Curaçao Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The Blue Room

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

An almost entirely submerged cave found in the cliffs of the western coast, the Blue Room is one of the island’s most famous snorkeling spots, second perhaps only to the Tugboat. We visited it during our last week on Curaçao, and found it to be just as beautiful as advertised.

The Blue Room is exactly what you think it’s going to be: a cave totally bathed in a deep, blue light. There’s always room between the water’s surface and the ceiling of the cave, so you can swim into it without worries. If you go all the way to the end of the room and look back toward the entrance, the effect is stunning, especially on a sunny afternoon when the light illuminates everything to perfection.

It’s possible to hire a boat to take you to the Blue Room, but it’s just as easy to walk over along the path which starts at the Santa Cruz Beach, and this is what we did. The biggest advantage of the boat is that you’ll have someone to watch your stuff. The Blue Room is notorious for thieves, who lurk in the woods and wait for their victims to leave their belongings unattended.

Let me repeat that: the Blue Room is notorious for thieves. We’re friends with a couple who visited the Blue Room about a week before us. They knew about the danger of theft, so made sure to hide their stuff carefully before entering the water. But they were being watched, and when they came out of the water, everything was gone: wallets, clothes, car keys, shoes. It is not enough to hide your possessions, you absolutely have to leave someone as a guard. For that reason, it’s most fun to do the Blue Room if you’re in a group of at least three.

Even considering this, we cannot bring ourselves to recommend the boat trip to the Blue Room offered by “Captain Goodlife,” who operates from Santa Cruz. During our short interaction with him, he was unbelievably rude — as soon as he realized we just wanted information and weren’t planning to hire him, his friendly demeanor vanished and he refused to offer us any advice. Our unlucky friends reported a similar experience. He owns the nearest shop, and so was the first person they went to after having their things stolen. He scoffed at their situation, and said something to the effect of “serves you right” [for walking along the path, instead of booking a tour with him].

Wait a second… how did this article about an amazing natural phenomenon get hijacked by thieves and rude business owners?! Let’s get back to the good stuff. We loved the Blue Room. It’s not extra-large, and you can see the whole thing in just a few minutes, but we were so entranced by the gorgeous colors, we stayed until our skin started to wrinkle.

Getting into the water is easy enough, as you can jump from the rocks, but exiting is a little more problematic. You really have to pull yourself up onto the rocks, so you have to be in decent condition. It’s not overly hard, but just be aware that there isn’t a ladder or anything to help you leave the water.

If you enjoy snorkeling and are on Curaçao for any length of time, you owe it to yourself to check out the Blue Room. The walk to the cave takes about twenty minutes from Santa Cruz, and with proper precautions, it can be enjoyed without worry.

Location our Map
The Path to the Blue Room on Wikiloc

This Is Our Underwater Camera

, , , , , ,
February 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm Comments (5)

Two Great Seafood Joints in Willemstad

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

As you might expect for an island nation, fish is a popular meal on Curaçao. And as you might expect for a Caribbean island nation, fried fish is where it’s at. I’m sure there are others, but we found two local seafood joints that we can recommend.

The Seaside Terrace is on the south side of Willemstad, down near Mambo Beach. We’d heard about the restaurant from a lot of different people, and none of them were exaggerating. This place doesn’t disappoint.

As soon as we stepped onto the terrace, we were greeted by a man who must be the restaurant’s owner. “Welcome, welcome! Glad to see you! So much fresh fish today! Lionfish! Monk fish! You’ve tried red snapper? No? You must try the red snapper! Please, sit down!” Overcome by his enthusiasm, we sat down directly where he pointed, and ordered exactly what he suggested. I’m glad we did, because the red snapper was wonderful. This fish is a specialty on the island, and is usually served whole and fried, with strong seasonings such as garlic and thyme.

We really liked the Seaside Terrace, but had an even better time during our next seafood excursion. After going diving with Scubacao, our instructor Anton had taken us to Oscar’s, a tiny shack across from the Aqualectric desalination plant in Otrobanda. On that occasion, we’d just had a beer, but he made us swear to return for lunch. “Best fish on the island.”

Before even tasting the fish, we had fallen in love with both Oscar the Restaurant, and Oscar the Man. He’s the sweetest old guy you’re ever likely to meet, and took the time to chat with us after we sat down. He was born in Antigua, but came to Curaçao as a child and has lived here ever since. He told us about his trips abroad, and how he loves the water but isn’t allowed to go diving anymore. “But they can’t stop me from snorkeling!”

This restaurant is a tip so under the radar, it’s nameless. We had been referring to it as “Oscar’s,” since we knew that to be the owner’s name, but I thought I should verify with the waitress before leaving. “Hmm… no, I guess this place doesn’t actually have a name. We all just call it Oscar’s.” At least we had been doing it right!

We were thrilled when the fish turned out to be as good as Anton had suggested. It would have been sad to enjoy everything except the food. Oscar’s not the easiest place to find (the best way to identify it is by the rocking horse which, for some cryptic reason, sits above its front entrance) but if you’re in the mood for an excellent, and extremely local dining experience, you couldn’t do better.

Locations on our Map: Seaside Terrace | Oscar’s

Note: When we asked, Oscar said they closed on Wednesdays.

Insure Your Vacation Here

google_ad_client = “ca-pub-1580149437633664”;
google_ad_slot = “1779419536”;
google_ad_width = 336;
google_ad_height = 280;

, , , , , ,
February 14, 2016 at 9:54 pm Comments (2)

Boka Pos Spanjo and Boka Hulu

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

In the rolling, undeveloped hills to the west of St. Martha’s Bay, we completed a long hike through the woods to a few isolated coves, including Boka Pos Spanjo and Boka Hulu. This same trail passes by both the Blue Room and Santu Pretu, but unless you’re prepared for a very long day, you’ll have to pick and choose which beaches you stop at.

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu

We were already familiar with the first kilometer of the trail, as it’s the same one we took from Santa Cruz to the black-sand beach of Santu Pretu. But after Santu Pretu, the trail continues inland. This is a wild region of Curaçao, and we didn’t encounter anyone for the entirety of our hike. For the next 90 minutes, we walked up and down deceptively large hills, suffering with the heat and occasionally winning a view over the area.

At the top of the biggest hill, we found the ruins of the old Bos Spanjo Plantation. This place must have been abandoned for more than a hundred years, because almost nothing remains apart from the foundation. We’ve seen more evocative ruins, but it was exciting to explore such an out-of-the-way, forgotten place.

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu

From here, it was an easy, downhill walk to Boka Pos Spanjo, whose name I’m guessing means “Spanish Rest.” The beach was full of coral, and the water was too rough to allow swimming, but we sat down to watch a pelican at work, and enjoyed the view across Santa Martha Bay.

The trail now continued on to Boka Hulu. By this point, we’d been hiking for well over two hours, and our energy was starting to flag. Two hours of exercise in Curaçaoan heat is no joke, and it’s important to pack more water than you think you might need. But arriving at Hulu lifted our spirits. After climbing down a set of stone steps to the bay, the scene awaiting us was just gorgeous. We spread out our towels in the shade of a low, rocky overhang, and stretched out.

As they had been at Pos Spanjo, the conditions at Hulu were too rough for swimming, but I was unable to resist after the sweaty hike. And I was immediately sorry; the jagged rocks were too shallow, the waves far too powerful, and I was lucky to emerge from the water unscathed. I think that when the waters are calmer, you could swim at Hulu, but I’m not sure about that.

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu

The rest of our hike brought us back north, past the jump-off point for the Blue Room and returning us to Santu Pretu. At a slow pace with plenty of breaks, this ten-kilometer loop took us about three hours. There are ways to make it shorter, though. For instance, you could stick to the coast and entirely skip the more grueling interior part of the loop; it’s pretty, but possibly not worth the effort.

Whatever you decide to do in this wild region west of the Santa Martha Bay, you’re almost certain to be doing it alone. We love excursions like this; I don’t know if it means we’re antisocial, but there’s nothing better than a day of hiking without seeing another soul.

Locations on our Map: Boka Pos Spanjo | Boka Hulu
Our Route on Wikiloc

Hotels Of Curacao

Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
Boka Pos Spanjo and Playa Hulu
, , , , , , , , ,
February 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm Comments (0)

Intrepid Explorers Discover Playa Hunku

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

We carefully made our way along an overgrown path, which, according to my calculations, had last been used by the Arwak Indians sometime in the late 1400s. Our mission was to find the legendary Playa Hunku, a place rumored about in whispered conversations across the island, but which no living man or woman had yet laid eyes upon. Our expedition was fraught with danger (cacti! mosquitoes!) but after a wearying trek of twenty entire minutes, we saw it: the fabled beach of Playa Hunku. And it was ours… all ours!!

Playa Hunky Curacao

The best part about this story is, I’m only exaggerating a little bit. Playa Hunku really is a hidden gem on Curaçao. Despite being so close to the popular resort of Playa Porto Mari, relatively few people know about it. We’ve even met locals who weren’t aware of its existence.

I hasten to point out that Playa Hunku is on private land. The road which leads there is closed, with signs indicating that trespassing is forbidden, and this might explain why the beach is almost always empty. But we checked with a few quasi-legitimate sources, all of whom assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem to walk over to the beach via the short path from Porto Mari. The owners don’t really care if the occasional tourist finds their way here, but they don’t want to open the road and have it become popular on a larger scale.

The path to Playa Hunku begins at the back of Porto Mari’s parking lot, with a brisk ascent up the Seru Mateo. From the top of this hill, you can look back for a nice view over the Playa Porto Mari… and it looks so beautiful, you’ll be tempted to run back down the hill and jump into the water. But press on, audacious adventurer! After a short hike of about twenty minutes, you’ll reach the other side of the hill, and be rewarded with your first glimpse of Playa Hunku. Note that the descent to the beach is steep and requires some caution.

The beach is a dream; a beautiful patch of sand, larger than we expected, with excellent snorkeling. While I was out by myself, a massive fish swam next to me, easily six feet long. I only spotted it from the corner of my eye, and wasn’t able to identify it before it swam swiftly away. In moments like this, logic flies out the window… I know there are no shark attacks on Curaçao. I know that. But I also know there’s always a first time. So I went into panic mode, swimming as swiftly as possible to shore. Later, Jürgen dared to go in after me, and got a better look at the same fish… it was a tuna.

We had an incredible time at Playa Hunku, and are loathe to write about it, since the magic of the place lies in its mystery and seclusion. But you’re reading this, which means you’re cool, so we’re letting you in on the tip. If you do go, please keep in mind that you’re a guest on private land. Don’t show up with a huge party, and (although it hardly needs said) make sure to clean up after yourself.

Get your Travel Health Insurance for Curacao, here!!!

Location on our Map
Our Route on Wikiloc

Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
Playa Hunky Curacao
, , , , , , , , , , ,
February 5, 2016 at 11:04 pm Comments (2)
The Blue Room An almost entirely submerged cave found in the cliffs of the western coast, the Blue Room is one of the island's most famous snorkeling spots, second perhaps only to the Tugboat. We visited it during our last week on Curaçao, and found it to be just as beautiful as advertised.
For 91 Days