We have never stayed on this island before, but visited Curacao several years ago as a port stop on a cruise.
We finally were able to spend a week in Curacao and we were not disappointed. If you have not been to this island, put it on the list of must places to visit, especially if you enjoy the beach.
Leaving for Curacao
As with going on any vacation expectation and planning is high for an event free experience. But this trip did not start off very well. We had a 7:00 a.m. flight out of BWI and allowed plenty of time to get to the airport. The shuttle dropped us off around 4:45 a.m. and there was a line for check in. When traveling to the islands, I usually check one bag in order to carry sunscreen and bug spray as well as some food. I forget how painful it was to check a bag.
American Airline charged me $25 each way for my bag, $50 total. I had cancelled my AA credit card last month which would have saved me this fee. I think the next time I will buy the sunscreen on the islands ($20) and bug spray and save myself the hassles. I am not sure how much the bug spray would be but it would beat standing in the lines waiting to retrieve our luggage and have it rechecked coming back. It took over an hour for our luggage to come off the plane in Miami, on our return as we timed it. We still had to have the bag rechecked and go to our gate, but thankfully we had plenty of time.
I was amazed at the people who do not allow enough time to check a bag, go through security and arrive at the gate at least 15 minutes before takeoff. We saw at least 8 people miss their flight due to the gate closing fifteen minutes before departure while we were waiting. They were very unhappy people, especially since they could see the plane still sitting at the gate.
On our first leg of our journey we were going to Miami. The flight was overbooked with the potential of being bumped. After several attempts, they finally got enough people to volunteer to take a later flight and have their bags checked for free at the gate. We were late leaving, causing us to arrive late in Miami with only 20 minutes to spare before boarding of our next flight. Our gate was next door, so we did not have to run through Miami airport to catch our flight. We boarded on time and everyone was eager to start their vacation. After waiting for a while, the captain made an announcement that they had two problems to be resolved and was not certain of our departure time. About an hour and fifty minutes later, the captain again came over the PA and stated that in trying to fix the first two problem a third surfaced and the plane was taken out of service and we had to disembark the plane.
We were advised to stay in the area and they would announce what we could expect. We waited for another hour with great reservations as to if we would be stuck in Miami. The airline had found a replacement plane and we were directed to another gate. Waiting at that gate, they kept delaying the boarding and we began to wonder if we would ever get there, finally they started the boarding process, but again we waited on the plane for about forty-five minutes before takeoff.
PLATINUM CAR RENTAL CURACAO
In the meantime, J sent an email to Platinum Car Rental Curacao and advised him of our flight delay. He told us not to worry, he would track our flight and meet us at the airport when we arrived. This was great news, as most car rental companies we have dealt with will rent your car out if you do not show up when scheduled.
Arriving in Curacao
We were about five hours late arriving in Curacao. It took a while to go through customs and again had to wait for our luggage to come off the plane. At this point we were wondering if anyone would be outside waiting for us. Walking out to the meeting spot, we could see someone in the distance. Sure enough Platinum Car Rental was waiting just like they said they would. The gentleman introduced himself and we were on our way. The car rental place is located off the airport and we were in and out within ten minutes with directions and his card in case we had problems.
He made our first impression of Curacao a positive one, especially after being up since 2:30 a.m. He could not have been any nicer. We agreed on a return time the following Friday and we were on our way. The cost of the car, a Kia Picanto for the week was $276.16. This included insurance and a full tank of gas. If you are going to Curacao, I would highly recommend using Platinum Car Rental. They take great care of the customers.
Our hotel, the Marriott Curacao was only fifteen minutes away from the airport, but driving at night not really knowing where we were going, it felt much longer. When we finally arrived we were immediately giving a drink, which we appreciated, and they gave us an upgraded room and thanked us for being Marriot Reward members before the bellman took us to our room. What a great way to start our vacation after our long travel day with American Airlines. Our delightful experience with the people of Curacao continued during our entire trip.
What You Need to Know before Spending a Week in Curacao
The US dollar was widely accepted, but they will give you change back in their currency (NAF). We ended up using the credit card for most of our purchases as it was easier. In places where we had to pay cash, we had changed our 20’s at the hotel for small bills in order to pay for beach access and beach chairs.
Chip style credit cards were accepted everywhere.
Our hotel room used a mixture of American and European style outlets. We took a converter and ended up using it.
We like to pick up things from the grocery store and the Centrum supermarket was located about ten minutes from the Marriott, it was open seven days a week. Since they were so close we dropped by everyday to pick up breakfast or lunch for the beach. They sell a large variety of food, alcohol and fresh bread. We purchased our liquor and had no problems drinking it at the Marriott.
Drinks on the island were very expensive and Happy Hour only lasted an hour, usually from 5 to 6. This made it difficult for us to get to there and we usually only had about fifteen minutes before it was over.
You can drink the tap water on the island. Bring a water bottle to fill up and take with you as it gets very hot during the day.
Bring beach shoes, as the beaches have coral and rocks making it difficult to walk in the water without them.
The car rental company advised us not to leave anything in our car and lock the doors. We find this true with most islands we visited. We never had any issues with parking our car around Curacao, whether it was in the parking garage, along the streets, or at the beach, but you never know who is watching.
The sunsets were spectacular. The sunset around 6:07 p.m. in the evenings when we were there in November. They do not change their clocks like we do, so they were an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Curacao is a very safe island. We never felt apprehensive walking around at night, but we did not stay out late. We walked downtown in the evening to go to dinner and enjoy the waterfront and never felt unsafe. I can not say that about some of the islands we have visited.
The friendly people, good food and beautiful beaches makes for a wonderful vacation. We both agreed, we have more to see and do and will return to Curacao someday.