Having been in the travel industry for many, many years, I have visited many, many countries; however, I have just returned from a fantastic first time, week-long trip to Curacao.  If you're wondering where Curacao is, it is part of the  ABC Islands - Aruba, Bonaire and  Curacao and is located approximately 70km north of Venezuela. The name Curacao comes from Corazon (heart) meaning the "Heart of the Caribbean".  It is a Dutch Caribbean island where the main language is Papiamentu, a combination of Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese, although English is also spoken in the resorts. It's well known for its beaches, which are cove-like (so no long beach walks) and filled with marine life therefore snorkeling right from the shore is a definite must. Because the beaches are coral-based, water shoes are highly recommended - certainly made my entrances into the water much smoother and I'm sure not as comical as some. 

We stayed at Dreams Curacao, part of the World of Hyatt portfolio, which is a 4*, all-inclusive resort only 15min from the airport ($20usd taxi). It is a smaller resort with 192 rooms, small beach, infinity pool, 4 restaurants and 2 bars. The a la carte restaurants serve Italian, Seafood and Steak, and there is an International buffet. All the restaurants are outdoors creating a nice ambiance, particularly the seafood restaurant which is right on the water and has amazing views of the sunsets. Everything is within easy walking distance so perfect if you have mobility issues. It is family-friendly with a small kids' pool area and a theatre. The main lobby bar is where everyone gathers - good service, drinks and staff. Zoetry, a sister property across the street, is a higher-end resort with shared privileges with Dreams. Many of the guests staying at Zoetry joined us at the main bar in Dreams as it was a little more lively. Zoetry is gorgeous; rooms are beautiful with a muted colour palate; grounds are lush and tropical. If you're looking for a quiet, zen-like atmosphere this is the place. There are some renovations coming to the property - pods are being built on the beach for those wishing a beachfront stay, as well as a restaurant; but until that time guests make use of the Dreams beach.

Curacao itself is a great island to explore. We took a full day island tour and visited Shete Boca National Park on the north side of the island which has completely different topography, huge crashing waves and almost moon-like surfaces. Grote Knip Beach, is a public beach on the west side of the island with no entry fee, and has the best colour of beach on the island - Curacao blue. Beautiful white sand and probably one of the biggest beaches we saw. Playa Lagun is a great spot for snorkelling and swimming with sea turtles, and great views from the restaurant. You can also swim with the turtles Playa Grandi and Klein Curacao. There are 35 beaches to discover; one of the longest and whitest beaches is Klein Curacao (Little Curacao) an uninhabited island 8 miles off the southeast coast of the mainland. Beautiful soft, white sand makes it a popular choice for day trips for picnics, snorkelling and diving. We also visited the salt flats where we saw pink flamingos mingling together. 

Although on vacation, I did a site inspection at Sandals Royal Curacao. It's a little further out on the east coast, on Santa Barbara Beach. Keeping with Sandals standards the property is absolutely gorgeous; 350 rooms, adults only, all watersports included (motorized and non), premium liquors, wifi, all tips, 11 restaurants, 13 bars, 3 food trucks and lively entertainment. The staff keep the place hopping around the swimup bar, and the main pool includes a 2-tiered infinity pool with a transparent lower level. Several different categories of rooms to choose from, including those with butler service and your own Mini Cooper to use during your stay. Weekly trips ($35usd roundtrip) to Willemstad are popular and gives guests the opportunity to see this amazing UNESCO World Heritage capital city.

Willemstad is divided into two sections, connected with the floating Queen Emma bridge. It's a sight to behold as the alarm sounds and the 15 pontoons begin to move to allow the ships to pass through St. Ann Bay. Both are great walking areas; Punda is filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, cafes, and bars while Otrobanda, the old city quarter, is where you will find the colourful historic buildings. The city comes alive at night with the bridge lighting up in various colours (when we were there it was Christmas themed). Punda Vibes takes place on Thursday evenings - restaurants have local musicians, locals selling their wares on the corners, and food markets. What's interesting is that Curacao does not grow their own fruit due to the volcanic soil. Everything is imported, particularly from Venezuela. Every Monday the Venezuelan farmers board their little boats and make the 7.5hr journey to Curacao to sell their goods. They remain there all week and Friday night sail back to Venezuela to see their families. They live on their boats all week. They even offer drive through! As you drive through the main streets, the vendors approach the cars to sell their fruit so you don't even have to get out of your vehicle!

I really enjoyed my visit. I met many people who had purchased condos in the Blue Bay area and spend their winters in Curacao. Still so much for me to see but my week was amazing and I highly recommend the island. Everything was "Dushi". 


* Water shoes are a must

* Towel clips come in handy as the island is very windy

* Bug Spray - especially at Dreams as all restaurants were outdoors

* Oct-Dec is the rainy season - but even then it can be a downpour for 20min then the sun re-appears

* Rent a car - get out of the property to explore the island - 38miles long and 7miles wide at its widest point - beaches, cliff diving, restaurants, markets

* Tap water is safe to drink

If you would like further information, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Allana Haines


(416) 737-3538