Curacao. All Inclusive (Part I)
Updated: Feb 25, 2019
My wife and I recently returned from an 8 day vacation on the island of Curacao at an all inclusive resort. I have spent the better part of my life avoiding all inclusive anythings which means that, with the exception of a few cruises we have taken, I have essentially arranged all aspects of my/our travels - accommodations, rental vehicles, itinerary etc. For the most part, this has worked out well, although if you canvas my wife, she may beg to differ.
This year, for the very first time, we decided to take a mid-winter tropical vacation at an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean. My wife left all the arrangements to me. She didn't really care where we went so long as there was a beach, sun, warmth and she didn't have to cook or engage in any domestic chores.
As is my nature, I am a little more discerning than my wife when it comes to travel destinations. I had a few stipulations of my own.
First, the destination had to be safe to travel about because I could not imagine myself being confined to the geographic limits of one particular resort for 8 days. I don't care how many pools, bars, swim up bars, gyms, saunas, zumba classes, yoga classes, meditation breaks, how to reduce stress and bolster energy classes, how to be a better person classes, how to be more assertive, how to be less assertive, musicians, magicians, clowns, bocce, tennis and other courts or any other sundry distractions they may offer. Oh yes, and conga lines.. did I mention conga lines?
Second, I wanted an island where the currency is the Euro because I wanted to utilize the Euros that I still have from my trips to Europe.
Third, and I'm not being particular here, but I wanted something a little different... a destination that was slightly off the North American vacationer's radar, if such a place actually exists. (It doesn't). We also wanted a direct flight.
A few islands came to mind off the top... Guadeloupe and Martinique for example, both French islands whose principal currency is the Euro and which are reasonably safe and frequented in robust numbers by the French, Europeans as well as other non-English speaking visitors.
The problem with these particular islands is that most accommodations are not all inclusive. Although, if you are fortunate, some do offer a "European Plan" which may include exotically named breakfast treats such as a Berliner Pfannkuchen, basically a donut without a hole made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil and smothered in jam or marmalade with powdered icing sugar on top. I digress.
In any event, after a few days of searching the web, we came across an all inclusive resort on the island of Curacao, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles which filled most of our respective boxes and we booked it. And we're glad we did. Sadly and reluctantly, I had to loose the beret and pick up some wooden shoes.
Here are a few "overview" photos to give you an idea of our resort and the Island. In subsequent posts, I'll highlight various aspects of our vacation, including visits to the capital, Willemstad, birds and creatures we saw and select locations and features around the island.
Let's begin with the resort. Most of the following photos are of our resort complex. The sunset photo was taken with my cell phone on our first night. Our room was large and spacious as was our balcony. There were 5 restaurants to choose from. Although we had a number of pools on the property, we never went in. We were always at the beach. It was so beautiful and the water crystal clear and inviting. I was able to do a lot of snorkeling right off the shore.
We were fortunate to be very close to the capital city of Willemstad and were able to visit it twice. It is a clean city with many beautiful and colourful buildings as well as several historic sites. In 1997 the UNESCO world heritage site committee selected the historic centre of the city including the waterfront, for designation as a world heritage site. The following are a few shots taken in Willemstad. The second photo with Marsha is taken on the city's pontoon bridge named after Queen Emma. The bridge is hinged and is open regularly to let boats and other water craft through.
There were many other things to see and do, both near our resort and beyond. The Curacao Aquarium was just a 10 minute walk from our complex and we spent a wonderful afternoon there. We also rented a car and did many parts of the island including the Jan Thiel salt flats where we were able to watch and photograph the beautiful pink flamingos in their natural habitat. As you can see from the third last photo, I also took a number of photos with my go pro camera while I was snorkeling. There were, of course, many interesting birds and lizards around and by getting up early to photograph them I was also able to get many beautiful sunrises.
Well that's it for Part I. Stay tuned for Part II where I'll have more comments and photos related to specific subjects from this vacation.