A Travellerspoint blog

Curacao Day 5: Pizza! Pizza!

Mike woke up early this morning and did a dive off the dock of our house about 7a. He wanted to see if he could catch sight of some big fish on the reef feeding in the early morning but he didn't quite make it early enough. I slept in. I was having none of that getting up early business. Our plan for the day was to drive to Westpunt on the other side of the island to visit Shete Boca park. We had to stop and get gas and mosquito spray on the way. We were having to almost bathe in mosquito spray every day. They were horrible at the house in the late afternoon and evening.

On the way to Westpunt, I pulled the car over so Mike could take a smoke break. We found a disgusting sight. It looked like someone had been burning goats and trash.

We did find some scenery that was a little better.

We arrived in Westpunt and began looking for a restaurant called Sol Food. We were headed down the wrong road (which we didn't yet know) and came upon an Austrian family who had gotten their Kia stuck in the flooded road. This area of the island had gotten lots of rain in the previous days and much of the roads were flooded. They were driving a small car and it was pretty obvious to me the car wouldn't have made it through the water. I have no idea what possessed them to try to drive through it. Mike helped push them out of the water but the car still wouldn't start. I flagged down a Dutch couple who had some jumper cables but we still weren't able to get the car started. The Austrian family had to walk back to their hotel. I'm pretty sure their rental car company was not happy to hear about this!

After that debacle, we turned around and finally found Sol Food. By now we were starving and thankful they had a spare table. I had a salad and then we split a pepperoni and mushroom pizza and had some tasty sangria. One of the pizza toppings was pickled garlic. It was fantastic. That was some of the best tasting pizza I've ever had.

The view from our table:


We met a Dutch couple while there who live on Curacao. They gave us lots of pointers about where to go and what to do on the island. Sunshine, the owner of Sol Food, is an American ex-pat whose been living on the island for several years. She also had some helpful advice. She has two fila brasileiro dogs which is the same unusual breed of dog my parents used to own. These dogs are originally from Brazil and are bred as guard dogs. I've never known anyone else who has had one so it was interesting that Sunshine owned two.


After the stuck car, the pizza, and the Curacao talk it was much too late to go to Shete Boca park so we just drove back to town and went to the casino for a bit. I actually won $50 on slots instead of losing money while Mike played roulette.

This little guy was hanging out on the back stairs when we got home.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:42 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged curacao Comments (0)

Curacao Day 4: Iguana Nibbles

Mike slept in the next day until about noon. I spent the morning reading and enjoying the quiet view. We decided to drive to the other side of the island and check out a dive site called Playa Lagun. However, I decided that I was going to stick with snorkeling, no diving for me today. It took us about 30-40 minutes to drive to Playa Lagun, a small beach where locals like to hang out and barbecue. Condos, dive shops, and restaurants sit atop the tall cliffs that frame all sides of the bay.



Before getting in the water, we decided to grab some lunch and a drink at the Bahia Grill overlooking the bay. I had a salmon salad sandwich and Mike had a ham and cheese tosti. During lunch, we were bombarded by iguanas. These guys were obviously fed by the bar because they had no fear of humans at all. As a matter of fact, one of them kept nibbling on my toes! My toenails were painted yellow and I believe he thought they were mangoes.




After lunch, we went back to the car and Mike suited up in the parking lot. He had a problem with the o-ring on his tank but was able to fix the problem fairly quickly. Then we headed into the water.

I stayed behind to snorkel while Mike took the camera diving.




Brain coral

Ocean surgeonfish

Various corals

Tube sponge

Blackbar soldierfish

Blue tang

Stoplight parrotfish initial phase

Various types of parrotfish

The usual reef tire


Barrel sponge


Spotted moray eel

On my snorkel, I started along the left side of the bay and followed it around the corner, outside of the bay, along the rocks. I then came back across the bay to the right side and circled back to the beach. It was a fairly shallow snorkel with lots of fishlife and coral. I saw squid, trumpetfish, an eel, drumfish, and much more. It was the best place I snorkeled in Curacao.

We drove back home and then headed out to dinner to Mundo Bizarro, a colorful, Cuban-style restaurant across the bridge from Willemstad.


Mike continued his sampling of the island's carpaccio by having the smoked ribeye carpaccio.

I had a pork tenderloin stuffed with goat cheese and spinach with hand-cut fries.

Both dishes were outstanding and the atmosphere of the restaurant was relaxing. After dinner, we went back to our house and downloaded all our photos we'd taken so far then called it a night.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:44 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged curacao Comments (0)

Curacao Day 3: Diving at the Casa

Mike was in one of his moods and stayed up most of the previous night. He went snorkeling in the dark to check out the dive site right off the house. He then decided to do an early morning solo dive from the house. He went to about 70 feet. I was awake and sitting on the back porch when he got back. Since we were feeling kind of lazy, we decided to dive from home. But we were hungry so we wanted to get a bite of lunch first. We drove over to Pirate Bay, a beachfront restaurant at Piscadera Bay, just a few miles from the house. We came up with our dive plan while Mike had some French onion soup and I had chicken fettucine alfredo.

When we arrived back at the house, we carried our dive gear down the long flight of stairs to the sea. Mike had to first bring up his tank from the morning dive. It's a long haul up those stairs with a tank on your back.



To get into the water from the bottom of the stairs, you must either put all of your gear on and go down the ladder or go down the ladder and put your gear on in the water. Either way was difficult for me, especially with my new, integrated weight BCD. I struggled. Mike struggled to help me. Again, it was not a good situation. Mike got frustrated. I got frustrated. So in the end, he again went solo diving and I decided just to snorkel. I was a little nervous about snorkeling in this area because the boat traffic was pretty heavy. I did have to constantly pull my head up to look around and make sure I didn't get smacked. The reef was a good ways down from the surface but I managed to see some decent fishlife including squid and a huge pufferfish. Mike went down to 143 feet but this time took the camera.

Yellowtail snapper

Tube sponge

Blackbar soldierfish

Foureye butterflyfish

Blackbar soldierfish with barrel sponge

After the dive, Mike made us some pina coladas.

View through the kitchen window

Curacao bird (looks like a big-eyed dove)

Tonight's dinner was a long drive to the north/western side of the island to a restaurant called Trio Penotti. It's located just across the road from Mt. Christoffel, the tallest point in Curacao. We were so tired we didn't take any dinner pictures which was unfortunate because we were entertained throughout our meal by several kittens running around the patio. Dinner was again tasty and I had a sirloin steak with potatoes while Mike had primavera soup and garlic shrimp with polenta. We crashed after the long drive back home.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:40 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged curacao Comments (0)

Curacao Day 2: Iguana Love

After finally getting a good night's sleep, we woke up about 9:30 the next morning. We sat on the back porch for a while, enjoying the sea view and the wildlife and planning our day. We were on island time.




Suddenly there was a commotion to our left. Two iguanas were rolling around next to the porch. We thought they were fighting at first but then...


We got our dive gear together and drove over to Blue Bay, a condo development not far from our house. Diveversity dive shop is located there on a nice beach from which you can shore dive. We got registered with the dive shop and they gave us a tour of the facilities.



We decided to grab some lunch at the on-site restaurant, Azzuro, before heading into the water. Mike had some more beef carpaccio (this would become an island staple for him) and I had fish and chips.





After lunch, we suited up and headed into the water together; however, it soon became apparent that we needed to dive separately. I was having multiple problems with leg cramps, ear clearing, and mask flooding. Not to mention my panic was setting in. I was going to stay shallow. Mike set off for the depths. He went to 127 feet, seeing lots of lionfish. He left the camera at home for this dive. I stayed in the 25-foot range and unfortunately, didn't see much of anything. It was not a good first dive for me. So afterwards, we sat at the beach bar and had pina coladas.

We went home and got cleaned up for dinner. We had reservations at a restaurant called Kome in the Pietermaai district of Curacao. This area is across the bridge from Willemstad. It's an older part of the island currently being revitalized with hotels, restaurants, and bars.


Kome is a tapas restaurant so we started with a couple of small plates of yellowfin tuna tartare with yucca chips and shrimp and funchi which included tasso ham and a poached egg in a Cajun cream sauce.


The tuna was good but the shrimp and funchi was outstanding! It was so good, in fact, that Mike ordered another plate. I went with the octopus a la plancha--octopus with chorizo, romesco, baby potato, and salsa verde.

The octopus was also outstanding! Even though it was our first full day on Curacao, this meal was our favorite of the week.

After dinner, we drove back to the casino to gamble a bit. Mike played some roulette and I stuck with the slots. The woman on the machine NEXT TO ME won a $1K slot! I couldn't believe it. I lost $10.

Afterwards, we went back to the house and relaxed on our porch.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:40 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged curacao Comments (0)

Curacao Day 1: Another Red Eye to Another ABC Island

Three years ago, we went to Bonaire and loved it. Since that time, we wanted to visit its sister island, Curacao, to see how it compared. Both islands are in the southern Caribbean, not far from the coast of Venezuela. Both islands have great shore diving and are part of the Dutch Netherlands Antilles. Bonaire has rocky beaches. Curacao has sandy beaches. Bonaire's dive sites are much more condensed and side-by-side. Curacao's dive sites require some driving about. Bonaire rolls up the streets by 10p. Curacao has more of a nightlife. On Scubaboard, they say that "Bonaire is where divers go to vacation and Curacao is where vacationers go to dive."

Our flight was leaving at an incredibly early 5:45a and I arranged for a car to take us to the airport at 3a. We decided it would be easier to just stay up all night and try to sleep on the plane. The excitement pretty much kept us awake and then a shower around 1:30a helped. We arrived at the airport to find that security wouldn't be open until 4:30a and there were no places open to get food or drinks. Our flight was on time and we set off for Miami. Unfortunately, the plan to sleep on the plane didn't go well. We arrived in Miami with a couple of hours to kill so we got some brunch at Island Time. I had a tasty, grilled mahi mahi sandwich and Mike had some ribs. We both had bloody marys. We left Miami on time but still arrived a little late in Curacao. We were the last in the immigration line because just as we got off the plane, Mike realized he left his brand new sunglasses on the plane. Of course, they wouldn't let him back on to get them nor would they go to his seat and find them for him. I guess some airport personnel is the lucky owner of a brand new pair of polarized glasses. After the usual to-dos upon entry, we met Robert from Just Drive who took us to his rental car company down the road to pick up our Toyota RAV4 with GPS. They had already set up our rental house in the GPS so all we had to do was hop in the car and go.

The main town of Curacao is Willemstad which is on the southern or eastern portion of the island. Many of the beaches and diving areas are on the northern or western portion of the island. I tried to choose lodging somewhere in the middle because I knew we would want to be in one area for beaches/diving during the day and in town for dinner at night. I found the perfect home, right on the water, mid-island, in a fishing village called St. Michiel.










Master bedroom

Master bathroom

Second bedroom

Second bathroom, with outside door


View from livingroom window to front yard

We met with the property manager, Nathaly, and got things settled in then drove down to the corner store to get some beer, Cokes, and snacks. We had 8:00p dinner reservations at a restaurant on the water so we went into Willemstad early to look around. Mike was excited to check out the casino so we drove to the Renaissance where there is free parking in the garage. The Renaissance casino is the biggest in Curacao and has roulette, blackjack, and slots. We just had time for a couple of slots then walked through Riff Fort and down the waterway to our dinner locale, Governeur de Rouville.


Governeur is a beautiful, local restaurant with a balcony view of the downtown waterway and the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge.

We started with some tropical drinks and beef carpaccio. Mike ordered a pina colada and I ordered a prosecco with blue curacao.


For dinner, I had shrimp in garlic sauce with gratin potatoes and vegetables and Mike had spare ribs (for the second time today).


While we were finishing up dinner, a huge cargo ship came through the canal. It was so gigantic that everyone stopped what they were doing to watch it. It seemed like it might not even fit through the waterway.


The Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the waterway in downtown Willemstad. It was built in 1888 and opens and closes when necessary for oceangoing vessels to pass through the waterway. When it's open, ferries are used to take pedestrians across to each side.


After dinner, we went back to the casino and played roulette for a while then relaxed on the back porch, heading to bed about 12:30a.

Posted by zihuatcat 11:01 Archived in Netherlands Antilles Tagged curacao Comments (0)

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