An unexpected, planned trip to the island of Curacao
3/23/18 - 3/24/18 82 °F
If you’d asked me last week if I thought I’d be poolside in Willemstad, Curacao right now, I probably would have said no. Luckily, the stars aligned and we were able to leave frigid Columbus, Ohio for warm, sunny Curacao as planned. Whew! Since I wasn’t sure we’d be able to leave, I didn’t do the normal thorough planning of what to see or do and have pre-planned tours and timetables like I usually do. Guess we’ll do this one as we go. One thing I’m planning is some down-time. It’s been a busy past month so sitting on the beach for a while may just work for me.
We landed around 4pm and breezed through passport control. We grabbed an expensive taxi and headed to our Willemstad hotel - Hotel Klooster. Our spacious room is just off the courtyard...nice. After settling in, it was time to grab dinner and scout out the area. Curacao is a former Dutch colony so the architecture is a strange mix of Dutch and Caribbean. The buildings are painted in bright yellows, pinks and blues.
Colorful Dutch architecture in Willemstad
At the center of Willemstad is a harbor leading to a commercial waterway. Vehicles cross this waterway along a tall roadway. There is also a pedestrian bridge that is different than any I’ve seen. The whole bridge is on pontoons and swings out of the way of passing ships. One end pivots ad the other end swings to the other shore. It’s really quite ingenious! At night the bridge is lit with colorful lights that reflect a rainbow of ripples on the water. We wandered around the area for a while and stopped for a refreshing beer at an one of the many open-air cafes.
Queen Emma Bridge
Saturday, we decided to see a couple local sites. I had read that Hato Caves was worth a visit and it’s right next to the airport so transportation should be easy. Our hotel called a cab (taxis in Curacao are NOT cheap) and we took a quick, $35 trip there. The area around the caves was once a plantation. Escaped slaves would use the caves to hide. The caves aren’t very extensive but it’s worth the price. There are interesting stalagmite and stalagtite formations throughout the caves. The caves are also home to fruit bats. As we walked through, we could see several bats flying along the ceilings.
Iguana outside the caves
From the caves, we walked a short ten minutes to the airport to catch transportation back to town. We had heard there’s a public bus running from the airport into town which is a LOT less expensive than the taxis. However, they don’t run on a regular schedule. We figured it was worth a little inconvenience to save $30. After a 40 minute wait, we hopped onto a local “bus” (minivan) which picks people up along the road and stops wherever passengers ask. It took a little longer but the $2 fare was worth it!
Once back in town, we wandered around getting our bearings in the daylight and snapped pictures of the colorful buildings and various public artworks. We left just enough daylight for a cold beer poolside to start the evening’s relaxation. I think we’re off to a great start for spring break!