Of course, I am a big fan of Curacao, but Curacao is not for everyone. If you expect to find the Curacao they showed on the "Bachelorette" don't come here. If you plan to visit Curacao anyhow, the list below is to avoid major disappointments.
1. No long sandy beaches
If you are looking for miles of sandy beaches, Curacao may not be for you.
Curacao's natural beaches are secluded coves surrounded by coral limestone cliffs and not the long sandy stretches you picture when you think beach. The rock and coral structure is what makes for such good snorkeling, providing homes for lots of sea life.
Alternate option: Grand Turk Island, they have many long sandy beaches.
2. Goats and potholes
When driving in Curacao you have to be careful to avoid goats and potholes. There are plenty of goats crossing roads at any time and our roads have lots of potholes. If you don't like to be squeezed in between a pothole and a herd of goats, Curacao may not be for you.
Goats run free on Curacao. They move around in small herds all over the island. The yards of the houses are fenced-in which makes it difficult for the goats to get in. Goats are a characteristic aspect of the Curacao landscape and cars are really the only danger they have to face, other than being eaten by humans.
Everywhere you go, no matter what route you take, potholes show up, sometimes covered by water which makes it hard to know exactly how to drive over and around them. For those that have small and mid-sized vehicles, it makes it even harder to swivel and swerve around these ghastly crevices to avoid being swallowed by them. And at night, you can try as hard as you can to get around these potholes only to end up having hit all of them at once. Ohh, that is the worst!
And just when you discover that some of these holes in the road have been patched up, a new one has already popped up farther down the road. The roads in Curacao have been constructed in such a way that there is nowhere for the rainwater to go. It just sits on the roads and puddles, quickly deteriorating them and making drivers bump and jump in their seats. A few words of caution: when on the road you notice someone in front of you quickly slowing down, be aware that they are most likely trying very hard to not be engulfed by large gaping holes in the road. Stay alert everyone!
Alternate option: India, they only have cows on the roads
Photo by: haas.mccann (www.flickr.com/photos/38625937@N05/15571046901/)
3. Lack of public transport
If you like to get around by using public transport, Curacao may not be for you.
Rent a car in Curacao, as you will be able to see more of the island. Public transport is safe (and very cheap) but you may have to wait for two hours and at night it is not convenient. Taxis are expensive. To rent a car however, is not too expensive and driving in Curacao is easy, once you understand the potholes and goats, and not as dangerous as on other islands.
Alternate option: Singapore, has the best public transport system in the world
4. Mainly Dutch tourists
If you want to avoid Dutch tourists, Curacao may not be for you.
Curacao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and there are 3 daily direct flights from Amsterdam. Consequently, there are Dutch tourists. During school vacations, the eastern part of the island can be crammed with Dutch tourists to the point where you practice your Dutch more than you would normally do in Amsterdam. The good news is that there are not many Dutch tourists that discovered the west side of the island yet.
Alternate option: St. Barth, if you rather like to be surrounded by French tourists.
5. Lots of fish in the ocean
Although all fish are probably more scared of you than you are of them, if you don't like to swim with the fish, Curacao may not be for you.
While so many diving & snorkeling destinations require boat trips out to barrier reefs to see fish, almost all of the diving and snorkeling is easily accessed from the beaches in Curacao. There are some great snorkeling opportunities in Curacao, where you will encounter many fish and find some healthy coral reefs.
Alternate option: Belize, you only find fish at the reefs, which are far away from the beaches.
6. Iguanas, lizards, and geckos
Although they are all totally harmless if you are scared of iguanas, lizards, or geckos, Curacao may not be for you.
Lizards can be found basking in the sun. Colorful geckos inhabit the scrubby trees, and the translucent species with their suction feet scale the walls during the night. It can sometimes be found scurrying across a ceiling or hanging, head down, inside a closet; though its appearance can give you quite a start, it is harmless.
The iguana is the king of Curacao reptiles. Although it looks like a dragon, the iguana is fairly shy. Iguana soup or stew is a local delicacy and therefore iguana hunting is a popular sport so don't be surprised if you see someone by the side of the road proudly holding up their catch up for sale.
Alternate option: Canada, you may find some lizards but other than in the ZOO there are definitely no iguanas.
Photo by: Matthew T Rader (http://matthewtrader.com Texas Wedding Photographer)
7. Everything is "poco poco" (very slow)
If good service is of utmost importance to you, Curacao may not be for you.
Everything on the island is poco poco; your expectations may be high at first but once you have gotten a taste of it, you will begin to realize that things don’t always happen at an efficient pace in Curacao. It doesn’t have to be such a bad thing but instead something to simply adept to and accept as part of the Curacao philosophy.
Europeans and North Americans thrive on efficiency and productivity. But, from a Curacao standpoint, this sort of pace of work can be perceived as stressful and rushed. What’s the point in rushing if you have most of your life to work? That’s a valid point and that is why most people living and working in Curacao are not stressed.
Alternate option: Aruba, they understand service better than anywhere else.
8. Greeting and time concept
If you think it is not that important to use the appropriate greeting for the time of the day, Curacao may not be for you.
In Curacao everyone will greet you with an appropriate greeting for the time of the day. Early in the morning before sunrise "Moru" is the appropriate greeting. After sunrise and before noon the correct greeting is "Bon Dia" (good day). If it is a Sunday or a Monday "Bon Siman" (good week) is added. When the clock turns 12:00 the greetings turn to "Bon Tardi" (good afternoon). Don't make the mistake to still say "Bon Dia", because that is not appreciated. After the sun is set greetings change to "Bon Nochi" (good evening).
These greetings are said to complete strangers with a big smile, and if you don’t comply in return it is considered rude.
Alternate option: Australia, they say "g'day" no matter what time of the day it is.
There are dozens of cactus species on the island and you find them literally everywhere. If you dislike cacti, Curacao may not be for you.
Cacti are not only towering high on the Curacao hills but can also be found on walls and roofs. Cactus is used for medicine, shampoo, natural fences, and lightweight kite frames. Being one of the most abundant natural resources on the island cactus is also used to make soup. Curacao's "Kadushi" soup is very slimy and difficult to eat with a spoon, as it will slip away from the spoon before it hit the mouth.
Alternate option: Switzerland, here they mostly have pine trees.
Other than that, Curacao is an amazing island with friendly people, beautiful nature both on land and in the sea, wonderful weather, the best beaches, a rich history, lots of things to see and to do, and great restaurants.
Enjoy Curacao, book our Villa Seashell, and read our other blog posts for the best Curacao Insider Tips.
Interested in staying with us? Contact us for information about our oceanfront villa, one of the nicest Curacao vacation rentals.
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