Are you Curious about Curacao?
Family Travel to Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
This Dutch Caribbean Island is rich in language, culture, and diversity. Its history is alive and expressed in the galleries, restaurants, museums, and people. Blue skies, pristine water and soft sandy beaches, are you Curious about Curacao yet?
Knowing little about Curacao, my expectations were rather limited. I didn’t think Curacao would be any different than any other Caribbean island I’ve experienced. In fact, I was pretty sure I’d been to Curacao before. Maybe on a cruise or something; nothing too memorable. So when my husband told me we were going on a Valentine’s Day getaway to Curacao with the two kids in tow, I was less than impressed.
The island of Curacao is located just off the Venezuelan coast about 15 degrees south of the equator. The temperature is warm and sunny most of the year and averages about 80 degrees. Curacao has trade winds blowing in from the east so lying out on the beach or enjoying a round of golf is both comfortable and ideal. The rainy season is from October through February, though it rarely rains for the entire day.
We stayed at the Santa Barbara Beach Resort & Golf Club. It is one of the most exclusive luxury 5 star resorts on Curacao. It’s located a good distance away from the airport and the downtown district and sits on 27 acres of a Natural Wildlife Preserve. Breathtaking views, exotic animals, and warm tropical breezes surrounded us.
Santa Barbara Resort is well maintained and immaculate. I couldn’t find any flaws in any part of the buildings or rooms. Yes I look for flaws. Wooden doors and furnishings, arched grand entrances, open stairwells, and dark plantations shutters. The decor is simple, clean, and elegant.
Our accommodations were perfect for my size crew. We enjoyed a family suite with two bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a living room. Yes, that’s right I said 3 bathrooms. The suite was actually a combined king room, a room with two double beds, and a living room positioned in the middle. I’m guessing they have several floor plans to accommodate almost any sized party. The suite also had an attached ocean view patio, small kitchenette, and pull out sofa.
There is so much to enjoy at the Santa Barbara Beach Resort & Golf Club including tennis, fishing, sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. We spent a lot of time at the pool getting sun kissed and chasing iguanas. There were plenty of iguanas around the resort and they were all harmless and very hospitable. They even had an Iguana Feeding activity for the kids to enjoy. They had so much fun watching the staff interact with the iguanas.
The Santa Barbara Resort has an 18-hole golf course that is located just off the Caribbean Sea. There is an 8,000 square feet pro golf shop complete with locker rooms, lounge, and a restaurant. The kids and I decided to join my husband for a round of golf so he wouldn’t get too lonely. We had fun driving the golf carts around and taking in the landscape and scenic views. There were so many different species of plants, birds, and iguanas to photograph. After the kids and I got bored playing golf we let my husband to enjoy the last 9 holes alone as we took photographs by the shore.
My idea of a relaxing afternoon also consists of spa time and there is a spa located at the resort. At the Atebei Spa, I enjoyed a facial in an open aired treatment room with bamboo walls for privacy. There’s also a large open rain shower in each of the rooms for visitors to freshen after a long hard day at the spa.
While I lounged at the spa, the kids hung out at the resort’s kid’s center. It’s fully staffed and designed to accommodate children and babies. We felt very comfortable leaving our two in the care of the friendly staff members. They played board games and created a seashell craft while they were there.
The Santa Barbara Resort has several restaurants including one called The Shore. It’s an American Seafood Grill overlooking the ocean, which to our delight offered a 5 course fixed priced meal on Valentine’s Day. Once again, the resort arranged our childcare for the evening. But this time it was in room child care. Ms. Robin, our sitter for the evening, arrived 15 minutes early, allowing me a few extra minutes to get dolled up for hubby. This wasn’t our first time using a resort’s in room childcare so after a 5-minute introduction we were bolting out the door.
There is plenty of recreational activity at Santa Barbara but we really wanted to venture off the property and take in some local sites. One evening we went to the Papagayo Beach Club and Plaza. There were several shops, outdoor restaurants, bars and a casino. We felt very comfortable walking around with the little ones, the crowd was mostly PG rated. There are lots of tourists in the area and we felt very safe. We ate dinner at a beach bar & grill. It was the perfect setting for a family dinner on the island: picnic tables, canopy lights, and a friendly staff.
Our next off resort adventure was to Curacao’s downtown district. We spent an afternoon walking the streets peeking in and out of the tourist shops and stopping every now and then to take a few photos. The architecture is almost identical to the homes in Amsterdam that are often photographed.
Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, English, and Portuguese are all the beautiful native languages spoken in Curacao. Most people from here speak a minimum of four languages. They are also very knowledgeable about their history and culture. I think it’s because the country does a good job at preserving its history no matter how dark that may be.
During our walk downtown we stumbled upon the Kura Hulanda Museum, located in what use to be the slave quarters and once owned by the Dutch West India Trade Company. Curacao was one of the largest trading post for African slaves for the Dutch. The site of the museum is the exact location where slaves were kept and sold after they were taken off vessels from Africa. The museum offers one of the most extensive collections of slave trade artifacts anywhere in the world. We were able to see and touch most of the exhibits including the child-sized shackles, which gave me chills watching my child hold them.
This was the first time my husband and I had a conversation with our children about the Slave Trade. The museum was so well curated with supporting documents, illustrations, articles, even a full sized replica of the bottom of a slave boat where men woman and children were stacked like sacks of grain. They were all there for my family to see, touch, and feel. I couldn’t imagine us ever having such an experience like that moment while visiting the Kura Hulanda Museum in Curacao.
After the museum we walked around the area visiting a few other galleries and had lunch at the Governors Restaurant. Curacao is a major cruise port and there were many people there enjoying the shopping.
Are you ready to plan your next vacation getaway? You must come and experience Curacao with your family and I recommend you stay at the beautiful Santa Barbara Beach Resort and Golf Club. I promise that after one trip to this exciting country you will forever and always be Curious about Curacao?