Why Not Curacao?

Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 08:38 PM
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Why Not Curacao?

I read the thread asking people where they're visiting in the Caribbean in the near future. Only one person mentioned Curacao. My local paper just published a big spread on the island, mentioned that it's on a big push to increase their percentage of American tourists (it's about 20% now) and it sounded nice. My DH and I are planning a trip to the Caribbean for the first time (been to Hawaii four times, just never considered the Caribbean.) Are there better islands for a first visit? Any reasons why we shouldn't consider Curacao? Thanks!
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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My wife and I vacationed in Curacao in February 2006. We stayed at the Hilton. If you do a search on my name you will find the trip report I wrote upon our return. Curacao is wonderful and I can not think of one reason not to consider it as a destination. We have been to many Caribbean islands. We rank Grenada, Provo (Turks and Caicos), and Tortola (British Virgin Islands) as our top three islands. We would then rank Curacao, St. Kitts and Aruba. Cuba we enjoyed but you don't really have the 'freedom' to drive around as you do elsewhere. We have been to Jamaica a number of times and always consider it as a home-away-from-home. We would not return to St. Martin.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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If you put Curacao in the search box you will find that a number of folks have traveled there in the past 3-5 yrs. We have been there 3 times in 4+ yrs. It is far closer than Hawaii if you are on the East Coast or Mid West and it is not Honky Tonk. But there are 5-6 other islalands that have different and interesting things to do i.e. St. John, Granada, St. Lucia and lastly Provo.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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We have been to Curacao and LOVED it. We stayed at the Marriott. We saw a number of Dutch visitors. I think the reason that the percentage of Americans is only at 20% is because there are not a lot of big hotel chains on the island to draw the Americans in. I'm surprised it's only 20% though.
You can spend a number of days adventuring in the Curacao Seaquarium, the Christoffel National Park, or on one of the island's many beaches.
Because of it's diverse culture, there are so many restaurants and foods to choose from that will fit your plans and appeal to your taste buds.
We love Hawaii, but would never hesitate to recommend Curacao to anyone.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 12:59 PM
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I would love to go to Curacao, the only thing stopping me is it seems like you need to wear water shoes at a lot of the beaches. Otherwise, the European influence interests me.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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I've been to Curacao, loved it and never had to wear water shoes on the beach!
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Some of the beaches and entrance to the water are a bit rocky. For example, a portion of the Marriott beach is that way but the other part is smooth and the hotel is quit nice and not a high rise type Marriott. Down on the EAST END of the island the 6-8 beaches do not have a stone on them but you do need a car to get to those beaches i.e. Klein Knip for one.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 03:59 PM
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We've been to several Caribbean Islands and have now chose Curacao for our next trip in April '08. We tend to pick Islands that have lots of things to see and do off property. We're not the type to plop down on the beach at the hotel for a week and call it a vacation.

I've read several mixed reports on the rockiness of the beaches in Curacao. I think most people tend to lean towards Islands that have been reported as having powder sugar white sand and crystal clear water.

Also, I think some people pick their destination based on price and convenience in getting there. We sure do. From our location it's going to take 12 hours and 3 airports to get to Curacao. The return flight home is 6:30am. Who wants to be at the airport at 4am to return home? This is also the main reason why we will probably never get to Grenada, Barbados or several other Islands in that general area. They are too hard to get to from our location and it will cost way more than we can afford in airfare. Fortunatly, we'll be able to use FF miles on AA for our trip to Curacao, which lowers the overall cost of the vacation.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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elsiemoo, I'm glad you started this thread. KVR I'm looking forward to reading your Trip report, if you decide to do one.

I live in Jamaica so I don't choose a vacation spot because of the beaches either. I think the only other Caribbean beach I've set foot on was Barbados!

The ABC islands strike me as having lots to do off property. I've wanted to visit them for such a long time but always choose some place else because of all the mixed reviews.

Knowing, I think another reason so few Americans visit the ABCs might be the distance (travel time).
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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JAGIRL, will absolutely do a trip report. Our Curacao trip is to celebrate my BIG 4-0.

We are planning on Ocho Rios in November '08 since the cruise we took in April skipped it. We were really upset about that. We enjoyed Negril last November.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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A big thank you to all who are replying here, and you're welcome, JAGIRL!

Okay, a question here ... one reason we want to visit the Caribbean is to see crystal clear water and powdered sugar beaches. How does Curacao do in that department?

Regardng the time to get there ... that's so true. My DH says it would be nice to go to the Caribbean so that we don't have to do 11 hours to Hawaii BUT ... by the time we fly Raleigh to Miami to San Juan to Tortola, then catch the ferry ... I'm sure we'll be past 11 hours!

Has anyone ridden the catamaran ferries between the islands, and if so, any motion sickness problems for you?

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 02:28 AM
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We will be going to Curacao next month for the first time. We wanted to go back to Bonaire because we like the island, the people, and the ease of "walk in snorkeling". Since Curacao is next door, we decided to check it out. We like trying new islands to see if they become part of our return list. Hopefully, we will find some good snorkeling.

I've given up picking islands by how long it takes us to get there. We will have to stay in Atlanta overnight both ways because we don't get fast to anywhere from South Dakota. I just add on a few extra days without taking away from snorkel time. My husband has lots of vacations days so it doesn't matter.

After watching the movie "Away from Her" this weekend, I told my husband we need to plan as many trips to the Caribbean as possible!! Has anyone seen it? It was about how a married couple handle the wife's alzheimers. I found it depressing. Especially at our age.

I'll let you know what we think of Curacao. Owa
 
Old Sep 25th, 2007, 04:06 AM
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Owa, we have not seen the movie you referred to. However, when DH was dx with colon cancer in Aug. '05 we absolutely changed our priorities and scheduled several vacations. He is in remission now, but the chemo tx hurt him almost as much as the cancer. We've had to back off on vacations to 2 a year instead of 3 or 4. We also bought a new house in July. That ate up a lot of our vacation funds. But, I know what you mean. Don't wait, because it might be too late later.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Sorry for the negative comment but want to be honest. Have travelled quite a bit in the Caribbean and for us Curacao is towards the bottom of the list. We stayed at the Marriott and were happy with the hotel. We also enjoyed the restaurants and found Willemstad interesting with its dutch architecture. Christoffel national park was worth a visit as well. However the beaches were just ok in our opinion. We like quieter places. We thought the beaches were crowded. The water was nice but cannot compare to turks/bahamas/anguilla etc. In general, the island is too developed for our tastes. The refinery in the center of the island is not pleasant to look at either. The interior is srubby/desert/shabby. So to summarize (depending on your priorities) I would say that in my opinion there are several other islands that would be better for a first time visit.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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I was in the middle of planning a trip to Curacao and Bonaire when I read an article on Cartagena, Colombia. So, Curacao/Bonaire got pushed to the back burner and we'll go to Cartagena, then spend some time on San Andres to get some beach time.

I'm from the midwest as well, takes forever to get anywhere. Just returned from Belize last night, four flights in one day. Yuk.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Of all the islands I've been to, I think Curacao is the only island I found with quite a good mix of international travelers. There did seem to be more Europeans and Latin Americans than U.S. Americans. We liked the mix. It definitely felt like we were in a different country (a lot of islands that aren't U.S. territory sure feel like they are). Both my husband and I thought Curacao was just okay. We didn't find the island itself very pretty. The downtown area with the Dutch architecture was the only thing we really liked. We found several of the beaches to be rocky. With a child in tow who refused to wear water shoes, it was a bit annoying (he got a few scrapes). We went because I got a great deal (it was a winter trip) and frankly I thought we'd love it. For us, there are much better islands... but we all have different taste, so you might just love it. Have a great time, no matter where you go.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Thank you again, for all opinions!

No one has answered me on the "crystal clear water, white powdery sand" factor at Curacao. Frommers' website says something like, "for culture and shopping, you will like Curacao but the beaches are just average. Go to Aruba for the clear water and white sandy beaches." Opinions, please???
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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elsiemoo, as I alluded to in my post, I would say there are other islands that better fit the "crystal clear water and white powdery sand" requirement such as Turks, Anguilla and the Bahama out islands. I was not impressed with the beaches at Curacao.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Overall the beaches "crystal clear waters" as said twice above are not as nice as several other islands but the water is sparkling clean and azure blue in many spots. It also is not Hawaii but nor is it as busy-cars, tourist shops,etc.- and 1/2-3/4 the cost of Hawaii(except for Kuani). You cannot have everything. It certainly is old vs. more new world charm for the most part.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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The water in Curacao is clear and a very beautiful blue. The sand is definitely not powdery (especially compared to beaches in the Bahamas, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos or even St. John). Go for culture? Absolutely. The shopping didn't impress me much though.
I've been to Aruba, where we had fun but we didn't love it either. I think it's more of a fun island and definitely Americanized. In my opinion, nicer beaches than in Curacao, but we also have found much more beautiful beaches on other islands.
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