling you would want in 2+ hours.
    We are so glad we went. We ate at many of those suggested but you left out the best-LaRouse and a good one but not up to Heeren was Rge Avalon and also 20% less expensive.

    We had a great time.

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    StanKase, I'm glad you posted. We are going to October, and was wondering if you could give us the name of the man with the speedboat. Do you mean it took two hours to get to your snorkel destination? Does he stay out as long as you want? Did you go anywhere else to snorkel? Where did you stay for lodging? Any advice on what not to miss? Thanks for the help, Owa

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    owa; If you go there, though it is not easy to find, the only operation is this fellow in a make-shift business, very modest resturant and the dock where he has the speed boat. If you call the day before he will be ready for you. You cannot ask for more than 2-2 1/2 hours and 3 spots for $10-$15US. His phone number is 864 0438. I do not remember his name but if you locate the address on a wooden sign and follow the off road the main road about 100-150 yards his little enclave is right there. You can then go up to Knip Beach for an hour or so and along the boulders on either side of the beach/cove the sponges and sea anenomies are a rainbow of color.Also, a far amount of fish but not much coral.
    The trip to 45-60 minutes from the capital. The 2 hours is RT.
    We liked The Sea aquarium Resort.It is remote on the East end and about 20-25 minutes from the Marriott and the Hilton. The all-inclusive, not our "cup of tea", Breezes, is about 250 yards away but the noise did not travel.
    It is a time share but rents out studios with modest kitchen or suites with full kitchen by the day and by the week.Both type of units had nicely maintained/furnished units

    It is very well run and Dominique, Front Office Manager, was a charmer. It is best to write to them, emails or phone calls don't always get through. Here as well if you mention Stan and Linda; who visited in May and are returning in Jan. 2006 she will try and accomodate you but because it is also a timeshare/hotel and small, maybe 35 units,availability is limited.
    She may even quote you a better rate than the rack-rate but NO promises.

    When we return in Jan.'06 we will snorkel 3 of the 8 days we are there!!!

    We meant to eat at some of the resturants mentioned but had 4 of our 7 dinners between LaRouse and Avalon. Both are within a 15 minute drive from the Sea Aquarium Resort.

    Of yes, the Sea Aquarium it self they tought as a major attraction, it isn't. It has a semi-professional dolphin (?) show every hour or so but not impressive.

    Don't forget, dinner at LaRouse (while $100/couple is great) and Avalon for $75/couple is worth a visit. We were very disappointed at Portofino at the Marriott, though for the same price as Avalon.

    I hope all this helps.

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