Right before our Summer wedding, we wanted to visit a sunny part of the world to get a little tan and be in a relaxed wedding mood: The Caribbean Sea. This beautiful part of the world had been on our list for quite a long time. But since we hadn’t been to the Caribbean at all before, we were offered a great choice of beautiful-looking islands with white beaches, turquoise water, and relaxed vibes. However, I realized quickly that even though all islands are beautiful, they are very different, especially regarding the color of the waters. Which makes me want to visit and explore every single one of them.
Out of all the Caribbean islands: Why Curaçao?
You might have heard of Cuba, Jamaica, or Puerto Rico. Those belong to the Greater Antilles and are located in the northern Caribbean Sea. The Lesser Antilles are in the southeastern part and coincide with the outer cliff of the Caribbean Plate. Some of the more popular islands in the Lesser Antilles are Guadeloupe, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. Most of them are historically related to European Countries like France, Great Britain, or the Netherlands, so it makes them easier to access for European residents. Respectively, British Airways flies to their Virgin Islands, Air France to Martinique, and KLM to Aruba and Curaçao.
Apart from the accessibility of the island, which made (former) territories to be a rational choice, it was also the price that was crucial for our final decision. And since we wanted to explore as many areas as possible, a link between the islands meant a big plus for us. As it happened, someone had told us that Aruba has in his eyes the most beautiful beaches in the world. And since Aruba is part of the ABC islands, which contain Bonaire and Curaçao, this meant a lot of the Caribbean to explore. Well, we didn’t make it to Bonaire, unfortunately, which we genuinely regret. But apart from that, Curaçao and Aruba are easily accessible via Amsterdam and KLM. Aruba also happens to be one of the popular vacation spots for US-citizen, making it lucrative for us to pay a visit to Miami afterward since we were already in the area…
All in all, we decided on the ABC-islands based on its accessibility, price, and exploration factor. Overall, our vacation in the Caribbean was perfect, and I am happy to share my travel diary with you and some tips along the way.
Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao represent the ABC islands, which are among the Leeward Antilles, which is the westernmost area of the Lesser Antilles. Curaçao is located about 60 kilometers north of the Venezuelan coast, which is why geologically, the ABC islands belong to the South American continental plate. The Country of Curaçao includes the main island and the much smaller, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao. Together, they are considered a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the official languages being Dutch, Papiamentu, and English.
Around 160,000 people live on Curaçao, mainly in the capital Willemstad and the urban area around Schottegat in the central-eastern part of the island. The citizens of Curaçao have Dutch citizenship and are therefore also EU citizens. As on Sint Maarten, they pay with the currency Antillean guilder.
On an early morning in May, we left Amsterdam with the queen of the skies, the B747. After arriving at Curaçao International Airport, we picked up our rental car and also downloaded the Maps.Me offline map of Curaçao. Our first accommodation was the AVILA BEACH HOTEL: A very nice complex with direct access to the beach that welcomed us with beautiful surroundings, lovely weather, and a nice breeze. It happened that we ended the day on the beach, doing nothing in particular but enjoying the warm weather and the beautiful view of the sea.
DAY II: Exploring three beaches
Very grateful for our rental car, we decided to drive approx. 30 kilometres on the next morning in order to visit a very unique breakfast spot: The KARAKTER beach lounge. On the way, we saw countless plants like cactuses, succulents, but only a few buildings. It’s probably for that reason that the St Willibrordus Church fought my attention: The church stands out in the desert landscape with its bright color.
Talking about beautiful things, the pictures of the KARAKTER that we had found on the internet already promised a lot. Still, when we reached the place, we were blown away: The little breakfast café serves food right in front of the sea: You can literally touch the water surface while sitting there. And the color is so turquoise it is beaming against the sky. I have never seen any turquoise again, not even in the famous cocktail with the same name.
After breakfast, we decided to explore the waters, but the snorkel equipment offered seemed a bit expensive, which is why we decided to head for another beach. The Grote Knip which is located a little further up the coast is considered to be a hidden gem, with one of the most beautiful beaches in Curaçao. When we arrived, it was very crowded, which is why I didn’t take any presentable pictures. Unfortunately, the equipment rental shop was equally expensive, which is why we decided to just enjoy the waters and the beach without swimming goggles. After a while, we also visited another place called Lagun. Even though both beaches have great reviews, none of these could compare with the watercolor at Karakter (which is, to be fair, not exactly a beach but rather a bathing area…)
In the evening, we decided to go back to the place where the day had started to finally do some snorkeling, realizing we could have actually just rented the equipment there in the first place. But otherwise, we would have never seen the Grote Knip and the Lagun, so I am still grateful we took off to explore a little bit. Also, an hour of snorkeling is enough for my liking anyway, and I was glad to leave the turquoise, clear and beautiful waters after a while and watch it from above, with a drink in my hand.