Destination Caribbean! My brother-in-law wanted to do a 30th birthday extravaganza with his family and friends, so the trip to Curaçao was born. It was actually planned at the same time as our Asia trip, but I didn’t help do any of the planning we just came along for the adventure.
Adam and I used our air miles and didn’t have to pay for any airfare. That also meant doing a couple layovers, but we still got there in about 10 hours once it was all said and done. In my opinion – worth it.
There was 12 of us going in totality, but we all came and left at different times. We flew in with my in-laws and a friend. Upon arrival, my sister-in-law picked us up and all 7 of us squeezed into a little 5 seater car! Lol! We stayed in Jan Thiel which was about half an hour from the airport.
We stayed in a big house with a pool and an oceanview. The listing is here. The nice thing about traveling with a big group is that you can get a really nice big house, split the cost, and end up having affordable accommodations.
We did A LOT of hanging out at the house goofing off, playing games, having competitions in the pool and relaxing. But here are some of the highlights of our “out of the house” adventures.
One of the days we drove all the way to the opposite side of the island to Playa Grandi. It took about an hour from Jan Thiel. It was recommended to get to the beach early to see more turtles. We got there around 9:30 and saw plenty.
Surprisingly, there was no fee! Bring your own snorkel, show up at the beach and jump in. The beach is nothing to write home about, and at first glance the location seems unassuming. But as soon as we got in the water there were turtles. The further you swam out the clearer the water became . It was a blast swimming around on your own terms taking in the beauty of the huge elegant creatures. Such an awesome adventure.
I’d read there was cliff jumping on this side of the island and had found a place not far from the Playa Grandi at Playa Forti. There is a restaurant right on the cliff edge and it’s not unusual to see thrill seekers standing at the cliff ledge here. I was all giddy here. I love cliff jumping but it’s not very often I have opportunities to jump into water this warm, clear and blue!
We also stumbled into another awesome place to jump….I tried to GPS tag it here. I don’t think it’s routine for people to jump from there but the water was so inviting and the location just way too epic to not jump in. Getting out was a little more difficult but there was a spot over on the right where you could climb the cliff wall a little bit to a path that led back to the main trail.
We also spent a couple hours swimming and snorkeling at Grot Knip Beach. All these three locations are within 15 minutes of each other.
As a group we decided to take the day trip to Klein, a small island off the coast of Curaçao. The ride out was a bit choppy and a few of us got sick (not me).
Simply put, the day was a relaxing island chill day on gorgeous white sand beaches. There was snorkeling, shipwrecks, an abandoned lighthouse, and food included.
About ten minutes from where we stayed, was a gem we didn’t find until the day we left. Tugboat beach. Whether you rent or bring your own snorkel set, you can swim out about 150 yards to a sunken tugboat. Lots of colorful fish are in the area, and it’s also intriguing to swim near the big ships that are docked parallel to the beach.
Much to our amusement, we also spent way too long playing on the giant ropes used to moor the ship to land. The ropes are slung across the entire channel you swim through to get to the tug boat. It just so happened that it was a bit windy, and because the ship was swaying back and forth, the ropes would slowly rise and sink with each sway. We were able to stand on the ropes, hang on to the ropes and do all sorts of gymnastics while the ropes rose from being underwater, to being 30 feet in the air and then back down. It was a blast and our crew of 25-30 years olds turned into little children at a water park. Haha. So if there’s a ship moored here, hit this beach up on a windy day!
The beach is also a cute little area to eat and chillax.
A unique experience for me was exploring salt flats. Again, only a short ways (2 minutes) from our house, was the trailhead for walking to the salt flats. From the road it was about a 10 minute walk to a wide open area where they used to collect/mine salt. Now abandoned, the area is a shallow, shimmering bed of pools of salt crystals. Super intriguing. We did take a few crystals home with us.
Also, if you wake up early enough there are flamingos you can stumble across that hang out around the lake further down from the salt flats. We saw a few way off the distance but didn’t feel like walking that far.
We stumbled upon this area and thought it was so cool. Since we had rented vehicles, we drove ourselves around here, but I found out after there is a paid tour you can do in dune buggies. Here, the red dirt roads are lined by cliffs that drop into the blue ocean. Waves crash up against the coastline, creating salt sprays and blowholes. The blowhole we stumbled across may or may not have been an attraction, but either way it was super cool. There is a blowhole called Suplado that we didn’t ever make it to. The coastal roads that wound in and out of the windmills were fun to explore here as well.
1. Curaçao’s coastline is all sharp rocky cliffsides, meaning there really aren’t many beaches. As in – the only beaches we found were the ones where we snorkeled the tug boat, and swam with the turtles. And they weren’t “beaches” you’d stay and hang out on. They were rocky small coves. So if you’re hoping for a drinks on the beach kind of vacation, in my opinion, this isn’t your island. If you want to do hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and some off roading, then this is a great destination for you!
2. You can drink the water out of the tap! This is huge to me because almost everywhere I’ve been in the world, we are so careful to not swallow any of the tap water. (No thank you parasites!) So besides Iceland, this was the only other country I’ve traveled to where it is safe to drink water out of any tap. There is a reverse osmosis system that purifies all the water for the whole island, and the water is supposedly more pure than the water from the tap in the USA.