Curaçao (pronounced "kur-ah-saow"; Dutch: Curaçao, Papiamento: Kòrsou, Spanish: Curazao) is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Island Territory of Curaçao, which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"), is one of five island territories of the Netherlands Antilles, and as such, is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its capital is Willemstad.
Curaçao is the largest and most populous of the three ABC islands (for Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) of the Lesser Antilles, specifically the Leeward Antilles. It has a land area of 444 square kilometers (171 square miles). As of 1 January 2009, it had a population of 141,766.
In Curaçao, as well as the rest of the ABC islands Papiamento is the official language, "derived from either Portuguese or Spanish with vocabulary influences from African languages, English, Dutch, and Arawak native languages" (Wikipedia). It is the most bizarre language to hear. You can distinctly hear Spanish, English, and Dutch words all within one sentence. All of the locals we came across seemed to know Papiamento, Spanish, English, and Dutch, or, at least enough of each of them to help anyone get around. Watching the fluidity of languages has strongly encouraged my desire to take Spanish back up. I find myself insanely jealous that I cannot make this sort of transition easily and slightly embarrassed what a crutch English is for me, "Oh, you don't speak English? Well, I guess nevermind then..."
We originally looked into going to Aruba which boasts some of the most magnificent beaches in the world. Along with those beaches however, comes giant resorts, which, is just not really our style. We moved from there to the other ABC islands. Bonaire is very rural and boasts some of the world's best diving. Unfortunately, Darling and I were not certified divers and although the country looks beautiful, it seemed silly to travel somewhere that is very hard to get to (no direct flying) and not be able to see what it is known for once we got there. For a brief stint we considered going to Trinidad and Tobago. I was enchanted by the idea of seeing sea turtles lay their eggs (it's the season). But we eventually decided on Curaçao which is said to be a happy medium of Aruba and Bonnaire: lots of diving/snorkeling, good beaches, and a more European vibe. Did I mention that we got an amazing deal on airfare, lodge, and car rental? Oh, well, we did.
We arrived late on Tuesday night after flights/layovers to Dallas/Miami. The Lodge Kura Hulanda where we stayed was in West Punt, or, the farthest North West corner of the island. Neither Darling or I drive a stick shift but Darling navigated us (in our little blue Kia Picanto) across the desert terrain, in the dark, without the guidance of street signs (they just don't exist). Our official directions from the Lodge's website are as follows:
1. Out of the airport parking lot turn Right.
2. Follow the road until you reach the roundabout.
3. Turn right at the roundabout and follow road until you see Jaanchies restaurant on your left.
4. Turn right then take your first Left.
5. Keep going straight and on the end bear to the Left.
6. After 200 meters you will see Lodge Kura Hulanda on Left.
Aka: "Drive until you see this restaurant and it'll be around there." There was a construction detour so our directions were shot, and we just had to find it. Go Darling go! We arrived just in time to get food before the restaurant closed. The Lodge is beautiful, made up of small cottages, open air everything, lots of plants and charm. The food was incredible, upscale dining, but with prices to match. It was totally worth it that first evening! I'm sure I ate grouper with beets and rice and papaya that night. After hours and hours of travel, voila! Fancy food. Incredible.
From here I'm just going to post some photos and see where I get. Deal? (You know me, I'm not going to fuss over them in Photoshop right now. I'll never make a post that way.)
I couldn't help making "If you were stranded on a desert island..." jokes. We were on a desert island. Amazing cactus all over the place and these bizarre giant asparagus (at least 20' tall!).
Lodge Kura Hulanda. This is looking near the bar pool area, close to the restaurant the over looks the ocean.
This is our cottage. We stayed in the blue part
The area is full of geckos, lizards, and huge iguanas. Darling counted 6 species, I think.
In the afternoon we went on a snorkeling trip to a sunken boat and "The Blue Room". << (click for picture)
A 200 lb Grouper calls the sunken boat home. He is enormous. I will post the photos we took with our underwater camera if they turn out when we develop them. Damn airport security made us put the flim through x-ray.
Darling in his Scuba Fosse shirt my sister gave him for Christmas. I want one.
I think he is so cute in his swim getup.
Later that evening I ate ostrich medallions. It sounded so yuppie-extravagant. "I'll have the ostrich medallions, please." They were, however, very delicious, and local. You may visit the farm and see how things are run if you're on the island. Their website is here.
This wraps up our first two days as far as a post is concerned!