About 3 weeks ago, I had never heard of Curaçao or the “ABC islands”, have you? Call me crazy, but in America, it’s just not a country that’s ever talked about. So let me give you the rundown if you’re also not familiar with the “ABC Islands” and Curaçao.
The Difference Between Aruba & Curaçao
In the lowest part of the Caribbean, lays 3 beautiful exotic islands. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao AKA the “ABC Islands”. Throughout my life I’ve always heard of Aruba — that faraway exotic island with crystal clear beaches and amazing sunsets, but never of Curaçao or Bonaire. I know, SHOCKER!
After traveling to Aruba and Curaçao I figured out why I never heard of Curaçao.
As it turns out, Curaçao is a Dutch island (so was Aruba until 1977) and was owned by the Netherlands up until 7 years ago when Curaçao became its own independent country. I also learned that tourism boards have been marketing Aruba more so to Americans and Curaçao more to Europeans. Once you visit both islands you will find it all to be true. Although they are only a few short miles away from each other and a 20min flight apart, they are completely different and for many reasons.
When visiting Aruba you will also see many of the locals speaking English and many Americans there. However, while visiting Curaçao I mainly heard Dutch spoken WAY more than English or any other language. Even the resorts and restaurants cater more to the Dutch and Europeans travelers with Dutch menus as a first choice. In fact, even the locals of Curaçao have Dutch passports and many people from the Netherlands come to Curaçao to work for the summer or a couple of months. Many even end up trading their own hometown and moving to Curaçao because of its laidback island lifestyle. Even the architecture in the city center of Curaçao will remind you of Amsterdam with a twist of bright colors. You also won’t find as many, if any, commercial hotels like the Marriott and Ritz on the island.
Last Minute Trip to Curaçao
My trip to Curaçao wasn’t planned at all. Call it a spontaneous moment from a spontaneous last minute girl.
I traveled to Aruba on an amazing media trip also known as a press trip for journalist and bloggers.
3 days before my trip to Aruba, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to travel to a different country near Aruba, since I’m already in this part of the world?”. I briefly did some research on where to go and Curaçao came up, an island I never heard of before. I texted one of my good friends who’s been to every country in the world to see what he thought of it and if it was at all worth seeing. I didn’t get the most positive answer, so I put it on hold.
At the same time, I was totally stressing as normal before my trip, trying to get all the last minute preps ready. I forgot about the island and figured that once I got to Aruba, I’d figure it all out there. lol boy was I wrong. I didn’t have a moment of rest, as I was on a tight schedule on the press trip that was packed with so many amazing things to do from morning to night.
On my last day in Aruba, I woke up early morning trying to figure out what I should do. The whole idea of going to a different country didn’t pop back into my head until that last day. I started researching destinations that were near Aruba with cheap airfare and hotels that met my standards. I looked at going to Panama, Bonaire, Colombia, Puerto Rico and of course, Curaçao.
After consulting with a few different friends that have traveled to some of these places, I literally couldn’t make up my mind. It was eating away at any thoughts and things I had to do that last day.
My flight back home from Aruba was supposed to be at 6am and at this point it was 11pm and I still didn’t know what I was gonna do with myself.
Then it hit, the answer, JUST GO! YOLO
I decided I was just gonna take the plunge and go with it! Because really, why not?!
At about 12am, I called American Airlines to change my flight home, booked my flight to Curaçao and my hotel!
You secretly don’t know this, but I always live my life on the edge, I always book my trips a few days or weeks before they happen. I never book things months in advance, probably because I’d die of excitement of having to wait that long to actually go. Sometimes I even shock myself with how last minute I am (including this time) because I’m such a perfectionist and if it doesn’t go according to my vision I had created in my head, then I don’t want it at all. However, somehow, somewhere, 99% of the time it all turns out amazing, which is probably why I kept up the madness for so long.
Traveling to Curaçao was seriously one of the best decisions I’ve made this year! and of course traveling to Tulum (Hippie Life: The Magic Of Tulum, Mexico).
Curaçao was amazing!!! It was a sunset lovers paradise! Which would be me! The girl who named her blog after a sunset.
I named my blog Vanilla Sky Dreaming because of my love for sunsets. A “Vanilla Sky” is when the sky turns that beautiful pink, purple, orange and yellow color and Curaçao had the epitome of the perfect sunsets. Just look for yourself!
Where I stayed?…Heaven!
I booked a 4 day trip to this beautiful exotic island. I stayed at the Papagayo Beach Hotel, which was probably the best hotel I could have picked to stayed at in Curaçao. I seriously highly recommend it! I didn’t know this until I got there, but the property of this hotel is MASSIVE! Like nothing, I have ever seen before! This hotel had everything I wanted AND WAY MORE! They had 2 infinity pools, a casino, a million restaurants and bars, ice cream shop, volleyball court, a massive gym, a supermarket, a whole shopping center and so much more. The set up for this hotel is basically this, there are 2 hotels that Papagayo shares. One is the Papagayo Beach Hotel and the other is Papagayo Beach Resort. The resort is basically a house and the hotel was like a deluxe apartment and then they share the Beach Club which is all the pools, restaurants and beaches area.
At first, I was considering staying at Santa Barabara Beach & Golf Resort, but prices went up and Papagayo Beach Hotel was doing construction on the days I was traveling there. They had a discounted room for $327 for 3 nights, instead of $600, which was basically a suite anywhere else in the world. Luckily the construction didn’t bother me at all and I ended up at such a dreamy hotel with the best sunset view I have ever seen in my entire life! SCORE!
Photos from Papagayo Beach Hotel
What I did in Curaçao
For the most part, I just enjoyed life! Dining on the beach, watching the most beautiful sunsets of my life and working on that summer tan, which ended up turning into a terrible sunburn (oops). I had amazing dinners on the beach, with a glass of red wine and good music playing in the background.
I originally planned to do so much more in Curaçao, but one of my tours got canceled last minute. I ended up booking another tour which was an island tour of the East and West of Curaçao. The west part of the island is known to be the greener part of the island and has over 35 beaches with crystal clear water. The east is more of where the locals live. Many of the locals don’t like living in the west because back in the late 1800’s is where the slave plantations were and it reminds them of it. There are actually statues all over the country of a hand holding a chain. Really sad.
I ended up visiting the famous Curaçao Liqueur Factory, driving through the city capital of Willemstad. I visited the famous Grote Knip Beach with amazing crystal clear water — a great spot to snorkel. I also went to Shete Boka National Park, Boka Tabla cave, saw flamingos in the wild and more. I drove over the Queen Juliana Bridge a few times. I also dined at a great spot called the Pirates Nest, definitely worth checking out!
Things to do in Curaçao
If you’re interested in visiting Curaçao, check out this awesome list of things to do!
- Klein Curaçao Adventure Day Trip
- Half or Full Day Boat and Snorkeling Trip in Spanish Waters of Curacao
- Private Curaçao Beaches Tour Including Kenepa Beach
- Curacao Full-Day Custom Private Tour
- Curacao Sunset Cruise
- Private Tour for Two: Romantic Curacao by Land and Sea
- Curacao Half Day ATV Adventure Tour
- Snorkel and Beach Jeep Safari Tour in Curacao
- Hato Caves and Ostrich Farm Combo Tour
- National Park Jeep Safari in Curacao
- Curacao Cultural Sunset Safari Tour
- Jewish Heritage of Curacao
- Best of the West Tour of Curacao
- Curacao TukTuk City Tour
I really loved every minute on this island!
Curaçao was a beautiful country to visit, a great destination and adventure. I’m not done with this island and know there is so much more to see and do there! Sometimes being spontaneous is the best gift you can give yourself!
Enjoy your travels! <3