BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
The Caribbean islands are one of the most sought after vacations destinations in the world. All year-round travellers seeking rest and relaxation from the hectic schedules of everyday life venture down to the Caribbean Sea, to take in the beautiful clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches of island life where all your cares are thousands of miles away.
Located in the southern Caribbean Sea, approximately 65 kilometers north of the Venezuelan coast is a little island called Curaçao. A new and exciting place to explore, this constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a Dutch Caribbean island that includes both the main island and the uninhabited islands known as Little Curaçao.
Curaçao is a jewel in the Caribbean Sea located between the islands of Aruba and Bonaire. With a population of over 150,000 people and its total surface area of 444 square kilometers there is much to see and do on the island. It’s capital of Willemstad is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage and is also a hub for many Cruise Line tours.
This past week the Toronto Caribbean Newspaper spent five nights on the beautiful island of Curaçao graciously invited by hotel management at EM City Hotel located right in the heart of the city’s capital in Otrobana. The team was encouraged to take in the sites, learn about the rich history and culture of the island to showcase the amazing travel opportunities they offer to tourists considering making the Caribbean their next stop on their world tour.
The island of Curaçao was discovered in 1499 by the Spaniards and later became Dutch territory in 1634. There are four main languages that are widely spoken throughout the island that include: English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamentu a language most commonly heard in the ABC islands derived from African and Portuguese languages with some influence from American Indian, English, Dutch and Spanish.
Life on the island is very relaxed, the locals are very accommodating and friendly and they make you feel at home. Many of the locals can speak and understand English so it is never an issue with barriers in communication. Curaçao bares many similarities to life in Toronto because of the diversity of their local people. When you venture out onto the streets you are bound to run into people from all over the world especially from places in Canada, Europe and the other surrounding islands.
Throughout the trip the TC team experienced the island in all of it’s authenticity. They were provided a rental car from Avis Car Rental that they were able to use to travel around the island and it was easy to navigate the streets using Google Maps. Cars drive on the right side of the street in Curaçao and so the traffic rules are almost identical to those in Canada and the US.
The trip consisted of many experiences that one would never have the chance to see and do if they’ve never ventured down to the islands. From having the opportunity to swim with dolphins and snorkel with fish in the sea, it was truly an unforgettable experience. In Curaçao they welcome their visitors with a ‘live and let live’ attitude embracing people of all races, orientations and religions. The locals are eager to teach you about their culture and are equally excited to learn about yours regardless of where you are coming from.
In the next couple of editions, we will be sharing our experience of the island with you. Each upcoming edition will feature an article along with pictures from our trip with exclusive details about why you need to make Curaçao your next Caribbean travel destination!