Difference between revisions of "Curaçao"
Revision as of 17:34, 29 September 2007
Curaçao  is an island in the Netherlands Antilles, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - one includes Curaçao and Bonaire, north of Venezuela; the other is east of the Virgin Islands. Curaçao is among the group known as the ABC Islands alongside Aruba and Bonaire. This trio is located near Venezuela, and are considered to be outside the Caribbean's so-called "hurricane zone." This means that vacations to the island are rarely disrupted by such tropical storms.
One of the most notable things about the island is its culture. This Dutch island features the pastel colors and building styles you'd find in the Netherlands. However, the people of the island have developed a culture, and even a language, of their own. Papiamentu (often spelled Papiamento) is the island's native Creole.
The island has two main parts: the south-eastern part called Banda Riba and the north-western end of the island called Banda Bou. The names literally mean the upside and the downside. They take their names from the direction of the tradewinds that blow from top to bottom (East to West.) Banda Riba has the capital city of Willemstad and most of the population of the island. The port inside the island is a great natural harbor called Schottegat. There is an old fort there with a good view of the entire region. The channel leading from the ocean to the bay is the best part of town to visit. The east side is called Punda and the west side is called Otrabanda. They are connected by a famous moving foot bridge called the Queen Emma Brug (Bridge.) The buildings on the Punda side are very picturesque. They are of Dutch architecture and are painted with pretty pastel colors. Banda Bou is the end of the island with most of the beaches and natural attractions. The water at the beaches is a light turquoise and the weather is unparalleled. Other attractions are the east side of the island's rocky shores and grottos. The highest point on the island is Mount Christoffel at 1,239 feet (377 meters.)
The capital, Willemstad, is reminiscent of a Dutch town; with its architecture, red roofs, and pastel colors. It is also divided into two sides, Punda (East)and Otrobanda (literally "other side" on the West of the canal). This is where you'll find much of the island's culture, dining, entertainment, and history.
The native language of Curacao is Papiamentu, which is a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, and other languages. Most people from the island speak this language in addition to Dutch, English, and Spanish. Almost everyone speaks English.
Those who want to travel by air can enter at Curaçao's airport, Hato International Airport (CUR). It is located in Plaza Margareth Abraham, not far from the capital of Willemstad, and accepts flights from many regional carriers, but has recently expanded to accept international flights from North and South America. To contact the airport by phone, call 599-9-888-0101.
Cruise ships arrive at Curaçao Mega Pier or the Curaçao Cruise Terminal. From these ports it's just a short journey to many of the island's popular tourist destinations. Travelers can also enjoy nearby shopping at duty-free stores. Larger ships will arrive at the Mega Pier, and smaller ships will dock at the Cruise Terminal.
As the largest island in the Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao offers visitors plenty of ways to get around. Rental cars are available at rates of about $50 per day. However, buses costing under $1 per ride are another great way for visitors to get around. Better yet, they're easily recognizable by their plate marked "BUS."
If public transit isn't your style, and you don't want to rent your own car, taxis are another popular and easy-to-find option. They, too, are marked, and their plates read "TX." Some taxi drivers will even be your tour guide for the day, if you ask. But remember to agree on a fee before heading out. Active travelers can rent bikes and mopeds, or motorcycles.
Ferries are a great way for shoppers to get to and from some of the island's main shopping areas.
Go to Wet & Wild Beach Club on the Seaquarium Beach on a Sunday evening around 6 to see the sun set and see the Dutch marines stationed on Curacao partying together with the numerous interns from Holland.
Local cuisine in Curaçao is Dutch-influenced. However, some flavors of the West Indies are also found. Cheeses and seafood are both important in Curaçaoan food. The island is also known from the liqueur which bears its name.
To Aruba ( A few minutes aways by airplane) To Bonaire (A paradise for Divers) To Venezuela