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CURACAO
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This is part of the Dutch Caribbean and one of the so-called “ABC” islands---Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We visited Curacao in 1989 and found it okay but not sensational. The people were nice enough, the island more lush than Aruba but the beaches were disappointing and the snorkeling a complete zero. (No -- we didn’t go out on a boat and I’m sure they have good snorkeling on boat trips but from shore it left a lot to be desired.)

We chose the Princess Beach Resort and Casino and it was a very good choice.  One reason we picked it was in the hopes of finding good snorkeling. The Curacao Underwater Park is located right off the beach, or so we were told. However during our stay the water was murky and totally uninviting.

The Curacao Seaquarium is located right next to the hotel and features an interesting display of more than 400 species of fish, crabs and other aquatic critters.  It's most certainly worth a visit.

There are many bistros, restaurants and cafes in the downtown area.  We enjoyed a couple of them although their names escape me.  One meal that we all enjoyed came at a restaurant called Pisces Seafood.  It's a pretty lengthy taxi ride from the resort and downtown area but excellent.  Don't let the industrial atmosphere bother you!  It's the food you're after, right?  My son Rob was very, very picky back then and didn't like any seafood.  Our server was kind enough to scare up an American type steak for him even though it did not appear on the menu.

One way to spend a pleasant morning before it gets hot is to explore downtown Willemstad.  It's divided into the Punda and the Otrabanda and the two are connected by the world famous Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge.  This thing actually moves sideways to allow large ships to pass through the channel.  From the downtown area you'll easily see a giant vehicular bridge.  It's the Queen Juliana Bridge which tops out at 195 feet above the water.  A very impressive site.

There are the usual museums to explore and local markets and if you feel like taking a little trip out of town, head for Christoffel National Park and do some exploring in the far western tip of the Island. It's a good 45 minute drive from Willemstad and has one "hill" that is 1,200 feet above sea level.

There are casinos on the island and the downtown area is hoppin’ and alive with action. It just wasn’t our “cup of tea” though and after two days, we hopped an ALM Airlines MD-80 back over to Aruba. (ALM stands for Antillean Airlines this or that but we called it “Always Late and Meandering” because they didn’t exactly land and take off on schedule each time on our flights, anyway!) ALM is long gone now!

One thing to consider is to make Curacao a part of a multi-island trip.  You can easily visit all three "ABC" islands--Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.  We can highly
vouch for Aruba as you'll see if you check out our Aruba section although we have not yet had a chance to take in Bonaire.  My friends tell me the snorkeling is out of this world in Bonaire.

Currency is the Netherlands Guilder. Driving is on the right.

IMPORTANT:  All Americans visiting Curacao now need a valid passport.

  Click here for pictures of Curacao 

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